Miles-and-points-beginners-guide

I’ve always said that my favorite way of boosting up my points and miles accounts is credit cards sign-up bonus. In this post I will list 11 of the top travel credit cards all of which I got in 2015 and I will give a brief overview of their benefits.

Travel Credit Cards

 

Always remember though, you have to be very responsible and mindful of all your credit cards, bills, payments and always make sure that this “hobby” can cause more harm than benefit if not practiced responsibly. I recommend reading about the effect of credit card applications on your credit score.

 

Citi Prestige® CardCiti Prestige

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 Bonus ThankYou® Points after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Perks: 

  • $250 Air Travel Credit
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre ✔ ® Application Fee Credit
  • Access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges worldwide
  • Access to hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass™ Select
  • Enjoy a complimentary 4th night at any hotel property when your stay is charged to your card
  • Enjoy 3 complimentary rounds each calendar year at over 2,000 public and private golf courses in Asia, Latin America, USA, Europe, the Middle East and Africa
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on air travel and hotel, 2 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on entertainment and dining out and 1 ThankYou® Point Per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Transfer points to select Airlines and Hotel programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $450


 

Platinum Card® from American Express Platinum Card from American Express

Sign-up Bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months

Perks: 

  • $200 Airline Fee Credit
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre ✔ ® Application Fee Credit
  • Access to Delta Airlines SkyClub lounges
  • Access to hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass™ Select
  • Access to The Centurion® Lounge
  • Enjoy complimentary access to unlimited WiFi at more than a million Boingo hotspots worldwide.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status
  • Hilton HHonors  Gold Status Enrollment
  • The Hotel Collection. Stay a minimum of two consecutive nights and receive a room upgrade, if available and a $75 hotel credit on qualifying dining, spa or resort activities.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $450


 

American Express® Premier Rewards GoldPremier Rewards Gold from American Express

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months

Perks: 

  • $100 Airline Fee Credit
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, 2X points at US gas stations, 2X points at US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases
  • The Hotel Collection. Stay a minimum of two consecutive nights and receive a room upgrade, if available and a $75 hotel credit on qualifying dining, spa or resort activities.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $195 ($0 annual fee for the first year)


 

Citi ThankYou® PremierCiti Thankyou Premier

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 Bonus ThankYou® Points after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Perks: 

  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent onairfare, hotels, cruises, car rental agencies, travel agencies, gas stations, public transportation, tolls, taxis, parking and much more.
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on entertainment and dining out
  • 1 ThankYou® Point Per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Transfer points to select Airlines and Hotel programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $95, waived for the first 12 months


 

(2X) Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCardCiti AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months of account opening

Perks: 

  • Your first checked bag is free for you and up to 4 traveling companions on domestic itineraries
  • Group 1 Boarding on domestic flights
  • 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back 
  • Earn double miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $95, waived for the first 12 months


 

U.S Airways World Premier MasterCard (Now AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red MasterCard®)U.S Airways World Premier MasterCard

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 U.S Airways bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of $89 annual fee

Perks: (Now with American Airlines)

  • Your first checked bag is free for you and up to 4 traveling companions on domestic itineraries
  • Group 1 Boarding on domestic flights
  • 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back 
  • Earn double miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount when you spend $30,000 or more in Purchases on your Account during your cardmembership year and your account remains open for at least 45 days after your anniversary date
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $89


 

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit CardGold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 Skymiles® bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.

Perks: 

  • Free Checked Bag on Delta Flights
  • Priority Boarding
  • Discounted Delta Sky Club®Accessfor you and two companions
  • Earn 2 Miles on Delta Purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Annual Fee: $95, waived for the first year


 

Alaska Airlines Visa SignatureAlaska Airlines Visa Signature

Sign-up Bonus: 25,000 bonus miles upon approval.

Perks: 

  • Free first checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation
  • Receive an annual coach Companion Fare from $121 (USD)
    ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22 depending on your Alaska Airlines flight itinerary)
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases of Alaska Airlines tickets and Vacation Packages, Cargo and Inflight purchases.
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Annual Fee: $75


 

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card IHG® Rewards Club Select credit card

Sign-up Bonus: 70,000 bonus points After you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Perks: 

  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 10% rebate on IHG® Rewards Club point redemptions
  • Annual free night worldwide
  • Platinum Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $49


 

The Starwood Preferred Guest®Credit Card from American ExpressThe Starwood Preferred Guest®Credit Card from American Express

Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Perks: 

  • Earn up to 5 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG hotels – that’s 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member
  • Starwood Elite Status
  • Free in-room Premium Internet
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide.
  • Transfer points to over 30 Airlines
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95


 

Chase FreedomChase Freedom

Sign-up Bonus: $200 BONUS after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Perks: 

  • EARN 5% CASH BACK on up to $1,500 in combined purchase in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
  • EARN 1% UNLIMITED CASH BACK on all other purchases – it’s automatic. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!

Annual Fee: $0

 

Bottom Line:

It’s such an adrenaline rush applying for a credit card and knowing that you’re an annual fee, $1,000 or $3,000 away from enough miles for an international premium cabin flight or a few nights at a fancy hotel. However, if you don’t handle your credit cards responsibly it can cost you a lot of money and a lot of credit score points and might put a long stop at the opportunity of applying for more credit cards and earning sign-up bonuses.

 

If you have any questions please tweet me @pointspointers or email me at pointspointers@gmail.com

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