Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

12 Credit Cards for 12/12/12

Today is the last redundant date we will ever see, so in honor of the occasion I thought I would list what I consider to be the 12 best credit cards.

1-AMEX Platinum-Charge-Card

1.  American Express Platinum Card – A card that I think should be in every traveler’s wallet.

Sure the $450 annual fee may seem a little steep, but it is ABSOUTELY loaded with benefits:

  •  Lounge Access – On Delta, American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines in addition to 600+ Priority Pass Lounges worldwide.
  • $200 Airline Incidentals Credit – You select one airline for the year where Amex will credit you back minor fees — like baggage fees, change fees, lounge day passes, telephone booking fees, and inflight food or beverage purchases.
  • Premium Car Rental Program – Complimentary access to Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental elite member benefits and upgrades.
  • Rental Loss/Damage Coverage One of my FAVORITE benefits-Use your card to pay for a rental car and decline their (PRICY) coverage, and for a small fee decline you will be insured from loss or damage to the car.
  • FREE Global Entry– $100 fee waiver for sign-up, which expedites your re-entry into the U.S. when coming back from abroad.
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts Program. – Extra amenities, upgrades, late checkout at hotels booked though the program, bookable online.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status– Good for 4pm late checkout, a 50% bonus on points-earning at Starwood hotels, and room upgrades when available, for as long as you own the card.

The benefits more than pay for themselves, in my opinion.

CURRENT BONUS:  25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card membership.

 

2-Chase INK

2.  Chase Ink Bold Business Card – If you are serious about churning credit cards, this should be one of your go-to cards.  It earns Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to a number of travel partners.  The Ink Card’s main value is that it earns a whopping 5 points per dollar on office supplies, phone, internet and cable services, and for gas and hotel accommodations.

It is a business charge card, though technically we all our in the business of ourselves.  If you don’t have a business ID number, you can simply use your social security number.

CURRENT BONUS:  50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.

 

 

3.  American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card – If you are just beginning to churn credit cards for points, it’s definitely a good starter card for its earn potential:  Triple points on airfare, and double points on gas groceries.  Thus it is a very good card to use for everyday spend.

CURRENT BONUS:  25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card membership.

 

4-Sapphire Preferred Card

4. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – A staple of most points junkies.

CURRENT BONUS:  40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months.  In addition to 2 points per dollar spent on travel (including parking fees) and dining, the 7% annual points bonus—even on points you’ve already spent is a spectacular feature.

 

 

5.  BlueBird by American Express – Not so much a credit card, as it is a way of leveraging miles and points.  BlueBird is a pre-paid debit card, meaning it can be used for practically any purchase.

Whereas you could not earn points for payments such as loans, mortgage, rent, and insurance with a credit card, while BlueBird allows you to.

To earn points withthis card, start by registering online, then purchase a Vanilla Reloads card at an Office Depot using your rewards card of choice.  For more information on how to take advantage of this card, ThePointsGuy has a helpful post.

Note: BlueBird will not affect your credit score:

 CURRENT BONUS:  10,000 – 5,000 after approval, and up to 5,000 more with double points for the first six months on any purchase.

 

6-Hyatt Card

6. Hyatt Card from Chase – For its $75 annual fee, this card provides incredible value.  After signing up for the card and spending $1,000 in 3 months, you earn 2 award nights that can be used at ANY HYATT, WORLDWIDE.  This can be of great value at properties like the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome and Park Hyatt Tokyo where nightly room rates can be ~$500.

Furthermore, if you have Platinum status when you sign up for the card—which has been fairly easy at times, the sign-up bonus becomes 2 award nights AND 2 suite upgrades.

One of the primary benefits of the card is Hyatt Platinum Status, granting Hyatt cardmembers preferred rooms, your confirmed bed type, complimentary internet, and a 72-hour room guarantee.  Additionally, it even contains an embedded smart chip to enable chip-based purchases in Europe, Asia and beyond.

CURRENT BONUS:  2 Award Nights after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

 

7.  Starwood Preferred Guest  American Express – Starwood Preferred Guest Points are one of the most valuable points currencies, as Ben noted, for the versatility of uses.  For starters, many SPG properties have relatively low redemption rates of around 5,000 points or so, in addition to their handy Points + Cash awards.

But the value of SPG points extends beyond their own hotels.  Not only can you can transfer SPG Points to 30+ airlines, for every 20,000 points transferred, SPG will add in a 5,000 point bonus.  Also of value is SPG’s Nights & Flights where you can redeem 60,000 SPG points for 50,000 airline miles and five free nights.

An additional benefit of the card is that you can earn a stay credit of 5 nights or 2 stays each year you renew the card.

CURRENT BONUS:  25,000 – 10,000 after your first purchase, an additional 15,000 for spending $5,000 in 6 months.

 

8-Hilton HHonors Surpass AMEX

8.  Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express – The Hilton HHonors Surpass offers an incredible value beginning with the 60,000 Hilton HHonors sign-up bonus.  In addition, the card comes with complimentary HHonors Gold status for the first year of membership.  The value of these benefits, which may include late checkout, free wireless, and free breakfast depending on the property, just increased since Hilton raised the requirements for Gold status from 10 stays/36 nights to 16 stays/40 nights.

CURRENT BONUS:  60,000 – 40,000 after first purchase, and 20,000 more for spending $3,000 in 90 days.

 

9. United MileagePlus Explorer Card – This card is notable for its bonus of 30,000 United MileagePlus Miles, which have been considered some of the most valuable airline miles for access to the Star Alliance network.

Perks of the card include being able to check your first bag for free, priority boarding privileges, and two United Club passes per year.

CURRENT BONUS:  30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in 3 months.

 

10. American Express Delta Platinum – Delta SkyMiles may not have the best of value for international redemptions, but I do think Delta has the best product and elite program of any domestic airline, and therefore put a lot of value in maintaining elite status on Delta.

If I didn’t have status on Delta, I would still think being able to check to my first bag for free, priority boarding, and purchases SkyClub day passes for $25 (regularly $50) are worth the $75 annual fee.

CURRENT BONUS: 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) after your first purchase.

 

11-CCCU_crdsStacked2up

11. Christian Community Credit Union Platinum Rewards Visa– To be honest, I was on the fence about this one.  While you are able to earn CU Rewards Points that can be used for travel, but they are not transferrable points, rather they are redeemed at a fixed value.  This may be good if you are wanting to use them to travel domestically, but if I wanted to redeem them for an international business class ticket may cost upwards of 1,000,000 points.

The reason I included it is that I believe in not just taking, but also giving back.  Thus, I think it is rather neat that you can donate your CURewards Points for disaster relief and missions work.  In fact, you can earn double points donations to churches and ministries!

So if you are of the Dame Ramsey ilk, this may be a decent card to consider, since it has no annual fee, while still providing Auto Rental Insurance and Emergency Travel Assistance, and helping folks in need around the world.

CURRENT BONUS:  10,000 – 5,000 after approval, and up to 5,000 more with double points for the first six months on any purchase.

 

12-Discover More Card

12. Discover More Card – While I like earning points and miles for everyday purchases, it is important to remember that I paying 1-5 cents per mile by forgoing cash back.  Discover has fairly substantial cash back rates, as they offer 5% cash back on revolving categories throughout the year like gas, restaurants, department stores and more.

 CURRENT BONUS:  None

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  1. Pingback: ‘Round the Blogosphere « Field Of Burch

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