FTU Credit Card Tournament of Champions Winner!

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The Grand Finale of the FTU was the “Credit Card Tournament of Champions”.  Check out this post for more details, but basically 12 cards went head to head in groups of two, and then the winners of those six debates went on to the final round.  A “Best Credit Card in the Whole Galaxy” was then selected from the finalists.

Gary Leff moderated the event and the line-ups was:

United Explorer vs. British Airways Visa (Mommy Points vs Gary Leff)

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Starwood American Express (Deals We Like vs Million Mile Secrets)

Ink Bold vs. Alaska Visa (Million Mile Secrets vs Gary Leff)

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold vs. Capital One (Million Mile Secrets vs Tommy777)

American Express Platinum vs. Ritz Carlton (Deals We Like vs Tommy777)

Fidelity Amex 2% Cashback vs. Citi AA Mastercard (Gary Leff vs Tommy777)

My debate with Gary was really fun.  I like both the United MileagePlus Explorer card and the BA Visa, but I took the angle the the UA card was better as you don’t have to pay astronomical fees to redeem for many of the “aspirational” awards (unlike Mr. Gary Fancy Pants) or have a large chunk of minimum spending to get the whole sign-up bonus.  😉  Many of the other benefits of both cards were debated, but in the end, Gary won out with the BA Visa (in large part due to the awesome current 100,000 Avios offer).  It was a relatively close contest though!

The six finalists were:

BA Visa

Starwood Amex

Alaska Visa

Amex PRG

Amex Platinum

Citi AA card

Seriously – no love for the Ultimate Rewards earning cards?!  Next time, I want to represent an Ultimate Rewards earning card and see what happens……however the voting was very scientific and the results are final.  😉

The  Frequent Traveler University “Best Credit Card in the Galaxy” award goes to…………….

Starwood American Express!


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  1. This was a really good event. The credit card faceoff wins for most entertaining event of the weekend. I thought you and the other presenters did a wonderful job representing cards that may not have been your “ultimate” favorite. Any chance the voting was at all impacted by the fact that the event was at an SPG hotel? Though, as we know, the SPG card is a very good product. Pleasure meeting you!

  2. I am seriously obsessed with getting SPG Amex card.I need it! Alas I was denied, I am currently in Executive Review. Wish me luck MP!

  3. Thought you got a raw deal whenthe judges voted BA Visa the winner. Don’t think anyone else could have gone toe to toe with Gary as well as you did.

  4. Totally with you on this one, Mommypoints! Can’t believe UR was not even represented in the finalists! We need less-biased judges! Wish I could have been there to watch this. Did anyone videotape this event? A lot of fun just reading what you wrote!

  5. Well we all know how I feel about the Chase Ultimate Rewards card! Clearly it is much better then many of the other ones there. I did face off against SPG but there was help from the peanut gallery, so I call do-over! So what do you all think? SPG or Chase Sapphire Preferred. And just in regards to the card, not in regards to the actual SPG program?

  6. Clearly, nobody seeded the competition, because two of the top 3 faced off in the first round, Chase UR vs SPG Amex. Swap Chase UR with almost any other card and it makes the final. Maybe not against Amex Platinum, but that benefit mix varies for each person.

    Looking at the redemption options I would use, without the travel/dining bonus, the Chase UR earns 1.07 United or 1.07 Hyatt per dollar, while the SPG Amex earns 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 AA/US/lots of others. SPG wins that comparison. However, with the bonus, 2.14 United/Hyatt is definitely more than 1 Starpoint, which I value at about 1.4 Chase points.
    It depends on what proportion of your spending is travel and dining, I guess. At my valuation, I need about 40% travel/dining spend to make Chase win.

  7. @DealsWeLike, Given the recent discovery of using Ink to buy $500 Visa cards or other gift cards at Office Depot and how valuable United miles and Hyatt points are, I think UR cards are better than SPG. I used to use my SPG card for all non-bonus earning purchases, but not any more. The 1.25 mile/$ is just not that attractive to me, if I don’t really care about transferring SPG points to airlines.

  8. I like the Starwood Amex and the Sapphire. Did Starwood win because it has so many more transfer partners via the SPG program?

    I have to say I am using my Sapphire most of the time these days unless I am getting a bigger bonus with another card like the current US MasterCard 5x groceries, gas and hardware stores promo.

  9. The problem with the Chase Sapphire card is that it went against the SPG card in the first round, who seeded these its like having #1 and #2 play each other on opening day. Close I’d pick the Sapphire because of the better earning oppertunites.

  10. MP, you did a great job presenting your case. Your head to head with Gary aka Mr. Fancy Pants (why no hat tip to Little C there? :)) was the most entertaining by far.

  11. I don’t know how the Ink Bold lost to the alaska visa. I have follow and knew most of the Alaska card, but the information seemed new to many people (companion tickets, using alaska miles, etc.), and I suspect that’s why it won. But for a card to actually use, I would probably never use the Alaska card.

    Also, I like the coined Gary Fancy Pants name. I think we need to keep perpetuating that one 🙂

    • @Frequent Flyer Collector, yeah, I agree. I love Gary, and he would be my first first call for info or problems on many things, but I still like the Gary Fancy Pants name. 😉 He can make fun of my “non aspirational awards” and I can make fun of his fancy pants. Seems fair. Ha ha.

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