Below are the travel rewards cards that I personally recommend. My wife and I both have each of these cards and use them on a daily basis, when we are not pursuing a bonus on another card.
If you are just getting started with travel rewards, you should start with Chase cards as they are widely recognized in the community as the best cards based on the value of the points and the many travel perks that come with each card.
Furthermore, you will want to start with a Chase card because of their 5/24 rule, which means they will not approve you if you have signed up for 5 credit cards within a 24 month period. So start with them, and get all their cards as we have done and then move on to other issuers.
Your first card, without a doubt, should be the Sapphire Preferred card. As I write this, the sign up bonus is currently 60,000 points (it’s usually 50,000). At a point value of $0.02 per point, that is $1,200 in free travel! If you are married, we recommend you each sign up for the card independently to gain $2,400 in free travel. Note: do not add one another as an authorized user, as this will restrict your ability for each of you to get the bonus. Also, you get much more value by transferring your points to an awards partner vs buying through the chase portal.
Many of these cards have an annual fee. The standard, is $95 annual fee that is deferred in the first year. With that, you have the option to either:
Downgrade The Card
To avoid the annual fee, you can optionally downgrade the card to a no-fee version such as the Chase Freedom card. Do this, after you you have earned the sign up bonus and before the fees are due.
Continue to Extract Value
You can always keep the card open to benefit from the many travel benefits such as free global entry, free checked bags, lounge access, priority boarding and more. Depending on your travel goals, these benefits can far outweigh the $95 or even $450 annual fee.
Close The Card
This is an option, however I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as it can negatively affect your score in the short term.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase United Club
Chase United Explorer MileagePlus
Chase Ink Business Preferred
Chase United Explorer Business
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