Best Travel Credit Card – April 2019: Top Offers for Caribbean Vacations, Trips to Europe, and More!

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Best Travel Credit Card – April 2019: Top Offers for Caribbean Vacations, Trips to Europe, and More!

Scott LiebermanBest Travel Credit Card – April 2019: Top Offers for Caribbean Vacations, Trips to Europe, and More!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Check out our carefully researched list to find the best travel credit card your situation.  With the best credit card offers right now you can earn $1,000s worth of luxury flights and hotels!  Or if you prefer cash back, we found an offer worth $800!

We’ll Help You Find the Best Travel Credit Card for Your Situation.  I Flew Using Miles Instead of Money to Portugal to See Incredible Palaces in Sintra, Just Outside of Lisbon.

 

Seeking the Best Travel Credit Card?

Here at Million Mile Secrets we constantly track down the best credit card rewards for you.  We reveal the real deals and toss away the junk.  And we’ll tell you which credit cards we use personally!  For instance, I love using 4 of the credit cards below.  I’ll tell you which!

Best Credit Card Offers

Here’s a quick breakdown of each card’s bonus offer, best perk, and annual fee.

 Intro Bonus OfferBest PerkAnnual Fee
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on up to $150,000 in combined eligible purchases in select categories each year (then 1X afterwards)$95
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining$95
The Platinum Card® from American Express60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases with your new Card in the first 3 months. Terms Apply.$200 in Uber credit annually and $200 in airline fee credits for your selected airline every year. Terms Apply.$550 (see rates and fees)
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account openingUnlimited 2X miles on all purchases$95, waived the first year
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® 70,000 miles (worth $700) after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days of opening your accountUnlimited 2X miles on all eligible purchases$89, waived the first year
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardLimited Time Offer (Ends April, 24, 2019) Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms Apply.Up to $300 annual statement credit for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, including room rates! Terms Apply.$450 (see rates and fees)
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card$500 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account5% back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each cardmember year$0
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingUnlimited 1.5% cash back on all qualifying purchases (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points)$0
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card$500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account openingUnlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment purchases$95, waived the first year
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®For a limited time: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account openingFree first checked bag for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only)$99, waived the first 12 months
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®For a limited time: Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingFree first checked bag for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only)$99, waived the first 12 months
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account openingIntro bonus gets you over halfway to earning a Southwest Companion Pass!$99
Citi Premier℠ CardEarn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingAllows you to transfer Citi ThankYou points to 15 airline partners$95, waived the first 12 months
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.Up to $250 Hilton resort credit each card-member year and up to $250 airline fee credit with your selected airline each calendar year. Terms Apply.$450 (see rates and fees)

How We Select the Best Credit Cards for Travel

You know how you get credit card offers in the mail and throw them away?  Not us!  We open them all, excitedly run to get our magnifying glass, and read the fine print!  And we spend all day looking for new credit card offers online.  Then we dive in to calculate the true value of the offer.

We let you in on the secrets that the airlines, hotels, and cruise ship companies do NOT want you to know! 

Credit card intro bonuses are the fastest way to earn big travel rewards WITHOUT spending a ton of money.  But here’s the thing — you have to know the smart ways to use these bonuses.  That’s how we help you.  We make it easy.

I'm in a Huge Hot Tub With an Amazing View of the Warsaw Palace of Culture at Night
I Used Credit Card Travel Points to Stay at This Hotel in Europe!

We examine the…

Bonus Offer:   Credit card companies profit each time you use their card and when you pay them interest (so pay those bills on time!)  Like any business, they want more customers.  So they create offers where you can earn a serious stash of miles or cash when you first open your new card.  Some bonuses are VERY appealing — while others are not!  We sort it all out for you.

Minimum Spending Requirement:   Here’s the “catch.”  To earn the intro bonus, you must spend a certain amount using your new card within a certain time frame.  We like reasonable spending requirements that make it easy to get your bonus.  We do list cards with bigger requirements but ONLY if the reward is huge.

We love seeing how regular people like you get to travel First Class, stay in amazing hotels, or earn lots of cash using our insider tips.   For example, our reader Lori is an English teacher who took a $30,000+ trip to Asia for only $500.  Like me, she’s a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  And she took it on her epic adventure to Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.  (You can see all our Reader Success Stories here.)

Ongoing Bonus Opportunities:   We prefer travel credit cards that KEEP rewarding you, even after you earn the initial big welcome bonus.

Benefits:   Airport lounges with complimentary food and alcohol, no foreign transaction fees, and TSA PreCheck are some of my favorite perks that save money AND time.

Visit Legendary Stonehenge, Like I Did!  It’s Easy to Get Free Flights to Europe (and the Rest of the World!) With Credit Card Points to Experience History and Delicious Food.

Million Mile Secrets readers and team members make the most of the best credit card offers to get Big Travel with Small Money.  And redeem miles & points to travel cheaply to destinations like Disney World, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and many others!

Want to see what it’s like when you master the Million Mile Secrets?  Here’s a video:

Always wear your seat belt and always be responsible with credit!  If you’re new to rewards credit cards, be sure to read our post with myths associated with applying for new cards.  Many folks are pleasantly surprised to discover it’s possible to keep 20+ credit cards open AND maintain an excellent credit score!  This is my exact situation.  My score is still excellent because I always pay my bills on time.

And remember, you shouldn’t necessarily shy away from credit cards with annual fees.  Many of the best credit card offers have annual fees, but terrific ongoing perks (like annual travel credits!) that can easily offset the expense!  When I first started out, I really didn’t like the idea of an annual fee.  So I started out with no annual fee cards like Ink Business Cash.  But now I do the math to decide when a “premium” card is worth it.

Best Business Credit Card:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

 

The Official Offer:   Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

And that means?  This is a fantastic sign-up bonus and a big reason why the Chase Ink Business Preferred is our #1 pick!

A team member used it to book a Business Class award flight to New Zealand worth more than $4,000!

If you like cash back, the 80,000-point bonus offer is $800.

And there is a useful option in between simple cash back and awesome award flights.  You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase Travel Portal (it looks and works just like Expedia) to quickly book travel with no blackout dates.  Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred are worth 1.25 cents each instead of 1 cent each.  So the bonus brings you $1,000 worth of airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, and more.

Note:   I’ve found flights to cost the same as when I book on other travel sites.  Hotel stays are also usually very close in price.  For car rentals, shop around.  But the Chase portal does often have the best price too.

But tell me more about that $4,000 flight:   With the Chase Ink Business Preferred card you can send your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners.  For example, you can move your 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to become 80,000 United Airlines miles or 80,000 Hyatt hotel points.

So what does that all mean exactly?  Well… 60,000 United Airlines miles is enough for a one-way Business Class flight to Europe from the US.  60,000 United Airlines miles is also enough for a round-trip flight to Europe in economy class.  You’ll be earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all your spending.  So as you stack points, you get closer to your dream trip.

On a sunny day I'm standing in front of a low brick wall overlooking the blue Northern Irish sea and ruins of a gray Medieval castle that was part of the Game of Thrones television show that sits on lush green land
Medieval Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland — Or as I Prefer to Call It, House Greyjoy From Game of Thrones! Experience Europe by Using Chase Points Instead of Cash to Fly There

Another cool thing is just because you move your points to United Airlines does NOT mean you have to fly on United Airlines!  United Airlines lets you use their miles to fly on their cousin airlines in the Star Alliance such as Air New Zealand, SWISS, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and more!

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 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

Examples of what counts as “travel” and earns triple Chase points:

Toll bridges & highways
Parking lots & garages
Airlines (including tickets, baggage fees, change fees, etc.)
Hotels, Motels, Timeshares, Campgrounds
Vacation rentals like Airbnb
Car rental agencies
Cruise lines
Travel agencies
Discount travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia
Trains like Amtrak, subway, and metro tickets
Buses like city bus tickets, Greyhound, Megabus
Taxis, Limos, Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft
Ferries

Using Your Points:   You’ve got 3 great options.

1.   Transfer to Chase’s terrific travel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott (which is connected to Starwood), Singapore Airlines, and more!

2.   Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in their travel portal.  This is quick and easy.

3.   Cash back.

Perks:

Cell Phone Protection:   You get up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay it with your Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.   There are a maximum of 3 claims in a 12 month period with a $100 deductible per claim.

The cell phone insurance perk actually works!  A team member filed a claim online and received an $85 reimbursement after he paid to replace his shattered iPhone screen.

Extended Warranty:   When you buy items with your Chase Ink Business Preferred, they add 1 extra year when the warranty is 3 years or less.

Note:  The extended warranty protection is up to the amount charged to your card less shipping and handling fees, with a maximum of $10,000, and no more than $50,000 per calendar year.

Rental Car Insurance:   Cardholders are covered when you rent a car with your card and decline the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver.

Rental car insurance is primary when renting for business purposes in your country of residence or outside of the country.  Otherwise, this coverage is secondary.  You’d be shocked at what they try to charge you for a minor ding or scrape.  This built-in insurance can save you a lot of money and headaches.

Baggage Coverage:   If your baggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you could be reimbursed for emergency purchases of essential items (i.e. clothing, toiletries, cell phone charging cables, and more)

You can get up to $100 per day for a maximum of 5 days.

Lost Luggage:   This benefit covers the cost to repair or replace lost luggage and personal items inside.  You can be reimbursed up to $3,000 per person each trip with a limit of $500 for items such as jewelry and electronics.

Trip Delay Protection:   If your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours, you could be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses (meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items).

No Foreign Transaction Fee:  I refuse to use any credit card outside that US the hits you with an international fee.  The Chase Ink Business Preferred doesn’t do that to you.

Employee Cards at No Additional Cost:   By adding employee cards to your account, you can set individual employee spending limits for greater control and earn rewards faster.

Do you qualify?   This is a small business credit card but you might qualify without realizing it.  You can apply with your social security number as a sole proprietor of a for-profit business.  Check our step-by-step guide to completing a Chase business card application.

Note:   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).  So be sure to get the Chase credit cards you want before you’re over the limit.

Is the Chase Ink Business Preferred Worth the Annual Fee?   Yes.  It’s $95 for all the above.  It’s a no-brainer.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Bottom Line:   You can’t go wrong with this card.  It’s impossible.  In the absolute worst case, you earn the sign-up bonus and take home $800 minus the annual fee.  Best case, you are flying to your dream destinations and sleeping on 1,000-thread-count sheets at luxury hotels.

Apply here:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Best Travel Credit Card:   Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the #1 card we recommend for beginners in the miles & points hobby.  I’ve had this credit card for many years and I take it on all my trips.

The Official Offer:   When you sign-up, you’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

Yeah, and that means?

To get big-time travel, you want to book what’s known as an “award flight.”  You can transfer your Chase points to various airline partner loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.  One Chase point will convert to one partner airline mile.  For example:

You’ll have at least 64,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (because you earn points on the $4,000 minimum spend too).  Here are just a few of your many options:

  • 60,000 United Airlines miles to fly round-trip to Europe
  • 60,000 United Airlines miles to fly Business Class one-way to Europe or 70,000 miles to fly on their partner airlines (Whoa.  That would cost ~$4,000 if you paid cash!)  I just did this maneuver.  I had a stash of 140,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points built-up from sign-up bonuses and regular spending.  And I moved them to United Airlines.  And that gave me access to United Airlines’ cousin airlines to fly Business Class round-trip to Europe.
  • 35,000 United Airlines miles to fly round-trip to the Caribbean or Central America.  Meghan on our team did this to save $700+ on a fun last-minute trip to explore beautiful Belize!
The best travel credit card for beginners is Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here I am in the mountains of Poland holding the credit card
I Used Points From My Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card to Fly Business Class to Europe and Explore Morskie Oko in the Tatra Mountains

Or you can redeem the sign-up bonus for $600 in cash back or $750 in travel when you book through the Chase Travel Portal.  You’ll get potentially much more value if you transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners, like Hyatt.

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
Earning Double Points With My Chase Sapphire Preferred

Examples of what counts as “travel” and earns 2X Chase points:

Toll bridges & highways (this is how folks in New York City earn millions of miles, ha!)
Parking lots & garages
Airlines (including tickets, baggage fees, change fees, etc.)
Hotels, Motels, Timeshares, Campgrounds
Vacation rentals like Airbnb (I’ve earned double points everywhere from Cancun to Krakow this way)
Car rental agencies
Cruise lines
Travel agencies
Discount travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia
Trains like Amtrak, subway, and metro tickets
Buses like city bus tickets, Greyhound, Megabus
Taxis, Limos, Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft (double points to the airport!)
Ferries (random travel tip: Ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn in Estonia to experience their Old Town)

Using Your Points:   You’ve got 3 incredible options.

1.   Transfer to Chase’s terrific travel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott (which is connected to Starwood), Singapore Airlines, and more!

2.   Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in their travel portal.  This is quick and easy.

3.   Cash back.

Options 2 and 3 are super simple and satisfying.

Option 1 takes a bit of learning but results in amazing experiences — the kind that give you a feeling of sticking it to “the man” and feeling superior over all your former friends who you are now too cool to associate with.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio directly to the following airlines:

  • Singapore Airlines (This is how you fly to Australia in First Class in an actual bed)
  • Aer Lingus (Ireland!)
  • British Airways (This is the secret to cheap flights to Hawaii from the West Coast and cheap flights within Europe and Asia)
  • United Airlines (This is how I fly to Europe.  And I don’t fly on United Airlines, I use their partners)
  • Flying Blue (KLM & Air France)
  • Iberia
  • Southwest (No blackout dates + 2 free checked bags)
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • JetBlue (No blackout dates + the most legroom in coach)

And they transfer to these hotel programs:

  • Hyatt (the BEST use of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotels.  This is how I stayed at the Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive on the beach for $0 per night instead of $500 per night.  I was very happy sipping margaritas while in the pool that overlooked the ocean)
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Marriott
  • IHG (they have brands you know like InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, and Holiday Inn)
Using My Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I Got a Free Business Class Flight to Europe This Summer!

Perks:

Primary car rental insurance: Covers damage due to theft or collision 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 or requires an overnight stay for expenses such as meals and lodging (because they may not reimburse you for your usual snack of Beluga caviar, stick to the store-brand caviar)

Extended Warranty Protection: Extends the time period of the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of 3 years or less

Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.  (So when the airline stinks, you don’t have to.)

When you’re approved, be sure to read the full details in the Guide to Benefits.

No foreign transaction fee:  Hooray!  That’s why I take my Chase Sapphire Preferred everywhere I travel.  It’s a Visa credit card so it’s accepted just about anyplace and there are no nonsense international fees.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Worth the Annual Fee:   The $95 annual fee is 100% worth it.  I’ve paid this fee year after year.  Remember, when you earn the sign-up bonus that’s $600 cash, or $750 in travel with no blackout dates, or $1,000+ in award travel.  So just subtract $95 from that and it’s pretty clear.  (If you do decide to cancel after a year or so, it’s seriously hassle-free.)

Do you qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred ?  

Chase has the final say.  Here are guidelines:

You have the best chance of being approved when you have excellent credit.  Your score is likely high enough if it’s 750+.  I wouldn’t recommend applying if your score is below 725, although you never know.

There are other factors Chase will use to determine if they want to allow you to have this metal credit card.  They may consider your income, your banking relationship with them, etc.  Again, this is Chase’s card and they make the final determination on whether or not to let you have it.

That said, they created this card and bonus for a reason.  So don’t be shy!  When I was approved for my Chase Sapphire Preferred I had an 800 credit score (still do) and a middle class income.

Important:

If you’re in one of these 2 categories, you very likely will NOT be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

1. You have opened 5+ new credit cards from any bank within the past 24 months.  But wait, this does NOT count small business cards from American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.

2. You already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred OR a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Bottom Line:   This is our #1 pick for people who are beginners to travel credit cards and airline miles and points.  This was my first “premium” travel credit card and I still have it and use it to this day.

Apply here:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best Premium Travel Credit Card:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Here:  The Platinum Card® from American Express

Read our review of the AMEX Platinum card

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

With the AMEX Platinum, you’ll earn:

  • 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through AMEX Travel)
  • 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked on AMEX Travel
  • 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point per $1 on everything else

The card has a $550 annual fee, which is not waived (see rates & fees).  But if you actually use the perks and credits, you’ll easily come out ahead.  For example:

  • $200 annual airline incidental fee credit on your selected airline
  • Up to $200 in Uber credit per year
  • Up to $100 in credits for Saks Fifth Avenue per year
  • Statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85)  (if you already have this, you can buy it for your travel partner)
  • Terms Apply

The $200 airline fee credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and Uber credits reset every calendar year.  And you can use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years.

Another benefit that makes the AMEX Platinum card worth it is the exceptional airport lounge access you get with the card.   With this card (or the business version of it) you’ll be able to access more airport lounges than what any other card can get you into.  And you’ll be able to use AMEX’s Centurion airport lounges, which are some of the best airport lounges because of their meals and buffets, premium alcoholic beverages, showers, conference spaces, and fast Wi-Fi.

Airports are loud and the food is overpriced.  Instead, use your AMEX Platinum card for complimentary access to comfortable exclusive spaces with food and drinks:

  • Airspace lounges for you and up to 2 guests or immediate family
  • AMEX Centurion lounges for you and up to 2 guests
  • AMEX International Lounges
  • Escape lounges for you and up to 2 guests
  • Delta SkyClub lounges (when traveling with Delta)
  • Priority Pass lounges for you and up to 2 guests

If you want to check and see what lounges you could be visiting at your home airport or favorite airport, check out this post on how to find AMEX Platinum airport lounges.

Apply here: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Best Credit Card for Simple Travel Rewards (tie):  Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply here:   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Read our full review of the Capital One Venture Card

You can earn 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) by applying for the Capital One Venture card and spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

The card has a straightforward rewards program, which means the miles are easy to redeem.  All you have to do is pay for travel expenses (like airfare, hotel stays, parking, and much more) with your credit card.  Then, log-in to your account and “erase” the charge by redeeming your miles.

The Capital One Venture is perhaps the best credit card for points that you can use for nearly ANYTHING travel related.  Check out this post with outside-the-box ways to redeem Venture miles, like Costco travel packages!

In addition to the card’s valuable sign-up bonus, you’ll get:

  • 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • 10 Venture miles per $1 you spend on hotel stays booked and paid for with your card through the special hotels . com link they give you (through January 31, 2020)
  • NO foreign transaction fees

Cards that offer to reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees usually have much higher annual fees (often between $450 and $550).  But this card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year!

The card also comes with Visa Signature Benefits, which include:

  • Rental car insurance – Secondary protection for damage due to collision or theft
  • Travel accident insurance – Up to $250,000 insurance for accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing
  • Lost luggage insurance – Up to $3,000 per trip, provided the luggage was lost from theft or misdirection by the airline, cruise, etc.

Apply here for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best Credit Card for Simple Travel Rewards (tie):   Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Apply here:  Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Read our review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Official Offer:   Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Cool.  So what can I do with these bonus points?

Use them for $700 worth of statement credits towards travel!

Fun Fact:  You’ll actually be collecting $800 worth of travel.  Because to unlock the sign-up bonus, you need to spend $5,000.  And you get double points on that spending too!  So that $5,000 of spending becomes 10,000 Arrival miles which is worth an additional $100 bucks for travel!

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 2X Arrival miles on all purchases — no limit!

How to Use Your Arrival Miles:

You use Arrival miles to get money back for travel expenses.  Here’s what counts as travel with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus:

  • airlines
  • hotels and motels
  • timeshares
  • campgrounds
  • car rental agencies
  • cruise lines (great use for this type of mile!)
  • travel agencies
  • discount travel sites (like Expedia, Orbitz, etc.)
  • trains
  • limousines (fancy!)
  • buses (not so fancy!)
  • taxis
  • ferries

There is indeed a catch (but it’s not that bad):

You must redeem Arrival miles for eligible travel purchases of $100+ made in the past 120 days.

So you’ve got, like, ~4 months to figure out if you want money back on a travel purchase.  Fair enough.  I’m not super excited that the travel expense has to be at least $100 but I can deal with it.  So you can’t get a statement credit for a $40 cab ride.  Instead you use the miles for that $397 flight and that $303 hotel stay.  The bonus is a really good deal.  Just use it for the $100+ stuff and it’s easy.

Nice little extra:  Each time you redeem your Arrival miles, Barclaycard throws you a little 5% miles rebate.  Personally, this doesn’t impact my spending habits but I’ll take the free miles back!

Perks:

Trip Delay Insurance

The terms are surprisingly good!

1 – Reimburses you for travel expenses from delays more than 6 hours while traveling.  Just be sure to purchase your trip entirely with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® for you, your family member, or your traveling companions.

Most competitor cards with this kind of low annual fee only reimburse your after a 12-hour delay!

Note: If you are using some kind of voucher or frequent flier miles, the remaining charge for the trip must be purchased entirely with your the card.

2 – The insurance covers most reasons for travel delays like bad weather and equipment failure on the plane delaying your departure.

3 – You can get reimbursed for up to $300 per trip on up to 2 claims per 12 month period.

4 – Coverage is secondary to any other applicable insurance or benefit.

You can view the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Guide to benefits when you get your credit card for all the details.

Free Shipping With ShopRunner

The complimentary ShopRunner membership grants you free 2-day shipping and free returns at over 100 stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Staples, 1800-Flowers, MLBShop, and yes, even The Popcorn Factory.  An annual membership for ShopRunner normally costs $79.  So if you were going to pay for your weekly delivery of a tin keg of Caramel Corn, it’s a big savings.

10% Off Home Sharing With Onefinestay

I’ve never used this but it looks interesting.  Book with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard to get a 10% discount at over 10,000 high-end rental apartments.  They describe the amenities as high-quality toiletries (does that mean Charmin Ultra Soft?), free Wi-Fi, and a complimentary iPhone to use during your stay in case for some reason you want to use a strange phone instead of your own.

MasterCard Luxury Hotel & Resorts Portfolio

You can get complimentary room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out when available, daily breakfast for 2, and more at 2,000+ hotels worldwide when booking a stay with a Mastercard Luxury Hotel & Resort.

No foreign transaction fee:  Bring this credit card to Jamaica, Japan, Johannesburg, anywhere Mastercard is accepted and don’t worry about foreign currency fees.

Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus Worth the Annual Fee:  There is no annual fee for your first year, so that’s next year’s problem!  This card is obviously a great deal in the first year.  Keeping it for a 2nd year when it costs $89 will depend on you deciding how much you like the points and perks.  If you decide the card isn’t a good fit, closing a card is pretty hassle-free.  But the Trip Delay protection alone might be a reason you want to keep it.

Do you qualify for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus?

1 – 700+ credit score gives you a good chance.  720+ is more comfortable.  This is anecdotal from folks I know and what I’ve seen people post online.  Barclaycard makes the final decision.

2 – Typically you can open 1 or 2 Barclaycard credit cards per year.  And if Barclaycard sees a lot of recently opened cards, they might hesitate to approve you.

3 – If you have a different credit card from this bank (Barclaycard) then they usually want to see that you actually use it.  I’ve had this happen to me.  I was denied (I still live to talk about it!) and the agent more than hinted that I already had another Barclaycard I wasn’t using much.  So… I put a decent amount of spending on that old, dusty card, waited a few months or so, and then applied again — and I got approved.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Bottom Line:   $700 intro bonus for travel.  No annual fee in year one.  Trip delay insurance that kicks in after 6 hours instead of 12 hours with competitor cards.  Go for it.  Not much downside here.

Apply here:  Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Best Marriott Credit Card:  Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Apply Here:  Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Our review of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Through April 24, 2019, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with a limited-time increased offer of 100,000 Marriott points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

With the bonus points you can earn with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card you could book a free night in a top-tier Ritz-Carlton hotels because the most expensive hotels cost 85,000 points for a free night.

Or you could stretch your bonus by booking Category 1 Marriott hotels for only 7,500 points a night.  Use Marriott’s 5th night free on award bookings, and you can get 16 free nights in a row with just a single intro bonus!

Booking 16 nights for under 100,000 Marriott points is a great deal!

In addition to the welcome bonus, you’ll get:

  • 6 Marriott points per $1 at Marriott hotels
  • 3 Marriott points per $1 at US restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2 Marriott points per $1 on everything else
  • Up to $300 annual statement credit to use each card membership year at participating Marriott hotels (including room charges!)
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status (25% bonus points on paid stays, guaranteed late check-out, room upgrades when available)
  • Platinum Elite Status (Welcome gift of either points, breakfast, or an amenity depending on the hotel, lounge access where available, room upgrade, including suites when available) after spending $75,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • 15 elite night credits every year
  • Annual free night (at participating Marriott hotels worth up to 50,000 points) after you renew your card
  • Up to $100 property credit for qualifying charges when you use your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card to book direct using a special rate for a 2-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership (you can bring up to 2 guests)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit (a value of up to $100) every 4 years
  • Terms apply

The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees), but the additional money-saving perks make it worth the cost, depending on your situation.  The annual free night award is particularly valuable because it’s valid at hotels that cost up to 50,000 Marriott points per night.  The free night awards you can earn with other Marriott cards are typically only valid at hotels that cost up to 35,000 points a night.   So the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card’s free night gives you more flexibility on where you can use it.

Marriott has hotels all around the world and you’re already likely familiar with many of their brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, and St. Regis.  I’ve enjoyed my Marriott stays including those at SpringHill Suites in the US and summertime at the Sheraton Sopot on the beautiful Polish seaside just outside Gdasnk.

Apply Here:  Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Best Business Credit Card With No Annual Fee (tie): Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Apply here:   Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Read our review:   Biggest No-Brainer Deal of the Year: $500 Cash Back (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!)

With the highest-ever Ink Business Cash sign-up bonus, you’ll earn $500 cash back (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  Earning $500 in cash from a card with no annual fee is an AWESOME deal!

It also comes with:

  • 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary year
  • 2% cash back (2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • 1% cash back (1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point) on all other purchases
  • Primary car rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, covering damage due to collision or theft to your rental car when you pay with your Chase Ink Business Cash card. Secondary coverage when renting for personal reasons

I’ve has kept this card in my wallet for many years, in large part, because it has no annual fee!  With my Ink Business Cash card I earn 5X points on my monthly internet bill and 2X points at restaurants.  Liquid Hint:   Many times your business cocktails and networking wine earn 2X points too!  Because bars and lounges often code as restaurants to the credit card company.

Using Your Points:  If you ONLY have the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card, you’ve got one option: cash.  However, if you ALSO have the Chase Ink Business Preferred (yes, you can own both cards) OR the Chase Sapphire Preferred OR the Chase Sapphire Reserve you now have travel superpowers.

Because you can lift all the points you earn with your Ink Cash above your head, create a impressive fiery orb, and hurl them over to one of those “premium” cards.  And from there you have access to all the travel partners I talked about in the Chase Ink Business Preferred section!

I Took This Photo From My Suite While Staying at the All-Inclusive Hyatt Zilara in Cancun. Not Bad! I Paid $0 for the Stay Because I Moved the Points I Earned With My Chase Ink Cash to My Chase Sapphire Preferred. And From There I Transferred Them to Hyatt to Get My Free Stay

Perks:   Primary rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), extended warranty, delayed baggage, and lost luggage protection.

You can check all the details of the fantastic benefits when you get to the Ink Cash card offer page.  But I’ll give you a real-life example.  I walked into my local Staples ready to make a significant purchase.  Naturally I was prepared with my Ink Cash business credit card because with it I earn 5X points at office supply stores such as this.  I made my significant purchase.  And that’s when it happened.

The sales person pitched me about the, you guessed it, the dreaded extended warranty.

He said, “You fool!  You’re about to pay big bucks for your significant purchase yet you won’t pay this relatively tiny amount to protect your investment for an extra year?” 

I inhaled my Zen.  And exhaled, “Nah.  I’m good.” 

He dug in.  “How could you be so feckless… so irresponsible… have you no regard for society?!” 

But his pleas for extra cheese were for naught.  For I own, behold!… the Ink Business Cash credit card!  And it adds an extra year to the warranty.  Be gone, extended-warranty-pusher!

Is the Chase Ink Business Cash Worth the Annual Fee?  Yes.  Because there is no annual fee!  But this card DOES charge foreign transaction fees, which is why I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred when I travel abroad.

Chase Ink Business Cash Bottom Line:   I use this business credit card all the time.  It costs $0 to own.  Enjoy.

Apply here:   Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Best Business Credit Card With No Annual Fee (tie): Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Apply here:   Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Our review of the Ink Business Unlimited

The Intro Offer:   You will receive 50,000 bonus points which you can redeem for $500 cash back when you make purchases totaling $3,000+ during the first 3 months from account opening.

Ongoing Earning Potential:   You can earn an unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.

Using Your Points:  What’s cool here is that this works the same way as the Ink Business Cash.  You can use your points for cash back OR, if you have a “premium” Ultimate Rewards card (AKA it has an annual fee) like Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can then move your points to those premium cards for premium travel rewards.

And that’s exactly how I use the points I earn from my Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.

I Flew to Europe Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to See the Magical Mountaintop Castles of Portugal!

Really, the Ink Business Unlimited is very similar to the Ink Business Cash.  It’s possible to have both cards.  I do.

But if you’re trying to decide, I think of these cards like this…

Do you prefer your love partner to be pretty good looking all the time, no matter the circumstance?  Then choose Ink Business Unlimited because you get 1.5X points on all your purchases without having to think about it.

Or do you prefer your romantic partner to look just OK most of the time but drop-dead gorgeous for special occasions… like when you walk into office supply stores.  And when you pay your phone and internet bill.  And your partner is doubly-attractive when you go out to restaurants and gas stations.  If that’s your pick, go with Ink Business Cash (the card listed above this one) instead.

Ink Business Unlimited Bottom Line:   You really can’t go wrong here.  No annual fee and you earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases AND you can earn a $500 sign-up bonus?  Easy pick.

Apply here:   Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Restaurants & Entertainment:  Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply here:   Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Or read our full analysis:   Capital One Savor Review

The Intro Offer:   $500 cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  Nice.

Ongoing Earning Potential:   

  • 4% cash back on dining (secret: oftentimes bars and nightclubs code as dining too!)
  • 4% cash back on entertainment (concerts, tourist attractions, theme parks, and more!)
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores

You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Best of all, there’s no limit on how much bonus cash back you can earn!

Using Your Points:   You can request a check or statement credit, any time, with no minimum redemption amount.  Or set-up an automatic redemption such as $25 back per month.

Delivery Perk:   With Postmates Unlimited, you get $0 delivery fees on orders over $15.  You’ll also never pay blitz pricing or get hit with minimum basket fees from 300,000+ restaurants and business.  And that includes alcohol, certain supermarkets, pharmacies, coffee shops, bakeries, and more.

When you pay for a monthly Postmates Unlimited membership using your Savor card, you’ll receive a monthly statement credit of $9.99 through December 2019.

Is there a Foreign Transaction Fee?  Nope.

Capital One Savor Bottom Line:   I typically use my Chase Sapphire Preferred while traveling overseas.  But I’m very much considering adding the Savor card to my wallet.  Because it also has no foreign transaction fee AND rewards you with a fat and unlimited 4% cash back on dining out and entertainment.  Typically my biggest expenses overseas are restaurants/bars, tourist attractions, and groceries.  (Since I usually use points for flights and hotels.)  What I also love about Savor is you can try the card free the first 11 months.  Then if you feel like it’s really been saving you money, you only pay the $95 annual fee starting in year 2 with the card.  All that plus the $500 intro bonus makes this a strong offer.

Apply here:   Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best American Airlines Credit Card (tie):  CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Apply here:  CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Or read our full review of the CitiBusiness American Airlines Platinum Select Credit Card

The Official Offer:  Earn 70,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months of opening your account.  This is a limited-time offer!

And 70,000 American Airlines miles means what exactly?

Cathay Pacific Business Class Seat that folds out to a bed. Get this with the Citi American Airlines Business Credit Card
The Long Flight to Asia Is SO Much Better When You Can Lay Down to Sleep in Cathay Pacific Business Class! (Book With American Airlines Miles)

With 70,000 American Airlines miles you can:

  • Fly round-trip to Europe, Hawaii, Asia, or South America
  • Fly one-way in Business Class to Japan or Korea
  • Get 2 round-trip flights to anywhere in the continental US
  • Fly one-way First Class from coast to coast in the US
  • Get 2 round-trip flights to the Caribbean, Central America, or Mexico

Those are just a few of the awesome options you’ll have with your 70,000 American Airlines miles!

Many of you will combine the credit card bonus with your current stash American Airlines.  Or you’ll keep using the card to earn more miles.  So here’s an idea of what you can do when you collect more American Airlines miles:

Sleep on a bed in Business Class to Australia using American Airlines miles with the Citi Business American Airlines Credit Card
Sleep Your Way to Australia on Qantas Airlines by Using American Airlines Miles to Fly in a Business Class Bed
  • Fly one-way in Business Class to Australia or New Zealand for 80,000 American Airlines miles on partner airline Qantas
  • Fly one-way in First Class to Japan for 80,000 American Airlines on partner Japan Airlines
  • Fly one-way in First Class to Europe for 85,000 American Airlines miles

I’ve got to say, I usually fly coach to save miles and take more trips, but… wow, life sure is better when you’re able to lay down and sleep on a long flight.  Plus you’re treated to much tastier food and liquor.

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 2 American Airlines miles per $1 spent on American Airlines flights
  • 2 American Airlines miles per $1 spent at $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • 1 American Airlines mile per $1 spent on other purchases

Perks:

Free first checked bag:  You get a bag!  Your travel companion gets a bag!  Everyone gets a bag!  OK, up to 4 travel companions get a free checked bag on the same reservation on domestic American Airlines flights.  That’s a huge money saver!

Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights:  Nice.

Discounted in-flight Wi-Fi:  Get 25% off when you purchase with your card.  Not amazing, but I’ll take it. 🙂

No Foreign Transaction Fee:  Excellent perk.

Extended Warranty:  This benefit doubles the original manufacturer warranty up to a maximum of 12 months on warranties of 5 years or less for most items you purchase with your eligible CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Mastercard.  So you can feel at ease when you turn down the store’s extra warranty coverage that they try to sell you.

Purchase Protection:  You’re covered for most items you purchase with your eligible CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Mastercard if the item is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase.  This is a major reason I’ll NEVER make product purchases with a debit card.  Your credit card gets you miles and peace of mind.

Mastercard Easy Savings:  CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® cardmembers (that was a mouthful to say) are enrolled to receive automatic rebates on eligible purchases with Mastercard® Easy Savings.  OK, so I looked over these and some of the savings are pretty cool.  Currently (keep in mind these can change) you can save 4% at many hotels and restaurants.  Being a food lover, I took a closer look at the dining perk.  Here’s what it says:

“Just dine at a restaurant within the Dinova network and use your eligible Mastercard business credit card to pay for your meal as you normally would. Nothing else is required. The rebate will apply to the entire charge, including taxes and tips. The rebate will appear on your statement in the form of a credit.”

Woo-hoo!  I know what you’re thinking… Dinova network?  So I did a quick search of New York City as an example and a ton of restaurants popped up ranging from upscale steakhouses to chain restaurants.  So it’s easy to automatically knock 4% off your bill!

Is the CitiBusiness American Airlines Credit Card Worth the Annual Fee?   Yes.  You pay $0 in year one with the card.  Then you pay $99 if you keep it.  If you’re flying on American Airlines it’d be hard to NOT make up the annual fee in checked bag savings!  I really dislike baggage fees.  But at least there’s a way to wiggle out of them.

CitiBusiness American Airlines Card Bottom Line:   The 70,000 American Airlines bonus miles are worth ~$1,500 depending on how you them.  That’s an awesome intro bonus!  You’re going to save a lot of money on baggage fees.  You board early.  For folks who fly on American Airlines or want to fly on great partner airlines to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, and more, this is an excellent deal.

Apply here:   CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Best American Airlines Credit Card (tie):   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Apply here:  Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Read our review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

When you sign-up for the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select credit card, you’ll earn 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

That bonus can take you far considering that with the American Airlines Economy Web Specials sales we’ve seen one-way flights starting at 5,000 miles to everywhere from Hawaii to Orlando (hello, Disney World!) and even to Europe!  Million Mile Secrets team member Jason booked his travel home for the holidays for 50% of the miles it would have normally cost thanks to an Economy Web Special sale.

Economy Web Special sales aren’t advertised, but if you subscribe to our email newsletter we’ll let you know when they pop-up.

Aside from the useful intro bonus, the card also has these perks:

  • 2X American Airlines miles per $1 spent on American Airlines flights
  • 2X American Airlines miles per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1X American Airlines miles per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only)
  • Preferred boarding for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation
  • 25% off eligible in-flight purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • Reduced Mileage Awards – get discounts up to 7,500 miles round-trip on award flights to certain airports

You can bookmark our Reduced Mileage Awards page and we’ll update the available cities whenever there is a change!

There’s also a special perk for big spenders.  You’ll earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card year and renew your card.

Your Citi American Airlines card even comes with extra insurances and protections, like:

  • Citi Price Rewind – Get reimbursed up to $200 per item and $1,000 per year if an eligible item drops in price within 60 days of purchase
  • Extended Warranty – Eligible items can get an additional 24 months of warranty coverage (not to exceed 84 months).  You can be reimbursed up to $10,000 or the amount charged to your card (whichever is smaller)
  • Baggage delay – Get up to $100 per covered traveler if your bags are delayed 6+ hours
  • Trip delay – Get up to $500 per covered traveler to pay for meals and hotels if your trip is delayed 12+ hours
  • Trip cancellation & interruption – You may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per covered traveler per trip if the trip is cancelled or interrupted for an eligible reason

You won’t be eligible for the Citi American Airlines Platinum card’s bonus if you have or have had any Citi American Airlines credit card, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® opened or closed in the last 24 months.  But if you have or have had the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card or the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, you’re still eligible for the Citi American Airline Platinum card’s welcome offer.

Apply here:  Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Best Southwest Airlines Bonus (Worth $900): Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Read our full review of the Chase Southwest Premier Business Card

The Official Offer:   Earn 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

This is the highest sign-up bonus we’ve seen on the card.

And 60,000 Southwest points means what exactly?

~$900!  Because in our experience booking flights, 1 Southwest point generally maps to ~1.5 cents.

Two amazing things about Southwest points:

1 – no blackout dates or funny business.  If the flight still has seats for sale, you can book it with points.

2 – We consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the best deal in domestic travel.  Your designated travel companion flies free with you on all your Southwest flights.  These 60,000 points will get you over half-way to the 110,000 Southwest Companion Pass qualifying points you need to earn in one calendar year to get the Pass.

Southwest has other great perks:

  • You get 2 free checked bags on every flight
  • You do NOT pay change or cancel fees on paid or award flights
Bahamas cruise, looking to the beautiful ocean
Because Southwest Has No Blackout Dates, It’s Easy to Redeem Points for Flights! Here I Am on a Caribbean Cruise. Southwest Flies All Over the US, Plus Hot Spots Like the Bahamas, Cancun, Punta Cana, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, Los Cabos, Aruba, Costa Rica, and More!

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 2 Southwest points per $1 on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 Southwest point per $1 on everything else
  • 6,000 Southwest points after your cardmember anniversary (That can be enough to fly from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Portland whenever Southwest has one of its frequent fare sales)

Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger when you pay with the card.  Now that’s peace of mind.  Unless you think too hard about who’s wearing your pants now.

Extended Warranty Protection: Extends the time period of the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.  I love earning points for a purchase AND having the warranty extended.

Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours up to $100 a day for 3 days

Purchase Protection:  Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account

Free Cards for your employees:  You’ll earn points for purchases they make on the cards

No Foreign Transaction Fee:  Hooray!  So when you fly Southwest to the Caribbean, you can bring your card and use it with none of those tacky tack-on fees that some cards add.

Do you qualify for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card?  Yes, if you have a for-profit business.  It can be a small business of just you!  You’d just mark down sole proprietor on the application and use your social security number.  Folks on our team have been approved this way for eBay reselling businesses, renting out a home as a vacation rental, and so on.

But if you’re in one of these next 2 categories… sadness… you’re not eligible:

1. You have opened 5+ new credit cards from any bank within the past 24 months.  But this does NOT count small business cards from American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.

2. You already have the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card OR have earned the sign-up bonus in the past 24 months.

Is the Southwest Premier Business Card Worth the Annual Fee?   Yes.  The $99 annual fee is more than fair for $900 worth of flights!  Plus you get all the perks listed above.  And the bonus points on your card anniversary can help to offset the annual fee.

Southwest Premier Business Card Bottom Line:   We recommend this credit card for anyone who would fly on Southwest.  And it’s an especially awesome card for those of you who travel with a partner because of the opportunity to earn the lucrative Companion Pass!

For a long time I resisted flying on Southwest because I thought it’d be a bad experience.  I was wrong!  I’ve flown Southwest to Cancun and a few times in the US so far and it’s all been pleasant.

Apply here:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Best Citi Travel Credit Card Bonus:   Citi Premier℠ Card 

Apply here:  Citi Premier Card

Or read our full review of the Citi Premier Card

The Official Offer:  Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.    I have this credit card. 

And 50,000 Citi ThankYou points means what exactly?

Delta One Business Class Seat
With 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points, You Can Fly in a Business Class Bed on Delta, Be Served a High Quality Meal, and Wash It Down With a Nice Selection of Adult Beverages

Here are just a few examples of fun travel you can do with Citi ThankYou points:

  • Fly round-trip to Hawaii on United Airlines by transferring 35,000 Citi points to United’s partner, Singapore Airlines (we show you how to do these lucrative tricks!)
  • Fly one-way in Business Class to Europe or Japan by transferring 50,000 Citi points to Etihad
  • 2 round-trip flights to London from Boston, New York, Newark, or Washington, DC during off-peak season by transferring your Citi points to Virgin Atlantic
  • Fly one-way in super comfortable Delta One Business Class from Atlanta or Seattle to Tokyo by turning 60,000 Citi points into Virgin Atlantic miles
  • Fly one-way in Delta One Business Class from Detroit to Paris by transferring 50,000 Citi points to Virgin Atlantic
  • 2 round-trip coach flights between New York City and Vancouver on Cathay Pacific by moving your Citi points to Asia miles.  Or enjoy 1 round-trip flight in Cathay Pacific’s amazing Business Class on this route using just 50,000 of your Citi points

Team member Harlan has had success transferring his Citi ThankYou points to fly to Europe, fly his family to Hawaii, and more!

And Jasmin has flown with her kids from Vancouver to New York in Cathay Pacific Business Class and loved it!

If you don’t want to transfer your points, you can keep things dead simple instead… use your 50,000 Citi ThankYou points in the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal (it’s just like using Expedia and the prices almost always match).  You’ll get 25% off your flight! 

Because your points are worth 1.25 cents each there.  So your 50,000 points are worth $625.  If there’s a flight for sale, you can book it!  There are no blackout dates or other games like that.

I’ve used my Citi ThankYou points this way when I wanted a specific coach flight to Europe on a specific date.  It was super easy.

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations, airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, parking, tolls, and more
  • 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants and on select entertainment like amusement parks, museums, sporting events, movie theaters, and more
  • 1 Citi ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Here I Am With My Citi Premier Earning Double Points on Double Drinks Until Seeing Double in Europe.  (Just Kidding, Mom. I Almost Always Usually Drink Responsibly for the Most Part.)

Perks:

Price Protection:   They call it “Citi Price Rewind.”  What’s cool about it is when you pay for registered items at certain online merchants with your Citi Premier, Citi will automatically check for a lower price at other stores.  Harlan uses this perk a lot with Amazon.  You can save up to $1,000 per calendar year this way!  When sign-up you can review the restrictions.  But it’s pretty easy and works well.

Extended Warranty:   By paying for an eligible item with the Citi Premier card, you can extend the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional 24 months (total coverage between both the manufacturer’s warranty and extended warranty cannot exceed 84 months).  See the complete Guide to Benefits for all the details.  I can tell you that I always make expensive purchases with a credit card that has this feature.  That way I can turn down the rip-off extended warranty they offer at the store.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:  Use your Citi Premier card anywhere in the world and never get hit with an “international fee.”  Avoid using credit cards that slap you with a 3% junk fee!

When you pay for travel with your Citi Premier card, including award flight taxes & fees, you’ll get…

Baggage delay protection:  Get up to $100 per covered traveler if your bags are delayed 6+ hours

Trip delay protection:   Get up to $500 per covered traveler to pay for meals and hotels if your trip is delayed 12+ hours.  Nobody thinks about which credit card to use until their flight is delayed and you have to fly out the next day.  Be smart and let your credit card company reimburse your hotels and meals instead of having to beg airport staff for one of those ridiculously cheap $9 meal vouchers they give you.

Trip cancellation & interruption:   You may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per covered traveler per trip if the trip is cancelled or interrupted for an eligible reason.

Do you qualify for the Citi Premier?  Citi says, “Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou® Preferred, Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige® card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”  You likely need a credit score around 750 or higher.  But of course Citi has the final say!  I was approved with an 800 credit score and a middle class income.

Is the Citi Premier Worth the Annual Fee?   Yes.  It’s only $95 for all the above.  Oh yeah, it’s $0 in year 1 with the card.  So check it out for ~11 months to see how you like it.  Use your points for $1,000+ worth of flights using our tips.  Or for $625 worth of flights the super easy way in their travel portal.

Citi Premier Bottom Line:   I have this credit card.  It costs nothing to own for the first 12 months.  It’s got some great perks plus the bonus is worth between $625 and $1,000+ for travel depending how you use it.  That’s why it’s in our Top 10 list!

Apply here:  Citi Premier Card

Best Hilton Credit Card:  Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

The AMEX Hilton Aspire comes with 150,000 Hilton points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.  Depending how you use the points, you can get $750 to $900 worth of hotel stays from the bonus!

Hilton doesn’t have an official award chart (yeah, that’s annoying) but you can book a free night for between 5,000 to 95,000 Hilton points.

And because you get automatic Hilton elite status as long as you have the card, you’ll get the 5th night free on all award bookings.  And this perk isn’t a rebate, so you don’t need enough points for 5 nights in order to book the 5-night stays.

In addition to the bonus points you can earn after meeting the card’s minimum spending requirements, you’ll also get:

  • 14 Hilton points per $1 spent at participating Hilton hotels
  • 7 Hilton points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or AMEX Travel, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at US restaurants
  • 3 Hilton points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual weekend night award (at participating Hilton hotels) every year
  • Automatic Diamond Elite status (100% bonus points on paid stays, upgrades to a suite when available, executive hotel lounge access, etc.)
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access (bring 2 guests for free)
  • Up to $250 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $250 annual Hilton resort credit at participating resorts
  • Up to $100 property credit at Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels per stay of 2+ nights
  • Terms Apply

This card has a $450 annual fee (See rates& fees).  But it’s a good deal if you use those great perks listed above!

Plus, you’ll earn a second free weekend night award at participating Hilton hotels each calendar year that you spend $60,000+ in eligible purchases on your card.

Hilton has a lot of top brands around the world.  You can go full luxury or “practical.”  Personally, I really like Hampton by Hilton for everyday type of stays.  Free breakfast for everyone, fitness center and/or pool, and I’ve always had good experiences there in the US and Europe.

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Bottom Line

Our favorite credit card offers for this month are:

Your turn to comment… let us know which credit card is best!

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, click here.

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Limited time offer: Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 4/24/2019.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

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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My husband recently applied for an got approved for an Ink preferred card. About two weeks later, he applied for the personal CSR. He was asked to call in and underwent a half hour interview about his expenses, balances and business, until he was ultimately denied for the CSR due to in essence that he was recently approved for another card. I thought business cards don’t impact personal cards? How long should we wait between applying for personal cards after receiving business cards ?

I was so intrigued by the cell phone coverage Chase offers that I was going to cancel my $25 per month T-Mobile charges me. But then I read the fine print from Chase and apparently that coverage doesn’t apply to leased phones. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but if that is the case, I think that many of us nowadays lease our phones and that caveat should be mentioned in your articles.

I just applied for a Marriott Rewards card, which application was instantly rejected by Chase “because you already have an American Express SPG card.”
Subsequent discussion with Chase suggested this would have violated Marriott’s policy of earning more than one signup bonus within a 2 year period.
Is this conflict – no Chase Marriott Visa because you already hold an American Express SPG – a known issue?
Thanks,
Walt

Same thing happened to my wife and I

What is the United alliance partner that was used for business class travel to Europe. Thanks!

Author
Scott Lieberman

Hi Ryan, I flew to Europe on Air Canada Business Class and I flew back home on Lufthansa Business Class.

which one of these airline frequent flyer clubs will I get the most miles flying from lax to hong kong to thailand on hong kong airlines.

hong kong airlines is part of one world star alliance with the following:

Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, LanChile and Qantas

thank you

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