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

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There have been a lot of new and exciting offers in the miles & points world lately!

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

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

You Can Relax Knowing You Got Your Vacation for Nearly Free!

Here are my picks for the best travel credit cards May 2017.

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

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.

1.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Chase portal, the sign-up bonus alone is worth $1,000+!

The card also comes with:

Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are flexible and easy to use, they’re my favorite kind of points.  You can also transfer them to travel partners, like Hyatt or Singapore Airlines, where they can be worth even more!

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

You Can Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Stay at All-Inclusive Hotels, Like the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica!

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase will NOT approve you for their 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).

2.   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 Chase’s travel portal.  And possibly more if you transfer your points to travel partners like United Airlines and Korean Air!

Best Travel Credit Cards May 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!

It’s my favorite travel card for folks new to miles & points.  Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so flexible!

Emily and I used 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night to stay for free at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, where rooms cost $700+ per night!

With this card, you’ll also get:

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per $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 $95 annual fee is also waived the first year.  So you can use the card for 11 months without paying anything, and decide if you like it enough to pay the annual fee.

That said, 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).

Million Mile Secrets team member Scott is using his Chase Sapphire Preferred card in Mexico now to earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at restaurants.  And bars that code as restaurants!  😉

3.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

And you’ll get a value of at least $750 when you redeem 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  Because your 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!  Like Emily and I did for free nights at the otherwise expensive Park Hyatt Milan.

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

Use the Sign-Up Bonus From the Chase Sapphire Reserve to Book a Free Stay at Your Dream Hotel, Like the Park Hyatt Milan!

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 travel statement credit and airport lounge access.

Just remember, this card IS affected by Chase’s “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.

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

We don’t earn a commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals.

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

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

Link:   My Review of the AMEX Business Platinum Card

With The Enhanced 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.

The Pay With Points rebate when you buy certain flights through the AMEX travel portal recently changed.  You can read more about those updates here.

But 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 May 2017

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Terrific Airline Partners for Flights to Beautiful Destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico!

You’ll also get:

The card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.  But with great benefits, the $200 airline incidental fee statement credit, and access to airport lounges, the annual fee could be worth it for some!

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.  Million Mile Secrets team member Meghan 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.   US Bank Altitude Reserve Card

Link:   U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Link:   My Review of the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card

You can earn 50,000 points after spending $4,500 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of opening a US Bank Altitude Reserve card.

The points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through US Bank’s travel portal.  So the sign-up bonus alone is worth $750!

Just remember, you must already have a relationship with US Bank, like a loan, checking account, mortgage, or credit card, to be approved for this card.

Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan applied for this card and was instantly approved.  But he has the no-annual-fee US Bank Club Carlson card.

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

The Annual $325 Travel Credit Will Reimburse You for Things Like Hotels, Airfare, or Even Public Transportation. And Will Help Offset the Higher Annual Fee!

You’ll also get:

Plus, it comes with a $325 annual travel credit every cardmember year.   That’s good news, because the $400 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.

You can check out my full review of the card here.

Just remember, if you’re new to this hobby, I’d suggest applying for the Chase cards you want first.  That way you aren’t restricted by Chase’s approval rules.  If you can’t apply for Chase cards for a while, this card is a no-brainer!

6.   Hilton Honors Credit Cards from American Express

Link:   Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

Link:   Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express

Link:   AMEX Hilton Cards Offering Highest Sign-Up Bonuses Ever

Until May 31, 2017, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express have increased sign-up bonuses.  These are the highest bonuses ever offered on these cards!

With the AMEX Hilton Honors card, you’ll earn 80,000 Hilton points after you make $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.  And 100,000 Hilton points after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card.

Plus, the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card comes with a free weekend night certificate after the first anniversary date of card approval!

Million Mile Secrets Readers Reveal Their Favorite Hilton Hotels

You Can’t Tell Where the Pool Ends and the Ocean Begins at the Conrad Maldives!

And the free weekend night certificate you’ll get after the first anniversary date of card approval with the AMEX Hilton Surpass card can be used at expensive Conrad or Waldorf Astoria resorts (with a few exceptions), like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.  Nights here can easily cost $1,000+!

Just remember, Hilton no longer has an award chart, so you’ll have to check each hotel for the going rate.

The no-annual-fee AMEX Hilton card comes with:

  • 7 Hilton points per $1 spent at most Hilton hotels
  • 5 Hilton points per $1 spent at US gas stations, US restaurants, and US supermarkets
  • 3 Hilton points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free Hilton Silver elite status (late check-out, 2 free bottles of water, and 15% points bonus on Hilton points earned)
  • Free Hilton Gold elite status (free breakfast and better upgrades) after spending $20,000 in a calendar year
  • Terms & limitations apply

And the AMEX Hilton Surpass card comes with:

  • Free Hilton Gold Elite status (free breakfast at certain hotels, upgrades when available)
  • Free Hilton Diamond Elite status when you spend more than $40,000 in a calendar year (better upgrades)
  • 12 points for every $1 you spend at Hilton hotels
  • 6 points per $1 you spend at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3 points per $1 you spend on everything else
  • Terms and limitations apply

If you haven’t received the bonus before on these cards, these are great deals to consider!  The bonuses have never been this high, so this is a good opportunity to earn lots of Hilton points!

7.   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

With the Citi Prestige card, you can earn 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 even 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 tickets.

Best Travel Credit Cards May 2017

You’ll Save Lots of Money on Travel With the Citi Prestige. So You Can Start Crossing Destinations Off Your Bucket List!

The card also comes with perks like:

  • 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 effectively gives you $50 to try out the card!

We don’t earn anything for this card, but we’ll always tell our readers about the best offers!

Bottom Line

My top 7 travel credit cards for May 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 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred small business card.  That’s worth at least $1,000 when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel 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’ll always tell you about the best offers out there.

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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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9 responses to “Top 7 Credit Cards to Get Big Travel With Small Money – May 2017

  1. Question…my husband is well over the 5/24 rule in his personal cards. When he applies for a business card will he be denied based on that? Or no..because it is not a personal card?

    • Unfortunately the Chase Ink Business Preferred IS affected by Chase’s 5/24 rule. And they don’t consider business cards separate from personal ones. So your husband isn’t likely to be approved.

      • Darn…ok..looks like we apply only for business cards that don’t count towards the 5/24 rule on her credit report for two years

  2. Can you apply for chase ink preferred if you dont have a business?

  3. Any info about the rumored higher Ink Preferred bonus points available in branch this week because of promotions for small business week?

    • Hi Jackie! It MAY be possible to get a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you apply in-branch. Folks report that some branches have paper applications offering 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for National Small Business Week. Some branches don’t. But it’s certainly worth trying if you have a branch nearby!