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Our final eight games of the first round! Welcome back to Card Madness 2020, where our readers vote for their favorite travel cards, and leave the others in the locker room. Games 25-32 have some of our favorite cards – including the Blue Business Plus and the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Let’s see which cards will move on to the next round…
Follow the full Card Madness 2020 bracket and post series here – Challonge Bracket Card Madness 2020
- Pick the Best Credit Card of 2020 with Points With a Crew!
- Vote for Card Madness 2020 Round 1 Here!
- Card Madness 2020, Games 7-16, FIGHT!
- Card Madness 2020 Games 17-24, Big Wins for Chase
Winners of Games 17-24
The Hyatt card wins in a total domination of their game, with 86 votes to zero votes for the Bank of America Air France card! This is the most total votes in any competition so far, and the Hyatt fans trounced Air France/KLM! Bank of America came fought back in Games 22 and 24, and has two more cards moving on to Round 2.
Winners are in bold below, with number of votes in parenthesis:
- Game 17: Chase World of Hyatt (86) v Bank of American Air France/KLM Card (0)
- Game 18: Citi Expedia Rewards Card (40) v Barclays Holland America Line (4)
- Game 19: Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (23) v American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business (28)
- Game 20: Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex Card (29) v Barclays JetBlue Business Card (18)
- Game 21: American Express Platinum (46) v Barclays Miles & More World Mastercard (2)
- Game 22: Bank of America Alaska Airlines Card (27) v US Bank Altitude Reserve (22)
- Game 23: Chase Sapphire Preferred (43) v Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Card (5)
- Game 24: Bank of America Premium Rewards (28) v Wells Fargo Propel World Mastercard (14)
Game 25: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card v Bank of America Sonesta World Mastercard
The Aspire card is top-tier as far as the Hilton cards from American Express go. 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.
We certainly don’t hear much about the Sonesta card from Bank of America. Sonesta has a smaller footprint than most of our other hotel credit cards, and definitely smaller than Hilton. You’ll earn triple points on Sonesta stays, and double points on airfare, car rentals, and dining. There’s a $75 annual fee that’s typically waived the first year, and you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel.
Game 26: Hilton Honors American Express Business Card v Comenity Caesars Rewards Visa Credit Card
The Hilton Business card rounds out the Hilton team in Card Madness 2020! 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, US 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.
The Comenity Caesars card is the only casino credit card int he tournament! Think it’ll last? Cardholders get 5 Rewards Credits per $1 at Caesars destinations, 2 Rewards Credit on gas, airlines, and groceries, and 1 Reward Credit everywhere else. There’s no annual fee to keep the card.
Game 27: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express v Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card
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 is in its simplicity, as there aren’t any other benefits to keep track of!
The Wyndham Rewards Visa Card (with an annual fee of $75) is issued by Barclays. You’ll earn 5x Wyndham Rewards on Wyndham stays, 2x on gas, utilities, and groceries, and 1x everywhere else. Cardholders automatically earn Wyndham Platinum status and 6,000 bonus points every year on their cardmember anniversary. Travel with your card and take advantage of zero foreign transaction fees!
Game 28: CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard v Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
There’s a $99 annual fee on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card and you’ll get some good benefits when up in the air with AA. First checked bag free, preferred boarding, and 25% savings on inflight WiFi. You’ll earn double AAdvantage miles on any purchases with American Airlines as well as telecom, cable, satellite, car rental, and gas purchases. Unlock a companion certificate after $30,000 in annual spend on the card too!
The 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 29: Chase United Explorer Card v US Bank Korean Skypass Select Visa Signature Card
The United Explorer Card from Chase gets you Double MileagePlus 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 onboard, 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!)
There are three flavors of the Korean Skypass card: SkyBlue Visa, Skypass Visa Signature, and Skypass Select Visa Signature. We’ll be looking at the Select. There’s a $450 annual fee for the top tier Select. Every year cardholders get a $200 travel credit, a $100 coupon for Korean Air, and 2 KAL Lounge passes. There are no foreign transaction fees and you’ll also get a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry statement credit every four years.
Game 30: Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card v Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Alaska Airlines Business card is virtually identical to the personal version. Triple Mileage Plan miles on Alaska purchases and 1x on everything else. There’s an interesting annual fee structure here: $50 for the account as a whole, and an additional $25 per card (including employees). Cardholders save 50% on Alaska Lounge day passes and 20% on in-flight food, beverages, and WiFi. Every account anniversary you’ll get the Alaska Companion Fare, good on any companion ticket booked on Alaskaair.com, you’ll just pay $99 + taxes and fees.
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.
Game 31: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card v American Express Business Platinum Card
AmEx against AmEx – who will win! The Platinum Delta card earns triple SkyMiles on Delta and hotel purchases and double SkyMiles on restaurants and groceries. On Delta flights, cardholders will also get their first checked bag free (along with up to 8 companions on the same reservation), priority boarding, and access to SkyClubs for only $39. You’ll also get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry for a $250 annual fee.
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.
Game 32: Amex Everyday Credit Card v Banco Popular Avianca Vuela Visa Card
The AmEx Everyday card is just that – the card they want you to swipe every time! 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.
Lifemiles credit cards are issued by Banco Popular, out of Puerto Rico. The Vuela Visa card is the better of the two, earning triple Lifemiles on Avianca purchases, double on gas and groceries, and single on everything else. Cardholders also get 15% off the sticker price of any purchased Lifemiles and there’s a $149 annual fee. You’ll earn a certificate good for 50% off a companion award ticket at $12,000 in annual spend, and then again at $24,000 annual spend.
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