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Editor's Choice Awards: Best Credit Cards of 2014

By cardratings.com, CardRatings contributor
Updated, December 14, 2014
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Most innovative exclusive offers

velvet rope red carpet

Over the past few years, we've documented the escalating cold war between American Express, Visa, Citi and Chase to capture cardholders' hearts (and wallets) with exclusive entertainment and experiences.

This year, the loyalty battle moved to a whole new front: the airport lounge.

Airline mergers condensed lounge footprints, while alliances between carriers and banks bumped American Express Platinum Card customers off the airport lounge guest lists in many major hubs. With veteran travelers questioning the value of lounges with uneven service and limited availability, it seemed like a once-major perk was headed for the history books.

Imagine the meeting at American Express where someone just said, "You know what? Our cardmembers love airport lounges. Let's just make our OWN lounge, better than anything the airlines are doing."

With locations in four of the country's busiest airports (and more on the way), American Express wants to treat its biggest spenders to delicious (free) meals, fast (free) Wi-Fi, expansive (free) work spaces and cozy (free) couches.

In an environment where it seems airlines and airports have placed a premium on even basic amenities, American Express has chosen to pamper its cardholders at the precise moment when a generous brunch buffet can have the biggest impact on customer loyalty. Non-Platinum customers don't have to feel left out though -- a $50 day pass gets any valid AmEx charge or credit card holder into the lounge. It's a grand idea that can transform an airport visit from mediocre to magnificent.

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About Our Ratings ×

Our editors rate credit cards objectively based on the features the credit card offers consumers, the fees and interest rates, and how a credit card compares with other cards in its category. Ratings vary by category, and the same card may receive a certain number of stars in one category and a higher or lower number in another.

The ratings are the expert opinion of our editors, and not influenced by any remuneration this site may receive from card issuers.

Advertisers in our database are highlighted, and advertisements include an option to apply using links on our site. CardRatings.com may be compensated by companies mentioned on the site when a user's application is accepted or approved by such companies.

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