What $450 Annual Fee Card Is Actually Worth It (And to Who?)

Most people are hesitant to keep a credit card with an annual fee over $95, but crank that number up to $450 and it becomes even more of a dilemma. While $450 might seem really higher for a credit card annual fee, these cards come with many great travel perks to make the fee worthwhile.

Most people won’t find a need to hold onto more than one of these high-fee credit cards at a time. So which $450 annual fee card provides the best value? Below is a breakdown of my ranking, based on travel benefits and point-earning ability.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, in my opinion, provides the most value of any $450 annual fee card. Right off the bat, the annual fee is largely off-set with a $300 annual travel credit. That credit can be used any way you want – on airfare, hotels, cruises, tour packages – basically anything that gets coded as travel. It’s incredibly helpful to have a $300 travel credit and flexibility in using it.

Another great feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the ability to keep earning and redeeming points at an accelerated rate. Cardholders earn 3 points on travel and dining worldwide, plus 1 point on everything else. When it’s time to redeem, you can choose between transferring points to partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest (to name a few) or booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards Portal. Choose the latter option and you’re points are worth 50% more (i.e. 1.5 cents each).

In addition, this card competes with others in this category with a $100 Global Entry/PreCheck application fee credit. If you travel often enough, the annual fee can or can come close to paying for itself.

Interested in this card or others like it? Learn more here.

2. Ritz Carlton Rewards Card

Why is the Ritz Carlton Rewards Card ranked ahead of the Amex Platinum cards? Because I happen to think this is one of the most underrated credit cards out there. In addition to a $300 annual travel credit, cardholders get 5 points at SPG and Ritz Carlton hotels, 2 points on airlines, car rental agencies and restaurants, and 1 point everywhere else.

But what makes this card truly valuable is the ability to spend your way to top-tier elite status with not one but three rewards programs. That’s right, but $75,000 on this card in a year and you’ll have Platinum status with Ritz Carlton, which you can match to Marriott and Starwood.

In addition to this valuable benefit, cardholders get perks like Priority Pass Select Membership, $100 Global Entry/PreCheck application fee reimbursement, access to the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit, $100 hotel credit on paid stays of two nights or longer, Gold elite status, and three club level upgrades annually.

 

3. Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige is a great alternative to the Sapphire Reserve. You’ll still earn a flexible currency that can be transferred to useful rewards programs and get a $250 airline fee credit to redeem. But that’s not why I’ve ranked this card above the Ritz Carlton card.

After all, the Ritz Carlton card offers a flexible travel credit, while Citi not only offers a lower credit but requires cardholders to use it towards air travel. What makes the Citi Prestige stand out above the rest is the 4th night free benefit. It can be worth hundreds of dollars on just a single hotel stay, helping to off-set much of the $450 annual fee.

Aside from the fourth-night free benefit, the card also offers 3 points on air travel and hotels, 2 points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point everywhere else. Plus a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application credit.

4. The Platinum Card from American Express and American Express Business Platinum Card

The two Platinum cards from American Express have most of the same benefits. What distinguishes them from one another are the category bonuses and redemption rebates. The Platinum Card offers 5x points on flights booked with the airline or Amex Travel, plus hotels booked through Amex Travel. Meanwhile, the Business version pays out the 5x bonus on flights and hotels booked on Amex Travel. Business Platinum cardholders also earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on purchases of $5,00 or more. Plus, book a First or Business class flight and get 35% of your Membership Rewards points back. So why are these two cards tied? Because the best option really depends on your spending patterns.

That’s my take on the best $450 annual fee credit cards. Not everyone needs one of these cards long term. But it’s a good idea to be familiar with their benefits to see if you can, well, benefit from it in the long-run. That being said, I’d love to know how you would rank these cards.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a travel hacker and travel rewards expert who earns over 1.5 million miles every year. When she’s not contributing to Frugal Travel Guy, she publishes her own points and miles blog, PointChaser.com. You can connect…
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The JetBlue Plus Card

  • Annual Fee: $99 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: 0%
  • Card Type: Travel

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  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
  • Your first checked bag is free.

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


3 months

30,000

$1,000


JetBlue Purchases

6.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Groceries Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


The JetBlue Plus Card

  • Annual Fee: $99 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: 0%
  • Card Type: Travel
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
  • Your first checked bag is free.

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


3 months

30,000

$1,000


JetBlue Purchases

6.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Groceries Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

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