We get a lot of comments from new travel hackers that they don’t want to pay a high annual fee for their credit cards. It’s important to understand that it is ALWAYS worth paying an annual fee the first year when you are getting the high welcome offer. It’s kind of like paying a discount for free money. For instance, our favorite beginner card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, has a usual welcome offer of 60K Ultimate Rewards. Those 60k points are worth $750 at a minimum through the travel portal but much more than that through transfer partners. That is totally worth paying the annual $95 fee. Let’s talk about some cards we keep that have higher annual fees. Here are 5 credit cards worth paying a high annual fee for each year:
The American Express Gold Card comes with an annual fee of $250. At first glance, you may think that is a card you would only keep for the first year. However, the card pays for the annual fee with its benefits.
The first two benefits pay for all but $10 of the card’s annual fee, and those 38,400 Membership Rewards are worth way more than $10, so it is a keeper despite that annual fee of $250.
The American Express Platinum Credit Card has a huge $695 annual fee and that certainly scares most people off. I keep it year after year because I take full advantage of its benefits to more than pay my annual fee. This card is my favorite of the 5 credit cards worth paying a high annual fee. Here’s what I get for that $695 annual fee.
Add up the dollar amount of the benefits without the last three, and the total is $1119 – definitely more than the $695 I pay. The airport lounge access is priceless to me – I use it every single time I travel. Most airport lounge access costs $50+, so this makes my benefits over the top. I will always keep this card in my wallet.
The Capital One Venture X Credit Card has an annual fee of $395/year. People freak out when we tell them to get this card. They don’t realize that you get a $300 annual credit when you book through their travel partner and 10K Venture miles each year that you renew the card. This completely pays for the annual fee.
This card earns 2x on all purchases making it an “use it and forget about it” card. Instead of worrying whether you are using the right card, you can just use it for everyday spending when you are not meeting the minimum spend on a credit card.
The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card is one of the 5 credit cards worth paying a high annual fee for. It has an annual fee of $450 but comes with these benefits:
These benefits clearly pay for my annual fee and more!
The American Express Hilton Aspire card is the last of our 5 credit cards worth paying a high annual fee. The annual fee is $550 on this card. Ouch- at first glance. The benefits include:
Again, this card gives way more value than the price of the annual fee. The free weekend night stay alone could be worth more than the annual fee.
Before you say, “I’d never pay a high annual fee for a card”, do a cost versus benefits analysis. You will find that there are many credit cards with high annual fees that are worth getting for the welcome offer AND worth keeping year after year. What other cards do you think are worth paying a high annual fee for?
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