Chase Ink Cash, Freedom, AMEX Hilton: These Are the 3 No Annual Fee Credit Cards I Use Most (and Why!) – Scott

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It’s true that the very best travel credit cards come with annual fees.  But there ARE a good bunch that are totally free to keep.  For me, this is how I first got started in this crazy fun hobby of collecting credit card miles for travel!

If you’ve been reading Million Mile Secrets for a while, you probably know why I use the Chase cards so much.  But I’ll admit, I’m using the Hilton Honors American Express Card much more than I figured — and it’s NOT to collect Hilton points!

Here are the 3 no annual fee travel credit cards I’ve been using the most:

  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card – (See Rates & Fees)
I'm holding my vaunted Ink Cash Business Credit Card along with my plate of veal marsala at a business dinner
Here I Am Posing Naturally With My Delicious Plate of Food While Holding Up My No Annual Fee Chase Ink Credit Card That Soaks Up a Saucy 2 Points per Dollar at Restaurants!

I ALSO like that the minimum spending requirements to unlock these respective intro bonuses are pretty low, making it VERY easy to get started.

Why I’m Using Ink Business Cash and Chase Freedom So Much

These 2 credit cards are basically always in my wallet when I’m in the US.  I collect as many Chase Ultimate Rewards points as I can with these 2 no annual fee friends of mine.  (Most of my other “friends” charge me a fee to hang out with them.  It’s hard to keep friendships when you always demand they snap a photo of you holding credit cards and ravioli.)

Then I move the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with my Ink Cash and Freedom cards to my beloved Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  And from that fancy metal Sapphire Preferred I’m empowered to shoot the points to my favorite partners:

  • United Airlines for flights to Europe, Hawaii, and pretty much everywhere
  • Hyatt for luxury hotels in the Caribbean and major cities throughout the world

Ink Cash has a fantastic intro bonus right now.  It’s worth $500 in cash! (Just spend the the minimum amount required.)  But I wouldn’t take the cash.  I’d take the equivalent 50,000 points instead and move them to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Because then those points are worth $625 for flights with no blackout dates in the easy-to-use Chase portal — it looks like Expedia.

Or better yet, book award flights and hotels nearly anywhere in the world with loyalty points!  That’s how you get serious travel!

I'm sitting on a bench on the boardwalk in Sopot, Poland, in the summer. There's beautiful shimmering blue water. Gosh, I look handsome.
Here I Am Enjoying Summertime in Europe.  I Flew There and Back in Super Relaxing Business Class With My Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.  I Earn Tons of Chase Points With Both the Ink Cash and Freedom Credit Cards.

Ink Cash is intended for small business folks.  I was approved with my social security number (no tax ID needed).  All sorts of growing for-profit business can make you eligible.  For instance, Keith and Jasmin on our team each have side businesses reselling products on sites like Ebay.  And Meghan rents out homes to vacationers.

After you’re approved for your card come back here to go through our step-by-step Guides that make it easy to book your travel with points.

Chase Freedom has a lower bonus BUT you only need to put $500 of spending on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening in order to get it.  And the Freedom card is open to everyone, not just small business owners.

Why I’m Using the Hilton Honors American Express Card So Much

The Hilton Honors American Express is a good no annual fee card.  Currently you’ll earn 75,000 Hilton bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  To give you an idea what that means, I booked a night at the Hampton by Hilton Warsaw City Centre for just 20,000 Hilton points.  That hotel would’ve run me about $100 per night.

But knowing some Million Mile Secrets, we tell you the hotel brands that serve you a quality free breakfast even without fancy elite status.  And Hilton Hampton hotels are one such brand!

With 75,000 Hilton points you can book an unforgettable night at this Hilton hotel in Rome with 3-star Michelin dining, spa, tennis, art collection, and more.

Hilton hotels are just about everywhere so it’s easy to use your Hilton points at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, and more.  But really, I’m not even trying that hard to earn Hilton points right now.

The MAIN reason I’m using this card so much is a little ongoing deal known as “AMEX Offers.”  I love it!

When you log into your online account, you scroll down and all these restaurants, stores, and travel companies are handing out discounts just for using your American Express card to purchase!  Oftentimes it’s for stuff I was going to buy anyway.

Here I am surrounded by 100s of rolls of Charmin Ultra toilet paper because there was a deal on it
I’ve Been Known to Go All-In on a Good Deal!  Note: I live alone.

What’s extra cool is that, say you get a $20 discount to a great restaurant — NOBODY KNOWS you’re getting $20 off your bill but you!  There’s no coupon to show at the table or anything.  Once it’s linked to your card, you just pay with it and AMEX reimburses you the promised amount on your statement.  It’s awesome.

To give you an idea, here are just some of the AMEX Offers I’ve got waiting for me right now:

  • $40 off $200+ JetBlue flights
  • $10 off $15+ Uber or Uber Eats
  • $10 off $30+ at Ruby Tuesday
  • $10 off $50+ at
  • $20 off $90 massage
  • $25 off $75+ at
  • $50 off $200+ at Sunglass Hut

I Don’t Have These Other No Annual Fee Credit Cards… Yet

I’m finding myself tempted by these:

  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: I’m digging the 2% cash back at grocery stores and no foreign transaction fees
  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card:  It’d be great to add American Airlines miles for my next trip

Bottom Line

I’m rockin’ my

  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card

There are my current favorite no annual fee credit cards.  Which ones are you using the most right now?

For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex Card, please click here.

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

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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