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Having fun voting for your favorite cards in Card Madness 2020? Great! Vote for the first Round 2 games below. We’ve seen a few upsets so far, and our readers are big fans of American Express and Chase.  Keep reading for more analysis, and more voting!

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

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort. Image source: Hyatt.

Winners of Games 25-32

In our final games of Round 1, it’s no surprise that American Express and Chase came up big! One of the two credit card powerhouses won each game of the last eight! This latest development leaves both AmEx and Chase in a really strong position to win the tournament.

Winners are in bold below, with number of votes in parenthesis:

  • Game 25:  Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (102) v Bank of America Sonesta World Mastercard (2)
  • Game 26:  Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (80) v Comenity Caesars Rewards Visa Credit Card (4)
  • Game 27:  Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express (76) v Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card (7)
  • Game 28:  CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard (31) v Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (52)
  • Game 29:  Chase United Explorer Card (73) v US Bank Korean Skypass Visa Signature (8)
  • Game 30:  Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card (25) v Chase Freedom Unlimited (56)
  • Game 31:  Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card (19) v American Express Business Platinum Card (58)
  • Game 32:  Amex Everyday Credit Card (62) v Banco Popular Avianca Vuela Visa Card (11)

Welcome to Round 2 of Card Madness 2020!

So far, out of 32 cards moving onto Round 2, we have 12 American Express cards, 4 Citi cards, 12 Chase, a single Discover card and a single Capital One card, and 2 Bank of America cards. AmEx and Chase are clearly in the lead, each with almost 40% of the remaining slots in the tournament. The Southwest Rapid Rewards cards stick out to me, four cards from the Chase/Southwest portfolio of cards have made it into the tournament and all of those made it to Round 2! All of the lesser known issuers have dropped out by now – Comenity, Banco Popular, Synchrony.  US Bank and Barclays lost all of their first round games.  That’s despite Barclays having a full 10 cards entered into the tournament…10 losses!

Let’s see what Round 2 brings.

A basketball is being dunked.

A person dunks a basketball. Image source: Getty Images.

Round 2, Game 1:  American Express Gold Card v Citi Expedia Rewards Voyager

The AmEx Gold is hot off a major win in round 1 against the Barclays Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard (59-6). My Gold card is one of my daily cards. I earn 4x Membership Rewards at restaurants globally and US supermarkets (on up to $25k spend annually), 3x on flights from airlines or the AmEx travel portal, and 1x on everything else. After some major revamping last year it also boasts $10 in monthly dining credits and a $100 airline incidental credit.

The Expedia cards surprised me in this tournament, both made it into Round 2! You’ll gain 4x Expedia Rewards Bonus points on anything booked through Expedia, 3x at restaurants and on entertainment, including tickets to concerts, movies, and sporting events, and 1x everywhere else on the CIti Expedia Reward Voyager. Secure Expedia Rewards Gold Status as long as you hold the card and if you spend at least $10,000 in a calendar year, you’ll net a cool 5,000 Expedia bonus points.  Every year you’ll get a flexible $100 credit good towards airline incidentals on qualified airlines, WiFi carriers Global Entry, or TSA PreCheck application fee. (Disclaimer, I have no idea how Expedia points work!  With some quick Google-fu, it looks like an average of around 1 cpp towards flights, car rentals, tours, etc.)

Round 2, Game 2:  Chase Freedom v Discover it Miles

Two straightforward, no annual fee travel cards here. The Freedom beat the BoA Virgin Atlantic Card 50-7 and Discover left the Frontier card behind 39-10. The Chase Freedom is a classic categories cashback card, but when paired with some other Chase cards, you earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points!  Earn 1% back (or 1x UR) on every purchase, and 5% (or 5x UR) on rotating categories each quarter.

The Discover it Miles card snuck into this competition. It’s really a cashback card, but it earns Discover “miles”!  Cardholders earn 1.5x Discover miles on every purchase, and can then redeem them towards statement credits god for travel (or anything else). This is Discover’s only card in the tournament, good luck!

Round 2, Game 3:  Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card v Capital One Venture

The Rapid Rewards cards have all made a good showing this year in Card Madness: 5 out of 4 made it into the tournament and all 4 of those have moved onto Round 2. The Premier version nets users double Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases and 1x everywhere else. You’ll get 6,000 Rapid Rewards each year at your cardmember anniversary (you’ll also be required to pay the $99 annual fee).

The Venture card from Capital One earns unlimited double miles on all purchases. You’ll also be able to snag free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years with a statement credit for your application.  Points never expire, and are a lot more valuable now that Capital One has inked some deals with transfer partners. You’re saddled with a $95 annual fee that’s often waived the first year.

Round 2, Game 4:  Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier v Citi ThankYou Premier

The Chase IHG card played well in Round 1, defeating the Synchrony Cathay Pacific card 51-1. Cardholders earn 10x IHG Rewards Club points at IHG brands, 2x points on gas, groceries, and restaurants, and 1x on everything else.  Cardholders benefit from automatic IHG Platinum Elite status, and you’ll get your 4th award night free on any award booking. The IHG Premier also offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years, and a free anniversary night every year. BUT that free night is only good for hotels 40,000 points or less, and nights aren’t always available.

Your Citi ThankYou Premier card earns 3x ThankYou points on any travel purchases (including gas), 2x on restaurants and entertainment, and 1x on everything else. You’re handcuffed to a $95 annual fee, but there aren’t any foreign transaction fees. The Citi ThankYou Premier also allows you to book travel through the Citi travel portal or transfer to airline and hotel partners. The Premier card won against the Capital One Spark Miles card in Round 1, 28-6.

Round 2, Game 5:  Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card v Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card

In Round 1, these cards won with almost the same exact scores:  39-3 and 38-3, this might be a close game! Like the Premier version, the Southwest Priority Card will earn double Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases and 1x on everything else. This card weighs in at a $149 annual fee and boasts a bunch of upgrades over the Premier card. You get 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary, a $75 Southwest travel credit annually, 4 upgraded boarding passes per year (when available), and 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.

The Everyday Preferred Card 3x Membership Rewards on groceries(up to $6,000 in spend annually), 2x pts on US gas stations, and 1x on everything else. You’ll also get 50% more points on any statement where you’ve used the card at least 30 times. This incentivizes you to use the card regularly, and it’s a neat little bonus.

Round 2, Game 6:  Chase Ink Preferred v Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

Everybody loves the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards — and the Ink Preferred is a great addition. You’ll earn triple UR on travel, shipping expenses, internet,/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites and search engines.  There are no foreign transaction fees, and the Ink Preferred offers some great travel and purchase insurance.  Other than that, the real potential of this card shines through with the earning capability and access to Ultimate Rewards partners.

We’ve seen huge support for Chase’s Southwest Rapid Rewards cards in Card Madness 2020! Especially with their flexible cancellation and change fees, people love Southwest. The personal Plus card earns double points on Southwest flights and hotel and rental cars, and 1x everywhere else. You’ll net 3,000 Rapid Rewards every year, in exchange for a $69 annual fee.

Round 2, Game 7:  Chase Sapphire Reserve v American Express Business Gold Card

The Reserve card had an easy time in Round 1, moving onto the next match against a disqualified opponent (though I’m pretty confident the CSR would have moved on against any other card too!) People usually think of Chase’s luxury travel card as the holy grail of travel cards (it was also the winner of Card Madness 2019). Cardholders earn 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and dining and a can use a $300 travel credit annually. There’s a hefty $550 annual fee, and you’ll benefit from complimentary Lyft Pink membership and 10x points on Lyft rides through March of 2022. Plus, Priority Pass Select membership and $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021. No promises on whether those benefits will stick around.

The Business Gold card from AmEx knocked Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant out in Round 1.  Cardholders earn 4x Membership Rewards in two of the following categories (whichever you spend the most at during that statement cycle):  airfare, advertising, technology, gas stations, restaurants, or shipping. Each calendar year, you can max out the 4x on up to $150,000 in spend. This is an awesome opportunity to rack up a bunch of Membership Rewards!

Round 2, Game 8:  Citi ThankYou Prestige v American Express Hilton Honors Surpass

The Citi ThankYou Prestige was a great card on release but suffered some losses when Citi nerfed their 4th-night free benefit. Now only applicable to two hotel stays per year, that benefit can still provide some value. Still, the Prestige defeated the BoA Amtrak Guest Rewards Card in Round 1 Game 15. You’ll earn 5x ThankYou points on airfare and restaurants, 3x on hotels and cruises, and 1x everywhere else. Priority Pass Select membership, an annual $250 travel credit, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every 5 years.

The AmEx Hilton Honors Surpass is one of four Hilton cards on the market right now (3 of which made it into our tournament). Surpass users get 12x Hilton points on Hilton hotels, 6x at restaurants, groceries, and gas, and 3x everywhere else. You’ll automatically get Hilton Gold status and can upgrade to Diamond by spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. If you spend at least $15,000 within a single calendar year, you’ll also get a free weekend night to use at any Hilton.


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