Circumcised vs. Uncircumcised - Which Is Better?
Which is better
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- Earlier this year, both Hilton and the combined Marriott-Starwood brand released new co-branded credit cards with American Express.
- The and the both offer a ton of value, but read on to see which is best for those who don't have a strong preference for either brand over the other.
- Both cards offer strong welcome bonuses, but keep in mind that the Starwood Luxury card's bonus is only available until October 31.
2019 has been a year of opportunity for people who use their credit cards to collect hotel reward points, as major changes have been made to the biggest hotel brands.
In January, Hilton — which had previously partnered with both Citi and American Express to offer co-branded credit cards — officially dropped Citi and relaunched its suite of credit cards exclusively with AmEx.
Marriott and Starwood hotels, meanwhile, have continued implementing their two-year-old merger, joining their separate loyalty programs under a unified set of benefits, and divvying up their collective credit card portfolio under both AmEx and Chase.
As part of all of these changes, both major brands — Hilton, and the merged Marriott-Starwood entity — have introduced new, premium co-branded credit cards, offering potentially outsized value to hotel loyalists.
The launched in January, while the new came in August.
Best of all, both cards are currently offering fantastic welcome bonuses — in the case of the , it's only around for a limited time.
Both cards have unique features — but which is better? Read on to find out.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these two cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.
When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Although Hilton currently offers three different personal credit cards (and one small business card), the is easily the best value — even though it has the highest annual fee at 0.
The first year's fee is completely wiped out by the welcome bonus of 150,000 Hilton points when you spend ,000 in the first three months. Based on travel website The Points Guy's , which puts each Hilton point as worth 0.6¢, that's worth at least 0.
Aside from the bonus, the offers a 0 airline fee credit per calendar year, plus a 0 Hilton resort statement credit each cardmember year. The airline fee credit applies to things like checked bag fees, on-board food or drinks, lounge day passes, in some cases, change fees or upgrade fees, and more. While it doesn't apply to airfare, it can sometimes be applied to gift cards for an airline, which can then be used for tickets. The resort credit applies to anything from room rates and taxes to incidental expenses.
As if that combined 0 of credits isn't enough, also offers a 0 Hilton on-property credit any time you book a two-night (or longer) stay at a Hilton property through a specific website for cardholders. This can cover things like on-property restaurants, spa services, room service, or activities. It also gives you a complimentary weekend award night each year, and you can earn a second weekend award night if you spend ,000 on the card in a calendar year.
offers enhanced earning on your spending, with 14x points per dollar spent on Hilton properties. Based on that same 0.6¢ valuation, that's an 8.4% return. It also gives you 7x points on airfare booked directly with an airline, car rentals booked directly with the rental agency, and US restaurants, and 3x points on everything else.
comes with automatic top-tier Diamond elite status, which comes with the same perks as Gold status (including complimentary breakfast), plus additional bonus points, better upgrade priority, access to executive floors and lounges, and more. It also features a free Priority Pass Select membership, getting you and two guests unlimited access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
Although Marriott and Starwood's loyalty programs have merged under a single system, the two brands are remaining separate — at least for now. Consequently, the two loyalty programs will each continue to issue their own credit cards — Starwood's are issued by American Express, and Marriott's are issued by Chase — although the cards' benefits will apply equally across both programs and brands.
The newest addition to the group is currently the only premium credit card for the brands. Released in August, the new differs itself from the regular SPG card by providing a greater set of benefits and perks. As with the Hilton Aspire card, these should be enough to offset the card's 0 annual fee.
If you sign up before October 31, you can earn a welcome bonus of 100,000 points when you spend ,000 in the first three months — after then, the bonus will presumably drop. The Points Guy lists a of 0.9¢ per Marriott/Starwood point, so that bonus is worth around 0.
Each year, cardmembers can get up to 0 in statement credits for purchases at Starwood and Marriott hotels, which can apply to room charges. That effectively brings the fee down to just 0.
Additionally, each year on your cardmember anniversary, you'll get a free night award that can be redeemed at any hotel that costs 50,000 points a night or less — that a wide selection of properties. If you use this at the right hotel, it should be easy to get enough value to erase the remaining 0 of the annual fee.
You'll also get complimentary Gold elite status, and you can earn Platinum status if you spend ,000 or more on the card in a calendar year. In addition, the card offers a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and a credit to enroll in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
will earn 6x points at Starwood and Marriott hotels, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline, and 2x points on everything else. While it earns the same number of points on hotel stays and general purchases as the regular SPG card, the bonus on dining and flights is a unique addition.
Which is better?
If you're loyal to either hotel brand, then which card to get is an obvious choice: that brand's.
If you're less set on a brand and looking for a better value, though, then the edges out the — with the caveat that you stay in hotels a few times a year for more than one night at a time.
Assuming you max out the 0 airline fee credit and the 0 resort credit each year, for a combined 0, you're already up on the annual fee, not even counting the welcome bonus or the points you've earned.
Then there's the 0 on-property credit, which you can get a virtually unlimited number of times when you book through the designated website and stay for at least two nights. While this doesn't apply to the room rate, it can be applied towards food, drinks, and spa services. With that credit, there's essentially no cap to how much value you can get from the card in a given year — and that's not even mentioning the card's other benefits.
On the other hand, the 0 credit brings the effective annual fee down to 0 from its 0 starting place. You'll get more than enough value to outweigh the fee from the anniversary free night award, the complimentary elite status, and the rewards, but it isn't the same potential runaway value as the
Of course, there's also the earning rates. While it's difficult to compare these directly, since everyone will have a different value for these points based on how they use them, The Points Guy's valuations offer a starting place.
The earns 14x points per dollar spent on Hilton properties, 7x points on airfare booked directly with an airline, car rentals booked directly with the rental agency, and US restaurants, and 3x points on everything else. Using that 0.6¢ valuation, that means a return on those categories of 8.4%, 4.2%, and 1.8% respectively .
earns 6x points at Starwood and Marriott hotels, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline, and 2x points on everything else. Using the 0.9¢ valuation, that's 5.4%, 2.7%, and 1.8% back respectively, making the Hilton Aspire the winner.
While both cards are great options, and loyalists of either brand will be happy with that brand's card, the Hilton Aspire is simply a stronger option for those who have been brand-agnostic so far.
Video: Circumcised vs Uncircumcised | Which is BETTER!?
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