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It’s Thunderdome, each card issuer’s offerings go in and only one can come out the best at each bank. Here’s my take on the best credit card from each bank. What do you think? What am I missing?
The Best Chase Rewards Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is best and in my view it isn’t even close.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
You can earn another 5,000 bonus points when you add your first authorized user to the account and make a purchase in the same 3 months from account opening.
The card earns 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
I believe this is still the go to for road warriors with double points on travel and dining (what folks like me spend the most on) and one of the most valuable points currencies that transfer to a variety of top frequent flyer programs like United, Korean Air, Singapore, British Airways, and Hyatt.
Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
Here’s Why Sapphire Preferred Should Be the First Card You Sign Up For and here are the 9 Best Use of Chase Points.
The Best Citibank Rewards Card
Citi Prestige has been the hottest card on the market for the past several months. It’s the best thing Citi offers right now, and it’s got a signup bonus of 50,000 points after $3000 spend within 3 months. (Offer expired)
This is a $450 card, but gives you a $250 airline credit (which can be used on airfare, and earned twice during your first cardmember year if you apply now) and a $100 global entry credit. Points can be used to buy paid tickets on American at 1.6 cents apiece or transferred to miles with several airline programs.
Etihad First Class. This card’s points transfer directly to Etihad Guest, as well as programs like Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.
The card comes with American Airlines lounge access (when flying American) and a Priority Pass Select card (with unlimited visits and 2 free guests). And 3 free rounds of golf per year, too, and 4th night free on hotels.
Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles is a Citi transfer partner.
Citi Double Cash is the best cash back card for most people, with no annual fee and 1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay off your bill. The Citi Hilton Reserve Card comes with automatic Gold status in the Hilton HHonors program. But none are strong as Citi Prestige.
The Best American Express Rewards Card
As much as love Centurion lounges, the Platinum card isn’t the best offering from American Express.
Complimentary Spa at the American Express Centurion Lounge Miami
A close second best card from American Express is Starwood card and especially the business card (which also gets you club lounge access at Sheraton hotels). It only earns 1 point per dollar on most spending, but 1 Starpoint is worth more than 1 of any other points currency, given they have the best transfers to airline miles of any program and give you 5000 bonus miles when you transfer points into 20,000 miles.
The Best Barclaycard Rewards Card
I’d be tempted to say the Barclaycard Aviator Silver World MasterCard is their best card, since you can spend for an annual companion ticket on American and spending also counts towards elite qualifying with the AAdvantage program. But you cannot sign up for their American Airlines card any long, since the merger of Dividend Miles into AAdvantage.
So I’ll call it for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. It’s effectively a 2.1% rebate card when you spend points for travel, and it’s got a big signup bonus. There’s a $0 fee the first year then $89. So get it for the travel credit signup bonus. Although I don’t think it’s as good a card as Citi Double Cash for ongoing rebates.
The Best Bank of America Rewards Card
Bank of America Travel Rewards is a no fee, no foreign transaction fee card that earns a rebate of 1.5% towards travel.
It’s the best no fee card with no foreign transaction fees, but most readers will already have a card that doesn’t hit you with forex fees.
What makes the product interesting is that if you establish a financial relationship with BofA you get a bonus on top of the card’s normal rewards.
Keep the following amounts with Bank of America, and get…
- $20,000 or more gets a 25% bonus
- $50,000 or more gets a 50% bonus
- $100,000 or more gets a 75% bonus
$100,000 in investment assets held in a Bank of America account gets you a return of 2.625% with the no fee travel rewards card, which is one of the strongest returns out there.
It’s temping to consider the Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard with up to 90,000 miles, though I recommend 75,000 miles for $12,000 spend and adding authorized users. It’s got a $90 annual fee. And Virgin’s points are relatively weak.
So I come down for Bank of America Travel Rewards if you can establish a strong banking relationship with BofA.
The Best US Bank Rewards Card
It’s hard to get excited about anything from US Bank, at least since they removed the free night on any award booking of two nights or more for holders of the Club Carlson Visa Signature. Although that card does still have strong earn and comes with Gold status, so likely reigns supreme within their limited portfolio.
I haven’t signed up for a personal US Bank card in over two years, since I was targeted for a 40,000 mile bonus for the Korean Air card. I love Korean Air Skypass for amazing first class award availability, Europe for 40,000 miles each way in business class, and Hawaii awards on Alaska Airlines… but the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is just such a stronger card for earning Korean miles that it’s hard to give the crown to US Bank’s Korean card.
US Bank Flexperks does give 3 points per dollar on charitable giving…