My Current Favorite Cards for Big Travel!

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My Current Favorite Cards for Big Travel!

Million Mile SecretsMy Current Favorite Cards for Big Travel!Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Update:   Beginning July 23, 2017, Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige card will be worth 1.25 cents each toward flights.  And beginning July 23, 2017, the 4th night free perk will refund the average cost of a 4-night stay, NOT including taxes. 

Wondering which credit card you should get next?

Credit card sign-up bonuses are the quickest way to earn Big Travel with Small Money!  And folks often ask me for help with choosing the best cards.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
With So Many Great Offers, How Do You Decide?

I’ll tell you about my current favorite offers!

Before You Get Started

The fastest way to earn miles and points for Big Travel with Small Money is from credit card sign-up bonuses.  But make sure you have a plan first.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
It’s Easy to Get Excited About the Prospect of Traveling Around the World for a Fraction of the Price! But Don’t Jump in Before You Know the Risks and Have a Plan!

Here are some things you should know:

  • Start Out Slow – I recommend folks who are new to this sign-up for 1 or 2 cards, until they’re comfortable.  This will give you time to see how your credit is impacted and if you’re able to pay your bills on time.
  • Set Your Travel Goals – Where and how do you want to travel?  Then figure out which miles or points will get you there.  Otherwise, you may wind up with points that aren’t useful to you.

This may soon also include business cards like the Chase Ink Plus and Ink Cash as well as airline and hotel branded cards such as the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card or Hyatt cards.  Of course, there are some exceptions and this isn’t in writing, but you may want to apply for these cards 1st to be safe.

My Current Favorite Credit Cards

Here are my picks for the best credit card offers available right now:

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my favorite card.  So if you’re new to this hobby, I recommend getting this card 1st because it may be harder to get down the road.

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.

You’ll get a lot of flexibility with this card!  You can redeem 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for:

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
You Could Book a Romantic 2 Night Stay at the Andaz Maui When You Transfer 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt

2.   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Plus

I like the Chase Ink Plus small business card because you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate rewards points (on up to $50,000 in combined spending per card anniversary year) at office supply stores, and on your cable, internet, and phone bills.  So you can earn lots of points on everyday business purchases.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite reward program because you can transfer your points to great partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.

Rumor 100,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Point Sign Up Bonus With New Card Coming Soon
The Chase Ultimate Rewards Points You Earn With the Chase Ink Plus Transfer Directly to Airline and Hotel Partners at a 1:1 Ratio

You’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Ink Plus card and spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

The $95 annual fee is NOT waived for the 1st year.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
The Chase Ink Plus Is a Small Business Card, So Even If You Have a Sole Proprietorship or You’re in the Planning Stages of a New Company, You Could Be Approved!

The Chase Ink Plus is a small business card, so many folks think they don’t qualify.  But you don’t need a multi-million dollar company to get this card.  In fact, it might be a lot easier than you think!

3.   Chase British Airways

Link:   Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card

British Airways Avios points are still the best deal for short-haul flights!

Flights under 1,150 miles on British Airways partners like Alaska Airlines and American Airlines in North America only cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points each way.  And 1-way flights under 650 miles outside of North America are still only 4,500 British Airways Avios points.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
With the Chase British Airways Card You Can Earn Enough Points for 13 Short One-Way Flights, Like From Miami to Jamaica!

You can currently earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card after meeting the tiered spending requirements.

Here’s how it works:

  • $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account (earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points)
  • $10,000 (total) on purchases in the first 12 months of opening your account (earn an additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
  • $20,000 (total) on purchases in the first 12 months of opening your account (earn another 25,000 British Airways Avios points)

My British Airways award booking guide will show you all the ways you can use the points you earn.

4.   Chase Hyatt

Link:   Chase Hyatt

Link:   My Review of the Chase Hyatt

The Chase Hyatt card is a great choice if you’re looking for a luxury hotel stay.  You’ll earn 2 nights at ANY Hyatt hotel when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

You can use your free nights at luxurious hotels like the Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome, Park Hyatt Sydney, and any of their all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean!

Or for more ideas take a look at my list of top Hyatt hotels in Asia & Australia, the Caribbean & Mexico, Central & South America, Europe, the US, and US Beaches.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
The Park Hyatt Sydney Has Incredible Views of Sydney Harbour, and You Can Stay 2 Nights for Free With the Chase Hyatt Card! That’s ~$1,500 in Savings!

And you’ll earn 5,000 bonus Hyatt points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

The $75 annual fee is waived the 1st year.  And it’s worth hanging onto this card after that because you’ll get 1 free night at any Hyatt Category 1 to 4 hotel each card anniversary year.

5.   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

When you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening a Citi Prestige account, you’ll earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points(EXPIRED.)

You can redeem those points for:

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
Use Your 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points for $800 in American Airlines Flights and Earn Miles for Your Trip!

This card has an annual fee of $450, which is NOT waived the 1st year.  But you’ll get a lot of fantastic benefits worth much more including:

  • $250 statement credit for airline purchases such as airfare, baggage fees, and upgrade fees appearing on your statement from December to the following December
  • $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 booked through the Citi Concierge
  • No foreign transaction fees

6.   Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

Link:   Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

There are several different Hilton credit cards, but I like the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card the most.  That’s because you’ll earn 2 weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) at almost any Hilton hotel when you spend $2,500 on purchases within the 1st 4 months of opening your account.

The $95 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
The Citi Hilton Reserve Card Can Get You 2 Nights at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa

Check out my posts on the top Hilton hotels to use your free weekend nights in Asia, Australia & the South Pacific, the CaribbeanEurope, the US, US Beaches.

7.   AMEX SimplyCash

Link:   AMEX SimplyCash

Link:   My Review of the AMEX SimplyCash Card

Prefer cash back?  With the AMEX SimplyCash card, you can earn a $250 statement credit when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 6 months of opening your account.  And there’s NO annual fee.

I like this card because you’ll earn 5% cash back at US office supply stores (and US cellphone service).

Plus, you’ll get 3% cash back on 1 out of 7 categories of your choice such as airfare, hotels, and US gas stations.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
Where Does Your Business Spend the Most? Earn 3% Cash Back on 1 of 7 Categories of Your Choice (Like US Restaurants) With the AMEX SimplyCash

The AMEX SimplyCash is a small business card, so check out my post on 3 ways you might qualify for a business card.  And here’s a guide on how to complete an AMEX business card application.

8.   Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Link:   Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Link:   My Review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus

You can earn 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 90 days of opening your Barclaycard Arrival Plus account.  The $89 annual fee is waived the 1st year.

The 40,000 Arrival miles you earn are worth $400 in statement credits towards travel purchases of $100+.  Plus, you’ll earn a 5% rebate on miles you redeem for travel expenses including cruises, taxis, ferries, and attractions, and Airbnb.

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
Your Hotel Points Won’t Get You in This Airbnb Hobbit Cabin in Alaska. But Your Barclaycard Arrival Miles Can Help You Cover the Cost!

9.   Chase Southwest Cards

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Personal

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Business

You can currently earn 50,000 Southwest points with both the Chase Southwest Premier personal and small business cards.  To get the bonus, spend $2,000 on purchases on each card within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

The $99 annual fee on each card is NOT waived the 1st year.

Signing-up for both cards can get you most of the way to 1 of the best deals in travel, the Southwest Companion Pass.

With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can fly with you for close to free for up to 2 years!

My Current Favorite Cards For Big Travel
Give Someone You Love the Gift of Travel! With the Southwest Companion Pass, Whenever You Fly Southwest They’ll Fly With You for Almost Free for Up to 2 Years!

Don’t think you can get a business card?  Check out 3 ways you may qualify.  And see my guide on how to complete a Chase business card application.

Bottom Line

Trying to decide which card to apply for next?

Chase is getting strict about approving credit card applications.  I’ve told you in the past that if you’ve applied for ~5 or more new cards within the last 24 months, your application may be denied.  This could soon also include Chase Ink business cards as well as airline and hotel branded cards.

While we haven’t heard anything official from Chase and there are some exceptions, I recommend signing-up for Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink PlusHyatt, British Airways, and Southwest Premier personal & small business sooner than later!

The Citi Prestige, Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve, AMEX SimplyCash, and Barclaycard Arrival Plus cards are also some of my favorite deals right now.

You can find an updated list of my favorite cards any time in the Hot Deals tab.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Love your site, but thought this post wasn’t true to the title. A lot of the thresholds and AFs here are mid-range or expensive.

We carry the Chase Sapphire Rewards card as our “base” card, and currently each have SW Premier cards.(just got the bonus rewards) I’m considering cancelling the SW cards as we can transfer our Ultimate rewards 1:1. Good idea or not? We also keep open our Marriott and Hyatt cards.

Does the Chase Ink Plus have the 5/24 rule?

If I start a new venture, do they report that to the IRS?