There's a great debate on social media platforms, from TikTok to Instagram, among travel credit card holders: What travel credit card is actually worth the annual fee? Asking yourself this lofty question with your fancy card in hand might feel counterproductive. However, it's always good to reevaluate any financial investment early and often to ensure you're getting the most out of it.
Credit cards are already a minefield because, without financial planning, you can end up in a boatload of debt. Been there, done that, and got the wasted money on interest to show for it. After paying off $15,000 in debt, I was reluctant to use any more credit cards. But after tons of research, I saw the value of the American Express Gold Card. I got points on my everyday spending and was diligent about paying off my monthly balance. But for me, as an avid traveler, it was time for either an upgrade or a new card with lots of research, of course.
Spoiler alert: I upgraded to the American Express Platinum Card, but I wanted to break down some of the benefits of all of the most talked about cards so that you can both use every benefit you’re paying for if you already have these cards in your wallet or get to know some of the perks if you’re in the market for a travel credit card so you can invest in a card that’s best for your everyday and travel needs.
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American Express Platinum Card Benefits and Perks
Because I was already an Amex customer, I started here. The introductory offer—100,000 points after spending $6,000—for upgrading to an American Express Platinum Card was difficult to pass up. But I needed to see how the benefits stacked up if I was giving up 4X points on groceries and dining and opting for a lofty $695 annual fee. So how does the Platinum card stack up on earning points? Platinum cardholders get a point for every dollar spent, 5X the points on flights, and 5X on prepaid hotels booked through the Amex travel portal.
Before gaining status with Delta, I always felt some FOMO passing the Sky Clubs. However, with the Platinum card, you can get through the velvet rope into Centurion lounges. You can also access Priority Pass lounges and Delta Sky Clubs with a same-day Delta ticket. One of the biggest gripes I've seen in online forums is how packed Priority Pass lounges can be as they serve many other luxury credit card holders, and during peak travel season, this could feel less like a perk.
2. Hotels Perks
Accommodations are the second most crucial part of planning a trip. Before booking through a third-party site or directly through the hotel, the Amex portal offers the ability to earn 5X the points when prepaying for accommodations. But there are more benefits aside from points. First, there's the complimentary Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.
Next up, the credit card company provides The Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection. The Fine Hotels + Resorts benefits are as luxe as the five-star accommodations that are a part of this collection. When booking, your perks are: daily breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi, guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout, a $100 hotel credit, and noon check-in and room upgrade when available.
For The Hotel Collection, the hotels are among some of the best in the city, and cardholders receive a $100 hotel credit and a room upgrade when available. Additionally, another hotel benefit instantly helps offset the $695 credit card fee: $200 back in statement credits each year when you book a prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection reservation. I used this credit at the Conrad Hotel Midtown in New York City. It was so worth it.
3. Transportation Perks
We've covered lounges, so what about transportation benefits? Well, they're quite a few. Firstly, this card gives you a $200 airline fee credit per calendar year. So this covers everything from baggage fees to seat upgrades. Just be sure you go into the portal to select your airline.
Don't want to spend an overabundance of time in TSA or have to take off your shoes? The Platinum card credits back on your credit card for Clear ($189), TSA-Precheck ($85), and Global Entry ($100). In addition to taking care of the cost of breezing through TSA, if your flight is delayed six hours due to an airplane mechanical issue, the loss of your passport, or inclement weather, the card offers delay insurance reimbursing expenses like hotels and meals up to $500. After my flight from Paris to Atlanta was canceled due to mechanical issues (while I was on it), this came in handy and was very easy to use with a call to American Express customer service.
Additional transportation benefits:
- If your bag goes MIA, the card baggage insurance plan protects against damage or loss of up to $3,000 as long as you've paid the total cost of your trip with your card.
- Uber Benefit: $200 in Uber cash ($15 a month with $35 in December).
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance (be sure to pay for the rental with your card and decline the collision damage waiver).
Some of the other American Express Platinum Card benefits:
- Up to $300 in annual Equinox credit.
- SAKS Benefit: Earn up to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, split into two $50 statement credits between January and June, then July through December.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Free shipping with ShopRunner (offers two-day shipping with select online retailers).
- Up to $240 in digital entertainment credit.
The Best Way to Redeem American Express Membership Rewards Points
Amex rewards points can be used on everything from gift cards to Amazon purchases and on, of course, travel. Each point is worth one cent, so let's say you book a flight through the portal for $150. You'd need 15,000 points to pay for that fare. Not worth the trade-off, right? So if this is your card (or your future card), you'll want to research before you turn over those points. Typically, you can get more bang for your points when transferring them to one of Amex's airline partners. But again, you'll want to see what airline makes the conversion worth it.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits and Perks
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is another beloved option at the center of the luxury travel credit card debate. This one is a contender with an annual fee of $550. When it comes to earning points, you earn 5X points on flights. 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 3X points on travel and dining worldwide and 1X on all other purchases. So Chase's points-earning system does have some leverage on alternative cards. However, before earning 3X points on travel and dining, you must first use the $300 annual travel credit offered for flights and hotel stays.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers access to the Priority Pass lounges. But there's been a new development. Chase is introducing Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club, which started last year. There isn't much info on these clubs yet, but the first Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club—an 11,948-square-foot space—opened in Hong Kong in October 2022. So, this is certainly something to look forward to if you're a Chase member.
2. Hotel Perks
This card offers a Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection with select properties offering daily breakfast for two, a $100 benefit (unique to each property), free Wi-Fi, and a room upgrade and early check-in and late checkout when available.
Additionally, there are Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux and Elite Hotel Benefits at Ennismore. These properties are in specific places throughout the world. For example, Relais & Châteaux properties are mostly located in Europe. In comparison, Ennismore properties are located in major hubs like Beverly Hills, London, New York, Rome, and Paris. However, if you end up in a city with Ennismore options, the Elite Hotel Benefits offers some solid perks like a complimentary fourth night, late checkout, food and beverage credits, and room upgrades.
3. Transportation Perks
Regarding transportation benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $100 credit toward Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee every four years. And financial assistance for bag delays on any mode of transportation— airline, bus, cruise ship, or train—for more than 6 hours at $100 per day (up to five days) as long as your ticket purchase is made with your credit card or points.
Additional transportation benefits:
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Up to $10,000 in reimbursement for cardholders and immediate family members).
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per passenger, including cardholder and immediate family members (even if the cardholder is not traveling on the trip).
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your trip is delayed by more than six hours or requires an overnight hotel stay, you are eligible for reimbursement of up to $500 per person. This benefit extends to your family as well.
- Lyft Pink All Access free membership for two years.
- 10 points per $1 spent on Lyft (through March 2025).
- Primary rental car coverage of up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage.
Other Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits:
- Free subscription to DoorDash DashPass.
- Monthly DoorDash Food Delivery Credit ($5/month).
- Instacart+ Membership ($99).
- Monthly Instacart Credit ($15/month).
- No foreign transaction fees.
The Best Way to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Like many credit card points systems, with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can use your points to purchase gift cards or even make a payment on your bill. But if you want to use them on travel, the best way to make the most use of your points currency is to transfer your points to Chase partners (there are 11 airline partners and three hotel partners). Before moving points, do thorough research to ensure you're satisfied with your investment.
Capital One Venture X Card Benefits and Perks
The Capital One Venture X card is the last card making a splash in the fancy credit card convo. But this card came to play with an annual fee of $395, which is quickly offset with the card's $300 in annual statement credits when booking through Capital One Travel. Additionally, cardholders receive 10,000 bonus miles (a $100 value) on every account anniversary. And, you get 2X miles on everyday purchases, 5X miles on flights, and 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
Lounge benefits are similar to other cards, with cardholders being able to access Priority Pass. But if you want more lounge access, Capital One is introducing its own lounges, with the first opening at DFW in November 2021, with more openings slated for 2023.
2. Transportation Perks
Like the other two travel cards, Venture X offers $100 statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. In addition, the card offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance that covers you and your immediate family member—up to $2,000 per person— on prepaid, nonrefundable tickets.
Additional Capital One Venture X transportation benefits:
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: Up to $500 per person to cover expenses like hotel rooms, food, and clothes when your flight is delayed overnight or by six hours or more.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per covered trip if the airline damages or loses your bags.
- Rental Car Status: Both the primary cardholder and authorized users receive complimentary Hertz President's Circle status and primary rental car insurance (up to $75,000 for damage caused by collision or theft to a rental car).
The Best Way to Redeem Capital One Miles
The best way to make the most use of your points currency for travel is to transfer your points to Capital one partners. (There are 18 partners).
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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