Top 5 Credit Cards For Travel Rewards ✦ April 2015

Finally, we have a new exciting offer — the Citi Prestige card!  If you can use many of the perks offered, its probably worth it for you!

Don’t see what you are looking for?  Check out the credit card offer directory.

Top 5 Credit Cards for Travel Rewards - Billboard

 

UPDATE: THESE OFFERS HAVE EXPIRED.  CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST OFFERS.

 

The TOP 5 Credit Cards

1) Citi Prestige – $1350 AA Credit (50,000 Thank You Points) after $3k spend in 3 months

Links to Apply:

  • Direct Link
  • Affiliate Link – (click “Points Rewards Credit Cards”, click “show more results” at the bottom until you see Citi Prestige Card) – it’s an extra step, thank you if you use this link!

Annual Fee: $450 (see below and my detailed post see why its worth it)

Why you should get it:

Citi bumped up the bonus to 50,000 points (from 30,000).  See my detailed post. Here are the main benefits:

  • The annual fee is $450 but you get $250 in Air Travel credit each calendar year.  That means you can get $250 credit in 2015 and 2016, a total of $500 (so you make $50).
  • Redeem points for a $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways,  OR a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards (but gift cards are such a bad value here!)
  • Transfer 50,000 miles to 11 airline transfer partners (but I think I would rather redeem it for an $800 flight)
  • Lounge access to Admirals Club and Priority Pass Select (more lounges)
  • $100 Global Entry Application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 4th night free on any hotel stay (I rarely pay for hotels so this does not give me much value)
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels, 2x on Dining/Entertainment, 1x per $1 spend on other purchases

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2) Citibank AAdvantage MasterCard – 50,000 AA miles after $3k spend in 3 months

Links to Apply:

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

Why you should get it:

  • Enough miles to get you 2 free domestic round-trip coach flights.
  • 2 Admirals Club Lounge Day Passes & 10% miles back on award redemptions
  • 1st checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions (bag fees for up to 5 people can add up!)

 

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3) United MileagePlus Explorer Visa – 55k bonus miles (50k for the business card) after $2k spend in 3 months

Links to apply: 

  1. Business Card Direct Link: 50k bonus miles
  2. For the personal card, log into your United account, then click this link – if you see the 50k offer you can apply!  If you see a 30k offer you are not eligible.

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

Why you should get it:

  • Now everyone can sign up for the Business Card 50k Offer!  If you login, just make sure you don’t get switched to the 30k offer!
  • They will give you 5,000 bonus miles (for the personal card, not the business card) just for adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase with your card during the first 3 months
  • 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.

 

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4) British Airways Visa Signature – 50,000 Avios after $2k spend in 3 months

Links to apply:

  • Direct Link
  • Affiliate link: this takes a few seconds extra to click through my link “Airline and Frequent Flyer Credit Card Offers”. Thank you in advance if you use this!!

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95 (they usually don’t waive the first year)

Why you should get it:

  • Avios let you fly short distances for a tiny amount of points – starting at just 4,500 points one way. I have used this for flights around Peru (see my post here) which would otherwise have cost me lots of cash. This makes 50,000 Avios points more valuable than you would expect (for example, one way flights start at 4,500 Avios vs 12,500 on United).
  • You can redeem Avios for American Airline flights.  Examples: One way NYC to Montreal costs 4,500 Avios (coach). One way NYC to Miami costs 7,500 Avios (coach).  Business class costs double but for such short flights its not worth it.
  • Its useful to have some Avios on hand for those short domestic connecting flights to use in South America and Asia.
  • Check out this helpful tool – type in your city and it shows you all the Avios Destinations by Price (HT to Wandering Aramean)

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5) IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card – 70,000 bonus points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Link to apply

  • Direct link (This link shows the 80,000 offer but clicking apply results in an error.  People have reported getting the 80,000 offer by just logging into their IHG account or making a booking which can be cancelled.  If not, see the 70k offer below)
  • Affiliate link: (70,000 point bonus offer) this takes a few seconds extra to click through my link “Airline and Frequent Flyer Credit Card Offers”. Thank you in advance if you use this!!

Annual Fee: $49, waived the first year

Why you should get it:

  • Up to 5 nights free (A typical hotel night will cost you 15,000 to 25,000 points per night at a Holiday Inn)
  • Every year they give you a free night certificate valid any hotel any time + Platinum status.  That’s worth paying the annual fee to me.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS
6) Chase Sappire Preferred  – 40,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Links to Apply

  • Direct Link
  • Affiliate Link: this takes a few seconds extra to click through my link then click “Points Rewards Cards” — thank you in advance if you use this!!

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95/yr

Why you should get it:

  • The reasons are similar to the Chase Ink Plus card. Ultimate Reward Points transfer to United 1:1.  You will have almost enough for 2 domestic round trip tickets.  You can also transfer to Virgin which has some interesting redemptions to Australia.
  • This is a great card for every day spending: 5 points per dollar spent at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet and cable services.

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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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Comments

  1. I still have Citi Executive card with 20k CL that is due annual fee. Do you suggest I cancel it or PC it to Citi TY card? Double cash is an option but I already have three 2%/2x cards.

    • I usually reduce my credit lines to around $5k when I get a new card. If you are not instantly approved they may offer to transfer your credit line to the new card. If you don’t think you will get enough value from the old card to justify the annual fee then canceling is probably the right choice.

  2. Hello, what do you think is the best credit card for travel rewards that would apply to all airlines, or at least more than one or two?

    • Marina- The Citi Prestige card would be good for all airlines (though you get a bonus for AA or US Air). The annual fee is high so you would need to make sure you benefit from all the perks which are valuable. I would also look at the Chase Sapphire and Chase Ink Plus (a business card) – the Ultimate Rewards points transfer to many airline partners. American Express membership rewards transfer to many airlines partners as well…but I dont see any great offers from them right now.

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