This is a question I get asked often. It is a good one as I have been doing the credit card bonuses for a while and have accumulated a fair amount of miles and points from them. Many of the credit cards I mention here are ones that I currently have or have had in the past. If I can remember, I will also note what type of bonus I received signing up for the card. The asterisk next to the card means that I still have it.
Chase Credit Cards
- Chase Freedom – $200 cash back (after meeting spend threshold) *
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – 50,000 Ultimate Reward points (after meeting spend threshold) *
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Business Plus Card – 50,000 Rapid Reward points (after 1st purchase) *
- Continental Airlines OnePass Plus Card – 40,000 OnePass miles (after 1st purchase) *
- Continental Airlines OnePass Presidential Plus – 1st year fee waived
- United Mileage Plus Card – 50,000 Mileage Plus miles (after 1st purchase) *
- Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card – 30,000 points and 1 free night (after 1st purchase)
- Hyatt Credit Card – 2 free nights (after 1st purchase) *
American Express Cards
- American Express Platinum Card – 100,000 Membership Reward points (after meeting spend threshold)
- Premier Rewards Business Gold Card – 75,000 Membership Reward points (after meeting spend threshold) *
- Premier Rewards Gold Card – 75,000 Membership Reward points (after meeting spend threshold) *
- Delta Reserve Credit Card for Business – 10,000 Elite Miles (MQMs) (after 1st purchase)
- Platinum Delta Skymiles Card – 40,000 Skymiles and 5,000 Elite miles (after meeting spend threshold)*
- Gold Delta Skymiles Card – 40,000 Skymiles (after 1st purchase)
CitiBank Credit Cards
- Citi Platinum Select
- Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – 25,000 ThankYou points (after 1st purchase) *
- Citi Diamond Preferred Card *
Barclays Bank Credit Card
- US Airways Mastercard – 40,000 Dividend miles (after 1st purchase) *
As you can see, I lean heavily towards American Express and Chase. I really have not taken advantage of the excellent offers that have been coming from Citibank with American Airlines over the last year since I was just concentrating on a few cards that I had applied for in the midst of those bonuses. Also, I do not currently have a Discover card (I think I may have in the long ago past, but not sure). I have had 2 Capital One cards, but have not held them in a long time and do not remember the terms of those.
Many people tell me they use the Discover cards (or other similar cards) for their cash back. To me, it is really one of the worst credit card rewards as most people are not getting more than 1.1% cash back. For someone that spends $50,000 on a credit card in a year, that means they are going to get $500 cash back. That is some nice cash, but if they were with a credit card that was giving them points that could be redeemed for travel, the percentage of value goes way up. For example, if they, instead, were to receive 50,000 miles/points in that year, those could be redeemed for 2 tickets to, say, Alaska. For me to purchase tickets to Alaska from my town, that would cost well over $600 a person. Using miles, you would get two of those tickets for free! That brings the actual percentage of value of your points to a very conservative 2.5% value (as opposed to the 1% value of cash back). So, if you ever travel anywhere, you are much better off going with a program that will give you some type of redemption on travel instead of cash.
The main cards I currently use are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Premier Rewards Gold cards. They give double points on groceries (at stand-alone supermarkets), travel, dining, gas (at stand-alone gas stations) and select other bonuses from time to time (through their shopping portals). That means, when I buy groceries (say it is $100 a week), instead of just receiving 100 points, I am receiving 200 points! There is a method to all of this and hopefully I can help you achieve some of this in your own travel planning.
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Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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