Get Yourself a Credit Card That Puts in Work (Chase MileagePlus Explorer® vs. Amex Blue vs Amex Delta Reserve® vs. TRIOSM)
Credit cards are one of the most useful and perhaps one of the most ubiquitous consumer financial products on the market. They are super convenient for travel, protected by layers of security, and they give you some financial flexibility. What’s more: they come packed with rewards.
Nowadays, every card offers some rewards program or another. It’s up to the consumer to decide which rewards programs holds something useful for their lives or if they would rather pass up the pretty perks for a lower annual fee.
In this article, we will compare the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card, the Delta Reserve® from American Express card, the TRIOSM Credit Card from Fifth Third, and the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer® card.
Why Are American Express Credit Card Offers So Expensive?
One thing you will notice very quickly while reading this review is how expensive American Express credit card offers are. In fact, the $450 annual fee you will find on this list is a bargain compared to some of their other cards that reach into the thousands.
So why do cards like the American Express Delta Reserve® card cost such a pretty penny each year? The easy answer is the prestige of American Express credit card offers, but the more complex answer involves American Express’s customer service and their business model.
Image Source: American Express
American Express is known for its fantastic customer service. In fact, they are famous for always taking the side of their customers during disputes with merchants, so anyone who signs up for the pricey Delta Reserve® card is guaranteed a credit card company that supports them.
Additionally, the business model of the American Express credit card offers is based on the money they collect through annual fees. They charge high merchant fees, which is why not as many places accept American Express, but the higher-priced stores that their customers frequent are happy to offer American Express, and collecting that cut from the merchants plus the annual fees from their customers is enough for American Express.
Whereas other companies like Visa and MasterCard make their money based on how widespread their usage is and the percentage they get from vendors, American Express relies on the steep fees a small, wealthy portion of the population pays.
Comparison Review List
The list below is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section):
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card
- TRIOSM Credit Card
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
High-Level Comparison Table
Blue Cash Preferred® Card
Delta Reserve® Credit Card
TRIOSM Credit Card
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review
Image Source: American Express
American Express offers a supercharged cash back rewards card in the form of its Blue Cash Preferred® credit card. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card is one of the American Express credit card offers that provides a tiered cash back rewards program that allows cardholders to benefit from premium points based on the type of purchases they make.
Rates & Fees
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card comes with a variable APR of 13.24% to 23.24%. The exact Blue Cash Preferred® rate you get is based on the applicant’s creditworthiness determined by their credit score when they apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express.
The good news is that if you are approved for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card, you receive an introductory offer of 0% APR for the first 12 months. This allows for some flexibility with your Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express if you need to carry a balance in the first year of using your Blue Cash Preferred® card.
The annual fee on the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card comes with an annual fee of $95. While this price for the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express may seem steep to some, once you hear the cash back rewards program and benefits that come with the Blue Cash Preferred® card, the dollar figure will feel more justified.
Cash Back Rewards Program
If you make regular purchases using your American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card (those not included in the premium Blue Cash Preferred® purchases that will be discussed shortly) you receive 1% cash back. But there is more to the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express.
Purchases made at any U.S. gas station or at participating U.S. department stores using your American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card earn 3% cash back. Most cards cut these extra earnings at 3%, or 4% if they are being generous. Not the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express.
When you make purchases at U.S. supermarkets using your American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card, you earn 6% cash back.
This is only up to $6,000 though. Once you pass $6,000 in supermarket purchases using your Blue Cash Preferred® card you are not completely eliminated from earning cash back on your food purchases. You just earn 1% (the way you would with regular purchases) on your Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express instead.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred® cardholders should be aware that these cash back credits do not come in the form of a check or deposits into a checking or savings account. Instead, the Blue Cash Preferred® rewards are disbursed in the form of statement credits, which are put onto your Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express statement.
For some, these sort of American Express credit card offers may not sound very tempting, but the cash back on the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express is very promising. Additionally, you would use cash to pay off your credit card so you are still receiving “cash” in some regard. Furthermore, anything that helps you reduce your credit card balance is typically welcome.
American Express Credit Card Offers Bonus Points
As an added bonus, this is one of the American Express credit card offers that comes with a limited promotion just in time for the holidays. Those who apply for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card by January 11, 2017, will receive 10% cash back on purchases made through Amazon for the first six months with a maximum of $200.
And finally, if customers make at least $1,000 in purchases using their American Express Blue Cash Preferred® credit card within the first three months of opening their Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express, they can earn $150 cash back.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card Review
Image Source: American Express
The Delta Reserve® card from American Express comes with a very high annual fee but is packed with the perks, features, and customer support that American Express credit card offers are known for, and the American Express Delta Reserve® card is no exception.
Exclusive Delta Reserve® Card Benefits through Delta Air Lines Partnership
The Delta Reserve card is a partnership between American Express and Delta Air Lines. After your first purchase on your Amex Delta Reserve® card, you receive 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and an additional 10,000 bonus miles on your American Express Delta Reserve® card.
But what are these Medallion® Qualification Miles that you get on your Amex Delta Reserve® card? They are part of the SkyMiles Medallion Program from Delta Air Lines that the Delta Reserve® card is partnered with to bring you these Delta Reserve® card benefits.
There is no limit to how much you can earn using your Delta Reserve® card benefits. Making everyday purchases, refueling at the gas station, or picking up some items at the grocery story with your American Express Delta Reserve® card are all activities that allow you to earn points or miles toward your Amex Delta Reserve® points balance.
Enjoy Delta Reserve® Card Benefits While You Travel
There are also a number of Delta Reserve® card perks cardholders can enjoy as Delta Reserve® card benefits while they are travelling. American Express Delta Reserve® card holders enjoy Delta SkyClub® access, which allows them to travel in comfort and luxury. They get complimentary access to the SkyClub®, and up to two guests traveling with the Amex Delta Reserve® cardholder enjoy a discounted rate.
The Delta SkyClub® provides complimentary snacks and beverages, satellite TV, personalized assistance, private restrooms, and Wi-Fi access. These are all features that Delta Reserve® card members can enjoy as part of their Delta Reserve® card benefits.
There are also opportunities to take the Delta Reserve® card benefits you can earn even further. You can earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 15,000 bonus miles by spending $30,000 on purchases using your Delta Reserve® card in one calendar year.
There is the opportunity to earn even more American Express Delta Reserve® bonus miles by spending $60,000 in a calendar year using your Amex Delta Reserve® Card. You would earn the same number of Medallion® Qualification Miles and bonus miles as well (15,000 each).
The Delta Reserve® card also comes with a round-the-clock concierge service that can help with all kinds of arrangements like choosing a gift, arranging an event, or securing a hotel reservation. Amex Delta Reserve® cardholders also receive a free checked bag on Delta flights, baggage insurance, priority boarding, car rental loss and damage insurance, a global assist hotline, and in-flight deals and savings.
Rates & Fees
The APR on the Delta Reserve® card is 15.99% to 24.99%. The annual fee on the Amex Delta Reserve® card is a whopping $450. There are no introductory American Express credit card offers on the American Express Delta Reserve® card when it comes to the APR or the annual fee.
Shop with Comfort and Peace of Mind Using the Delta Reserve® Card
In addition to all of the travel perks that come with the Amex Delta Reserve® card, there are also several Delta Reserve® card benefits for your everyday purchases beyond simply earning rewards miles on your Delta Reserve® card.
One of the Delta Reserve® card benefits include a warranty matching program. For instance, if you buy a product using your Delta Reserve® card and it only comes with a one-year warranty, the Amex Delta Reserve® program will match that warranty giving you an additional year.
There is also purchase protection for your phone through the American Express Delta Reserve® program in addition to exclusive tickets for events. The annual fee for the Delta Reserve® card is expensive, but for those who travel often, appreciate spectacular customer service, and enjoy a comprehensive rewards program, the Amex Delta Reserve® can be worth it.
TRIOSM Credit Card Review
The TRIOSM Card from Fifth Third Bank is a less pricey option for those who are looking for a cash back card without the steep annual fee of the American Express credit card offers. In fact, the Fifth Third credit card comes with no annual fee—it’s free!
Rates & Fees
As mentioned earlier, unlike the American Express credit card offers, the Fifth Third credit card has an annual fee of $0, making it much more affordable for customers who are interested in a cash back card, but can’t afford something like the Delta Reserve® card.
The Fifth Third credit card has an APR of 14.24% to 23.24% based on the applicant’s creditworthiness. The card also comes with an introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers for the first 12 months.
So if you have some credit card debt from another credit card that you are trying to pay down, you can transfer that over to your Fifth Third credit card. This way, you can focus on paying down the principal and enjoy a full year of not worrying about interest.
And of course, the Fifth Third Bank credit card does not have any annual fee.
Cash Back Rewards Program with the Fifth Third Bank Credit Card
The Fifth Third Bank credit card, also known as the TRIOSM Card, offers unlimited cash back rewards for its cardholders. Customers earn 3% cash back at restaurants and 2% cash back at drugstores, on gas, and on groceries. For these premium purchases there is a limit of up to $1,500 per quarter.
When it comes to the regular everyday purchases that earn 1%, Fifth Third credit card customers can earn unlimited cash back rewards.
Fifth Third credit card holders can also receive 10,000 Real Life Rewards® Bonus Points that are equal to $100 once redeemed, if they spend $1,000 on their TRIOSM Card within 90 days of opening the credit card account.
Additional Perks & Benefits of the Fifth Third Credit Card
There are also no international transactions fees for customers using their Fifth Third credit card. Additionally, if customers use their TRIOSM Card to pay their cell phone bill, they receive Fifth Third Bank’s cell phone protection, which protects customers against damage or theft.
There are more perks that come with using your TRIOSM Card for everyday purchases. If you buy a product using your Fifth Third credit card and then you find the same product at a lower price, Fifth Third may reimburse you for the difference.
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card Review
The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card from Chase Bank is our last card in our review, but certainly not the least. The Chase MileagePlus® Explorer card is great for individuals who travel often and want a card like the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer to make their travels cheaper and more convenient.
Rates & Fees
The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card has a purchase APR of 16.24% to 23.24%, and as usual, the actual rate you receive between these two numbers is based on your credit score and credit history. Customers who want to do a balance transfer to their Chase MileagePlus® Explorer card will get the same rate between 12.24% and 23.24%.
For a cash advance using your Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer card, customers can expect to pay 25.24% The annual fee is $95, but for the first year customers get an introductory rate of $0 on their Chase MileagePlus® Explorer card.
Rewards for the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer cardholders can earn reward miles that can go toward their future travels. Chase MileagePlus® Explorer card holders earn 2 times the miles for every dollar that is spent on any ticket purchases from United Airlines, the airline that partners with Chase to bring the United MileagePlus® Explorer card.
All other purchases made with the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer card earn one mile per dollar. So long as your Chase MileagePlus® Explorer account is open, your miles will never expire, and there is no limit to how many you can accumulate while you have a United MileagePlus® Explorer card.
If customers spend $1,000 within the first three months of their Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer account being opened, they can receive 30,000 reward miles. And once they add an authorized user and a purchase is made, an additional 5,000 reward miles can be earned on the United MileagePlus® Explorer card.
The Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer program also comes with travel benefits including priority boarding and access to exclusive events. Chase MileagePlus® Explorer members do not have to pay foreign transaction fees, they get the first checked bag free on United flights, and they receive travel and purchase coverage including an auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement.
Conclusion—Snag a Card with Sweet Rewards that Go the Extra Mile
Rewards cards can be very tempting. Who doesn’t want to earn points toward an exotic getaway while doing something as commonplace as filling their gas tank or buying groceries? But be sure to stay grounded while considering cards.
While the prestige and support of a Delta Reserve® card may sound tempting, if you cannot afford the expensive annual fee and your lifestyle does not include a large amount of travel, a card with a lower annual fee might be better.
A good alternative may be the Fifth Third credit card with no annual fee. There are cash back and rewards miles options available for a variety of price points, so make sure to choose the card based on your own spending habits and lifestyle.
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