What’s In My Wallet?

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What’s In My Wallet?
Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to accumulate miles and points and there are some amazing deals out there. I can actually trace my mileage obsession back to the original American Airlines Citi AAdvantage MasterCard. I remember being about 10 years old when my friend Peter’s parents from down the block had just signed up for the card.  They had a conversation with my parents about how they used their card for all their purchases and were planning a free trip for the entire family to Disney World. My parents soon signed up (yes, they were allowed in those days to sign up for cards without my input) and so began our yearly December vacation to Florida followed later by the Caribbean, care of Citi and American.  The offers weren’t as generous back then, but the award tickets were readily available at low redemption levels.  Things have changed quite a bit, but credit cards are still one of the easiest ways to earn free travel and anyone not utilizing these offers is silly.  I’ve easily earned over 20 million points with cards.  I’m constantly asked by colleagues, friends, and family what my favorite cards are and which ones will allow them to earn the most points for an upcoming trip. In fact, at Juicy Miles, we’ve helped countless clients obtain completely free trips and honeymoons, flights and hotels fully booked with miles and points.  Below you’ll find my favorite cards, feel free to email me at adam@pointmetotheplane.com with any questions or to share a better sign-up offer. Remember, these are per individual so you can obtain even more points if each member of the household applies.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
Amex has increased the standard offer for The Business Gold Rewards Card, now offering 50K Membership Rewards points after spending $5K within your first 3 months instead of the normal 25K. There is no annual fee for the first year. You’ll also earn 3x points on either airfare from airlines, gas station purchases, shipping, advertising in select media, and computer hardware / software / cloud computing purchases. You earn 2x points on those categories that you don’t select.  You can see full details and apply for the card here.

The 50K points will be combined with your current Membership Rewards.  This card is considered a different product than the Premier Rewards Gold Card and you can obtain these points even if receiving a sign-up bonus for the personal card.  In addition, you’re eligible to apply even if you’ve had a Business Platinum Card.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points – Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That’s 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Let’s start out with the cost, it’s $550 a year!  Yes, that sounds outrageous but you make up the initial outlay extremely quickly, especially if you’re a frequent traveler with no lounge access.  With membership comes complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge access, access to Priority Pass Select lounges around the globe, and American Express Centurion Lounges. If you are someone who buys any of these memberships, then this card is definitely worth the membership fee. Prices for annual club memberships at airlines vary based on your status level, however Delta charges $300-$450. Even more valuable, you can add up to 3 additional members for only $175 total, which means 4 people can enjoy these benefits for $625 or $156.25 per person for access to all of these lounges for the year.  The card also includes $200 airline fee credit per year.  You select an airline to receive up to $200 annually in statement credits for incidental fees such as checked bags, in-flight refreshments, and change fees. Finally, the card also comes with Global Entry registration, which normally costs $100. You’ll also receive SPG/Marriott Gold status, Hilton Gold status, and GoGo and Boingo wifi access while traveling. Additionally, a special Platinum concierge desk that can help with special dining reservations, sold out event assistance, and shopping services. You also get VIP treatment at thousands of hotels in the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program booked via AMEX, including upgrades and late 4pm checkout. No foreign currency conversion fees and the standard purchase protection plans are also included. You earn 5x points for flights booked directly with airlines or AmEx Travel, and in March 2017 the same was added for eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.  As noted with the AMEX Gold Card above, Membership Rewards points are extremely flexible and can be transferred to several partners including some of the largest airlines. Do the math, first subtract the $200 airline fee credit from the annual fee.  Now, if the remaining cost is lower than what you pay each year for an airline membership, the card definitely makes sense, even without taking into consideration Global Entry or the hotel benefits. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $5000 in purchases within three months.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Already have/had The Platinum Card? Consider the business version above.

A few other cards currently in my wallet

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 10/31/2018.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide.
  • Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Silver Elite status with your Card.
  • Plus, spend $35,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and earn an upgrade to Gold Elite status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Want to keep your Membership Rewards points active without paying an annual fee, this is your opportunity. This is an AmEx Membership Rewards card that is fee free and these points will combine with points that you’ve earned with any other AmEx Membership Rewards card

  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
This card presents another opportunity to keep your Membership Rewards points active without paying an annual fee. This is an AmEx Membership Rewards card that is fee free and these points will combine with points that you’ve earned with any other AmEx Membership Rewards card, plus you get 2x points on select business purchases!

  • Limited Time Offer. Earn 10,000 extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 9/26/2018.
  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • More buying power for your business* means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the new Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) – that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires on 9/19/2018.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights -that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Check your first bag for free and save up to $50 on a round trip Delta flight.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit with the American Express Delta Card.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Miles don’t expire.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first 3 months.†
  • Earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding and enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.‡
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access.‡
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months. Offer expires on 9/19/2018.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Make business travel more rewarding. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding and enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit when you use your American Express Delta Card.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Receive a 20% In-Flight Savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (Partner Offer)
The major selling point of this card is that you will ALWAYS earn triple Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with airlines and double points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets.  You will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on the card within 3 months.  You’ll also get up to a $100 airline fee credit. While the sign up bonus may not be as high as the other cards above, the triple and double earnings are key.  Additionally, AMEX consistently runs transfers bonuses where you can earn up to a 50% mileage bonus on miles transferred into a given partner program. That means your actually earning more than the double and triple points listed above. Membership Rewards has a ton of airline partners including: Delta, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alitalia, ANA, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin America. Under a recent promotion you could earn 1.5 British Airways Avios points for every Membership Reward Point transferred.  Hence, the bonus points earned actually became 37,500 British Airways Avios miles.  Delta tends to have similar 50% bonus transfer promotions that would amount to the same 37,500 miles.  The card also offers extended warranty protection, purchase protection, return protection, and rental car insurance.  There is $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195 thereafter.

  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Partner Offer)

  • Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Partner Offer)

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Hilton Honors American Express Card (Partner Offer)

  • Earn 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
I sat out on the hype over this card when it was first released, but it now plays a role in my wallet…though a very different one. The benefits -double points on all purchases / no worrying about category spend, waived annual fee first year, free subscription to TripIt, and a free copy of your FICO score. More importantly, no worrying about award availability as you are actually buying a ticket with your points. The points are valued at 1.1 cents per mile when redeemed for travel and you receive a statement credit for their value. Since you are buying the ticket, you’ll actually be earning miles on your award ticket. That’s all great but I sign up for credit cards to fly in business / first to international destinations, quite difficult to achieve when my points are only worth 1.1 cents. So why did I apply? Incidental travel costs, positioning flights for mileage runs, and some potential domestic trips that I don’t want to burn my valuable airline miles on. Little known fact, you can actually redeem the miles for anything labeled “travel” on your statement and so that means they are great for seat upgrades, rental cars, club memberships, etc. When you apply you’ll receive 40,000 points (which equals $440 when redeemed for travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months. You’ll also receive 5% of your redeemed points back each time you redeem for an award. There’s an $89 fee that’s waived for the first year. There’s also the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® (not elite) which has no annual fee and provides 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in 90 days.

Citi Prestige® Card
This card has benefits similar to the Platinum Card from American Express below. You’ll receive a welcome bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months after opening your card. In addition, the card comes with access to both the American Airlines Admirals Club lounges (a new yearly membership would cost you $400-$500 from AA depending on your status) and Priority Pass Select lounges as well as a $100 Global Entry fee credit every five years. The card has some awesome bonus categories too including 3x points on airfare and hotel purchases and 2x points on dining and entertainment purchases. Points can be transferred 1:1 to Cathay Pacific, Singapore KrisFlyer, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Qantas, Thai Airways, EVA Air, Virgin Atlantic, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, and Hilton HHonors. Each year you’ll receive a $250 air travel credit which can be used on any airline for any type of charge (including airfare). Even cooler, you receive your fourth night free for all hotel stays…at any hotel. There are no foreign transaction fees with the card and ThankYou Points earned from the Citi Prestige Card can be applied toward airfare at 1.6 cents per dollar (60% more value) on flights with American Airlines and at 1.33 cents per dollar (33% more value) on flights with all other airlines. Cardmembers receive special benefits at Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels as well when booking via Citi’s travel concierge. Now the fee…it’s $450 and not waived the first year.  Though, if you take into account the $250 air travel credit, the $100 global entry credit, and the AA Admirals Club benefits, it’s quite an enticing offer.
Citi ThankYou Premier Card
This card is sort of the Citi version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Upon approval, you’ll receive a sign-up bonus of 40,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card is all about the spend categories…you’ll earn 3x points on travel purchases (airfare, taxis, train, bus, parking, and gas) and 2x points on dining and entertainment transactions. Points can be transferred 1:1 to Cathay Pacific, Singapore KrisFlyer, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Qantas, Thai Airways, EVA Air, Virgin Atlantic, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, and Hilton HHonors. When using the Citi ThankYou travel booking portal (thankyou.com), your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases. There is no annual fee for the first year and a $95 fee thereafter. The card has no foreign transaction fees.Card Match Tool: Want to see if you’ve been selected for special targeted sign-up offers that are larger than the currently available public offers? Click here to use the free Card Match Tool with no impact to your credit score.
Worried About Your Credit Score? Did you know you can actually increase your credit score by applying for additional credit cards? Check out this three part interview series for Credit Card App Advice from a Senior VP of Credit Approval & Risk.

Family Time Credit Card Applications? See here for tips on tracking, providing spending guidance to parents and loved ones, and why your continued involvement is so important when making this a family event!

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