When researching airline, hotel, or travel cards, it’s important to review the value of the welcome offer and annual fee (sometimes the fee is waived the first year, or there isn’t a fee at all). It’s also important to review the amount of spend required to receive the welcome offer. The key is not to spend more than you would normally to earn miles or points. For example, if you can earn 50,000 miles, but you need to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Make sure that your normal bills (utilities, cell phone, cable, groceries, insurance, gas, etc.) are in that range of spend. You don’t want to make extra purchases that you wouldn’t normally. If you and your partner or spouse are going to apply for cards at the same time, make sure you can meet the spend required to earn BOTH welcome bonuses. You may want to spread out your applications to not overspend. Here are cards I have and recommend.
POST UPDATED: 2/7/21
Hilton Honors® Card
Earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Earn 70,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. I’m a big Hilton fan and we have certainly use our points for some fantastic stays. Link to apply.
Bank of America®
Alaska Airlines® Card
Get 60,000 bonus miles after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
Get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com. Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that’s a savings of $60 per person roundtrip! Link to apply.
Capital One Venture Card
Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. A cool benefit with this card includes up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. If you want to keep your options open for airlines and hotels, this card will give you the ability to book travel where you will have get most out of your miles. Annual fee is $95. Link to apply.
World of Hyatt® Card
Earn up to 60,000 bonus miles. 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
Receive one free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary. Another cool benefit of this card is Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels
This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months. $95 annual fee. The Link to apply.
Marriott Bonvoy® Card
Marriott offers both Chase and American Express cards. The American Express options have a pretty hefty spend for the welcome bonuses and come with high annual fees. I recommend the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless. The current offer 3 Free Nights (up to 50,000 points each) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Enjoy a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points. Certain hotels have resort fees so that may be your only added cost (remember, Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees with award stay). I’m using my annual free night stay in Palm Springs this year (and using points for the other two nights!). $95 annual fee. The Link to apply.
AAdvantage Platinum – American Airlines
You can earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months. I don’t find myself flying American Airlines that often, but with their flexible use of bonus miles, I have enjoyed using miles earned on hotel stays! With the welcome bonus of 50,000 and the miles earned with paying my monthly bills on this card for a time period, I earned enough for a two nights stay at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. This is the only airline miles program that I’m aware of, that allows using miles to book hotel stays and rental cars using miles. (ps. I don’t recommend using miles to book rental cars, the value isn’t there for miles usage). The Link to apply for the Citi card.
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