Mainstream Credit Card Pushing: Motley Fool Edition

Often times I’ll peruse the web in search of content for a new blog post. Today I came across this article from the highly regarded investment website, The Motley Fool. In case you don’t feel like clicking over, they’ve decided to rank their top travel credit cards of 2017! Who knew The Motley Fool could offer investment advice, and also be an expert in the travel credit card space?! Unfortunately, the rankings are just another example of mainstream credit card pushing.

The Motley Fool Top Travel Cards!

I swear you couldn’t make this up if you tried. Before unveiling their top ranked cards, Motley Fool leads in with this gem:

There may be no better time for you to sign up for a new travel credit card than today.

Red-hot competition means travel credit card issuers are battling for your business by packing credit card offers with lucrative perks.

Hundreds of dollars’ worth of free airfare. No foreign and annual transaction fees. VIP access to airport lounges. The list of cardholder favorites and available credit cards is practically endless.

Which is why we’ve vetted the most popular cards on the market to guide you to what we think are the best travel cards available.

Wow, banks are fighting for my business, that’s great! VIP airport lounges, even better! And best of all, the kind team at The Motley Fool has vetted the most popular cards for us! How nice of them! Alright, I can hardly contain myself. Without further ado:

The Motley Fool’s top travel cards of 2017

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
  3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
  4. Capital One Venture Rewards
Top travel cards of 2017? No.

Wow. That’s it. Four cards, none of which I’d consider carrying in my wallet at the moment. Ironically, we recently wrote about how you should cancel the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Yet here is The Motley Fool, claiming it’s the best travel card of 2017! Give me a break. I won’t even get into the sad offering from Bank of America, or how the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is basically just a 2% cash back card.

Remember when the intro gushed about VIP access to airport lounges? Guess how many of their top cards grant access to lounges? You guessed it, zero. How could the Motley Fool be so out of touch? I’ve got a pretty good idea…

Warning! Credit Card Pushing

Sadly, The Motley Fool has an ulterior motive here. It’s called affiliate marketing, and they’ve completely sold out to try and earn an extra buck. The reason you don’t see any top travel cards on this list is because The Motley Fool likely isn’t getting referral fees for them. Serious lists of top travel cards should include cards like:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • American Express Everyday Preferred
  • Chase Freedom
  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

Advertiser Disclosure

You won’t see the top cards listed because The Motley Fool isn’t getting paid to promote them. Ironically, The Motley Fool does have an advertiser disclosure, and it reads like this:

Motley Fool Disclosure

I decided to jump over to the “ratings methodology” page in hopes that I might fully understand this madness. Maybe there was something I was missing. Interestingly, I found this note:

Note: Cardholders comparing our ratings to others may find ours to be different. Our ratings attempt to reflect the needs of the majority of U.S. credit card users, who use credit modestly and are seeking high-quality credit card solutions for their primary needs. Cardholders stretching their rewards via travel redemption tactics and those optimizing cash back across many niche cards and bonus spending categories may find our ratings differ from others for the same credit card offers.

So cardholders that would like to stretch their rewards via travel redemption might find The Motley Fool’s ratings differ from others. Well, isn’t this a supposed to be a list of top travel cards? Why would I not want to stretch rewards via travel redemption? Isn’t that the point of a travel card? It sounds like they’ve already been called out for this nonsense, and are now trying to justify their actions.

Bottom Line

The Motley Fool needs to stay in their lane. They might be a fantastic resource for investment advice, but their credit card rankings leave much to be desired. Identifying which travel cards will be the best for you first requires an analysis of your spending. Here’s a great place to start. As always, we’d be happy to answer any questions you have regarding the best cards for you, not the affiliates.

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2 thoughts on “Mainstream Credit Card Pushing: Motley Fool Edition

  1. Not sure if Chase Freedom should be up there when the Amex Platinum, Citibank Prestige, or Chase Ink Business Preferred is not even on it. Your list is better than the Motley Fool’s, but not quite much better.

    1. Hi Jess –

      Sorry I didn’t see this earlier, your comment went to spam!

      Anyway, I think you might have misread the post a little bit. I didn’t offer any sort of “Top Travel Cards” rankings like Motley Fool did. I threw some cards out there that I feel are more valuable than what Motley Fool ranked. The truth is, it’s difficult to author a definitive list because everybody spends money differently. Additionally, everyone has a different threshold as to how many cards they’d like to carry at once. I feel the Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige are rather redundant when paired with the Sapphire Reserve, but I’m sure a few cases could be made to carry both. Regarding the Ink card, sure it’s a great card and I carry it. However most people don’t own businesses, so I didn’t include that.

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