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Chase and American Express are still top dogs in Card Madness 2020! Fans of Discover and Capital One may be a bit disappointed…

Follow the full Card Madness 2020 bracket and post series here – Challonge Bracket Card Madness 2020

  1. Pick the Best Credit Card of 2020 with Points With a Crew!
  2. Vote for Card Madness 2020 Round 1 Here!
  3. Card Madness 2020, Games 7-16, FIGHT!
  4. Card Madness 2020 Games 17-24, Big Wins for Chase
  5. Hyatt Dominates the Competition! Welcome back to Card Madness 2020
  6. Our Readers Love Chase and AmEx – Vote for Card Madness 2020

Winners of Round 2 Games 1-8

  • Round 2, Game 1:  American Express Gold Card (52) v Citi Expedia Rewards Voyager (3)
  • Round 2, Game 2:  Chase Freedom (45) v Discover it Miles (12)
  • Round 2, Game 3:  Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card (30) v Capital One Venture (25)
  • Round 2, Game 4:  Chase IHG Club Premier v Citi ThankYou Premier (34)
  • Round 2, Game 5:  Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card (17) v Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card (37)
  • Round 2, Game 6:  Chase Ink Preferred (43) v Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus (14)
  • Round 2, Game 7:  Chase Sapphire Reserve (43) v American Express Business Gold Card (17)
  • Round 2, Game 8:  Citi ThankYou Prestige (20) v American Express Hilton Honors Surpass (36)

Well, the Rapid Rewards team had to lose eventually! Only the Rapid Rewards Premier card moves onto Round 3, and the Premier Business card faces a tough match against the AmEx Blue Business Plus in Game 14 below. Some big wins for Chase here, despite the loss of the Southwest cards: Freedom, Ink Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve all move onto Round 3. AmEx still holds on with a few of theirs, and a surprising win for the Honors Surpass! Discover and Capital One are officially out of the tournament. Can Bank of America manage a few wins below?

Vote for your favorite card!

A basketball is going through a hoop.

Get ready for the madness. Image source: Getty Images.

Game 9:  Chase World of Hyatt v Citi Expedia Rewards

Hyatt dominated the competition in Round 1, winning their first matchup 86-0! The hotel chain continues to be one of our travel community’s favorite hotel brands (clearly). The Hyatt card from Chase will get you 4 points per $1 spent at Hyatt, double points on transit, taxis, tolls, ride-share services, dining, airlines, fitness clubs, and gyms, and 1 point everywhere else. You’ll net a free award night every year on your cardmember anniversary, and a second free night if you spend at least $15,000 during your cardmember year (these nights are only good at categories 1-4). Reach your Hyatt status faster with 5 qualifying nights annually and 2 additional qualifying nights every time you spend $5,000 on your card. Plus, you’ll be a Discoverist status at Hyatt just for holding the card!

The Citi Expedia Rewards Card earns triple Rewards points on eligible Expedia purchases, and 1x point on all other purchases. As long as you hold the card, you’ll have Silver Expedia status. Additionally, each $2,500 in purchases between your January and December billing statements will get you one Elite Qualifying Hotel Night closer to Expedia Gold Status. You’ll need 15 total nights to get Gold Status (or $37,500 in annual spend). It’s a pretty straightforward value proposition. This one beat the Barclays Holland America card 40-4 in Round 1.

Game 10:  American Express Bonvoy Business v Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Credit Card

The Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless will set you back $95 annually in exchange for 15 elite night credits per year, automatic Silver status (and Gold status after $35,000 in annual spend), and an annual free award night. The fee seems to be worth it to our readers! You’ll earn 6x Bonvoy points on Marriott transactions and 2x on all other transactions. Remember, that annual free night is capped and can only be redeemed at properties for 35,000 points or less for the night.

American Express issues a number of Delta cards, but this is the only one to survive Round 1! The Reserve Business edition earns 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchase, and 1x on everything else. BUT once you spend $150,000 on purchases in a calendar year, you’ll get an extra half mile per dollar on all non-Delta purchases. Speed through the security lines with a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit every 4 years, and then spend that extra time with complimentary Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta booked on your Reserve card and complimentary Sky Club access. Every year you’ll get a Delta Companion Certificate for a free (read: $75) fight and two SkyClub Guest Passes.  All this, and your first checked bag free on Delta flights for a $550 annual fee.

Delta Airbus A321 Takeoff. Image Source: Delta.

Game 11:  American Express Platinum Card v Bank of America Alaska Airlines Card

The original luxury card moves on to Round 2! After an overhaul a few years back, the Platinum card will put 5x Membership Rewards in your pocket for all airline purchases and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. The card comes with a hefty $550 annual fee, but offers a $200 annual airline credit, $200 in Uber credits annually, $50 every six months for shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and a statement credit every four years towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Platinum cardholders also have Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold Elite status, and access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion locations.

Bank of America issues Alaska Airlines cards in both a personal and business version, only the personal card moves onto Round 2. The personal Visa Signature card will earn you 3x MileagePlan miles for all Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases. When you use your card to buy Alaska lounge passes you’ll save 50%, and you’ll also save 20% on inflight purchases with your card. For a $75 annual fee, you’ll unlock a companion certificate good on any flight ($121 charge for the flight, make sure you get your money’s worth!) and no foreign transaction fees.

Game 12:  Chase Sapphire Preferred v Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

I’m not surprised to see the Sapphire Preferred moving on. Last year the CSP made it to Round 3 (and lost against the AmEx Hilton Aspire!). Cardholders have benefited from double points on all travel and dining worldwide. New to the card:  5x Ultimate Rewards on Lyft rides through 2022. There are no foreign transaction fees and you have access to Chase’s long list of transfer partners for some great redemptions (and the Chase travel portal). Be prepared to pay a $95 annual fee.

Bank of America entered the premium travel card market not too long ago with their Premium Rewards card. This card offers double points on travel and dining, and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else. The real value that this card offers comes with Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Program. Folks with at least $20,000 with Bank of America will get a 25% bonus on rewards, at least $50,000 will get a 50% bonus and a 75% bonus with at least $100,000 at BoA. Cardholders will also get $100 annually in a statement credit towards airline incidentals, and $100 towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Game 13:  Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card v American Express Hilton Honors Business Card

Hilton against Hilton! The Aspire Card took home the Bronze trophy in 2019 and is back for another fight! A $450 annual fee unlocks quite a few benefits. An annual free weekend night at any Hilton (and another after $60,000 in annual spend), a $250 Hilton resort credit each cardmember year, and a $250 annual airline incidental credit. You’ll also have Priority Pass Select membership and a $100 credit towards any two-night minimum stay at Conrad and Waldorf Astoria stays worldwide. When you use your card at Hilton properties you’ll get 14x Hilton points, 7x on air travel, car rentals, and restaurants, and 3x on everything else.

The Hilton Business card defeated the Comenity Caesars Card 80-4 in Round 1. There is one other card in the group (the base Hilton Honors card from AmEx), but it didn’t make it into the tournament. The business version will earn you 12x Hilton points at the properties, 6x on flights, U.S. restaurants/gas/shipping, wireless phones. You’ll have Gold status from the card and if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year you’ll unlock Hilton Diamond status. If you spend $15,000 on the card during the calendar year you’ll earn a free weekend night and another one at $40,000 in spend.

Game 14:  American Express Blue Business Plus Card v Chase Rapid Rewards Southwest Premier Business

The Blue Business Plus is a fantastic card from American Express. double Membership Rewards on everything, up to $50,000 in annual purchases. There’s no annual fee and there’s often a 0% introductory APR as well. Some of the benefits of this card are in its simplicity, as there aren’t any other benefits to keep track of!

The Southwest cards have fared well in Card Madness so far. All four cards in the tournament have made it to Round 2. Your Southwest Business Premier earns 2x Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases and 1x on everything else. You’ll get 6,000 Rapid Rewards every account anniversary, and never pay a foreign transaction fee. For every $10,000 you spend on the card annually (up to $100,000) you’ll earn 1,500 Tier-qualifying points towards A-List status.

Game 15:  Chase United Explorer Card v Chase Freedom Unlimited

The United Explorer Card defeated the US Bank Korean Skypass card 73-8. Can it hold up against the Freedom Unlimited? You’ll get double MileagePlus miles on restaurants, hotels, and United Airlines purchases. You and one travel companion will get your first checked bag, and everyone on your reservation will get priority boarding. Every year, you’ll get 2 United Club passes in your United app, and you’ll have access to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck with a credit every four years. If you use your card on board, you’ll also get 25% back in statement credits for any onboard purchases. Perhaps most importantly, the primary cardholder gets expanded award access on United.com. (This is handy in a pinch!)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5x Ultimate Rewards on all purchases for no annual fee. No categories to remember, no complicated spend bonuses. Right now Chase is also offering 5% back (total) on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 50% off DoorDash DashPass for the next 9 months. Remember, you’ll still need another Chase card to unlock the ability to transfer your hard-earned points.

Image courtesy of Chase.

Game 16:  American Express Business Platinum v AmEx Everyday Credit Card

The Business Platinum card earns 5x Membership Rewards for airline purchases and on prepaid hotels from amextravel.com. You’ll also get 1.5x MR on any transaction over $5,000. Cardholders get to select an airline for 35% points back when booking their travel through the Pay with Points program (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year. There’s a hefty annual fee – $595 — but you’ll also get $200 in airline incidental credits each year, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every four years, and access to American Express’s global lounge network.

The AmEx Everyday card is named perfectly – the card they want you to swipe every day! Not much to say here other than it’s a great starter card – double Membership Rewards points on groceries (up to $6,000 in each calendar year). No annual fee. Plus, every time you use your card at least 20 times in a statement period, you’ll earn 20% more points on all of your purchases. When you first open the card, you’ll often also benefit from a 12-15 month period of 0% APR.


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