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!
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 opening round games have now finished, and the results are in!
- #13 Chase Freedom defeats #4 Chase Ink in a close upset – 54.4% to 46.6%
- #5 Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card defeats #12 Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, 65.7% to 34.3%
- #11 Citi Prestige® Card upsets #6 The Platinum Card® from American Express, 51.8% to 48.2%
- #3 Chase Sapphire Reserve slaughters #14 The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, 80.9% to 19.1%
- #1 Chase Sapphire Preferred defeats #16 Chase Southwest Airlines Card, 85.2% to 14.8%.
- #8 AT&T Access More card is defeated by #9 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, 84.3% to 15.7%
- #2 The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is shocked by #15 Chase IHG Rewards card, 51.4% to 48.6%
- #7 Chase Freedom Unlimited defeats #10 Citi® Double Cash Card, 65.8% to 34.2%
3 big upsets as the Chase Ink and both versions of the Platinum Card® from American Express go down. The Chase IHG card winning as a #15 seed was a big shocker for me – to the point of wondering if there were any voting shenanigans. Or perhaps people just didn’t like the healthy $450 annual fee, preferring other premium cards.
Card Madness Second Round
The second round is now complete as well
- #1 Chase Sapphire Preferred falls in OVERTIME to #9 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express after a 50%-50% tie in regulation
- #5 Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is upset by #13 Chase Freedom, 57.4% to 42.6%
- #15 Chase IHG Rewards card continues its Cinderella run with an upset of #7 Chase Freedom Unlimited, 58.9% to 41.1%
- #3 Chase Sapphire Reserve hammers #11 Citi Prestige® Card, 78.1% to 21.9%
So yeah – OVERTIME. As I went this morning to check the poll results, I saw that the #1 seed Chase Sapphire Preferred and #9 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express were TIED
I thought for a bit on how best to break the tie, and in the end I decided to throw it up to the Points With a Crew Slack channel and Points With a Crew Miles and Points Facebook group (both free to join!)
So SPG it is! And that gets us to our final 4
Here will be our schedule
- Thursday 3/30 – #9 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express vs. #13 Chase Freedom
- Friday 3/31 – #3 Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. #15 Chase IHG Rewards card
Both polls will run through Monday night (4/3) and we’ll announce the winners on Tuesday 4/4.
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I think the great majority of people think of the IHG card as a no-brainer to have and hold.
The big annual fees of some cards are just too rich for many and their travel/spending habits. If you won’t get a card yourself it’s tough to vote it to be the best.