Have you ever had your heart set on signing up for a rewards credit card only to find out that there is a hefty annual fee? If so, you are certainly not alone. The top rewards cards give a lot of value to its cardholders but many cannot afford or do not want to pay annual fees just for the privilege of having the card. On the other side of the coin, there are rewards enthusiasts that do not mind paying the occasional annual fee. Why is there such a difference? Well, regardless of the initial cost and continued annual fee, these devotees feel as if they are receiving enough value on their return.
Believe it or not, there are credit cards available with annual fees that are worth the cost. However, for these fees to be worth it, the card must provide greater value. Such cards include:
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
Although the annual fee is $75, American Express is currently offering $350 back which equates to over 4.5 years of annual fees. Also, for the life of the card, you will receive 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, 3% at U.S. gas stations and 1% on other purchases.
American Express Platinum Card
The American Express Platinum credit card benefits outweigh the $450 annual price tag. After signing up and spending $3,000 within the first three months, you will earn 40,000 points. Also, you will receive complimentary priority pass select membership with access to over 600 airport lounges globally, $100 credit toward the Global Entry program, and up to a $200 credit per year on change fees, baggage fees and in-flight meals with your favorite airline.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard will give you 40,000 bonus miles when spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days. This equates to $400 off travel. For the life of the card, you will earn 2x miles on all purchases and get 10 miles back when redeemed for travel statement credits. The annual fee on this credit card is $89.
Capitalone Quicksilver One Cash Rewards Card
Despite the $39 annual fee, you can earn unlimited 1.5-percent cash back on all purchases for the life of the card. At the moment, there is a 0% APR on all purchases and balance transfers until January 2017. Another major perk is that you will have access to a higher credit line once the first five monthly payments are made on-time. This is an excellent card for boosting your credit score.
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
When first signing up and spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, you will be rewarded with 40,000 miles which is equivalent to $400 in travel. After, you can earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar forever and use your miles on any airline or hotel with no blackout dates. Also, miles never expire and there is no cap on the amount that can be earned. For new cardholders, there is no annual fee but $59 after the first year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
When first signing up, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a $0 introductory annual fee but then $95 for every year thereafter. As part of the signup, you will receive 50,000 bonus points when spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months after the opening of the account. This equates to $625 in free travel just for signing up and meeting the terms. Throughout its life cycle, cardholders earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1 point for all other eligible purchases. Additionally, cardholders receive Travel Protection Benefits such as Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance and Trip Delay Reimbursement.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
This little gem has a whopping annual fee of $450. However, you receive 50,000 AAdvantage miles when spending $5,000 in the first three months. The greatest benefit is free access for you and 10 others to the Admirals Club as well as lounge access, credit for the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application ($100 in value) and earning 2x miles spent on American Airlines purchases.
Hilton HHonors Surpass Card
With the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card, there is a $75 annual fee. However, when you initially signup and spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months, you will receive 100,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points. Thereafter, receive 12x Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases when using your card at participating Hilton hotels, 6x points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets and 3x for all other purchases.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier
With a current bonus of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points when spending $2,000 in the first three months, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card continues to earn you 2 points for every dollar spent on Southwest Airlines as well as at participating rental car and hotel partners. Continue to earn 6,000 bonus points per year following your account anniversary. If you spend over $10,000 each calendar year, you will earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points. All of this equates to free travel for an annual fee of $99.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
With the annual fee waived for new cardholders then $95 per year thereafter, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express gives may benefits. First, you will receive 25,000 bonus Starpoints when making $3,000 worth of purchases in the first three months. Second, you can earn up to 5 Starpoints for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Third, receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays every year toward the SPG Elite Status. Fourth, you will receive free in-room, premium Internet access while staying at participating hotels. Finally, Starpoints can be redeemed for airline miles with over 150 airlines.
Most credit cards have an initial annual fee waiver to make them more attractive to potential clients. After the first year, the fee shoots up and needs to continue providing benefits or else most will drop the card. Many credit card companies offer the same terms and benefits. However, these cards have a slight edge due to additional benefits such as an extra percentage of cash back, access to airport lounges and clubs, travel protection, or free in-room Internet. All of these perks make the annual fee worth the value of the investment.