Top 7 Credit Cards to Get Big Travel With Small Money – March 2017

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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 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 creditsairport lounge access, and Global Entry reimbursements.  Some can save you thousands of dollars on your upcoming travel!

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

Use Miles & Points to Visit the Stunning Beaches of Durban, South Africa, Like I Did!

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

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Limited Time: Best-Ever 35,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus With AMEX Starwood Cards Returns!

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.

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

Million Mile Secrets Team Member Jasmin Took Her Kids to the Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain in Ontario, Which Costs Between 12,000 and 16,000 Starwood Points per Night

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:

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

Link:   My Review of the 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!

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available), or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), you’ll only get a value of 1.25 cents per point.

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.

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Sells Rooms for $750+

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

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   My Review of the 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!

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

You Can Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Stay at All-Inclusive Hotels, Like the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun!

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).

But you can check out these 6 Chase credit cards you can be approved for, even if you are over the “5/24 rule”.

4.   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   My Review of the AMEX Business Platinum Card

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.

You can get $1,500+ in value from 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points toward Business and First Class airfare on ANY airline, or coach tickets on your selected airline.  

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!

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

Million Mile Secrets Team Member Joseph Booked a Delta One Flight From Sao Paulo to Detroit for Just 30,000 Delta Miles

You’ll also get:

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

Link:   My Review of the 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!

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Is Enough for 2 Round-Trip Flights to Hawaii From the US When You Transfer Them to 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

Link:   My Review of the 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.

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

The Citi Prestige Will Save You Lots of Money on Travel, so You Can Start Crossing Destinations Off Your Bucket List

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

Link:   My Review of the 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!

Best Travel Credit Cards March 2017

You Can Save Thousands of Dollars by Using Your Free Nights at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek During Peak Ski Season!

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!

Bottom Line

My top 7 travel credit cards for March 2017 are:

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.

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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 “Top 7 Credit Cards to Get Big Travel With Small Money – March 2017

  1. I don’t understand the travel hacking world’s love affair with the SPG. Unless you plan to stay at a Starwood or Marriott property, I don’t think it is that valuable of a card. Yes it is a flexible currency, but there are other flexible currencies that have bigger signup bonuses and are easier to get. I’d much rather have the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 100,000 point bonus for less spend than SPG’s 35,000. What am I missing?

    • I am new to this travel hacking.. but the way I understand it is SPG points are very useful when you use them properly. For example, transferring SPG to Alaska gives you access to Emirates business which values each SPG point at 3 cents. It gets better when you use them for First class; the value is close to 6.5 cents per point.
      However, you are right that there is nothing special about SPG if you use them for regular redemptions like economy travel or hotel stays other than starwood or marriott (only 1.2 cents per point).

      The strategy must be to get CSR, CSP, Chase ink preferred first and then worry about SPG personal and business.
      CSR, CSP and ink pref. combined need a minimum spend of 13K in 3 months.
      2 SPG cards need the same 13K minimum spend (tiered spending ofcourse).
      But the value of chase cards is a lot more, close to 3500 dollars vs. SPG 70K points.

  2. Citi prestige says you have to spend $4000 not $3000 Is the link bad?