After going around the world seven times this past year I need to remind myself that it’s a lot of work to earn miles when flying. Most airline programs are now revenue-based, and when friends ask, I always tell them the easiest way to earn miles is from credit cards.
Sure mileage running is a great way to earn elite status, but nothing beats a good credit card signup bonus. Here’s my top 10 list.
Credit Card Bonuses: My Top 10 List Right Now
Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, and another 25,000 after spending an additional $15,000 within your first three months of account opening. (See Rates and Fees)
Annual Fee: $450
My comment: A valuable welcome bonus offer, comes with a very high minimum spending requirement. Offer may be good fit for small businesses owners as well as people who can generate that spend easily. A nice boost to one’s rewards balances. One of the higher annual fees but features a lot of benefits for the cost.
Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first three months. In addition, earn up to a $100 statement credit after you make eligible Delta purchases with your new Card within your first three months. (See Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee: $195
My comment: For those who are loyal to Delta, this card offers a great value and a means to earn elite status through Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs.) One notable benefit is the companion certificate each year upon renewal.
Welcome Offer: Earn up to 60,000 bonus miles. You earn 50,000 after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening, and another 10,000 miles after spending a total of $10,000 within 12 months of account opening.
Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year.
My Comment: Card allows for priority boarding, one free checked bag plus discounts on in-flight food and beverage purchases. Offers 2X miles for some non-airline purchases like gasoline, rental cars as well as telecommunications expenses paid with the card.
Welcome Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening (See Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee: $550.
My Comment: While the card’s annual fee is among the very highest, it also comes bundled with an annual air travel fee statement credit of up to $200, up to a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application and up to $200 in annual Uber credit. Cardholders receive 5X membership Rewards points for every $1 in air or hotel purchases booked through the Amex travel portal.
Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Cardholders also get a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year. (See Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee: $95.
My Comment: The highest offer from Hilton with a card that also offers 12x points at Hilton portfolio hotels, 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations and 3x points on all other purchases. You also receive automatic Gold elite status.
Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of Card Membership. (See Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee: $95
My Comment: Like the Ascend card, the highest offer for this card. It also offers you 12x at Hilton hotels, 6X on select business & travel purchases and 3x everywhere else. Again, you get automatic Gold elite status plus the Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. Earned miles can be used as a statement credit towards any travel purchase. The sign-up bonus represents $700 in travel statement credits.
Annual Fee: $89, waived the first year.
My Comment: The bonus miles may be of use for many in offsetting their travel purchases. Although, the 70,000 miles could be leveraged for some great award redemptions; eclipsing the $700 potential value in statement credits. Also, be aware of a 6/24 rule (similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule) where applications are denied if you have opened 6 or more credit cards in the past 24 months. Currently, it seems that’s Barclays’s restrictions applies only to the Arrival+ card.
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening, worth over $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year.
My Comment: A top choice for many travelers, this card has both many redemption partners (both hotel and airline) along with a travel portal.
Chase’s 5/24 Rule
Thinking about adding a Chase card to your points and miles strategy to pick up some Ultimate Rewards points? You need to know about the 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened five or more new credit cards (from any issuer, not just Chase) in the past 24 months, it’s highly likely that your application for the Sapphire Preferred will be automatically declined. To take advantage of the sign-up bonus and the other benefits listed above, you should apply for this card sooner rather than later.
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending just $2,500 within the first three months of account opening.
Annual Fee: $98, waived the first year
My Comment: This card now offers double miles on purchases at U.S. gas stations and restaurants, as well as for American Airlines purchases. You also receive a checked bag, priority boarding and discounts on in-flight food and beverages.
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $450
My Comment: Another high annual fee card, but offers lounge access for the cardholder, authorized users as well as two guests or immediate family. Card also features priority boarding and the one free checked bag like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
You can sort the results with this handy table:
|Card||Type||Offer||Currency||Annual Fee||Waived First Year?|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Credit Card||75,000||Points||$450||No|
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||Airline||75,000||Miles||$195||No|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard||Airline||70,000||Miles||$89||Yes|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Credit Card||60,000||Points||$550||No|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®||Airline||60,000||Miles||$95||Yes|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Credit Card||50,000||Points||$95||Yes|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||Airline||50,000||Miles||$450||No|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||Airline||50,000||Miles||$98||Yes|
|Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card||Hotel||125,000||Points||$95||No|
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||Hotel||125,000||Points||$95||No|
Using Points & Miles For Award Travel
Now, you have a plan to get a lot of miles. How will you spend them? The top reasons for collecting points and miles is to lower your costs of travel or perhaps take an aspirational trip.
Using those points and miles for redemption can be difficult when you have to know all the various programs and the secret tricks to get the best value. Besides reading Point Me, Juicy Miles can help.
Juicy Miles has a team of travel professionals who can take the stress out of finding the best award tickets and at the lowest redemption values.
What credit card deal are you most excited about?