TPG Award Winners: Did Your Favorites Take Home Trophies?

Last night was the inaugural
TPG Awards
, and it was truly an incredible night. From special
awards to Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Captain “Sully”
Sullenberger (presented by Ric Elias, CEO of TPG parent company Red
Ventures and a passenger on the flight he successfully brought down
in the Hudson River) to a musical performance by Bebe Rexha, it was
a great way to celebrate the worlds of credit cards, travel and
loyalty.

If you weren’t able to follow along live on our Instagram or Twitter feed, here’s a
run-down of the award winners:

Premium Card of the Year (Photo by Ileana Ravasio/Attimi Photography for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ileana Ravasio/Attimi Photography for The Points Guy)

Winner:
Chase Sapphire Reserve

The winner of the Premium Card of the Year award was the
Sapphire Reserve, a favorite here at TPG. Readers clearly valued
the array
of perks on the card
, including a $300 annual travel credit
(more on that below), 3x points on
travel
and
dining
purchases and
various protections and coverage
to give you peace of mind
while shopping and traveling. Even though the card carries a $450
annual fee, it’s quite easy to extract a large amount of value
from it.

Mid-Tier Card of the Year

Winner:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Sapphire Reserve’s less expensive sibling took home the
Mid-Tier Card of the Year award. While the earning rates are cut
slightly (2x on travel and dining), you’ll still earn full

Ultimate Rewards points
that can be transferred to numerous
airline and hotel partners, and with a much lower annual fee ($95)
that’s even waived for the first year, it can be a great
introduction to the world of transferable points, though with other
cards announcing new
transfer partners
and enhanced
earning rates
, it’ll be a fight for the card to keep this
title in 2019.

No-Fee Card of the Year

Winner: Chase
Freedom Unlimited

Chase wrapped up a personal card trifecta by winning the No-Fee
Card of the Year award for its Freedom Unlimited. While technically
just a cash-back card offering 1.5% back on every purchase, savvy
TPG readers know that you can transfer these earnings to full
Ultimate Rewards points by also holding one of the Sapphire cards
(or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card). The card does incur
foreign transaction fees though, so this should not be your first
choice for purchases outside the US.

Best Credit-Card Perk

Winner: $300 travel credit (Chase
Sapphire Reserve
)

Not only did the Sapphire Reserve take home the honor for
premium cards; its
$300 travel credit
was voted the winner of the Best Credit Card
Perk. This benefit essentially reduces the card’s annual fee to
just $150, since
these credits are applied instantly and automatically
each
cardmembership year and count towards
an array of purchases
, including flights, hotels, taxis,
Uber, Lyft,
tolls and even parking garages.

Best New/Refreshed Credit Card Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa - sitting on overwater bungalow porch
The Hilton Amex Aspire includes perks at luxurious properties like
the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa. (Photo by Darren Murph /
The Points Guy)

Winner: Hilton
Honors American Express Aspire Card

There were several new credit cards launched in 2018 and many
more that underwent overhauls, and readers selected the Hilton Amex
Aspire card as the best one. Launched in January, the card carries
a $450 annual fee but
offers an array of perks
, including
top-tier Diamond status
, annual credits with a designated
airline and at Hilton resorts, and many more. While Hilton Honors
may not be the most valuable program out there, this card has a
very
strong value proposition
and even took home a second award (see
below).

Best Business Credit Card

Winner:
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

While the personal version of the card came up just short in the
voting for premium cards, the Amex Business Platinum took home the
award for Best Business Credit Card. Small business owners
obviously value the
long list of perks on the card
; some of our favorites include
the 35%
rebate for using Pay with Points
and automatic Marriott and
Hilton Gold status. The card did just
add some new benefits
and hike its annual fee to $595 starting
on your first card renewal date after February 2019, so it’ll be
interesting to see if the card retains its title next year.

Best Airline Cobranded Credit Card

Winner: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express

Delta SkyMiles may not have the most lucrative redemption model,
but readers clearly value its credit cards highly, as the Platinum
Delta Amex won the award for Best Airline Cobranded Credit Card. In
addition to providing perks like free checked bags and bonus points
on Delta purchases, you’ll also get a
free companion ticket
every year. As long as the value of your
companion’s flight covers the $195 annual fee on the card, it’s
easy to come out ahead.

Best Hotel Cobranded Credit Card

Winner: Hilton Amex Aspire

In addition to winning the award as the best new/refreshed card,
the Hilton Amex Aspire also took home honors as the Best Hotel
Cobranded Credit Card.

Best US Airline Loyalty Program
Delta’s program is clearly a favorite of TPG readers.

Winner: Delta SkyMiles

It may be time to
take Richard Kerr’s advice
and retire the derisive term
“SkyPesos” from your vocabulary; despite having
no published award charts
, Delta SkyMiles was voted as the Best
US Airline Loyalty Program, narrowly edging out Southwest Rapid
Rewards. I’m guessing that a large part of this was based on the
carrier’s Medallion
elite status program
, and it shows that there are many Delta
loyalists out there.

Best Hotel Loyalty Program

Winner: Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton

In August, the Marriott, SPG and Ritz-Carlton programs
were officially integrated
, and despite
a myriad of issues
in the days, weeks and months afterward, the
combined program took home the award for Best Hotel Loyalty
Program. Now, it’s worth noting that these votes were tallied
before the
massive data breach was announced
, and the program will launch
peak pricing in 2019, so only time will tell if Marriott will keep
its spot next year.

Best Domestic Economy Class

Winner: JetBlue
Airways Economy (Airbus A321)

A modern cabin, industry-leading legroom and top-notch IFE
options are just a few reasons JetBlue beat out the rest of the
major domestic airlines in the economy category. Even though the
airline is adding a basic-economy product, based on hard product
alone, it’ll be hard to top B6 next year.

Best Domestic Business Class Splurge on a Mint Suite (photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)
JetBlue Mint stood tallest among domestic premium classes. (photo
by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)

Winner: JetBlue
Airways Mint (Airbus A321)

Hands down, JetBlue features the best business-class product for
a domestic airline. A private suite for a cross-country flight?
We’ll take it! Combine a phenomenal seat with friendly service
and tasty food, and you’ve got a winning formula that has put
other domestic carriers on defense.

Best International Business Class

Winner: Qatar
Airways Qsuite (Boeing 777-300ER)

Qatar hit it out of the park with its Qsuite business-class
product. Not only are the suites supremely private, they’re
beautifully designed, come packed with loads of quality IFE and
feature hotel-quality bedding. And, Qatar’s food and beverage
program and service are phenomenal.

Best International First Class
Emirates A380 first class provides many amenities that earned it
the award for best international first class.

Winner:
Emirates Airline First Class (Airbus A380)

Emirates is the standard-bearer for international first-class
products, without a doubt. Even with its “old” suite product,
the food, beverage, entertainment and service really show that the
Dubai-based carrier has spent a ton of time (and money) perfecting
this product.

Best Airline Promotion

Winner: Delta Award Sales

Delta completed a clean sweep of the airline-focused awards by
taking home the honor of Best Airline Promotion thanks to its slate
of discounts throughout the year, including
10,000-mile domestic awards
,
40,000-mile awards to Asia
and
50,000-mile awards to Australia
. If you could take advantage of
one of these sales, you could’ve received some incredible value
for your SkyMiles.

Best Hotel Promotion

Winner: Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton MegaBonus

In addition to winning the award for best hotel program, the
combined Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton program also won the Best Hotel
Promotion award for the
first post-integration MegaBonus offer
. Through this promo (one
that is still open to new registrants), you’ll earn 2,000 bonus
points for each stay of 2+ nights through Jan. 26, 2019 and an
extra 1,000-point bonus for each different brand you experience
(starting with the second brand). These bonuses are worth just $18
and $9, respectively, but with other programs offering similarly
lackluster promotions in 2018, MegaBonus was pushed to the top.

Best Credit-Card Promotion

Winner: American Express $100 off Amazon
purchase with 1 Membership Rewards point

Earlier in the year, Amazon and American Express partnered to
offer a discount that took home the award for Best Credit-Card
Promotion. In early July and then again as part of Prime Day, you
could score a discount of 20% (up to $100) on your Amazon purchase
by redeeming at least 1 Membership Rewards point. Despite numerous
transfer bonuses to airlines throughout the year, the wide
applicability of this offer was a clear favorite among TPG readers
and will hopefully return as Prime Day 2019 approaches.

Bottom Line

The award winners of the inaugural TPG Awards covered a wide
swath of the credit card, travel and loyalty spectrum. While Chase
was a reader favorite with personal credit cards, American Express
took home honors in the small business and cobranded card
categories. Marriott and Delta were the big victors on the hotel
and airline loyalty side, though JetBlue swept the editor’s
choice awards for domestic flights and two Middle Eastern airlines
took home honors for their renowned international premium class
cabins.

A big thank you to all of our sponsors and you, our loyal
readers, for weighing in on the awards. We had tens of thousands of
votes cast across the two rounds of voting, and we’re hoping for
even more next year. Speaking of which, we’re already working on
plans for the second annual TPG Awards in 2019, an event that’s
sure to be even bigger and better than this year.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
TPG Award Winners: Did Your Favorites Take Home Trophies?