Travel Credit Cards

Travel Credit Cards from Our Partners

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Signing up for credit cards to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points is the easiest and quickest way to earn miles and points for free flights and hotels.

1. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

2. The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and paying $89 annual fee

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
  • First checked bag FREE on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • NEW! Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

Application Link: The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

3. Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

My Review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
  • Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
  • Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for airfare and hotels
  • Earn 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

4. Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 annual value!
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

5. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

  •  Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after you make $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  •  Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

6. The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® with enough bonus miles for a roundtrip award to Hawaii!

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days*
  • Enjoy a complimentary 1st checked bag for the primary cardmember when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • Receive a one-time 50% off a companion discount on roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Earn 2X miles on direct purchases from Hawaiian Airlines and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Get $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines at each account anniversary
  • Earn 5,000 annual bonus miles after $10,000 in annual spend
  • See Terms and Conditions for details

Application Link: The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®

7. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card with 40,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first three months

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening.*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

75 Responses to Travel Credit Cards

  1. Any chance you could suggest cards that non-Americans (or people without a US Social Security Number) can apply for?

    • I don’t have any insight there. Most countries have pretty paltry offers that you can probably uncover by going to your home airline’s website and American Express’s site.

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  4. Michael H.(oldfox)

    Hi! Enjoy the blog! First time with a question here. I have 2 USAirways personal cards. I got the first about 2 years ago and the second card about 9 months ago. Barclays was a bit difficult on approving the second card, but I said I wanted to separate business expenses. That worked! I don’t want to cancel the personal cards since I will get 10,000 miles each year, as per my signup agreement. Instead, I would like to go for the business card even though I realize the signup is less (25,000 vs 40,000).I believe, however, that my chances for getting the biz card would be better since I have numerous personal card apps and 2 biz apps in the last 15 months…..a “no-no” with Barclays.My last approval was November 11,2012-INK BOLD. Fortunately, my FICO is about 780, I have very low credit utilization, and I have a great long credit history. What do you think about me applying for the USAirways biz card with 2 personal USAirways cards still open? Thanks for your input and the great blog!

  5. Aloha, was getting ready to do my March churn. I would like to include the citi business which you list above. Was having trouble finding the details of the card, wanted to make sure it was the one for 50k with the 2 admirals passes.

    Also was interested in the am ex mercedes, however wanted to know your thoughts on a possible 50k normal platinum which would get the 200 airline credit etc. also was wondering if the lounge access of the mercedes to the normal platinum would be the same.

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  7. Based on your experience do you or should you apply for the business cards the same day as the personal cards? I thought it didn’t matter because the business is considered a separate entity. Your thoughts?

    • Same day is best. A business card will result in an inquiry on your personal account though once opened will sit on a different file.

  8. What’s best for credit bureaus perspective for a bunch of cards at one time: take the bonus miles card companies offer to keep you in month 11 that more then equal the credit card yearly charge Eventhough I won’t be using the card or just cancel it?

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  10. Always call the bank and ASK . I asked a Chase person @ PHX and they said No Way . I canceled my SW Chase card a month ago when I got it because I knew I could never hit the min. BUT I found out I could pay my tax bill with it (thanks Scott) . SO I called and SW Chase REINSTATED my card good for 25k points on $1k spending .Could this be a first one for this site ??

    Poor,Homeless Person ..


  11. I noticed you referenced “if you have had one of these cards before”, if that is the case are you ever eligible for earning the rewards on that card again or is it a one time shot? I was just about to try this for the 1st time when I realized I had a US Air Mastercard, I assume it was the “World Premier” although I don’t remember and I don’t want to waste getting a card if I can’t get the bonus points.

    • All of the cards you can get more than once, but the rules for the amount of time between getting the cards varies. The US Airways card you can get again while the first is still open, so if you apply, you will probably be approved.

      • Is there a good source (on here or elsewhere) to give us an idea of the rules for the amount of time between getting cards for each bank? I know Chase is 2 years between applications for the same card, but there are so many to keep track!

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  15. Outside of my 9-5, I volunteer as the VP for a non-profit ( which organizes an annual medical brigade to rural Honduras each June.
    Flying 40 people from various cities in the US (mostly out of BWI) to SAP is the EASY part (shipping supplies and treating patients is a separate challenge).

    We have few expenses throughout the year, but buying 40 plane tickets is a hassle and, potentially, a goldmine of points. We have flown many airlines, but American Airlines most recently.

    I wondered if you had a suggestion on which card that would save us some money (ie: Companion Passes, free luggage, AA miles through purchases, etc.). Thank you!

  16. Shoot me an email at scott@milevalue dot com. What are the circumstances? You all buy 40 tickets for people and you want to lower your expenses on those tickets?

  17. Do you happen to know how long I have to wait after closing a Citi AA credit card before I can reapply and receive the sign up bonus again? Also, do you know when I can reapply for the Chase British Air Avios credit card to receive the bonus again? Thank you!

  18. To get identical Citi cards you need 18 months between applications. To get identical Chase cards, you must have the account closed for 24 months.

  19. Thanks so much for the reply. Just to make sure I understand, I have a Citi AA card that I received 2 years ago. If I were to cancel it, I think we are saying that I should be able to reapply and get the bonus again almost immediately. I would probably wait 3 months or so just to avoid a red flag, but is my understanding correct given that I would have 26 months or so between applications?

  20. Sterling Williamson

    If I get an American Airlines card, will I be able to transfer points back and forth with US air, since these airlines are merging?

    • I think this is likely in about a year, but this is not possible now, and there is no way to know whether it will be possible.

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  22. Hi,

    How about if I don’t have enough credit history and only one low credit line?

  23. For a looong while, I only had a US Airways MasterCard . . . Now have added many cards in a year! So, that original card is the only one with longevity on it. What happens to that aspect of my credit score when it iscancelled by the merger?

  24. To get AA points from my American Express card, can I transfer points to Starwood and then transfer them to AA ? thanks

  25. Hi,
    I’ve been trying to decide what credit cards to get. I travel a lot within the US and soon hoping to do more international travel. I saw the Chase Sapphire was listed as a good one, but I was wondering how that compares to American Express Gold. For the gold, I get points for literally every purchases. What do you think is a better deal?


  26. Try for both if youcan meet the spending requirements. Or, pick which transfers to your favorite airlines or hotels.

  27. Tom
    I love Chase and have 5 cards there and the sap card is a keeper .Check the airline awards for direct flights to where you going and that will tell which one to get .Cash I could get anything but most of future awards Delta maybe 1 stop or a lot points .. AMEX will give a card to anyone so I would make them only if card..

    Down to 9 cards.

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  29. I like your website. Good articles. But have a question. I think opening Credit cards to get mile bonuses is good. But lets say I take out 10 cards over some period of time and get 40k miles each. I have basically 400000 miles plus any miles from purchases on the card . Let’s say I use up all those miles for first class trips for 2. I now have -0- miles except for my normal spending accrual . So now what? Since with only future purchases to give me more miles, I won’t be traveling for quite a while. Plus , now I have 10 Credit cards charging me $89 a year. That’s $890 a year for my 10 cards.
    So, do you cancel all those cards, wait a bit, the apply or reapply for new ones to get mile offers again? If I do cancel the cards, how does that affect my credit report and how long would you have to wait to apply for new ones?
    You have been travelling by awards for a long time, how do YOU keep replenishing your miles account. Can’t be just from normal spending. Or maybe you have 60 credit cards by now. Just wanted to know how this works. Thanks

    • 1) There are a lot more than 10 good cards.
      2) 2x r/t does not cost 400k even in first.
      3) Cancel the cards.
      4) I have about 10 open cards.

  30. If we are using an add on card of our parents/ brother in my case, will I be able to redeem the miles for my ticket as I am not the primary card holder. Do you have any suggestions on it as I cannot get a card for myself.

  31. Thanks for responding. I know you have a lot of comments to read , but I think you got side tracked by my hypothetical examples.
    2), You said: “2x r/t does not cost 400k even in first”
    My questions wasn’t about how many miles it takes to get there, it was about what to do AFTER you exhaust them.
    BTW, I DO know that 400K will get you more than 1 RT FC ticket. In my example I said “trips FOR 2″ (“trips” plural and “for 2″ meaning 2 people). Sorry I wasn’t clear. So unless you tell me I am wrong… if I take 2, 3 or 4 RT First Class trips FOR 2 people, wouldn’t I use up the 400K miles?
    SO, now I have NO miles and 10 credit cards with 10 annual fees.

    1) You said: “There are a lot more than 10 good cards.”
    Yes, but you can’t open and hold every card.
    3) You said: “Cancel the cards”.
    This was one of my main questions.
    In your other article, you said that opening cards may dock your credit report 2-5 points, but I always heard that CANCELLING 10 cards would have a much worse effect on your credit report. What is the effect of cancelling? If no big effect, how long do you need to wait to apply for new cards, AND, can you REapply for the same cards you cancelled to get the miles AGAIN, or are you left with whichever cards you haven’t applied for yet?
    (IE can’t get more United cards cause there aren’t that many and they are all Chase Bank)
    For me, if I KEPT 10 cards, (like you have), it would take me a LONG time to get enough miles to fly first class again just from regular monthly spending, since I am not, (by your definition of “$6k a month), a “big spender”. Also, if I spread that spending over the 10 cards, it would take 10 times longer to get enough miles again since they are not all combinable. Plus, wouldn’t the 10 annual fees every year I keep them eat up the benefits over time?
    I ask cause you said you fly First Class on a regular basis. I think you said every couple months. I want to learn how you do that. I want to copy your method so I can fly First Class more than once every couple years. Do you personally cancel your 10 cards on a regular basis and get new ones with new sign up bonuses or keep the 10 for a long time? If you keep them, how do you accrue miles for First Class so fast?
    Thanks for your patience and for sharing your secrets. Again, sorry for my unclear examples in the first comment.

    • I can open and hold every good card. I can’t open them all at once, but over time I can open a lot of cards. And new cards are being unveiled all the time meaning more cards to open. There is a finite amount of miles available, but it is VERY HIGH, so don’t worry about it too much. If you really get close to the limit of new cards, get expert at manufacturing miles.

      Cancelling cards has NO EFFECT on your credit score:

      Opening cards hurts your credit score. Credit inquiries make up 10% of your score. Credit inquiries fall off in two years. If you don’t have a huge need for a very high credit score for the next two years, opening cards is probably a remote concern.

  32. I recently applied for the Citi HH Reserve and not a week had passed when I recieved an offer in the mail for the Citi AAdvantage with bonus offers that beat anything I have found online. The Reserve is the first CC I have applied for in about 6 years. How long do I need I to wait until I apply for another CC. I have until middle of Sept to apply for the CITI but would also like to take advantage of the AMEX SPG offering.

  33. Before you click the mouse SPEND 30 days and read your emails from here and TPG and you will get the drift. Any dead dog (me) can get a AMEX card so that should be your last card unless you need their points and I have 3..


  34. Applied for the CC Advantage MC with the 50K bonus. I have good credit score (790) but was denied the card since I have had a CC Platinum MC in the past. The offer states for “first time users only”. Is there a way around it?

  35. Hi Scott I am traveling to Russia and want to know which cc to use I have 2 Amex SPG 2 Barclay 5 aaciti cards thr hyatt and Marriott
    Thanks Dora

  36. Saint Petersburg and Moscow

  37. Hey man, loving the site. As I’m moving to California in a few weeks, I think I’ll be doing a lot of back and forth, and am trying to take best advantage of the info here to help me. You’re doing a great service!

    Just wondering about the US Airways Premier World MasterCard, seems like a great bonus but do you (or anyone on here!) know how soon I’ll be able to spend the miles??

    If I apply TODAY, (assuming I’m approved), and I need to fly about a month from now, would I be able to use the bonus miles in time?

    “Bonus miles will be sent to US Airways at the close of your billing statement after qualifying transaction(s) have been posted.”

    Maybe it’s a call to the issuer to see what they say about when a billing cycle ends? Thought I’d ask here first though!

    • You’ll get them contemporaneously with your first statement closing. Hard to have that happen in less than five weeks since you have to be approved and receive the card.

      But the miles don’t “go bad.” If you can’t use them for the trip in one month, you’ll surely use them on another future trip.

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  40. Dear Scott,
    Why is it that no one (none of the bloggers, that is) ever recommends the Capital One Venture card? It seems to have about the same benefits as the Barclay Arrival card, but I never see anyone talk about it.

    • A couple reasons. The Arrival Card is better (2.22% back versus 2% because of 10% points rebate on awards), the Venture card doesn’t have a big sign up bonus, and Capital One is notorious for credit pulls from all three agencies for one card!

  41. Just a story to share with everyone:

    I did my first apporama recently and applied for the AMEX SPG card, the Barclay Arrival card, the Barclay Miles and More, and the Barclay US Airways DIvidend card.

    Off the bat I was approved for the SPG and the Arrival. I was declined after 10 days of waiting for the other two Barclay’s cards. My credit score (at the time) was 751.

    When I called Barclay to inquire about the declines they said because I have no history with them they were hesitant to open credit for me (I even tried the “I plan to travel a lot this year” line with them but no dice). They recommended that I amass 10 to 12 months of history with Barclays before trying to apply again.

    I wanted to pass that along to anyone else planning to do an apporama soon. Avoid doind so many Barclay’s at once!

    • You should have used my free credit card consultation. I would have told you not to try for 3 Barclay’s at once. Thanks for the story!

      • No worries Scott! Love the site. Maybe you should add something about that on the page with the “Best Cards”. Oh well. I’ll be smarter on my next Apporama!

      • Scott, in reference to CJ’s comment below – what is your experience with 91 days versus 4 months? I was planning on doing my next (2nd) app-o-rama this month (91 days after my last credit app), but now I see this and wonder how valid it is? Thanks!

  42. Rick
    Don’t worry I was thinking 2 years ago 1 flt a year was cool(rookie) but I get many more now which I don’t need . Wait 4 months not 3 before you apply again because you don’t know which day of the month the banks post to the credit company .. .Love my AAciti Bus. card good for 60K points because I had 6k banked when I canceled my last Citi card in June..


    THANKS !!!!!!!!!! SCOTT

  43. Scott,

    I’m a total newb, so I apologize if this is a dumb question, but I’m reading the “fine print” on the US Air Premier World MC, and it says the companion ticket is usable only if the cardmember purchases a $250 ticket. Does this mean I would have to use real money and then get the $99 companion ticket, or can I use points ($250 worth) and still get the companion ticket?

    There’s so much awesome information here. Unfortunately, I think I’m on information-overload at the moment!

    Thank you!!

    • You have to buy the first ticket as a cash ticket that costs more than $250 to get the companion ticket for $99.

  44. What about Chase Sapphire Preferred? Or are you waiting for the sign-up bonus to increase (from 40k to, say, 50k)?

  45. I have a Hilton Honors card that’s their basic one with no annual fee. When I got my new one and called to register it, they offered me 5000 points if I spend $1000 in 3 months. How much is each point worth and is it worth spending my $1000 on the Hilton Honors card? I just applied for the Arrival card but I have $2000 in dental bills to pay so I can cover both cards but still wondering…

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  47. What is the difference in having a Capital One Venture card and the Barclaycard Arrival? Capital One give 2 points/ dollar spent as well. And you can transfer points free between Capital One accounts. I only use points for travel.

  48. Scott- you can use the Venture card to redeem all travel expenses as well and you would also get miles on flights that you charged on that card. I’d say the main difference is the 10% rebate you get when redeeming travel expenses on the Arrival card. But you can only redeem travel in 2500 increments on the Arrival card while the Venture card lets you redeem any amount.

    • Scott Grimmer

      By earn miles on the award I mean that you earn 2 Arrival miles per dollar on the award. In addition to airline miles for flying the award. With the Arrival card, you can redeem for the full amount of any charge or in $25 increments. Arrival card miles are worth 14% more, and the card has a bigger sign up bonus, and free access to your FICO score, and free TripIt Pro. Easy decision in my mind.

  49. Thanks for your great detail and info on the best travel credit cards posts. I noticed that the hotel cards usually listed mainly focus on name brand chains, but my gf and I mainly book independent/boutique hotels. Are any of the cards good for this situation, or is it best to try and get additional pts via Rocketmiles and PointsHound?

  50. Hi Scott,
    Your Barclay Arrival link takes you to Credit Karma. I already used your link previously to sign up and want to know if I can use Hyatt dining credits from my Arrival plus. while on holiday. Thanks!

  51. Where would I find out if buying gift cards (The Gap, Itunes, P.F. Chang, etc) from a grocery store are eligible for earning miles on new airline credit cards? When I’ve bought gift cards while grocery shopping, I’ve earned all the points on that shopping trip with my Chase Rewards card.

    • If you buy a gift card at a grocery store, the purchase will be coded as a grocery purchase and earn the number of points that card earns at grocery stores.

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