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Premium travel credit cards come with a lot of benefits — if you travel a lot. For a frequent traveler, either business or leisure, you can more than make up that $500 annual fee for some of the most well-known luxury travel cards from Chase and American Express by taking advantage of free checked bags, travel insurance, lounge passes and more. 

premium travel credit card worth it
Is having a premium travel credit card worth it right now? Some premium Amex credit cards get access to Centurion Lounges like this one at PHX. Photo by American Express

Having A Premium Travel Credit Card Worth It Now?

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that these premium travel credit cards would be a little ridiculous for someone who travels maybe once per year. You just wouldn’t get the value. 

So, what should you do now that it’s becoming more difficult for everyone to travel? For a lot of road warriors, their travel has been reduced significantly. 

If it was worth it for you to have a premium travel credit card last year, is that still the case? Or is it time to downgrade and go with a card that comes with a cheaper price tag and benefits you can actually use during a pandemic?

Related Article: Best Credit Card Reviews 2020

Benefits Your Card Is Offering

The good news is, many premium travel credit card issuers recognize that they’re not exactly offering as much value to their cardholders as they once were, as everyone’s stuck at home self-quarantining. In response, card issuers are expanding benefits and credits so that you can sometimes still get your money’s worth from that annual fee.

For example, Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders pay an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees). Perks include hefty points-earning abilities on travel spending, Global Entry, and Centurion Lounge access. They also now receive new limited-time statement credits for things such as streaming service purchases, wireless telephone service purchases, and travel purchases into 2021.

They can also take advantage of pre-existing perks while at home, such as credits from Uber Eats and Saks Fifth Avenue. If a cardholder were to take full advantage of all of these, they would more than make up the $550 annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is similarly offering limited-time credits and perks to persuade cardholders to renew their cards at the same annual fee of $550. Chase Sapphire added benefits during coronavirus include credits at gas stations and grocery stores, extra points-earning abilities at grocery stores and via food delivery services, and credit just for renewing your card. Again, if someone was to take full advantage of these, they’d reap enough benefits to pay the $550 fee. 

Related Article: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum

In Short…

So, the short of it is — you’ll want to look at the benefits your premium travel credit card is offering right now. What has the cardholder changed or adjusted to make it worth your while to pay your annual fee for the time being? 

It may be the case entirely that it’s worth having a premium travel credit card right now, even if you don’t plan to travel anytime soon. It’s all going to come down to a case-by-case (or rather, card-by-card) basis. 

Related Article: How Major Credit Card Providers Have Adjusted To COVID-19

Considerations Before Canceling Your Card

Of course, if you look at the benefits your premium travel credit card is offering and don’t feel like you’re getting the annual fee’s worth from it, there are a few other factors that may play into your decision to cancel or keep your premium travel credit card.

For example, if it’s really important to you that your credit score remains unaffected (here are some of the best places to get a free credit score check), you might not want to close out your card just yet. What you can do instead is a downgrade to a credit card from the same issuer. This allows you to keep your account number and keeps your credit score intact. At the same time, it allows you to dodge the annual fee that you feel isn’t quite worth it at the moment. 

Related Article: Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards

Should I Sign Up for a Premium Travel Credit Card Right Now?

What if you’re not considering whether you should keep a current premium travel credit card, but instead you’re wondering if you should maybe sign up for a new one?

In that instance, you’re again going to want to look at what the card is currently offering, particularly when it comes to a sign-up bonus. Some credit card issuers, like these Chase credit card promotions, are currently extending the amount of time in which you need to meet a spending level in order to earn a sign-up bonus. This might be reason enough for you to sign up.

Additionally, you’ll want to be sure you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for the bonus. The card should also earn points or miles for the purchases you spend more on (like dining).

You’ll additionally want to consider your future travel plans. If you’re not traveling currently but you plan to as soon as possible, then you could very well benefit from one of these premium travel credit cards. 

Related Article: Best Credit Cards for After Travel Restrictions Are Lifted

The Bottom Line — Is Having A Premium Travel Credit Card Worth It?

For the right person, a premium travel credit card is still very worth the cost of a high annual fee. It all depends on your spending habits and which card you’re considering keeping or signing up for, specifically. If you will be traveling soon or are able to responsibly take advantage of the bonuses offered from card-issuers, then a premium travel credit card is worth it. 

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For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Holly Riddle
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