Top 5 Credit Cards For Travel Rewards ✦ October 2014

Updated on January 4, 2015

Here are the Top 5 Credit Cards for Travel Rewards!

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.  Its coming up soon – 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.

Top 5 Credit Cards for Travel Rewards - Billboard



Click Here for the latest offers.



1) Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card

Links to Apply:  Apply online now (until recently this was only available in person at a bank branch)

  • Link 1: (Direct Link to the new 50,000 offer as the 70k offer expired)
  • Link 2: My affiliate link:  Takes you to my business card post which contains an affiliate link.  It's an extra step- thank you if you use the link there to sign up!

Bonus: After spending $5,000 in 3 months you receive 70,000 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points (which are worth at least $1k $700 if you redeem them for United Miles).

Annual Fee: $95 (not waived)

Why you should get it:

  • Limited Time Offer!  This has expired! – may be expiring 10/19/14!   If you want it…don't wait.  They have never offer 70,000 points for this card.  The offer is now 50,000 points!
  • The #1 reason: Ultimate Reward Points transfer to United 1:1 – so 70,000 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points = 70,000 50,000 United Miles.  After you spend the required $5k, you will have a total of 75,000 55,000 points which is worth 3 2 domestic round trip tickets (worth approx $1,000+ $700+)
  • Read my more detailed post here
  • This is the highest offer I've ever seen for Chase Ink cards!  The usually offer is 50k points which was increased up to 60k twice in the last two years.
  • 5 points per dollar spent at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet and cable services
  • Free Lounge Club Membership – including 2 visits to airport lounges free.  Click here to get your membership (for some reason, Chase does not provide this info to you unless you ask).  The invitation code is “CHASEINK”.


2) Citibank AAdvantage MasterCard

Link to Apply

Bonus: After spending $3,000 in 3 months you receive 50,000 AA miles

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

Why you should get it:

  • After the 100k, 75k, and 60k offers all ended, this is now the best AA offer available.  This offer also has less spend required than those higher offers which makes it easier to get your bonus miles.
  • 50k miles is enough to get you 2 domestic round-trip coach flights.


3) US Airways World Mastercard

Links to Apply

Annual Fee: $89 (not waived)

Why you should get it:

  • The 50,000 targeted offer is the best offer available for the US Airways card, but you would need to receive an invitation in the mail.  When you click the link, it will ask for the special code.  If you were not targeted, the best you can get is the 40k offer.
  • 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 get miles 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 destinations.   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.  



4) IHG Rewards Club (formerly Priority Club) Mastercard

Link to apply

Bonus: After spending $1,000 in 3 months you receive 80,000 points

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $49 (but well worth keeping and paying the fee, read on)

This offer is for 80,000 IHG points (formerly known as Priority Club) compared with the usual 60,000 offer which you can find on Chase’s website.  IHG is the hotel chain best known by its Holiday Inn hotels as well as the Intercontinental hotels.  One reason I don’t like this offer is because when you click on the link, there is no official landing page (you don’t know what you’re getting when you click the link to apply).  That means you’ll have to confirm the offer after you apply and get approved.  People have been having success and posting results at this Flyertalk forum.

Why you should get it:

  • If a typical hotel night will cost you 15,000 to 25,000 points per night at a Holiday Inn then 80,000 bonus points will get you 3 to 5 nights.
  • If each night is worth approximately $150 then the points are worth $450 to $750.  Here is the redemption chart so you can get a better idea.
  • To make it even better, every year you will get 1 free night at any of their hotels.  I used mine for a room on New Years Eve at the Intercontinental Times Square (the cash price was ~$750 +tax).
  • You do pay the annual fee to get the annual free night but the $49 fee is well worth it to receive a free night at an Intercontinental hotel.  Even some Holiday Inns can cost $200+.



5)  Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Links to Apply

  • Link 1: Direct Link
  • Link 2: My affiliate link (this requires a few seconds extra to click through to the Airline and Frequent Flyer Offers, thank you in advance if you use this!!)

Bonus:  After spending $3,000 in 90 days you receive 40,000 miles (with the 10% miles back it is worth $440 to use for any hotel, any airline, anytime)

Annual Fee:  $0 first year, then $89

Why you should get it:

  • EASY:  Its easy to get the bonus due to the relatively small spend requirement (some other cards are $5k or $10k)
  • 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 (especially beginners) this may be the only one that makes sense.
  • 2x MILES ON ALL PURCHASES and NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES which will save you money when you travel internationally.
  • GET 10% MILES BACK – 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 how to use miles, this is the card for you.
  • Free FICO credit score




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 – 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.

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 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!
  • 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.  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.
  • The Chase Ink Plus offer is a business card offer but is better than this United offer because the points are transferable to more United miles (plus several other airlines if you prefer).  In addition, they are more flexible because you can transfer them to someone else's account.


7) 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.
  • 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.
  • TRAVEL WITH EASE and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card.
  • EARN AN ANNIVERSARY BONUS OF ONE WEEKEND NIGHT certificate 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 card membership year.



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!


Note:  If you click some links on this site, TheRewardBoss may receive a small commission at no added cost to you.  By doing so, you help support my project and allow me to continue providing you with more rewarding information.  I research, travel, and write my opinions regardless of whether there is a commission available.  You don’t have to use my links, but I appreciate when you do.  Thank you for your support!


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About TheRewardBoss

Want to see how I earn enough points and miles to travel for free? Read this first. Be one of the 10s of 10s of people who subscribe to receive email updates whenever I post a new article. Enter your email address in the top left corner of the site and that’s it. Cancel anytime. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or RSS feed. Take a Free Lyft.

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