People ask me all the time how do I manage to travel so much, well the answer is pretty simple. I can maximize the value of the points I get from various credit cards for travel. Earning miles or points to use for travel has never been easier! You can book some pretty fantastic award travel just from the points you can earn from using a credit card for travel and everyday purchases. In this post, I’ll talk about how I accumulated more than 300,000 miles in the past year just through credit card spend and bonuses as well a some of the best benefits these credit cards for travel have.
There are some award travel fanatics that have 20+ active credit cards and use them all based on which one provides the best reward for the spend. I, on the other hand, have found that there are three credit cards that offer me with incredible value both on the cards’ perks and the value of the reward currency through transfer partners. In my opinion, the three best credit cards for frequent flyers are the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi Prestige, and American Express Platinum for Business. Each travel credit card has unique benefits and earning structure, as well as transfer partners.
This Chase credit card is perfect for anyone who wants most of the benefits that come with a premium travel rewards credit card without the hefty annual fee. With Chase Sapphire preferred you earn 1 point per $1 spent. You get an additional bonus point for any dining or travel purchases, and another bonus point if you use Chase’s Ultimate Rewards website to book your travel. The extra point on dining and travel have been beneficial in the past year with how often I was flying between Raleigh and Tampa. I recently transferred 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my British Airways Executive Club account to book a friend’s ticket from London to Dubai with me next month. Other transfer partners include Singapore Airlines (who I’d like to fly in their first class suite!), Southwest, United, Marriott, and Hyatt among a few others. All transfer partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so you don’t have to worry about paying a surcharge to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points!
Chase is currently offering a signup bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. They are also waiving the first year’s $95 annual fee! If you are interested in applying reach out to me and I can refer you and get bonus points!
The Citi Prestige credit card has loads of travel benefits including a 4th night free at nearly any hotel in the world. If you call and book your hotel for four consecutive nights through the Citi Prestige Concierge your fourth night is complimentary, and you can still use hotel loyalty programs! There is also a Global Entry or TSA Pre-check credit, and you get $250 Air Travel Credit each year to be used for baggage, tickets, upgrades and other fees. With the Citi Prestige, you also get free access to the American Airlines Admirals clubs when flying on American Airlines, which for me made a world of difference flying between Raleigh and Tampa so often on American Airlines.
With the Citi Prestige card, you earn 1 point per $1 spent. The earning is tripled for Air travel and hotels and doubled for dining and entertainment. Your Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to partners such as Cathay Pacific (Who we flew to Hong Kong), Hilton, AirFrance, Qatar Airways (Who we flew on our way to the Maldives), Singapore Airlines and others. For the most part points transfers are 1:1, but if you transfer points to Hilton HHonors, you get 1500 points per 1000 Thankyou points.
Citi is currently offering 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
The American Express Platinum also has a lot of significant travel benefits. You get access to Delta Skyclubs when flying on Delta, $200 of airline fee credits (to any one airline), a global entry credit, and access to American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts. Fine Hotels and Resorts provides a slew of benefits to luxury hotels including early check-in and late check-out, room upgrades, and a unique benefit such as complimentary spa treatments and $100 food and beverage credit at the hotel.
You earn 1 point per $1 spent, with the only bonuses being if you book travel through Amextravel.com. American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Hilton, SPG, Delta, British Airways, JetBlue, Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad and a number of other partners. Most airline partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio, but hotel partners SPG you only get 333 starpoints for each 1000 membership rewards point transferred. Occasionally there are offers for increased redemption such as the current offer for transferring points to Etihad with a 30% bonus.
American Express is currently offering 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Although if you currently hold another AMEX card, you may be eligible for an offer to receive 50,000 membership rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
All three of the credit cards for travel I use to provide me with great benefits and more than pay for their annual fees based on the returned value I receive. The points earned in all three of these cards can be redeemed for statement credit, although you can get much more value if you transfer points to a partner. For example, Singapore airlines First Class suite one way from New York to Frankfurt will set you back 58,000 points. The same trip would be between $5,000 and $6,000 if you paid for it. The 58,000 points used would get you $350 in AMEX statement credit, $580 in Chase statement credit or just $290 in Citi statement credit. I think its pretty clear that redeeming for statement credit isn’t a great option when you can transfer these points to a partner and redeem for much more valuable travel! If you have one of these cards remember that next time you go to redeem for statement credit!
The first step to getting one of these amazing credit cards for travel is knowing your credit score, which you can check here! All of these cards require a good credit score, so make sure that is in order before applying!
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