There are a lot of reasons to collect miles and points.
- For free First Class flights and luxury hotel stays
- To travel to more countries than you could otherwise afford (like Norway, pictured above)
- To take your family on vacation
- To visit home for the holidays
- To earn big rewards for everyday spending
And the amazing thing is you don’t need much money to achieve your goal. Focus your spending on unlocking sign up bonuses, and anyone with good credit can take a dream trip anywhere in the world.
Whatever your reason for coming to MileValue, there is a rewards card that suits your needs. In fact, there is probably more than one. That’s what makes this miles and points game exciting and ongoing.
Below are the top ten consumer rewards credit cards right now. If you want personal recommendations tailored to your travel goals, fill out this form for a credit card consultation.
BONUS: 60k Ultimate Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, Singapore, British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Hyatt, and more.
The Sapphire Preferred is a great card, arguably the best, for those just dipping their toe in the travel credit cards rewards pond: The points are versatile, category bonuses solid, and the annual fee isn’t significant. It’s also the best choice for someone with a lower credit score than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Preferred’s more sophisticated and overall more valuable older sister. Average credit score approval range for the Preferred is 670 and up, while the average for the Reserve is 740 and up.
Annual Fee: $95
BONUS: 50k Ultimate Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to travel partners including United, Singapore, British Airways, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Hyatt, and many more.
Sapphire Reserve holders get a $300 travel credit each cardmember year (not calendar year), as well as a $100 credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSAPre √ every four years. Those two benefits alone almost totally make up for the pricy annual fee. Regular travelers will get a a ton of value out of the free Priority Pass Select membership benefit–which grants access to over 1,200 lounges around the world and guest access for two fellow travelers.
The Sapphire Reserve offers 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and restaurants. Travel and restaurants are broad categories and include flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, tolls, parking, Uber, taxis, restaurants, bars, fast food, and night clubs.
Annual Fee: $450
3. Citi Prestige
BONUS: 50k ThankYou Points
The Citi Prestige comes with some of the best perks of any credit card and a sizable bonus as well. Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after $4,000 in purchases are made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. It has an expensive $495 annual fee, but with all the benefits it’s easy to see how you can quickly make that money back.
You’ll get a $250 travel credit each calendar year, which can be applied twice within the first year of card membership–before the annual fee is due–for a total of $500 in travel purchase credit (for charges like flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, subways, ride share services, parking, etc.)
The real clincher with this card is its category bonus earning :
- 5x points on air travel and restaurants
- 3x on hotels and cruises
For avid travelers, those are unbeatable compared to any other single card.
You’ll also receive a statement credit every 5 years worth up to $100 as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre √, a complimentary 4th night for up to two separate hotel stays, and a free Priority Pass Select membership (you + two guests get lounge access).
Travel transfer partners include Avianca, Etihad, Flying Blue, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, and more.
BONUS: 60k Membership Rewards, or 100k if you’re targeted through the CardMatch Tool.
The regular offer for the Platinum Card from American Express comes with 60,000 Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Sometimes Amex targets customers for 100k bonuses (see below), and sometimes referral bonus offers can be higher.
Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, All Nippon Airways, Singapore, and British Airways.
The card has a $550 annual fee. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, hotel status, and a 5x category bonus for purchases directly from airlines. For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card. The annual fee recently increased on this card, but it comes with new benefits like $200 in Uber credit annually to make up for it. Read all about them in Amex Platinum Annual Fee Jumps to $550.
Before applying for this offer, read 100k Amex Platinum Targeted Offer to learn about the massive targeted bonus available to some through the CardMatch Tool. Check if you’re targeted for the 100,000 Membership Reward bonus offer on the Platinum Card (for spending the same amount of $5,000 in three months).
5. Citi Premier Card
BONUS: 60k ThankYou Points
The Citi Premier Card has a higher than normal 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s the highest bonus this card has ever offered. Transfer points to 15 airline loyalty programs for the most outsized value. Points are also redeemable for 1.25 cents each on any airline’s cash tickets (sign-up bonus is worth $750 redeeming this way).
Category bonuses include a stellar 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel and gas purchases, and 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on restaurant and entertainment purchases.
For a card with an annual fee of just $95 (that is waived the first year), that’s a valuable benefits package. You can also use this card abroad or on foreign purchases and no foreign transaction fees are collected.
The link to apply for this card has been moved to the top of the website, under the drop-down menu Top Credit Cards.
6. Citi Double Cash
The Double Cash card has offered a competitive cash back rate for a long while now: 1% upfront upon purchase and another 1% upon bill payment, for a total of 2%. But this card just joined the ranks of valuable point-earning travel cards due to benefit added a very recently by Citi. The rewards earned by the Double Cash are called Citi Cash Rewards. Now you can morph these Cash Rewards into ThankYou Points (at a 1:1 rate), the reward currency earned by the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige, as long as you have a Premier or Prestige account open to transfer them to. This means the two Cash Rewards earned for every dollar spent and paid off on the Double Cash card translate to two ThankYou points transferrable to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs! Earning two points per dollar on everyday spending is currently unparalleled in the travel rewards card market. If you are capable of maximizing the loyalty programs Citi partners with (think Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, Etihad, Flying Blue) you should be putting all your everyday (otherwise non-bonused) spending on this card. There is no cap to earning 2x.
The link to apply for this card has been moved to the top of the website, under the drop-down menu Top Credit Cards.
BONUS: 30K Membership Rewards
The recently revamped American Express Green Card is Amex’s latest play to stay relevant in the ever-competitive game of travel credit cards. With a reasonable minimum spending requirement of $2,000 within three months of opening it, the Amex Green’s 30,000 Membership Reward bonus will be more accessible than some of the others on this list.
The Amex Green Card comes with various benefits usually only granted by premium cards with $450+ annual fees, like:
- 3 Membership Rewards earned for every dollar spent on travel purchases and at restaurants
- Lounge access: $100 in Lounge Buddy statement credits
- Airport security shortcut: $100 in statement credits per year towards a CLEAR membership
- Travel gear: $100 statement credit for a suitcase or other slick travel gadget from AWAY if purchased within the first three months of account opening (limited time only, through 1/15/20 and for new cardmembers only)
You can use the Amex Green abroad as it does not charge foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is $150.
8. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card
BONUS: 40k Alaska miles
Bank of America’s co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card has a sign-up bonus that’s 10k miles higher than normal: 40,000 Alaska miles and a Companion Fare for spending just $2,000 within three months. That may not sound like as many miles as the other bonus’ on this list, but Alaska miles are specifically valuable for international premium cabin awards (that get a free stopover on each direction!) to Asia flying Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, or Hainan, to the Middle East/India flying Emirates, and to Fiji flying Fiji Ariways are just some of the great deals available booking through Alaska MileagePlan.
The other component of the sign up bonus, the Companion Fare, is a $121 ticket for your Companion to fly anywhere with you on Alaska Airlines. If utilized on an expensive flight, this perk could be very valuable.
- Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you + six companions
- Earn 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska purchases
- 50% day passes to Alaska’s lounges and 20% off in-flight purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee: $75.
The link to apply for this card has been moved to the top of the website, under the drop-down menu Top Airline Credit Cards.
9. Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
BONUS: 60k American Airlines miles
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard offers 60,000 American Airlines for putting just one purchase on the card and paying the annual fee! That means you’d effectively be paying $95 (or .15 cents a mile) and a hard credit pull for 60,000 American Airlines miles.
Other benefits include two American Airlines miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, free checked bag, discount on inflight purchases, 10% rebate on all American Airlines miles redeemed per year (capped at 10k returned each year), access to American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards, and no foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $99
10. Capital One Venture Rewards Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with a sign up bonus of 50,000 Capital One miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. A Capital One mile can be redeemed for one cent in the form of cash back towards travel, or transferred to 12 airline mileage programs at a rate of 1,000 Capital One miles to 750 airline miles. You can also transfer to another three airline programs but at a rate of 1,000 to 500. To translate that bonus into a more digestible value, it’s worth up to 37,500 airline miles. Partners include airlines from all three alliances, including Flying Blue, Aeroplan, Etihad, and Avianca, and more.
As you’ll earn 2 of these Capital One miles per dollar spent on everything you charge to the card, that means your minimum return on spend is 2%, which is great for a card with options to transfer to airline miles. Other cool perks:
- Earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels booked and paid through hotels.com/venture through January of 202
- $100 credit FOR TSA PRE✔® or Global Entry.
- The $95 annual fee is waived the first year
Before you rush to sign up for new cards, remember to take into account that some miles are better than others for getting to specific destinations–not to mention issuing bank rules concerning eligibility if you’ve opened rewards cards in the past.
- Read this blog continuously to learn how to book your own dream trip with miles, or just leave the hard part up to us. MileValue’s Award Booking Service will spend your miles more efficiently to book a better trip than you can, so you can have more miles to go even more places!