Valuation of Priority Pass, Global Entry, and Other Benefits

I hear a lot of arguments for keeping a card and often then not “Priority Pass (PP) and Global Entry (GE) benefits” get thrown in as a reason to keep a card. Some people will assign an arbitrary value on each, say $20 on PP and $10 on GE, then they’ll make up a equation like

[annual fee of the card] – [arbitrary value of the PP] – [arbitrary value of GE] – [arbitrary value to other benefits like Gogo and Boingo]

Whatever results from above equation is the $ value people attempt to break even. But my issue with this is the fact that you’re assigning value to PP and GE benefits to begin with. Maybe that would be an okay thing for someone who rarely churns but if you’re ventured into this part of the web then I assume that you at least churn a few cards in a year.

Content

This post aims to list major cards  that provide any of the following benefits: Priority Pass, Global Entry (or equivalently  TSA) fee reimbursement, Gogo passes, and Biongo access. Afterward, I give my valuation of these benefits.

Limitation of this Post
1 Cards with Priority Pass and Global Entry Benefits
1.1 How much is the PP and GE Benefit Worth?
2 Cards with Global Entry Fee Reimbursement
3 Cards with Gogo Passes
3.1 How much is Gogo Benefit Worth?
4 Cards with Boingo WiFi Benefit
4.1 How much is Boingo Benefit Worth?
5 $100 Discount on RT Flight via Visa Infinite
5.1 How much is VI $100 Discount worth?

Limitation of this Post

In this post I purposely avoid talking about cards that are not open to general public (i.e. no Palladium and Centurion). I also purposely pass on talking about benefits such as trip delay, roadside assistance, extended warranty, and primary rental car insurance.

Supplementary Reading:
Plat vs Prestige vs CSR [DoC]
Amex PRG vsCiti Premier vs CSP [DoC]

1. Cards with Priority Pass and Global Entry Benefits

Bank Card Name Free? # of Free Guests Authorized User Mobile Access
Amex Platinum 550; 450 for Biz; 1st year waived on Ameriprise Yes 2 Yes, $175*; 1st year AF waived for up to 3 AU on Ameriprise Platinum Yes
Barclaycard Black 495 Yes no limit Yes, $195 Unknown
Barclaycard Gold 995 Yes no limit Yes, $295 Unknown
Chase Sapphire Reserve 450 Yes no mentioned limit Yes, $75 No
Chase Ritz-Carlton 450; $395 to grandfathered users Yes no mentioned limit Yes, no fee No
Citi Prestige 450; 350 for “gold banking” clients Yes two guest + immediate family Yes, $50 Yes
SunTrust Platinum Elite 325 pay after limit is met two complimentary passes Unknown
UBS Visa Infinite 495 Yes Unknown to me Yes, 24 free AU Unknown
US Bank Altitude Reserve 400 pay after limit is met Only for “first 4 visits and four individual accompanying guest visits” Unknown

above table is heavily influenced by DoC’s table on the same matter.

*click here for DoC article on various flavors of Platinum and how details like AF, AU fee, etc varies.

1.1 How much is the PP and GE Benefit Worth?

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective) there are now too many cards that provide PP and GE benefits. The premium card market is so saturated that you can easily hold at least 1 card that gives you both of these benefits to your fullest desire. As of writing this article I myself hold 6 cards that give me Priority Pass Select (PPS) card with unlimited visits and 7 cards with GE reimbursement every 5 year. As such I flat out value both Priority Pass benefit and Global Entry fee reimbursement at $0. Neither of these benefits play any role when I consider renewing or cancelling a card.

Now before you claim “but at this rate you’ll eventually run out of cards that provide these benefits”, I must remind you that most of these cards are churnable. Citi Prestige can be churned every 2 year but it isn’t like I’m ever going to cancel a card that pays me to renew. Similarly CSR (5/24 applies) and Ritz (5/24 does not apply) can be churned every 2 year but one could potentially waive Ritz AF altogether. it isn’t like I’m going to cancel Ritz either similar reasons). While Amex cards do have “once in a lifetime” language, there are many ways to bypass said language and if everything fails one can always churn Ameriprise Platinum because it has no 1st year AF.

2. Cards with Global Entry Fee Reimbursement

Bank Card Name Annual Fee Notes
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) TravElite 0 invitation only for now
US Bank FlexPerks Gold 85 FlexPoints getting nerfed in 2018

3. Cards with Gogo Benefits

Bank Card Name Annual Fee # of Gogo Passes
Amex Business Platinum 450 10
Amex SPG 95; waived 1st year No
City National Bank Crystal VI 400 12
UBS Visa Infinite 495 12
US Bank Altitude Reserve (AR) $400 12
US Bank Cash Plus 0 12 but only to targeted accounts
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards 49 12

3.1 How much is Gogo Benefit Worth?

Not long ago Business Platinum card was the only card that provided Gogo passes. Naturally some people factored in the value of (or convenience of having) these passes while thinking about cancelling or renewing their Business Platinum card. However, now 3 more banks have cards that provide Gogo passes.

Now I recognize that Platinum cards do have “once in a lifetime” language, UBS requires paper application for non-clients, and City generally prefers clients with high income. That still leaves with us US Bank which has 3 cards that provide Gogo passes. While Cash Plus card is a common card among those who’ve been churning for a while, unfortunately only selected Cash Plus cards have Gogo offer attached to their account.

This finally leaves with us AR and FP cards. AR card has a net cost of $400 (AF) – $325 (travel credit) = $75 for renewing the card but at the same time it only costs $49 to renew the FP card. Overall, at worst, 12 Gogo passes cost $49, and I’m not even considering the fact that US Bank often provides retention offer and AF waiver on FP cards…oh and AF on this FP card can be paid with mere 3500 FlexPoints.

4. Cards with Boingo WiFi Benefit

Bank Card Name Annual Fee
Amex Business Platinum $450
Amex SPG (both cards) 95; waived 1st year

4.1 How much is the Boingo Benefit Worth?

The unfortunate thing is that all three cards that provide complimentary Boingo access come from Amex and as such are bound by the “once in a lifetime” language. Additionally, with the merger of SPG into Marriott, it is very likely that two of these three cards will be going away in near future. But for now, since the cost of renewing SPG card is $95 one could say that at worst the the cost of Boingo unlimited WiFi is $95. Do remember that 10k retention offer on SPG personal card has become a common occurrence but good retention offer on Platinum business is still rare.

5. $100 Discount on RT Flight via Visa Infinite

Out of the 5 VI cards mentioned above (namely AR, Crystal, CSR, Ritz, and UBS VI) only CSR does not offer this benefit. To learn more about this benefit, you can read this DoC’s post.

5.1 How much is VI $100 Discount worth?

At this point you’re probably thinking “he’s going to say $0” and you would be right but that is primary due to the fact that I’ve yet to use this benefit. Now if you do use this benefit then one reasonable option is to juggle between signup bonuses of VI cards with $100 discount benefit. Another possibility is to simply keep AR card which as previously stated has a net $75 fee for renewing the card.

Summary

It is important to judge these benefits in your own setting. Even if you make use of these benefits a lot, these benefits probably should not play any role during renewal/downgrade/cancellation of a card granted you can juggle between cards that provide these benefits. On the contrary, if you’re someone who finds value in hard to find benefits (like Boingo) then perhaps factor that value while considering renewal/downgrade/cancellation of a card.

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