Credit Cards

My opinion on the best current credit card offers are below. If you’re interested in cash back cards, those cards are listed about halfway down this page. Always refer to the application for complete Terms and Conditions!

 

BEST OFFERS

Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard

  • Earn 100,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making $10,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn up to $200 in statement credits — earn $1 in statement credits for each $1 spent on purchases within the first 12 months. (Basically $200 for free)
  • Admirals Club membership (Lounge Access).
  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn two AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, including US Airways codeshare flights booked on aa.com.
  • Priority boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee, NOT waived ($250 after the $200 free statement credit)
  • See this post for more information.

Chase British Airways Visa Signature

  • 50,000 Avios after $2,000 spending in 3 months. Another 25,000 after $10K spending in 12 months. Yet another 25,000 after ANOTHER $10K spending in the same 12 months (so 100K after $20K spend in 12 months)
  • Earn 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Read this article for how to use Avios!
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 months.
  • 5x points at office supply stores and on cell phone, land line, internet, and cable TV services (on the first $50,000 in spend).
  • 2x points on gas stations and hotels (on the first $50,000 in spend).
  • Points transfer to United, Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, at a 1:1 ratio.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Citi AAdvantage World MasterCard

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.
  • See this post and this FlyerTalk thread for more details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.
  • If offer increases, Chase has been known to match if asked (not guaranteed).
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
  • Receive a 7% Annual Points Dividend on all points earned via purchases (bonus doesn’t count).
  • Points transfer to United, Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, at a 1:1 ratio.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum Card

  • 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in 3 months.
  • Access to US Airways, Delta, and American Airlines lounges. Delta and American lounges can only be accessed if flying with them that day.
  • Each year you spend $5,000 on the card, you earn a $1,000 certificate towards a future purchase or lease of a Mercedes.
  • Up to 2,000 excess miles waived at the end of your leased Mercedes.
  • $200 airline credit reimbursement. This is not stated in terms and conditions for this card (it definitely is for normal Platinum card), but Mommy Points confirmed you should receive it. If I were you, I’d ask Amex to confirm it. This card is on this list because it assumes you get this credit.
  • $100 certificate towards Mercedes accessories upon annual account renewal.
  • $475 annual fee, NOT waived the first year.

Chase Hyatt Visa

  •  2 free nights at any Hyatt after spending $1,000 in 3 months.
  • Receive a free Category 1-4 night annually upon account renewal.
  • Earn 3 Hyatt points per $1 spent at Hyatt, 2 points per $1 spent on airlines, car rentals, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 everywhere else.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $75 annual fee, NOT waived the first year. See this post for how to get some money back.

Citi Hilton Honors Reserve

  •  2 free weekend night certificates good for use at most hotels (does not include all-inclusive resorts, Hilton Grand Vacation properties, or Waldorf Astoria properties that don’t offer standard rooms) after spending $2,500 in 4 months.
  • Hilton Honors Gold status as long as you have the card.
  • Earn another free weekend night certificate on your account anniversary if you spend at least $10,000 per year.
  • Earn 10 HHonors points per $1 spent on Hilton, 5 points per $1 spent on airlines and car rentals, and 3 points per $1 on everything else.
  • Earn HHonors Diamond status (top-tier) with $40,000 spend in a calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee, NOT waived the first year.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express (Contact me for a referral link that earns me points if you’re willing to support me!)

  • 25,000 bonus points – 10,000 after first purchase and another 15,000 after spending $5,000 in 6 months.
  • Earn 2 SPG points per $1 spent on Starwood hotels (in addition to the 2 points SPG members earn or 3 points Gold/Platinum members earn), and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
  • Earn  2 stays/5 nights credit towards SPG elite status. That means just 8 stays/20 nights to earn SPG Gold status or 23 stays/45 nights to earn Platinum. This stacks with the Business version of the card as well.
  • Get 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program (over 30 of them).
  • Dollar for Dollar, these are the consensus most valuable points in the loyalty program world.
  • Earn SPG Gold status with $30,000 spend in a calendar year.
  • $65 annual fee, waived the first year

 

 

CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS

Miles and points are not for everyone. Some people just want to have cash back in their pocket or discounts on travel and don’t really care about additional travel benefits. If you’re one of those people, perhaps the cards below will interest you. I suggest only the ones with no annual fee, unless there is an amazing bonus offer.

 

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

  • 40,000 points after you spend $1K in 90 days.
  • 2x miles (basically 2% cash back) on ALL purchases.
  • When redeeming miles for travel, you get 10% back. That means you essentially earn 2.2% cash back – tops among all available cards!
  • You don’t have to worry about award space. If a seat is for sale, you can book it with your points!
  • $89 annual fee, waived the first year.

Chase Freedom Card

  • 20,000 bonus points (equivalent of $200 cash back) if you spend $500 in 3 months.
  • Quarterly rotating 5% cash back categories (Q1 2013 is gas stations, drug stores, Starbucks) up to $1500 in purchases. That’s a maximum of $75 cash back per quarter.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no maximum.
  • Cash back is earned as points (5% cash back categories earn 5 points per $1). These points can be transferred to an Ultimate Rewards card such as the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold/Plus cards if you prefer travel benefits. If not, you can redeem for gift cards or statement credit.
  • No annual fee.

OTHER CREDIT CARDS

Signed up for all the major cards already? No worries, there are plenty of other options.

Barclay’s Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard (affiliate link)

  • 20,000 miles after first purchase.
  • Fantastic card for domestic US Business Class travel (i.e. 17,000 miles for a one-way Premier Service flight on United from JFK-LAX/SFO).

US Airways Premier World MasterCard

  • 30,000 miles after first purchase.
  • Annual fee of $89 (easy to get waived).
  • These miles WILL turn in to American Airlines miles soon. Apply now if that’s what you want!