Top 5 Credit Card Deals For Travel Rewards – July 2014

Every month when I update my Top 5 Credit Card Deals for Travel Rewards, I scour the web for the best offers.  I want my readers to come here and find the best offers without all the clutter — these are the offers my I’m signing up for myself or suggesting to friends and family.  

Earlier this year I booked my trip to the Maldives, Vietnam, Singapore (with Kuala Lumpur still to book) for 120k miles per person in Business Class.  Without miles, there is no way I could have bought these flights (which cost about $10,000 per person).  Anyone can do the same.

If none of these cards are what you’re looking for, check out the credit card offer directory and tools here.

 

THESE OFFERS HAVE EXPIRED, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST OFFERS

 

THE TOP 5

Top 5 Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

 

1) Citibank AAdvantage Mastercard

Links to Apply:

  • UPDATE – the 100k offer has expired.  See below for the 75k offer.  Citi AAdvantage 100k Offer + $200 credit + after $10k spend in 3 months (leave the referral code and airport code blank if you don’t have one). The official link (landing page) has expired as of 6/24/14 @ 11:59pm, but this application page link still works.  It doesnt say the offer but people are still applying and getting this offer (see the long conversation here)
  • Citi AAdvantage 75k Offer after $7,500 spend in 3 months + $100 statement credit (the next best offer now that the 100k is gone)
  • Citi AAdvantage 60k Offer after $5,000 spend in 3 months + $100 statement credit
  • Citi AAdvantage 50k Offer after $3,000 spend in 3 months (less points but much less spend)

Bonus: After spending $10,000 in 90 days you receive 100,000 miles (which are worth at least $2k for coach flights and up to ~$7k to $10k for business/first class flights)

Annual Fee: $450 (but after the $200 credit on your first statement the fee is really $250)

Why you should get it:

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2) American Express Platinum for Ameriprise

Link to Apply

Bonus: After spending $3,000 in first 3 months you receive 25,000 Points

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $450 (usually not waived in the first year!)

Why you should get it:  (this is not the highest bonus I’ve seen but its a worthy combination when there haven’t been many good platinum offers lately)

  • $200 airline credit:  a trick is to use the credit to buy airline gift card or use towards bag fees, in flight food/drink, and other airline fees
  • Free Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™: a credit to pay for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓™ ($85) for you and up to 3 additional cardholders (up to $400 value)
  • Offer expires: 8/31/14
  • Airport Club and Priority Pass Select gets you access to 600+ airport lounges

Note: This is meant for people who have an Ameriprise account but according to this detailed write up by MilestoMemories, it seems that people have been able to get this card without such an account.  Amex can always close your account or change it to a different card if they want to enforce their rules.

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3) US Airways World Mastercard

Link to Apply

Bonus: After first purchase and payment of $89 annual fee you receive 40,000 miles

Annual Fee: $89 (not waived)

Why you should get it:

  • Read my more detailed review I wrote here.  The short answer? There is no spend requirement.
  • I don’t like annual fees but this makes it easy for anyone to participate without worrying about any minimum spend requirements.  Is $89 worth 40,000 miles?  Of course!  You can’t buy points for $0.002225 each.  And these will be merged with AA miles eventually.
  • Fly to North Asia once you have 60k miles (Japan, S.Korea, Taiwan, Macau, HK, China, the ‘stans, and Mongolia.  Most airlines charge 70k miles to most of these.   Add the bonus to your existing miles and you may have enough.
  • Additional perks:
    • First Checked Bag FREE (for you and up to 4 companions on domestic US Airways flights)
    • One Companion Certificate for up to 2 guests ($99+taxes and fees each) and Priority Boarding Zone 2.  

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4) Hyatt Visa

Link to Apply
Bonus: After spending $1,000 you receive 2 FREE NIGHTS (worth up to ~$2,122)

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $75

Why you should get it:

  • After the first year and the $75 fee fee you will get 1 FREE NIGHT at any category 1-4 Hyatt hotel which can be worth up to $200, so you are getting a lot of value for your annual fee.
  • get upgraded to Hyatt Platinum (its not the highest status but you’ll get great perks such as room upgrades, free internet, late check out and other perks you can read about here)
  • What can you do with 2 free nights?  SPLURGE at a Luxury Park Hyatt Hotel (that’s Hyatt’s most expensive hotel brand)!  Check out the beautiful Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which costs a mere 785 Euro = about $1,061 USD per night.  The Park Hyatt Hotels are some of the nicest and most expensive hotels in the world.  So 2 nights is worth up to around 2 x $1,061 = $2,122.  Add to that double points on restaurants, flights, and car rentals.
  • Need more inspiration?  Read this Top 5 Most Expensive Hyatt Hotels throughout the World.

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5) Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Link to apply

Bonus: After spending $2,500 in 4 months you receive 2 FREE WEEKEND NIGHTS (worth up to ~$2,400) + $100 Credit + Free GOLD Status

Annual Fee: $95 (but you get $100 Statement Credit with first hotel stay in 3 months)

The part of this offer that is most valuable is the 2 FREE Weekend nights.  As I mentioned here, I booked the Hilton Conrad Maldives for my honeymoon.  It now goes for a whopping 90,000 points per night or around $1200 per night.  Try saving enough Hilton points for that (it cost me only around 45,000 points per night when I booked it last year).  These Hilton hotels are excluded.

Why you should get it:

  • EARN A $100 STATEMENT CREDIT after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • EARN TWO WEEKEND NIGHT certificates, each good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio, after $2,500 in eligible purchases within the first four months of cardmembership.
  • NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES ON PURCHASES.
  • TRAVEL WITH EASE and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card.
  • EARN AN ANNIVERSARY BONUS OF ONE WEEKEND NIGHTcertificate good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy), at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio when you spend $10,000 or more on eligible purchases each cardmembership year.
  • ENJOY COMPLIMENTARY HHONORS GOLD STATUS as long as you are a cardmember. Earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond status when you make $40,000 or more in eligible purchases each calendar year.

 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

6) United MileagePlus Explorer Visa

Bonus: After spending $2,000 in 3 months you receive 55,000 Miles (50,000 for the business card)

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

Links to apply: 

  • For the personal card, log into your United account, then click this link (or follow the instructions below) – if you see the 50k offer you can apply!  If you see a 30k offer you are not eligible.
  • For the business card, log into your United account, then click this link – if you see the 50k offer…you can apply!  If you see an offer for 30k, you are not eligible.

Note that United raised their prices on award flights starting 2/1/14.  See my post here to read more.

Why you should get it:

This is a targeted offer (not everyone is eligible) so I’m not including this in the main part of my top 5.  To see if you are eligible, go to United.com and log in. On the top right you should see a banner offering for the credit card. There is another offer out there for 30,000 — DON’T TAKE THAT OFFER!  In addition, they will give you 5,000 bonus miles (for the personal card, not the business card) after you add an authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your Card during the first 3 months + 10,000 bonus miles every calendar year you spend at least $25,000 on your Card (I don’t plan to ever go for this extra 10k miles because its not worth it).  Some additional nice features are: 1st checked bag free, priority boarding, no foreign transaction fees, 2 United Club passes (I never seem to find a time to use them) and a few more things you can read about on United’s website.

Which cards are your favorite and how do you plan to use these bonuses?  Not sure what to get?  Let me know where you want to go and I’ll be happy to help you get there!

 

 

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7)  Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Links to Apply

  1. 40k Bonus Mile Offer
  2. 20k Bonus Mile Offer

Bonus:

  1. After spending $3,000 in 90 days you receive 40,000 miles (with the 10% miles back its worth $440 to use for any hotel, any airline, anytime)
  2. After spending $1,000 in 90 days you receive 20,000 miles, 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, no annual fee

Annual Fee:

  1. $0 first year, then $89  (for the 40k mile offer)
  2. $0 (for the 20k offer)

Why you should get it:

  • Its easy to get the bonus due to the relatively small spend requirement (some other cards are $5k or $10k)
  • With no blackout periods, especially during holidays, you can easily use these miles for a $400 credit anytime without trying to figure out which airline to search and problems finding availability.  No, its not the biggest or best bonus, but for many people this may be the only one that makes sense.
  • You will get 2x miles on all purchases and there are no foreign transaction fees which will save you money when you travel internationally.
  • To top if off, you get 10% miles back – so redeem 40,000 miles and you get 4,000 back (worth another $40), so you get a total value of $440.  It really doesn’t get easier than this.  If you are short on time or don’t feel like trying to figure all this out, this is the card for you.
  • A new perk of the 20k bonus offer is that you get 0% on purchases and balance transfers (there is a 3% fee to do it!).  I dont recommend carrying a balance but these 0% offers help

 

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8)  Discover it Card

Link to Apply

Bonus: 0% Balance Transfer for 18 months + 5% cash back on certain categories

Annual Fee: $0

I’ve been asked about the discover card.  Its not the card to get if you’re looking for travel rewards so it doesnt fit in the Top 5 for travel rewards.  I’ve had a Discover card forever (partly because there is no fee).  I used to use it more when they offered more cashback on www.Shopdiscover.com.   But, here are a couple reasons to get it below:

Why you should get it:

 

 

 

Which cards are your favorite and how do you plan to use these bonuses?  Not sure what to get?  Let me know where you want to go and I’ll be happy to help you get there!

 

 

 

[In full disclosure, the Reward Boss gets paid a referral if you use some of the card links above for but for the others this is not the case. I research and post my opinions on the best deals I can find, regardless of whether there is a commission available. You don’t have to use my links but I really appreciate if you do.  As always, if you have any questions please feel free to post comments below.  These statements have not been reviewed or approved by any of the above companies.]

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