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I’m a big fan of that one college basketball tournament going on right now whose name I can’t say for fear of violating their trademarks.  Last year, we did a “Top Travel Tool March Mayhem” tournament where we ranked the top miles and points tool, with Award Wallet beating out AutoSlash in the finals.


This year I thought I’d try a similar tournament to pick the “best” miles and points credit card.  While the definition of a “best” credit card is fairly impossible to judge, since there are so many factors that go into that decision, most importantly figuring out where you want to go before you just sign up for cards, but hey, let’s give it a try!

CardMadness bracket

Here is our CardMadness bracket for 2017.


You could certainly argue with some of the seeds I’m sure, but I think it’s a fairly reasonable list.

Card Madness Opening Round

The other opening rounds are still going on and will close next week – you can still vote if you haven’t already

#2 The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN vs. #15 Chase IHG Rewards card

#2 Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN – Unlike its personal card counterpart (seeded 6th), the Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN did not get its annual fee increased – it’s still a hefty $450.  The signup bonus ranges from 40,000 to 100,000 points and is currently at 40,000 points.  It comes with a $200 annual airline credit, American Express roadside assistance, Priority Pass membership and more

Chase IHG#15 Chase IHG® Rewards Club card – The big advantage of the IHG card is the fact that you get a free night on your anniversary, in exchange for paying the annual fee of $49.  This free night (SEE ALSO: Why do people think “free” nights are a good idea?) is good at ANY IHG hotel worldwide, which is a huge advantage over some of the other cards that give free nights.  If you are playing this game in 2 player mode, I usually recommend both you and your partner signing up for this card at the same time of the year.  I would not generally recommend putting any extra spend on this card except maybe for paid stays at IHG hotels.  The card also gives IHG Platinum status, which is not worth even breakfast at most places.  Signup bonus has gone as high as 100,000 points though currently is at 60,000 plus a $50 statement credit.  Although this card is issued by Chase, it is NOT believed to be subject to the Chase 5/24 rule)

#7 Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. #10 Citi® Double Cash Card

#7 Chase Freedom Unlimited – The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a pretty simple card – no gimmicks.  You get 1.5 Ultimate Rewards for every purchase.  The signup bonus varies but is currently 15,000 Ultimate Rewards and another 2500 for getting an authorized user on your card.

citidoublecash#10 Citi® Double Cash Card – The Citi® Double Cash Card is also a pretty simple card – you get 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off.  So it’s essentially a 2% cashback card.  There is not typically a signup bonus, and it’s a good card to product change one of your old Citibank cards to where you don’t want to pay an annual fee.

So it comes down to – do you like 1.5 Ultimate Rewards or 2 cents for your purchases?

A note on shenanigans – this contest is meant to be in fun and there are no prizes for winning.  While I don’t mind if you encourage friends, family members and others to vote for a particular tool, please don’t try to rig the system by voting multiple times.  I do reserve the right to disqualify entries and/or just arbitrarily pick a winner if I feel like it.

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