The 7 Best Travel Credit Cards for October 2016

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Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

The new and improved credit card offers aren’t slowing down!

When banks compete for our business by increasing their credit card perks, we receive the benefits!  Your ideal vacation is closer than ever if you know which credit cards to sign-up for.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

The Best Vacation Is a Free Vacation!

I’ll share my top 7 travel credit cards that get you Big Travel with Small Money.

My Top 7 Picks for Travel Credit Cards

Link:   Hot Deals

Whether you’re new to this hobby or an old-timer in the miles & points world, these 7 credit cards will help you get where you want to go.  And none of these cards charge foreign transaction fees, so they’re great cards to use overseas.

1.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is my favorite card for getting Big Travel with Small Money.  It comes with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your account.  That’s worth at least $1,500 when you redeem through the Chase Travel Portal for travel purchases like flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can take you even farther if you transfer your points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, like United Airlines and Hyatt!

This is the highest public offer I’ve ever seen on a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

You’re Free to Explore the World With the 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points You’ll Earn From the Chase Sign-Up Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $450 annual fee, which can be easily offset by travel perks like:

I received my Chase Sapphire Reserve last month, and like the 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn at restaurants.  I also like how the card increases the value of the points I earn on all my Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards from 1.25 cents to 1.5 cents when I combine them!

2.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the card I recommend to folks who are new to miles and points.

When you open the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  That’s worth at least $625 when you book a trip through the Chase Travel Portal.

And like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can get a lot more value from your points by transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase travel partners!

You’ll get another 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

Transfer Your Points to Southwest and Visit Puerto Rico Cheaply

Most everyone at Million Mile Secrets has the Chase Sapphire Preferred!  For an annual fee of just $95 (waived the first year), we get benefits like primary car rental insurance, which covers any damage or theft to your rental car, and trip delay reimbursement, which will compensate you for delayed luggage, up to $100 per day for up to 5 days!

3.   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

While the Citi Prestige credit card offer used to be a lot better, it’s still an incredible travel credit card!

The card comes with a $450 annual fee, which can be offset by amazing perks like:

  • $250 statement credit for travel expenses like airfare and baggage fees appearing on your statement from December to the following December
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
  • Priority Pass Select Lounge access for primary cardholder and immediate family or to 2 guests
  • 4th night free when you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel (must be booked through Citi Travel Concierge and paid in full with your card)
7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

The Citi Prestige Comes With a Priority Pass Membership, So You Can Access 900+ Airport Lounges Around the World

Million Mile Secrets team member Joseph has Citi Prestige, and uses the airline lounge perk multiple times every trip.  He saved ~$600 during a stay in Dubai with the card’s 4th night free benefit!

Emily and I don’t earn a commission on Citi Prestige, but we’ll always tell you the best deals!

4.  Chase Ritz-Carlton

Link:   Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card

The Chase Ritz-Carlton card benefits have recently received an overhaul!  You’ll earn 3 free nights at participating Ritz-Carlton tier 1 through 4 hotels after meeting minimum spending requirements (previously only 2 free nights).

Depending on the hotel you choose, you can save BIG with this sign-up bonus.  For example, a night at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, can cost well over $700.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

Save ~$2,000 by Using Your 3 Free Ritz-Carlton Nights at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui

The Chase Ritz-Carlton card comes with a $450 annual fee.  But it has great travel perks, like:

The Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit is something you won’t find on nearly any other card!  You’ll get a $100 discount on domestic, round-trip itineraries for 2 to 5 passengers when you use your Chase Ritz-Carlton card to book through the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit site.

You can use this benefit as many times as you want!  So if you book paid domestic flights often, this could save you lots.

Check out my top picks for the best hotels to use your 3 free Ritz-Carlton nights in the USSouth America, Europe, and Asia!

5.   Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Link:   Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Link:   My Review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus currently has the best sign-up bonus it’s ever offered.  You’ll earn 50,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.  That’s worth $525 in statement credits towards travel purchases of $100 or more, because you’ll receive 5% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel.

Travel purchases include things like:

  • Airlines
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Hotels (including Airbnb!)

Check out my post on 10 creative ways to redeem your Barclaycard Arrival miles!

The card earns 2 miles per $1 on all purchases, and the $89 annual fee is waived the first year.

It also comes with Chip + PIN capabilities, which is still a rare feature on credit cards.  But if you’re traveling to Europe, having a credit card with chip-and-PIN is a very good idea.  During my trip to Iceland, I needed a chip-and-PIN credit card just to pay for gas!

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

If I Didn’t Have My Barclaycard Arrival Plus, I Might Have Been Stuck on the Side of the Road!

6.   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Plus

Link:   How to Fill Out a Chase Business Card Application

You’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your Chase Ink Plus account.  That’s worth at least $750 in travel when you redeem your points through the Chase Travel Portal!

The Chase Ink Plus has a great bonus categories, like:

  • 5X points at office supply stores and cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV (up to $50,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 2X points at gas stations and on rooms booked directly with hotels

The Chase Ink Plus comes with an annual fee of $95.

You can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn from the Chase Ink Plus to travel partners, too!  We transferred our points to Hyatt for a stay at the Park Hyatt Milan.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

We Used Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transferred to Hyatt for a Stay at the 5-Star Park Hyatt Milan

The Chase Ink Plus is a small business card, but don’t let that scare you away!  If you have a for-profit venture, like selling items on eBay, you could qualify for a small business card.

7.   The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   How to Fill Out an American Express Business Card Application

You can now earn 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points with the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. 

You’ll also earn:

  • 3X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 you spend in 1 of 5 categories of your choice
  • 2X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 you spend on the 4 remaining categories
  • 1X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 you spend on other purchases
  • Terms and limitations apply

The normal sign-up bonus is 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.  So getting twice the points is a terrific deal!

American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards.  So if you’ve had this card before, you will NOT be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus again.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards October 2016

Emily Took Advantage of the Improved Sign-Up Bonus of the AMEX Business Rewards Gold

Emily recently applied for this better offer and was approved!  She hasn’t had this card before so she’s eligible to earn the sign-up bonus.  And since this is an AMEX small business card, she knew it would not hurt her chances of being approved for Chase cards later on.

Bottom Line

Here are my top 7 travel credit cards this month to help you get Big Travel with Small Money:

These cards come with very valuable ongoing travel benefits, like the 4th night free benefit with Citi Prestige, or trip delay coverage with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Some of these deals have been around for a long time, and some are new.  But because we never know how long a deal will last, it’s best to jump on them while you can!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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3 responses to “The 7 Best Travel Credit Cards for October 2016

  1. Lots of folks are reporting trouble getting the CSR because of the 5/24 rule. Did you encounter any pushback from Chase over this?

  2. I also had issue with the 5/24. Having a banking relationship with Chase made no difference