Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
My top travel credit cards for September 2017 are:
|Card Name||Sign-Up Bonus|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||60,000 Southwest points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card||80,000 IHG points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Citi Prestige® Card ||75,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve℠||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||50,000 Altitude Reserve points after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening|
It’s an exciting time for folks in the miles & points hobby, because there are excellent sign-up bonuses and ongoing perks on lots of great travel credit cards. And earning just one sign-up bonus from certain cards can help you take the trip of a lifetime for nearly free!
We don’t earn a commission for the cards without card art images, but Emily and I will always share the best deals with you!
Best Travel Credit Cards September 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
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 at least $1,000. Or potentially more when you transfer points to Chase’s travel partners, like Southwest, United Airlines, and Hyatt!
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
Just remember, similar to 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 (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards).
Plus, you’ll need to have a small business to get the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. But you might qualify for a small business card without realizing it! And you do NOT need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) – you can apply with just your Social Security Number.
Team member Keith has had the Ink Business Preferred for over a year now! It gives him the opportunity to earn lots of valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points from his eBay side business. And he saved ~$3,900 by transferring the sign-up bonus to United Airlines for a Business Class flight to New Zealand!
2. Chase Southwest Credit Cards
Because you can earn 60,000 Southwest points with the Chase Southwest Premier or Chase Southwest Plus cards after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
And you can earn 60,000 Southwest points on the Chase Southwest small business card after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
The annual fee ($99 for the Premier personal and small business cards & $69 for the Plus) is NOT waived the first year.
These improved offers on the Chase Southwest cards make it easy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass by applying for just 2 cards! If you apply for 1 personal card and 1 small business card, you’ll have more than enough points to qualify.
Then, a friend or family member can travel with you for almost free on paid and award ticket for up to 2 years! But I typically recommend folks earn the Companion Pass as early in the year as possible. Because it’s valid through the last day in the following year in which it’s earned.
So it could be worth waiting to see if these offers will pop up again a few months from now. 😉
3. Chase IHG Card
Link: Chase IHG Card
For a limited time, you can earn 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening with the Chase IHG card.
You’ll also get:
- 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels
- 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- 5,000 bonus IHG points adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same 3-month period
- Free night at any IHG hotel after each cardmember anniversary
- Platinum Elite Status as long as you have the card (50% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades if available, priority check-in)
- 10% points rebate (up to 100,000 points back per year)
There are NO foreign transaction fees with this card. And it has a $49 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.
This is 20,000 points higher than the most recent sign-up bonus. And you can get LOTS of Big Travel with Small Money with 80,000 IHG points!
I keep the Chase IHG card in my wallet year after year, despite the $49 annual fee. Because the card has ongoing perks that save you lots of money. Like a free night each cardmember anniversary you can use at ANY IHG hotel in the world!
4. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
You’ll earn 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!
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 waived the first year. So you can use the card for about a year without paying anything. Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee.
Million Mile Secrets team member Scott loves using his Chase Sapphire Preferred card overseas at restaurants and bars to earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on meals and drinks, without having to worry about 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 Chase business cards and these other business cards), you’ll likely NOT be approved for this card.
5. Citi Prestige
Link: Citi Prestige
You’ll earn 75,000 Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige after meeting the minimum spending requirement. That’s worth ~$938 in airfare. And potentially more when you transfer Citi ThankYou points to airline or hotel partners!
The card comes with a $450 annual fee, which can be offset by great perks like:
- 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies
- 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend at restaurants and select entertainment (includes movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions)
- $250 statement credit for flight-related expenses such as airfare and baggage fees
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
- Priority Pass Select lounge access for primary cardholder and immediate family or up to 2 guests (additional guests $27 per person, per visit)
- 4th night free (based on average nightly cost of room excluding taxes) when you book 4 consecutive nights at almost any hotel (must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge or Citi ThankYou Travel Portal and paid in full with your card)
- Trip & baggage delay insurance
- No foreign transaction fees
Million Mile Secrets team member Joseph has the Citi Prestige (and plans to keep it!), and uses the airline lounge perk multiple times every trip. He saved ~$600 during a stay in Dubai with the card’s 4th night free benefit!
Just remember, you can’t earn the sign-up bonus for any Citi credit card if you’ve either opened or closed a card of the same “brand” in the past 24 months. So if you’ve opened or closed a Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi ThankYou Preferred card in the past 24 months, you will NOT be eligible for the Citi Prestige offer.
6. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
And you’ll get $750 toward travel when you redeem 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 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!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel & dining
- Up to $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
Just remember, new applicants will receive their $300 travel credit after each cardmember anniversary, instead of each calendar year. And this card IS affected by Chase’s “5/24 rule.”
7. 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 sign-up bonus alone is worth $750! Because points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them through US Bank’s travel portal.
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℠ Rewards Visa® Card.
With the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, you’ll also get:
- 3X points on travel purchases and mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay)
- 1X points on all other purchases
- 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
And it comes with a $325 annual travel credit every cardmember year. This is an amazing perk to offset the card’s $400 annual fee, that’s 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. But if you can’t apply for Chase cards for a while, this card is a fantastic deal!
My top travel credit cards for September 2017 are:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Southwest Credit Cards
- Chase IHG
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Citi Prestige
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- US Bank Altitude Reserve
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 $1,000 when you redeem points for travel through the Chase’s travel portal.
Some of these cards don’t earn us a commission, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!