Top 5 Credit Cards For Travel Rewards ✦ January 2015

Updated on February 24, 2015

Every month when I publish my Top 5 Credit Card Deals for Travel Rewards, I scour the web for the best offers. These are the offers my I'm signing up for myself or suggesting to friends and family.  

2014 was an amazing year for bonus points and miles.  Many readers racked up hundreds of thousands of awards very easily and quickly in 2014.  I used 120k miles on a business class flight to the Maldives, Vietnam, and Singapore.  It was amazing and almost the entire trip was paid in miles and points. Lets see if 2015 will be as good!

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




THE TOP 5 Credit Cards

1) US Airways Credit Card

Links to Apply

  • Direct Link (50,000 Bonus + 10,000 Anniversary Miles Offer for “Preferred” Elite Members*) <— Best Offer
  • Direct Link (50,000 Bonus Offer, No Anniversary Miles)

*The offer is meant for US Airways Preferred Elite members.  Applicants who are not Preferred are not getting auto-rejected, so if you are not Preferred, I suggest you use the other link (2nd link above).

Annual Fee: $89 (not waived)

Expiration Date:  The refer a friend offer for this card expires Jan 18, 2015, so this may disappear then too.

Why you should get it:

  • Sign Up Bonus: The 50,000 offer is the best offer available for the US Airways card
  • Anniversary Bonus: Preferred members get 10,000 miles extra on your card opening anniversary (you will pay the annual fee again!)
  • Easy Miles, No Spend Required!  Read my more detailed review I wrote here.
  • $89 Annual fee worth it?  Yes, of course!  There is no other way to buy points for $0.00178 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:
    • Get 10% of your redeemed miles back up to 10,000 per year.  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.  A free Club day pass.  Coming in 2015:   $100 flight discount each year you spend $30,000 on purchases (that's pretty steep just to get a $100 discount though).  25% in-flight savings on food, beverages & headset purchases on US Airways and American Airlines

Already Applied For the 40,000 Offer?

If you already applied and got approved for the 40,000 offer within 1 month or so, call customer service and ask for the additional 10,000 points. There seems to be a Nov 1 cut off (meaning if you applied by Nov 1, they will probably give you the additional 10,000 points).  Make sure you talk to a supervisor and don't hang up with them until you see the points in your account (just log off/on and you should see the points).  I have not done this myself however.


2) American Express Business Gold

Links to Apply

Bonus:  There are 3 offers that you can get.  Open the link in different computers, browsers, private browsing, many times until you get the offer you want.  The 75k offer is the most difficult to get to appear (you may have to load the link even 100+ times to get it to work).  I know…it is annoying.

  1. 75,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $10,000 in 3 months (the most points for a big spend)
  2. 50,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $5,000 in 3 months (best bang for the buck, half the spend as #1 and still 50k points)
  3. 25,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $5,000 in 3 months (terrible!  dont take this offer!)

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $175

Why you should get it:

  • American Express has not offered a 75k bonus in some time — its nice to see it back (even though it may take some effort to get the offer to appear)
  • Which offer is best?  The 25k offer is clearly the worst!  If you can manage the spend of $10,000, go for the 75k offer.  For half the spend ($5k), the 50k offer is easier.
  • Amex Membership Reward Points are very useful.  They can be transferred to these partners: Delta, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, British Airways, El Al, Emirates, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic

Hat Tip to PointsCentric for finding this fantastic offer.


3) Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card

Links to Apply:  Apply online now (you no longer have to go into a branch)

  • Direct Link
  • 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 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points (which are worth at least $700 if you redeem them for United Miles).

Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

Why you should get it:

  • This offer was recently 70k (first yr annual fee not waived) and 60k (first yr annual fee waived).  50k miles is still good but not as good.
  • The #1 reason: Ultimate Reward Points transfer to United 1:1 – so 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points =  50,000 United Miles.  After you spend the required $5k, you will have a total of 55,000 points which is worth 2 domestic round trip tickets (worth approx $700+)
  • Read my more detailed post here
  • 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 sign up for free (for some reason, Chase does not provide this info to you unless you know to ask).  The invitation code is “CHASEINK”.


4) Citibank AAdvantage MasterCard

Links 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.
  • 2 Admirals Club Lounge Day Passes
  • 1st checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions (this can add up – bag fees for up to 5 people)
  • Get 10% back on redeemed American miles



5) British Airways Visa Signature Card

Links to apply:

  • Direct Link
  • My 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!!

Bonus: After spending $2,000 in 3 months you receive 50,000 Avios

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

Why you should get it:

  • You can fly short distances for a tiny amount of Avios points – starting at 4,500 points one way.  I have used this for flights around Peru (see my post here) which would have otherwise cost me lots of cash.  This makes 50,000 Avios points more valuable than you would expect (one way flights start at 4,500 vs 12,500 on United).
  • You can redeem for American Airline flights.  Great short distance redemptions are NYC to Montreal or NYC to Florida.
  • Its useful to have some Avios on hand for those small connecting flights to use in South America and also Asia.
  • American Express is currently offering 40% bonus when you transfer Amex points to British Airways.  That means if you sign up for Amex card 50k bonus point offer and transfer them to British Airways, you will have 70k British Air Avios points.  Of course the spend is higher on the Amex.  You would also have to get the card, hit the spend, and transfer the points before 1/31/15 when the offer expires.




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).  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.


7) Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Links to apply

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

Annual Fee: $95

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 before the devaluation).  These Hilton hotels are excluded.

Why you should get it:

  • 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.
  • FREE 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.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card.
  • 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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