Credit Card March Madness Final Four: Vote for Both Matchups at Once! [EXPIRED]

Posted By Trav

We’re switching it up a little bit today and instead of voting for just one matchup, you’ll be able to vote for both Final Four matchups at the same time in the same post.  HOORAY!

We’ve got two AWESOME matchups so don’t forget to scroll all the way down and vote for both!  After 2 days, I’ll close the voting for the Final Four and the two winners will square off in the championship!

If you haven’t read the original post explaining the rules or voted in previous matchups then I’d suggest you take a minute and read them quickly.

Just remember, you are pretending you can only have 1 credit card for the entire next year and you have no existing credit cards or frequent flyer miles or hotel points.  You are a CLEAN SLATE and are voting for the card you’d want to have more.

Final Four Matchup #1:  Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Priority Club

In round 2, the Chase Sapphire dominated its matchup against the Chase Marriott (80%-20%) while the Chase Priority Club squeaked past the Chase Freedom by the slimmest of margins, 1 vote.  Now, they’ll battle each other to see who gets the right to move on to the championship round!

The contest was thrown for a little bit of a loop the other day as the Chase Sapphire signup bonus has been reduced in the middle of the tournament from 50k UR points to 40k.  We’ll roll with the punches here at EPoP, but from here on out, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s value should be considered for its current state, which is the 40k offer.

While the downgrade in signup bonus hurts the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the benefits of the card are pretty clear:  the 40k sign up bonus, while not amazing, is still a decent amount of points and can be transferred to many partners, with the two best choices usually being United or Hyatt.  This gives you incredible flexibility because it has both a good airline and hotel transfer partner.

Also, it offers 2x points/$1 on both travel and dining, a big perk that can grow your points quick since we are only allowed 1 signup bonus a year.

As has been pointed out by myself and readers in Rounds 1 and 2, the highlights of the Chase Priority Club are that you receive a 60k sign on bonus, which is good for two nights at a top notch property or many, many nights at a Point Break property (which are 5k a night).  Sometimes, these Point Break properties are even Intercontinentals, which are Priority Club’s nicest properties.

You also get 2x points on all gas, grocery, and dining purchases, which are great bonus categories for most people.

Is the 10k loss in signup bonus for the Sapphire enough to sway you towards the Chase Priority Club?  Do you just love the potential of the Pointbreak properties?

Defend in the comments, comrades!

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Sign up bonus:  was 50k Chase UR points, now only 40k
  • Points can transfer at a 1:1 ratio to United and Hyatt, among others
  • 2x/$1 travel and dining, 1x/$1 on everything else
  • $3,000 spend in 3 months to get your points
  • No annual fee, $95 after that.
  • No foreign transaction fee

Chase Priority Club Select Visa

  • Sign up bonus: 60,000 Priority Club points (60k is the normal offer, but if you follow the link on this Flyertalk thread, you MAY be able to get 80k. For our purposes, consider it 60k).
  • 2 pts/$1 on gas, groceries, and dining, 5 pts/$1 at PC hotels, 1 pt/$1 everything else.
  • No annual fee for the first year, $49 after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Priority Club offers Point Break properties that are only 5,000 points a night. If you manage to stay in one of them, you are getting TREMENDOUS value and can stretch your 60k a looooong way.
[polldaddy poll=6104173]

Final Four Matchup #2:  Barclays USAirways vs. Starwood Preferred Guest Amex

The Barclays USAirways has been on a roll, knocking off the Chase United Explorer in Round 1 and pulling an upset over the Citi/AAdvantage Visa in Round 2.  Meanwhile, the SPG card dominated its only matchup so far, earning 73% of the vote against the Citi Thank You Premier.  Can the Barclays USAirways continue its improbable run to the championship?

The USAirways card promises up to a whopping signup bonus of 60k, but only gives 40k right out of the gate.  You’ll need to make a transfer to get an additional 10k and the remaining 10k is an anniversary bonus (and will only be given to you after you pay the annual fee).  However, it has no minimum spend requirement, a major plus, and also throws in a $99 companion pass (for any flight you purchase over $250, a friend can fly with you for $99).

The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) offers a relatively paltry 25k signup bonus but its points are some of the most valuable out there.  They transfer tons of airlines (AA, Delta, JAL, etc.), and if you transfer in blocks of 20k points, they’ll give you a bonus 5k for 25k total.  SPG points can also be used to stay at SPG properties, which range from 2,000 to 35,000 depending on category.

No matter what category you stay at, you’ll always get the 5th night free if you stay using points for the previous 4, a great SPG perk.  Lastly, SPG also offers a Cash and Points option, which allows you to use less of your points but only pay a fraction of the hotel’s regular price.  This can often give you GREAT value.

Are you digging the bigger signup bonus and no minimum spend of the USAirways card or do you prefer the flexibility and value of the SPG points, which can be used for both hotels and airlines?

Defend below!

Barclays USAirways Dividend Miles Premier World Mastercard (what a mouthful)

  • Signup bonus:  basically 40k right away, 10k for a transfer (eh)
  • No minimum spend requirement
  • 1 $99 companion pass (buy a domestic ticket for $250 or more, a companion can fly on the same flight as you for $99)
  • 1 free USAirway club pass
  • No annual fee the first year, $89 annually after that.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  •  2x/$1 spent on USAirways tickets, 1x/$1 spent on everything else.
  • You cannot use miles for a one-way ticket

 Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

  • Signup bonus:  25k SPG points
  • Minimum Spend:  10k points after first purchase, 15k after spending $5,000 in 6 months.
  • Points transfer to tons of airlines at 1.25 to 1 ratio.
  • Stay 4 nights with points at SPG hotel, get the 5th night free
  • No annual fee for the first year, $65 annually after that
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5x/$1 spent at SPG hotels
  • 1x/$1 spent on everything else

[polldaddy poll=6104181]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.


  1. Derek says:

    I just got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card a few weeks ago and love it! Everywhere I go and use it people say something about it. I guess the fact that its metal and heavier people like to examine it!

    I’m a fan of free flights so I would have to choose the Barclays card over Starwood AMEX card.

  2. toffjuttott says:

    Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, parrots – who do you prefer? Or maybe what that non-native animals – snakes, crocodiles, lizards, monkeys?

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