Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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 card member year
- Priority Pass Select for access to airport lounges
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry
- No foreign transaction fees
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.
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.
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!
You’ll also get:
- 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+
- A points rebate when you book certain flights 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 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
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.
You’ll also get:
- 3X points on travel purchases
- 3X points on mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay)
- 1X points on all other purchases
- Limited access to Priority Pass Select lounges (4 free entries per year for you and 1 guest)
- 12 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year
- Global Entry fee credit
- Visa Infinite benefits
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.
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
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!
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 Card
With the Citi Prestige card, you can earn a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s worth at least $500, but can be worth even more depending on how you use it!
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!
My top 7 travel credit cards for May 2017 are:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- AMEX Business Platinum
- US Bank Altitude Reserve
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Citi Prestige
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!