September 2018: The 10 Best Travel Credit Card Offers

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September 2018: The 10 Best Travel Credit Card Offers

Scott LiebermanSeptember 2018: The 10 Best Travel Credit Card OffersMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

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

Scott using his Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card points to hike the beautiful mountains and lakes of Poland
I Used Points From My Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card to Fly Business Class to Europe and Explore Morskie Oko in the Tatra Mountains

Seeking the Best Credit Cards for Travel?

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 3 of the credit cards below.  I’ll tell you which!

Best Credit Card Offers

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 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.

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
Did You Know? With Just a Single Credit Card Intro Bonus Your Can Get Earn $1,000s Worth of Free (and Fancy!) Travel

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 is a video of team member Keith:

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!

Team member Keith 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 or Orbitz) 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.

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!  Team member Keith 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 50,000 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 54,000 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!

Or you can redeem the sign-up bonus for $500 in cash back or $625 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.

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
Hyatt Is One of Our Favorite Chase Transfer Partners Because You Can Redeem Points for Free Nights Even at Their Most Luxurious Hotels, Like the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa!

Ongoing Earning Potential:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
I Count Points, Not Calories! With My Chase Sapphire Preferred, I Deliciously Earned Double Chase Points (and a Double Chin) for Eating Nutella French Toast

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)
Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best travel credit card for people new to using miles for travel. Here I am using it to pay for delicious frosty cocktails on the warm beaches of Europe in summer
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.

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
On the Beaches of Mexico, I Had No Problemo (That’s Spanish) Using My Chase Sapphire Preferred to Earn 2X Points at Restaurants With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Worth the Annual Fee:   The $95 annual fee is waived the first year, which means you can use the card for free for ~11 months.  Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee.  I’ve paid this fee year after year, because for me, it’s totally worth it.  (If you do decide to cancel, 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 Citi Travel Credit Card Bonus:   Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Apply here:  Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Or read our full review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

The Official Offer:  Earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  That’s the highest offer we’ve ever seen for this premium credit card!  I have this credit card.  I got it when the bonus offer was lower and it was a very good deal even then!

And 60,000 Citi points means what exactly?

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

You’ll get $750 worth of travel using your 60,000 Citi points on their travel booking site.  Or you can stretch the points to be worth even more by transferring your points to Citi’s partner airlines!

Here are just a few examples of fun travel you can do with 60,000 Citi ThankYou points:

  • Fly round-trip to Hawaii on United Airlines by transferring your 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
  • 3 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 your 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
  • 3 round-trip 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!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Vancouver
Complimentary Wine and Wi-Fi Equals Airport Paradise!  Team Member Jasmin Flew Business Class Using Points.  She Took This Photo of the Cathay Pacific Lounge in Vancouver.  Remember, Not Only Do You Get the Business Class Seat/Bed, You Also Get Entrance to the Peaceful Business Class Airport Lounge With Food, Snacks, and Cocktails

If you don’t want to transfer your points, you can keep things dead simple instead… use your 60,000 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 60,000 points are worth $750.  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, movies, and more
  • 1 Citi ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Citi ThankYou Premier 2X Points Restaurants
Here I Am With My Citi ThankYou Premier Earning Double Points on Double Drinks Until Seeing Double in Europe.  (Just Kidding.  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 ThankYou 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 you 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 ThankYou 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 ThankYou 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 ThankYou Premier card 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 ThankYou Premier?  Citi says, “Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou 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 ThankYou 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.  Use your points for $1,000+ worth of flights using our tips.  Or for $750 worth of flights the super easy way in their travel portal.

Citi ThankYou 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 $750 and $1,000+ for travel depending how you use it.  That’s why it’s in our Top 10 list!

Apply here:   Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Best Southwest Airlines Bonus: 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.

Keith and his wife using the Southwest Companion Pass that they earned with credit card points
Whenever Team Member Keith Books a Flight on Southwest, His Wife Can Join Him for Free!  That’s Because He Earned the Companion Pass With Credit Card Points

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
Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
Because Southwest Has No Blackout Dates, It’s Easy to Redeem Points for Flights to Destinations Like Los Cabos, Mexico!

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 (Keith says that’s enough for him 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.  Keith was approved this way for his eBay reselling business.

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 Business Credit Card With No Annual Fee + 5% Categories: 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

Million Mile Secrets team member Keith has kept this card in his wallet because it has no annual fee.  He uses it to earn 5% cash back (5X points) at Staples when shopping for his eBay drop shipping business.

And I’ve kept my Ink Business Cash card for many years because 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!

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
I Took This Photo of the Infinity Pool 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 + 1.5% Cash Back Everywhere: Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Apply here:   Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

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.

Really, the Ink Business Unlimited is very similar to the Ink Business Cash.  It’s possible to have both cards.  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 Credit Card for Simple Travel Rewards:  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!

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
Prefer Airbnbs or Staying Off the Beaten Path? The Capital One Venture Makes Redeeming Rewards Easy!

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 this Hotels.com link (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 Cash Back Credit Card for Restaurants & Entertainment

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.

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 Business Card: 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.

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 of American Airlines miles.  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 purchases
  • 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, not everyone.  But 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 your first 12 months with the card.  Then it’s $99 a year.  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 Travel Credit Card for Premium Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply here:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the #1 premium travel credit card… premium because of the price tag but also because of the perks.

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The sign-up bonus can get you $750 worth of travel when you redeem points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase travel portal.  Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase!

And if you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards, you can move points to your Sapphire Reserve account to increase the value of your points!

Best Travel Credit Card 10000 Worth Of Travel From One Bonus Our Top 10 List Updated Now
You Can Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Travel Almost Anywhere in the World. Even the Far-Flung Islands of the Maldives!

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also get:

The card comes with a $450 annual fee.  But you can offset this fee with perks like the $300 travel statement credit and airport lounge access.

Team member Keith says this is the #1 card he uses.  Because he loves to earn easy and valuable bonus points for dining out!

Bottom Line

Our favorite credit card offers for this month are:

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

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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 a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 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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You mention vacation rentals earn 3X UR points. Didn’t for me I paid for a vacation rental through VRBO with my CSR and it did not earn 3X points. Wish I’d have paid with my CFU so I would have at least earned 1.5X points instead of 1X.

I have Southwest Premier and Biz Premier and see that I will make companion with next statement thus thinking I should get another card and biz card for the end of the year…I will have no problem hitting the minimum for bonus. I have Citi Thank You Premier that I am not using…I have above average credit and ample income…I like to be able to transfer points…thoughts on which two new cards I should get?

In regards to the Chase 5/24 rule, I have three cards for which I applied (and was approved) on August 10, 2016. With those “off” now (according to the 5/24 rule) I’ve only applied (and got) two cards since that date. I would love to apply for another Chase card now, but I’m worried that it’s too close to August 10th still. When Chase looks at my 5/24 history, do they go by the exact date? Meaning, will they definitely see that it’s been more than 2 years now (since Aug. 10th, 2016) or should I wait a bit longer to play it safe ? Thanks for any advice.

Hi Mark,

I’ve seen varying reports online, including some that said it was by day.

Personally, I would not want to chance it. If you can, I’d wait just a few more weeks until September to be absolutely sure you’ll be under 5/24.

We have or have had the Southwest Business Premier (a few times over the years), Business Ink Preferred (one for me and one for my wife), and Sapphire Preferred (one for me and one for my wife).

I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and I love it. I don’t have any plans to open any new cards at this time.

Hi Lorena,

It’s one of my favorite cards too! I was initially turned off by the annual fee, but once I dug deeper into the card’s perks (airport lounge access, $300 travel credit, etc.) it was a no-brainer for me because I knew I’d be getting much more than $450 in value from the card!

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