The 7 most valuable premium rewards cards

A smiling woman lying on a yellow sofa holds one of her premium rewards cards while using a laptop to review all its benefits.Image: A smiling woman lying on a yellow sofa holds one of her premium rewards cards while using a laptop to review all its benefits.
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These days, there are a lot of premium rewards cards to choose from. And with annual fees of several hundred dollars each, these cards don’t come cheap.

At that high cost, it’s hard to decide whether these luxury cards are worth it. But believe it or not, the benefits these cards offer can be worth way more than the annual fees they charge — if you know how to make the most out of those benefits.

In fact, the most valuable premium rewards card features benefits that could be worth nearly $5,000 per year. Of course, you might not use every single one of those benefits, but as long as you use enough to offset the annual fee, the card might be worth it for you.

Let’s take a closer look at the seven most valuable premium rewards cards based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.



Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: $4,822 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card tops our list of the most valuable premium rewards cards. We estimate it’s worth a mind-boggling $4,822 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value. This card’s first-class perks are what really boost its overall value.

  • First-class companion certificate: $1,783 — While most companion ticket benefits require you to sit in the main cabin, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card grants you and your companion access to first class. Of course, this requires you to buy a first-class ticket for yourself on a domestic round-trip flight, but when you do, your companion will get a second first-class ticket for up to $80 in taxes and fees.
  • First-class upgrades: $2,200 — If you don’t want to shell out for a first-class ticket, you could cross your fingers and hope for an upgrade. The complimentary upgrades perk is available to all cardholders, even if you don’t have Delta Medallion status. It’s based on availability, but you’ll also have upgrade priority, which improves your chances of getting a more comfortable seat.

Even with a $550 annual fee, this card offers clear value for anyone who flies Delta at least once a year — especially when traveling in first class.

Check out reviews of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card to learn more.

Platinum Card® from American Express: $4,293 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The Platinum Card® from American Express is a well-rounded premium rewards card that offers a combination of travel and lifestyle perks. We estimate it’s worth $4,293 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.

  • Airport lounges: $1,365 — You’ll have access to some of the most exclusive airport lounges in the world, including the Centurion Lounge, Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass lounges and more.
  • Hotel credits: $850 — You’ll be pampered with amenities like hotel credits, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout and free breakfast when you stay at any luxury hotel that’s part of the Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection networks.
  • Fitness credits: $600 — You’ll get credits for purchasing an Equinox monthly membership and a SoulCycle bike.
  • Digital entertainment credit: $240 — You’ll receive up to $20 each month in use-it-or-lose-it funds to pay for certain digital entertainment and news platforms.
  • Cruise discounts: $300 — You could earn shipboard credits that are applied to your room when you book a cruise of at least five nights through American Express.

While you’re unlikely to use every single benefit the Platinum Card® from American Express offers, you might not have too much trouble finding enough practical perks to offset the $695 annual fee.

Learn more about the benefits of the Platinum Card® from American Express.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: $1,781 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers phenomenal value to hotel guests. Even if you only go on vacation once a year, we estimate it’s worth $1,781 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.

  • Weekend night reward: $720 — Believe it or not, this is actually a relatively conservative estimate of how much Hilton’s free night is worth. Considering the perk can be redeemed at some of the most exclusive Hilton resorts on the planet, you might even be able to use it for a room that costs more than $2,000 per night. And despite the name, you can redeem your weekend night reward on weekdays, too. This is one of the most valuable perks offered by any premium rewards card.
  • Hilton resort statement credit: $250 — This is the perfect complement to Hilton’s free night reward. You can use this statement credit to extend your stay by paying for another night — or use it to cover additional hotel charges you rack up.
  • Property credit: $100 — Anytime you book at least a two-night stay at one of Hilton’s Waldorf or Conrad properties, you can use this credit to treat yourself to a spa day, fancy dinner, drinks, or hotel-sponsored activities and excursions.

If you want a good night’s rest at a fancy Hilton resort, don’t sleep on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. The benefits are relevant for most travelers, easy to use, and worth almost four times as much as the $450 annual fee.

Take a look at our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to learn more.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: $1,738.50 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card could elevate your hotel experience. Based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value, we estimate it’s worth $1,781 as of May 2022, even if you only stay at Marriott once a year.

  • Free night award: $773.50 — This is the most valuable free night award Marriott has to offer because it can be redeemed at some of the brand’s most luxurious hotels. Just like with Hilton, it could be worth evenmorethan our estimate, depending on where you redeem it.
  • Marriott Bonvoy property credit: $100 — Whenever you book a stay of two nights or longer at one of Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties, you’ll receive a property credit that can enhance your experience with things like a fancy dinner, room service, drinks, activities or a day at the spa.
  • Dining credit: $300 — This card offers value for more than just hotel purchases. The monthly dining credit offers practical benefits on everyday purchases — not just when you’re staying at Marriott.

Considering how valuable all these benefits are, as long as you stay at Marriott at least once a year, the $650 annual fee could be well worth it.

Find out more in our review of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

United Club℠ Infinite Card: $1,337.90 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The United Club℠ Infinite Card is a great choice for frequent flyers who spend a lot of time in airports. We estimate it’s worth $1,337.90 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.

  • United Club membership: $650 — If you enjoy relaxing at United Club lounges, you’ll love the unlimited access you get with this card.
  • Award flight discounts: $102.90 — You could save 10% when you use your United MileagePlus miles to book United Economy Saver award flights.
  • Free checked bags: $320 — You get two free checked bags when you fly on United, so it’s slightly more valuable than what other airline cards offer (typically just one free checked bag), particularly for people who pack their entire closet for vacation.

Considering the United Club℠ Infinite Card charges a $525 annual fee, it really only makes sense for frequent flyers who live out of their suitcase, bouncing around from airport to airport. You can learn more in our review of the United Club℠ Infinite Card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: $1,146 Total Benefit Value

Here’s why: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers some of the most flexible premium rewards benefits. We estimate it’s worth $1,146 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.

  • Travel credit: $300 — This is the most flexible travel credit you’ll find. While some other premium rewards cards place a lot of restrictions on their travel credits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® automatically reimburses you for almost any travel purchase you can imagine.
  • Airport lounges: $461 — You’ll receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. With so many lounges available, you have a good chance of finding one wherever you fly.
  • Food delivery: $360 — Between DoorDash and Instacart, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will keep you well fed. You’ll receive $15 in Instacart credits and $5 in DoorDash credits each month, along with a complimentary premium membership to each service that could help you score free delivery and discounted service fees.

The $550 annual fee isn’t cheap, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s premium benefits could make the card worth it for anyone who travels at least once a year and frequently orders food delivery.

Find out more in reviews of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and see how it compares to the Platinum Card® from American Express.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: $1,089 Total Benefit Value

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

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Here’s why: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a straightforward premium rewards card that comes with next-level perks that are not only valuable, but also practical and easy to use. We estimate it’s worth $1,089 as of May 2022, based on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value.

  • Travel credit: $300 — When you book your trip directly through Capital One, you’ll receive up to $300 each year in travel credits to spend on purchases on flights and hotels.
  • Anniversary bonus miles: $173 — You’ll receive 10,000 bonus miles each year after your account anniversary, which can help offset the annual fee.
  • Airport lounges: $591 — You’ll be able to relax at a handful of swanky Capital One Lounges while you wait for your flight. Plus, you’ll have access to even more airport lounges all over the world with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

At $395, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card charges a more reasonable annual fee compared to some other cards on this list. And the straightforward benefits can help you get your money’s worth from this card.

Learn more in our review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.


How we picked the most valuable premium rewards cards

To rank the most valuable premium rewards cards, we relied on Credit Karma’s Total Benefit Value, which estimates how much a credit card could be worth if you use each of its benefits once per year.

We found seven cards that are worth at least $1,000 and ranked them from most to least valuable. Based on our calculations, each of these cards more than doubles its annual fee in benefit value.

How to make the most of your premium rewards benefits

While finding a valuable premium rewards card is great, there are other factors to consider. Ultimately, the actual value you’ll receive depends on which perks you use and how often you use them. So it’s also important to consider how practical and easy the benefits are to use and pick a card that fits your spending habits.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.