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As we keep tallying the votes, it’s been fun to see some trends develop:

  1. As I’ve mentioned previously, transferrable points continue their winning 71 streak.  The flexibility of Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and ThankYou Points is not lost on our readers.  (But Game 37 defies this trend!)
  2. PWaC readers aren’t afraid of a high annual fee, as long as it provides great benefits.  (Check out Dan’s opinion on fees:  Am I really going to pay a $450 annual fee?)  Two big wins last night prove that in Games 37 and 40 below.

a man playing basketball

Game 37:  American Express Hilton Aspire Card (71 votes) vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited (52 votes)

With strong support in Round 1 and 2, the Hilton Aspire defeats the Chase Freedom Unlimited – marking the first defeat for an Ultimate Rewards card so far.  Our readers think the great benefits on the Aspire card more than outweigh the hefty $450 annual fee.  And while the Freedom Unlimited card is a great no fee option for those that can pair it with a Sapphire or Ink, it doesn’t pose much of a value proposition on its own.

Game 38:  Chase Ink Business Unlimited (33) vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred (85)

Two Ultimate Rewards cards, and only one can win…the Sapphire Preferred moves on to Round 3 with a wide margin of victory!  This one makes a lot of sense, – the Sapphire Preferred is a great card and offers a lot of travel benefits.  Points With a Crew is, after all, a travel blog, so our readers tend to like travel cards.  There are still 3 other Ink cards in the tournament:  the Ink Cash moved onto Round 3 against the ThankYou Premier, the Ink Plus takes on the ThankYou Prestige in Game 43 (vote below!), and the Ink Preferred will face off against the Chase World of Hyatt card in Game 48.

Game 39:  Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa (65) vs. Chase Southwest Premier Business (45)

The Alaska card routs the Southwest Premier in a 65 to 45 win.  Bank of America’s business version of the Alaska card was knocked out of the tournament by the ThankYou Premier last round, but the personal card is still going strong.  On the other side, this was Southwest’s last card in the tournament – the Companion Pass just wasn’t enough!

Game 40:  Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select (47) vs. American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (66)

The Brilliant is another high fee hotel credit card that’s continued to received a number of votes from our readers.  The Aspire and the Brilliant will be moving on to Round 3 after a close defeat of the AAdvantage Platinum Select.  Citi loses it’s popular AAdvantage Platinum card to the Brilliant, 47 to 66.

Follow the Challonge bracket here!

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Follow along with the whole series here:

Atlantic Division – Round 2, Games 41-44

Game 41:  Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer

There are still quite a few Chase cards in the tournament, and we’re starting to narrow them down.  In Game 41, the $450 Sapphire Reserve will face the $95 United MileagePlus Explorer.  Both cards beat won their former games with a wide margin, but I don’t know if it’ll be enough for the Explorer to keep up.  We all know the Ultimate Rewards cards (and especially the Reserve) are favorites!

If you like the Ultimate Rewards cards too, check out our latest offers on the Sapphire, Ink, and Freedom cards here!

a white airplane on a runway

Game 42:  American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles vs. Barclay JetBlue Plus Card

With Boston Logan as my home airport, Delta and JetBlue are both near to my heart, and two of the airlines I frequently check for good deals.  Delta has recently offered some killer value with it’s award redemption sales!  TrueBlue points are tied to the value of the flight’s cash price, similar to Rapid Rewards, whereas SkyMiles are something of a hybrid system.  There’s an award chart (somewhere), but prices fluctuate based on demand.  In terms of benefits, these cards are very similar, with priority boarding, free bags, and bonus multipliers on purchases with their respective airline.  JetBlue definitely wins there though, with 6x TrueBlue points!

Game 43:  Chase Ink Plus vs. Citi ThankYou Prestige

Two great transferrable points currencies, two great cards.  True to its business card roots, the Ink Plus earns Ultimate rewards at a 5x rate on office supplies, internet, phone, and cable, and double UR on gas and hotels.  (Note, when this post was first published, the earning rates were incorrectly listed.)  The Prestige earns points quickly, with 5x on travel and restaurants, 3x on hotels and cruises, and 1x on everything else.  You’ll also snag Priority Pass Select membership, access to Citi’s transfer partners, a $250 travel credit annually, and your 4th night free on two paid hotel stays per year.

Will Ultimate Rewards suffer another defeat in Round 2?  Or will the Prestige’s recent devaluation show up in this match?

Game 44:  Bank of America Premium Rewards vs. American Express Business Platinum

The Business Platinum defeated the Citi DoubleCash in Round 1, 56 to 38, it was a close game.  As with Game 38 above, our readers look to be favoring travel cards, which we expected.  The Bank of America Premium Rewards card destroyed the US Bank Aeromexico Visa Signature in Round 1, 67 to 9!  Both cards offer some travel benefits, but Membership Rewards is a much stronger currency, with transfer partners and frequent bonuses.  BoA Premium Rewards operate as a cashback statement credit, similar to an Arrival+ or a FlexPerks card.  Vote below!

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