Best Holiday Travel Credit Cards from CNBC
I was perusing through Facebook this morning when I came across a video linked to from the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook group. The video is from CNBC and covers the “Best Holiday Travel Credit Cards.” In hindsight, it is only fitting that the ad playing before the video the second time I watched it looked something like this:
Actually, the video, which uses recommendations from Cardhub starts out strong. The anchor begins with the “Best Initial Bonus” and lists the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Strong start and one that I will not argue with. Then, things start to go downhill.
The next recommendation is for “Best All Around Travel Rewards” card. I actually can’t argue with the suggestion of the Arrival Plus, although I personally wouldn’t say it’s the best. The anchor correctly states that the current bonus is $525 (although that is nuanced considering it includes the 5% rebate). A little slippage, but nothing terrible so far. That is about to change.
Best Hotel & Airline Cards
Following those two picks, it was time to get specific with airlines and hotels. Want to guess what the “Best Airline Rewards” card is according to the video? Would it be a Citi AAdvantage card, Delta SkyMiles Amex or even a more obscure card like one of the JetBlue offerings? Nope! It is the Frontier Airlines Mastercard! Lovers of low cost carriers rejoice!
The final recommendation is for “Best Hotel Rewards” card. Their pick comes straight out of 2014 with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards card. This card probably used to be the best hotel card with it’s Bonus Award Night feature, but that is long gone. It no longer reigns supreme.
Why Aren’t These Cards Good?
The truth is, if I were to pick a best card, I would factor in a number of things. Frontier loses right off the bat for a few reasons:
- They charge a lot of miscellaneous fees the other carriers don’t charge.
- The card doesn’t give you perks like a free bag.
- Frontier has a limited route network and no partners.
- The bonus is just 2 free roundtrip flights which is similar to many other airline cards.
On the other side, Club Carlson loses because:
- Their award redemption rates on the high end are astronomical.
- 80K is a nice bonus, but their points are not worth much.
- They have many low quality properties.
- Elite status is often ignored and doesn’t get you much.
But Wait, There Is More!
As if all of that isn’t enough, the best part of the video comes at the end when the anchors are talking. I don’t want to spoil it, but perhaps it gives us some insight into just how normal people think about travel rewards.
Here is a link to the video. Feel free to share your thoughts on the video, which cards should have been picked and anything else related to this post in the comments!