15 Dec AYP List of Top Credit Cards for December 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This means we are well into the month of December and just about ready to close out the year that was 2016!

Dec Top Cards - AYP

Has 2016 lived up to everything that you thought it would be!?

No? There seems to be something missing, you say? Hmm I hear ya… and Santa has the answer!

Credit cards! AYP December Top Cards to be exact! There are some top notch cards in here, some with hefty annual fees – but maybe if you have been this good year someone will “gift” you the annual fee on a premium card!

By golly it is a Christmas miracle! Merry Christmas to all and to all a new rewards credit card sign-up bonus!

It’s Our goal here with Top Cards is to list out the best offers of the month based on our research – so then you can apply for one or two of the sweet offers  and be on your way to [enter destination of your choice] for CHEAP using credit card points and miles!

If you are new to the credit card game, it may be wise to warm up with the AYP Starter Guide before jumping straight in. Everyone else, it’s game time.

Note: Within this post I have included various referral links – some links are my own and some links are from friends of mine – and, as a result, either I or another will receive a referral bonus upon your application and approval. I receive no other commission so thank you in advance for your support of AYP by using these links!

Have a referral link yourself? Email me at derek@accountingyourpoints.com and I will mix your link into my posts to share the bonus points! Seriously! Send me your link and I will post it on the blog and offer it to others who ask!

The AYP Top Card List:

Ain't she beautiful!?

Ain’t she beautiful!?

(1) The Chase Sapphire Reserve 

This is THE CARD to get right now! This past week I received a text from a family friend asking “what was the best rewards credit card on the market?” Without hesitation, I told him the CSR!

Honestly, at first I was not sure how Chase was able to offer a card that offers so much more value than any other credit card available – but then I realized that Chase was [promoting this product at a loss, to the tune of about $300 MILLION! Granted, Chase will likely recoup these costs over the product lifecycle… but $300 million!? Yikes!

I am not sure how long Chase will want to keep taking this beating, so you should get in on it ASAP! This card is the bee’s knees you guys…

Here is a rundown of the card benefits:

  • Sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate rewards after $4,000 spending after 3 months! (Seriously people… 100,000 points! That is HUGE! I honestly cannot believe that they are offering a point sign-up bonus this good…)
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit automatically applied to your account – includes airfare, hotel stays and more!
  • Lounge Access – Priority Pass Select (includes guest privileges)
  • $100 Global Entry (or TSA Pre-Check) Fee Credit
  • A $450 Annual Fee (Not Waived), $75 for Authorized Users
  • Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for a 50% bonus (compared to 25% with the Sapphire Preferred) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 1:1 Point Transfer to Chase Transfer Partners
  • 3x Earning on Dining & Travel Expenditures
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Visa Infinite

My advice? Get this card.

“But Derek, the annual fee is $450!?”

Correct – and it is worth it! I assure you.

A word of caution – the Chase 5/24 Rule has been confirmed and the language is present within the card application. For those over 5/24, there are 2 ways to still get this card – 1) Apply in-branch with a pre-approved offer, and 2) Leverage your Chase Private Client relationship to bypass 5/24. If neither of those options is available to you (and you have opened more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months), you will be denied… I can almost guarantee it.


(2) Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase) 

Even though I am advising people to apply for the CSR and downgrade the CSP – I remain a part of the CSP fan faithful! There are 2 types of people that I would recommend the CSP to – 1) Those who are new to the credit cards and travel rewards game, and 2) Those that just cannot stomach the high (but totally justifiable) annual fee for my #1 Top Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you are one of those two – then focus your attention to a former AYP #1 Top Card…

The CSP is the best second best card on the market and will provide you a solid rewards earning base, which can then be supplemented with other card applications and bonuses. The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred remains at its highest in almost 5 years and will earn you 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user.

The current bonus has been available for some time now and I have not heard of any changes coming in the near future, but remember – offers can change at any point in time… If this card is not in your wallet then check out why you NEED the Chase Sapphire Preferred! The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.

Own a business? It might also be worth applying for the New Chase Ink Business Preferred card for 80k points through this link – note the $5,000 minimum spending in 3 months!

STOP RIGHT HERE! If you are reading this and do not have one of the AYP Top 2 then you are going about the points game all wrong! If you are without a Sapphire card, circle back up and reconsider applying!

For those that are Chase Sapphire equipped, let’s keep it moving!

Ritz Carlton Credit Card

(3) The Ritz Carlton Rewards (Chase) 

If you have ever stayed at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, you know the high standard that they achieve at each of their properties! That high standard normally doesn’t come cheap… unless you take advantage of the new offer from the Ritz-Carlton branded credit card! The card offers 3 free nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property after $5,000 in spending in the first three months. In addition, you will receive 10,000 Marriott points for adding an authorized user!

Considering that Ritz-Carlton nights can easily exceed $500 per night, this sign-up bonus card can be worth in excess of $1,500! While the annual fee on the card is $450, there are some awesome perks that come with it, including Marriott Gold Status (the first year), an annual $300 airline incidental fee credit (which reportedly can be used to purchase airline gift cards…but you didn’t hear it from me ;)), Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership, (3) complimentary Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge upgrades, and a $100 Global Entry (or TSA PreCheck) reimbursement!

Additionally, the card is a Visa Infinite and one of the included perks is the ability to save $100 each time you purchase domestic coach roundtrip airfare for two people! That’s right, $100 discount each and every time – that can mean significant savings for those that frequently travel with a companion!

I love the Ritz-Carlton, and I love this card! Mallory had it a little while back and I think that I am up for a sign-up next!

Delta Plane


 (4) An AYP Special!

While the public offers for the Delta Cards by American Express are expired, I just happen to have some personal referral links for the increased offers! However, according to my Amex Refer-a-friend links, you are able to apply and earn the bonus even longer – through February 1, 2017!

Delta Cards by American Express –

American Express is back with some increased credit card sign-up bonuses on the Delta Gold from American Express and the Delta Platinum from American Express (and the Business Gold… sorry I don’t have the Business Platinum Delta card) and they are absolutely worth your application consideration!

The Delta Gold from American Express and the the Delta Platinum from American Express are offering increased bonuses of 50,000 Skymiles + $50 and 70,000 Skymiles (and 10,000 MQMs) + $100, after $2,000 spending in the first 3 months on each! These offers are perfect if you are able to leverage Delta’s lower redemption rates – like I did with my 60,000 Skymiles redemption for two one-way tickets to Paris this past Valentine’s Day! In addition to the Skymiles and statement credit, as a cardholder you will enjoy free checked bags, no foreign transactions fees, and since this is an American Express credit card, you will gain access to the valuable Amex Offers program. The cards come with a $95 Annual Fee (waived the first year) for the Delta Gold and a $195 Annual Fee (NOT waived the first year) for the Delta Platinum.

Amex Platinum

 (5) American Express Platinum –

The American Express Platinum Charge Card comes with a nice sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after $3k spending in the first 3 months along with a long list of travel perks and benefits, but with a $450 annual fee, it is not for everyone! While $450 is a lot of money to spend to be a credit card holder, IT IS POSSIBLE to justify this fee if you can maximize the cards sign-up bonus and benefits:


Also, if you are are a business owner with some hefty spending in the near future – consider the  The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. The Chase Sapphire Reserve ain’t the only 100k point card in town! You can earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases within your first three months, plus an extra 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within your first three months.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew here people – $15,000 in 3 months is STEEP!

(6) Still thirsty for more!?

Check out the Barclaycard Arrival Plus for over $500 in free travel! I applied just a few weeks ago and took care of a round-trip flight London to Tampa on British Airways!

Final Thought

Merry Christmas my friends!

My biggest piece of advice this month, of 2016, and until Chase decides to stop losing money on it – get the Chase Sapphire Reserve! Seriously just do it already. I have done the math – it is worth it! The other cards on the list are all solid, but seriously, 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points… come on!

You CAN travel the world and you can do it for FREE or cheap! The offers above will take you where you want to go, you just have to let them!

Keep in mind that all of the offers above are “public offers” and are available to all applicants. There are often higher, more exclusive, offers out there (check your email and mailbox).So, if you are targeted for these higher offers, apply for your targeted offer rather than through the links above!

Did I miss one of your favorite current card offerings? Comment below or email me at derek@accountingyourpoints.com

Happy Travels!



  • EZ
    Posted at 16:48h, 15 December Reply

    Great post Derek! I agree 100% with this list! One thing I struggle with is whether the CSP is worth the annual fee year after year for the low to medium spender like me. I guess if you rent cars a few times a year like I do, the primary insurance alone would make it worth it, but outside that I’m not sure.

    • DW
      Posted at 16:51h, 15 December Reply

      I hear ya! The key here is that it allows you to redeem through the Chase portal at 1.25 and also allows transfers to partners. If neither of those provide value exceeding the $95 fee than I agree that it might not be worth it. Those that have a CSR or Chase ink should not also hold a CSP long term

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