Sneak Peek at 2017’s Hottest Credit Cards to Travel in Style

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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. 

There are more great cards than ever to help you achieve Big Travel with Small Money!  Because banks continue to release new credit cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses.

And earning just one sign-up bonus on certain cards can get you a trip you may have never though possible!  Like a round-trip award flight to Australia with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or a getaway to Kauai with the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses Make the Trip of Your Dreams Possible, Whether It’s Far Away Like Singapore, or Closer to Home

Here are my top 7 travel credit cards for 2017.

Sneak Peek at the Top 7 Travel Credit Cards in 2017

Link:   Hot Deals

Whether you’re new to miles & points or have been in the hobby a while, these 7 credit cards will help you achieve your travel goals!

Note:   You might qualify for the following small business cards without realizing it!

If you earn income for performing a service, or selling goods, you have a small business.  This can include side jobs like driving for Uber or selling real estate.

You do NOT need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) to apply for a small business credit card.  You can apply with just your Social Security Number.

Be sure to tell the truth about your income and business when you fill-out the application!

1.   The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   My Review of the 100,000 Point AMEX Business Platinum Offer

When you apply for The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN by January 25, 2017, and complete tiered spending requirements, you can earn up to 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points!

That’s worth at least $2,000 towards Business and First Class airfare on ANY airline, (or the same amount towards coach tickets on your selected airline).  That’s because you’ll get 2 cents per point when using Pay With Points for ticket purchases through the AMEX travel portal.

But the sign-up bonus can be worth even more if you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline partners like Delta or Singapore Airlines!

You’ll earn 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.  And another 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe.

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

After You Complete the Tiered Spending Requirements, You’ll Have Enough Points for 3 Round-Trips From the US to Hawaii!

You’ll also get:

The card has a $450 annual feeNOT waived the first year.  But the thousands of dollars in travel you’ll get from the sign-up bonus combined with the $200 in statement credits more than make up for it!

It’s relatively easy to be approved for this card.  I applied and was instantly approved!  And I’m looking forward to using the Pay With Points perk.

Plus, this AMEX small business card does NOT hurt my chances of being approved for Chase cards in the future.

Note:   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.

2.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

When you open the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll earn at least $1,000 towards travel after you meet minimum spending requirements.  That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents per point when you redeem them for travel through the Chase travel portal

And you’ll get even more value when you transfer the points to valuable partners, like United Airlines or Flying Blue, the frequent flier program for Air France and KLM.  This is the key to flying international Business Class and First Class.

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

Transfer 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to United Airlines for a Free Round-Trip Ticket to South Africa With One of Their Partner Airlines!

When you sign-up for the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll get 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $500 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase travel portal
  • Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year when you apply in-branch

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite kind of points because they’re flexible and offer fantastic redemption options.  For example, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for a Business Class ticket to Australia!

Note:   If you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months, it’s VERY UNLIKELY Chase will approve you for some of their Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred (with the exception of certain small business cards).

But not all Chase credit cards are off limits.  There are still 6 Chase credit cards you can be approved for, even if you are over the “5/24 rule”.

3.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is packed with valuable travel benefits.

It has a sign-up bonus worth at least $1,500 in travel after meeting minimum spending requirements.  Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase.

And you can get more value from the sign-up bonus by transferring the points to valuable partners, like Singapore Airlines or Hyatt!

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-Up Bonus to Book Free Nights at Luxurious Hotels Like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome

You’ll earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  

Emily and I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for unforgettable stays in places like the Hyatt Regency in Maui, and the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel & dining (it can add up quickly!)
  • $300 statement credit for any travel purchases (like Airbnb, airfare, car rental, Uber, etc.) per calendar year
  • Priority Pass Select for access to airport lounges
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry
  • No foreign transaction fees

The card comes with a $450 annual fee, but can be offset with perks like the $300 statement credit and airport lounge access (not to mention the amazing sign-up bonus!)

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

4.   The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   My Review of The Business Gold Rewards Card from AMEX

Right now, you’ll earn 50,000 AMEX 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.

Emily was approved for the 50,000 point offer.  She’ll earn Big Travel with her points by transferring her AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline partners like Delta or Flying Blue.

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

The AMEX Business Gold Rewards Sign-Up Bonus Can Earn You a Round-Trip from the US All the Way to Israel When You Transfer Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Flying Blue!

The normal sign-up bonus for this card is 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.  So this is an excellent offer!

Note:   Some folks receive targeted offers through the mail for a sign-up bonus of 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Check to see if you have a higher offer before applying for this 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus!

This card also earns:

  • 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 & limitations apply

Again, you can only earn the sign-up bonus ONCE with each American Express card.  So if you’ve had this card before, you will NOT be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus again.

5.   Merrill Lynch Merill+ Visa

Link:   Merrill Lynch Merrill+ Visa

Link:   My Review of the Merrill Lynch Merill+ Visa

The Merrill Lynch Merrill+ Visa is offering a sign-up bonus worth between $500 and $1,000, depending on how you use it!

With this card, you’ll get:

  • 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening (up to $1,000 in travel!)
  • 1 point per $1 on all purchases
  • Your choice of free Delta Sky Club lounge membership or $200 credit for travel incidentals (including Global Entry) after spending $50,000+ in 1 year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

Want to Visit the Coliseum in Rome? The Merrill Lynch Merrill+ Card Sign-Up Bonus Can Help You Get There

Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin plans to apply for this no annual fee card very soon!

The value of your points depends on what you redeem them for.  You’ll receive a value of:

  • 2 cents per point when booking flights on American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, and United Airlines
  • 1.67 cents per point on all other airlines
  • 1 cent per point when you redeem for cash back
  • Generally 1 cent per point when you redeem for gift cards (redemption value varies)

There are conditions to these awards, so read my full review here!

Remember, everyone should have a no annual fee credit card.  That’s because 15% of your credit score is determined by the length of credit history.  So when you keep it forever, it can help boost your credit score.

Emily and I don’t earn commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you the best deals we’re aware of!

6.   Chase Marriott

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Business Card

Link:   My Review of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Marriott and Starwood are merging.  Because of this, you can now use Marriott points at Starwood hotels!

The Chase Marriott personal and small business cards offer 80,000 Marriott points.  after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

And the personal version of the card offers another 7,500 Marriott points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of account opening.  So you’d have more than 90,000 Marriott points after you complete minimum spending requirements!

You can use that sign-up bonus for:

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Is Rated One of the Best Ritz-Carlton Hotels in the World!

If you don’t want to use your 90,000 Marriott points at a Marriott hotel, you can transfer your Marriott points to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio.  Then use for a free night at a Starwood category 7 hotel like the the The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection.  Or 7 free nights at a Starwood Category 2 hotel like the Aloft Cancun.

Marriott points can even help you earn the Southwest Companion Pass (which I consider to be the best deal in travel)!  You can use your Marriott points toward a Hotel + Air Package, and credit your points to Southwest.

With the Chase Marriott cards, you’ll also get:

  • 5X Marriott points at Marriott hotels
  • 2X Marriott points on restaurants, car rentals, airline ticket (purchased directly from airline), office supply stores, internet, cable, and phone
  • Free night each card anniversary at Marriott category 1 to 5 hotels
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee, NOT waived the first year ($85 for personal card, $99 for small business card)

7.   Chase Ritz-Carlton

Link:   Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card

When you sign-up for the Chase Ritz-Carlton card, you’ll earn 3 free nights at participating Ritz-Carlton Tier 1 through 4 hotels after meeting minimum spending requirements.

This welcome bonus can save you thousands of dollars, depending on where you use your free nights.  For example, a night at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui, can cost $750+.

Top 7 Travel Cards For December 2016

Spend Your Ritz-Carlton Sign-Up Bonus Overlooking the Pacific at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

Million Mile Secrets Team Member Joseph stayed at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco during the Thanksgiving weekend and saved ~$450 per night!

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

If you have this card, you’ll get automatic Gold elite status.  You can then match your status instantly to Starwood and earn Starwood Gold elite status, too!  You’ll have elite status with over 5,700 hotels around the world, and enjoy perks like late checkout and room upgrades!

This card is not impacted by the Chase “5/24 rule”, so you can get this card even if you’ve been approved for more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months!

If you need inspiration, read my top picks for the best hotels to use your 3 free Ritz-Carlton nights in the USSouth America, Europe, and Asia!

Bottom Line

My top 7 travel credit cards for 2017 to help you get Big Travel with Small Money are:

These cards come with excellent sign-up bonuses and ongoing perks that can be used toward an unforgettable vacation!  Like 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points with the AMEX Business Platinum Card, worth $2,000 when you Pay With Points!

Not all these cards earn us a commission, but Emily and I are committed to telling you about the best offers!

Do you have any recommendations for travel credit cards that weren’t on this list?

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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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2 responses to “Sneak Peek at 2017’s Hottest Credit Cards to Travel in Style

  1. Hey Daraius,

    If you go to the AMEX website with a browser (or PC) that Amex doesn’t recognize, you can find the Personal Premier Rewards Gold Card offered with 50,000 MR points instead of 25K.

    I just got approved about an hour ago over the phone, cause I needed the card expedited and also to make sure I was eligible for that offer considering that if I use my other computer I can only see the offer for 25,000 MR…

  2. There’s also a targeted 150K points ($20K spend) on the Amex biz platinum and I just received a targeted mailer for 75K points ($5K spend) for the Amex Biz Gold. Both came for my children. Don’t throw away your mail.