I tend to be quite frugal and avoid un-necessary expenses a long as my productivity does not suffer. For example, I will continue employing my house keeper since the the time she saves me more than justifies the cost. On the other hand, credit card fees are tougher to justify.
A little over a year ago, I pulled all my funds out of JP Morgan Securities and brought everything under my personal management. One side effect of this is that I am no longer eligible to have the annual fee for my JP Morgan Palladium card waived. I originally got the Palladium card because it was the only EMV equiped US credit card. As a frequent traveler that spends over half the year in Europe, this is an absolute necessity (as I found out the hard way several years ago at Schiphol Airport). However, with the recent proliferation of EMV capable credit cards from US banks, this is not such a huge selling point anymore. Thus, during dinner tonight, I decided to make a chart (below) to see just what the Palladium card offers over the JP Morgan Select and Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is also a useful reference for the future if I want to see just what is covered under my card.
|JP Morgam Palladium||JP Morgan Select||Chase Sapphire Preferred|
|Auto Rental Insurance||Primary||Primary||Secondary|
|Travel Accident Insurance||$1M||$1M||$500k|
|Reparation of Remains||$1k||$1k||No|
|Energency Medical/Dental Coverage||$2.5k supplement, $50 deductible||$2.5k supplement, $50 deductible||No|
|Trip Delay Reimbursement||$300/ticket||$300/ticket||$300/ticket|
|Lost Luggage Reimbursement||actual value||actual value||$3k|
|Hotel Burglary Insurance||$1k||$1k||No|
|Purchase Protection||$10k/claim, $50k/year,90 days||$500/claim,$50k/year,90days?||$500/claim,$50k/year,90 days|
|Return Protection||$500/item,$1k/year,90 days||$500/item,$1k/year,90 days||$500/item,$1k/year,90 days|
|Price Protection||$500/item,$1.5k/year,90 days||$500/item,$1.5k/year,90 days||$500/item,$1.5k/year,90 days|
|Ticket Protection||$500/event ticket, $2k/event, $4k/year||No||No|
|Visa Warranty Extension||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cash Advance Fee||0%||0%||5%|
The Palladium card has perhaps, the most comprehensive set of travel benefits ever bundled into a single credit card. However, the Select card and the CSP are not far behind. A couple things are immediately obvious. If you look beyond the first year signup bonus (the JPM cards have no bonus), the JPM Select handily beats the CSP. It offers quite a bit more travel insurance (the big ticket item being the emergency evacuation/transport insurance and primary rental insurance). It is worth mentioning that the CSP has 2x earnings on dining, but you can get that with a free non-preferred Sapphire card and couple it with the Select or Palladium card to have the same benefit at no added cost.
On the other hand, the Palladium doesn't add that much value over the Select card. The only additions are roadside assistance coverage and ticket protection. However, the purchase protection on the Palladium is up to an eye-popping $10,000 per claim. This could actually be quite valuable if you buy expensive items, but definitely not worth the additional $500 in the AF.
For the Palladium card, claims can be filed by calling the benefits administrator at 888-880-4809.
However, the Palladium has a couple other benefits not listed above.
- JP Morgan concierge - This is way better than the Visa Signature concierge and does save me time. They can also get premier access to sold out events and snag extremely difficult to get dinner reservations. I value this at $150/year.
- Lounge Club and United Red Carpet Club access (which gives access to all Star Alliance clubs). Lounge access is only valuable when you aren't already traveling business class or higher and have a long enough layover. Valuing lounge visits at $25 each, this is worth about $100/year to me.
- GHA Black Status - Gives double upgrades when available, and Black Level local experiences. This is hard to value, let's say $100.
- Global Entry fee refund. Worth $100, but as I dislike being on govt databases and won't join Global Entry, I value this at $0.
So, the total value added is $350 a year, or $150 short of $500. Thus, to justify the annual fee, I would need something like a $200/year airline fee/incidentals reimbursement. I think I will adopt the wait and see approach. In the past, JP Morgan has sent things like $1000 Harry Winston gift cards around Christmas, and if after my next trip I can get some airline incidentals reimbursed, the card will have paid for itself.
P.S. The JP Morgan Palladium comes with dozens of other benefits not listed here, like discounts on car service, luggage transport, and private jet travel, but as I don't use these services, they are not worth anything to me.