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The end of winter is right around the corner! So it’s the perfect time to start planning your spring getaway.
Lots of credit cards come with great sign-up bonuses and travel benefits, including travel credits, airport lounge access, and Global Entry reimbursements. Some can save you thousands of dollars on your upcoming travel!
Here are my picks for the best travel credit cards March 2017.
Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017
Link: Hot Deals
Whether you’re new to miles & points or a seasoned veteran, these 7 credit cards will help you achieve your travel goals!
1. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express
When you apply by April 5, 2017, you can earn a total of 35,000 Starwood points on the personal and small business versions of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express cards after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
That’s a good deal, because the sign-up bonus for these cards is usually 25,000 Starwood points. And you can book a night at nearly any Starwood hotel for 35,000 Starwood points.
With the personal AMEX Starwood card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.
And with the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.
You’ll also get:
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
- For small business cardholders, access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd-party bookings are excluded).
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year on both cards.
You can get Big Travel with 35,000 Starwood points. For example, you can turn those points into 1 free round-trip Business Class flight or 2 in coach! Or you can stay at 5-star hotels in Europe.
Note: American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards.
This could be your last chance to apply for these cards! Because Starwood will soon integrate into Marriott. And the co-branded Starwood cards will likely be discontinued.
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But if you apply in-branch before March 12, 2017, you can earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
You’ll get a value of at least $1,500 when you redeem 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase!
Plus, you can get more value from your points by transferring them to valuable partners, like Singapore Airlines or Hyatt! Emily and I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for free nights at the luxurious Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.
You’ll also get benefits like:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel & dining
- $300 statement credit for travel purchases (like airfare, Airbnb, hotels, car rental, Uber, etc.) each 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, NOT waived the first year. But you can offset this fee with perks like the $300 statement credit and airport lounge access.
This card is restricted under the Chase “5/24 rule”. So if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (with the exception of certain small business cards), you’ll likely NOT be approved for this card.
We don’t earn a commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you about the best offers.
3. Chase Ink Business Preferred
The Chase Ink Business Preferred comes with 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. And because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Chase portal, the sign-up bonus is worth at least $1,000!
The card also comes with:
- 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 $600 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 easy to use. You can also transfer them to travel partners, like Hyatt or Singapore Airlines, where they can be worth even more!
Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase will NOT approve you for their Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (with the exception of certain small business cards).
4. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
With The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, you can earn a total of 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
You’ll earn 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 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.
Because AMEX Membership Rewards points will effectively be worth 2 cents per point when you use Pay With Points to buy any flight with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal. And 2 cents per point for Business or First Class tickets on ANY airline booked through the portal.
And if you transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline partners, like Air Canada or Delta, you can get even MORE value from your points!
You’ll also get:
- 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+
- 50% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- 50% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Free Hilton HHonors Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
- Terms & limitations apply
The card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year. But you’ll get thousands of dollars in travel from the sign-up bonus and great benefits, like the $200 airline incidental fee statement credit and access to airport lounges.
This is a “premium” card, but it’s not too difficult to get approved even if you’re just starting a business or aren’t making millions in business income. I applied and was instantly approved! Plus, AMEX small business cards will NOT hurt your chances of being approved for Chase cards.
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.
5. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. That’s worth $625 when you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. And even more if you transfer your points to travel partners like United Airlines and Korean Air!
I transferred 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for a stay at the Park Hyatt Milan, where rooms cost $500+ per night!
This card also earns:
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point pe $1 spent on all other purchases worldwide
- 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
- Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
- Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
- NO foreign transaction fees
The card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. So you can use the card for 11 months without a fee, and decide if you like it enough to pay the annual fee.
Again, it’s highly unlikely that Chase will approve you for their Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (with the exception of these small business cards).
6. Citi Prestige
Link: Citi Prestige
The Citi Prestige comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. That’s worth at least $500, but can be worth much more depending on how you use it!
For example, you can transfer your points to partners like Cathay Pacific or Flying Blue (the airline alliance of KLM and Air France) for free airfare.
With this card, you’ll get:
- 3 points per $1 you spend at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies
- 2 point per $1 you spend at restaurants and select entertainment (includes movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions)
- $250 statement credit for airline fees such as airfare and baggage fees
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
- Access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges for primary cardholder, immediate family, or 2 guests, as long as you’re flying on American Airlines or American Eagle that day through July 23, 2017
- Priority Pass Lounge access for primary cardholder and up to 2 guests (additional guests $27 per person, per visit)
- 4th night free when you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel (must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge and paid in full with your card)
- No foreign transaction fees
The $450 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year. But you can get a $250 statement credit for flights purchased with your card in 2017 and another $250 credit for flights you purchase in 2018 before your second annual fee is due. So for the first year, Citi is $50 to try out the card!
Emily and I don’t earn commission on this card, but we’ll always tell our readers about the best deals!
7. Chase Hyatt
Link: Chase Hyatt
The Chase Hyatt card comes with 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. That includes expensive hotels like the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. I used my free nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome a few years ago, where rooms frequently sell for $750+ per night!
This card you’ll also comes with:
- 5,000 Hyatt points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase with your card in the first 3 months
- Hyatt Discoverist elite status
- 1 free night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt hotel every card anniversary
- 2X Hyatt points on restaurants, car rentals, and airline tickets purchased directly from airlines
- NO foreign transaction fees
The $75 annual fee is NOT waived the first year. But if you think you’ll use your free anniversary night, that more than makes up for the annual fee!
We don’t earn a commission on this card either, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!
My top 7 travel credit cards for March 2017 are:
- AMEX Starwood personal and small business
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- AMEX Business Platinum
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Citi Prestige
- Chase Hyatt
These cards come with excellent sign-up bonuses that will help you get Big Travel with Small Money!
For example, you’ll earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve when you apply in-branch before March 12, 2017. That’s worth at least $1,500 when you redeem them for travel through the Chase portal. And lots more if you transfer them to travel partners like United Airlines and Southwest!
Not all these cards earn us a commission, but we’re committed to telling you about the best public offers we can find.