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After tonight’s games, we’ll be well on our way to our final 16 teams!  The Sapphire Reserve obliterates the MileagePlus Explorer below, and Barclay is onto its last stand in Game 47.  With big wins last night from the Reserve, the Citi ThankYou Prestige, and the American Express Platinum, do our readers love shelling out money for their high end cards?

(Wait…is Dan really going to pay a $450 annual fee??)

Game 41:  Chase Sapphire Reserve (97 votes) vs. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (7 votes)

The Chase Sapphire defeats the United MileagePlus Explorer by a wide margin!  Let’s be honest though, are we really that surprised?  This is one we probably all expected to happen.  The MileagePlus Explorer is a great card by any standards (if you have access to United flights, that is), but it just can’t stand up to the Reserve’s great benefits and flexible Ultimate Rewards points.  This is yet another match where our readers voted for a high annual fee card – we love the benefits!

If you’re one of the Sapphire Reserve’s 97 fans, check out the latest offer here!

Game 42:  American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles (45) vs. Barclay JetBlue Plus Card (31)

This one was a super close game when I checked early on!

a screenshot of a computer

By last night though, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles had the edge on the JetBlue Plus.  Personally, I’d rather have the JetBlue Plus over the Platinum Delta card, but that’s only because I live in Boston, a JetBlue hub.  For many of our readers, it probably makes more sense to have a Delta card, with more access to flights from their own airports.

Game 43:  Chase Ink Plus (40) vs. Citi ThankYou Prestige (50)

The second loss for Ultimate Rewards!  The Citi ThankYou Prestige will move onto Round 3, victorious over the Chase Ink Plus.  Again, we’re seeing the high fee = high benefits = happy customer trend here.  (Shhhh, don’t tell the credit card companies!)  The Prestige tacks on a $450 annual fee, but cardholders get Priority Pass Select membership, access to Citi’s transfer partners, a $250 travel credit annually, and their 4th night free on two paid hotel stays per year.  The Ink Plus on the other hand, is a great card for business owners, but not always useful for travelers.

Game 44:  Bank of America Premium Rewards (27) vs. American Express Business Platinum (56)

The American Express Business Platinum sends Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card packing.  Both the personal Platinum and Business Platinum offer an incredible suite of benefits for their high annual fees.  The Premium Rewards card from Bank of America is really just a souped up cashback card, but still great in its own right.

Check out Game 45 below, to see if the personal AmEx Platinum also moves onto Round 3!

Follow the Challonge bracket here!

a screenshot of a computer

Alright guys, let’s recap the tournament!  So far, we used the Facebook group to poll our readers for the original 64 card lineup.  Once the competitors were chosen, our first games were last Monday!  In the first games, we saw huge wins for American Express and Chase (especially for their Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards programs).  There have been a few really close games, and Ultimate Rewards were undefeated in Round 1!  Flexible points continue to have huge support from our readers, and on Sunday night, Chase Ultimate Rewards suffered their first loss.

a basketball hoop with a net

Central Division – Round 2, Games 45-48

Game 45:  American Express Platinum vs. Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

In Game 44 above, the Business Platinum knocked the Bank of America Premium Rewards card out of our tournament.  American Express has taken home a lot of votes so far, is it enough to beat the IHG card?  The IHG card gets you double points on gas and groceries, two major spending categories for the typical family.  Platinum cardholders get access to a number of benefits, including Centurion Lounge access.

Game 46:  American Express Hilton Ascend Card vs. American Express Hilton Honors Card

The Hilton brothers go head to head in Round 2!  Remember, American Express and Hilton offer 3 Hilton cards:  the Hilton Honors, Hilton Ascend, and Hilton Aspire, in order from lowest to highest tier.  This match will be a great test of the Ascend as a product.  Do people think the $95 annual fee is worth the increased benefits on the card?  Vote below!

Game 47:  Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red vs. American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles

The only remaining Barclay card in the tournament, the Aviator Red will face off against the Gold Delta SkyMiles card tonight.  In an eerily similar game, the Platinum SkyMiles defeated the Barclay JetBlue Plus above.  I’d say these cards are pretty evenly matched, despite the Platinum SkyMiles’ higher annual fee.

a credit card on a beach

Remember this one?  Barclays just can’t catch a break lately…

Game 48:  Chase Ink Business Preferred vs. Chase World of Hyatt

I know both of these cards have a huge fanbase out there, so I’ll be waiting to see which one takes home the W.  Cardholders of the Ink Business Preferred have access to the Chase Travel portal and can accumulate triple UR on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and online advertising.  The World of Hyatt card, also issued by Chase, includes one free night annually, with the chance to earn a second free night, for use at hotels in categories 1-4.  At a $95 annual fee, you’ll also earn 4x Hyatt points on Hyatt stays, 2x points on gyms and fitness, travel, mass transit, ride-sharing, and restaurants.

Voting for the Ink Preferred?  Under 5/24?  Check out the latest offer on our Top Credit Cards page!

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