I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
This is sort of an embarrassment of riches in the miles and points space, it doesn’t take a ton of spending or a lot of time to earn travel rewards. Credit card signup are still one of the best ways to quickly earn lots of miles and points to travel quickly.
What I’ve done here is taken 8 credit card bonuses but of course not all points and miles are worth the same. Here’s how I value different points.
Airline Frequent Flyer Miles:
The most valuable points, at the top of my currency list, are transferrable points. That means especially American Express and Chase points. You can transfer those into a variety of programs. Earning those gives you tremendous flexibility and optionality.
Here are (8) offers of 50,000 points or more to seriously consider signing up for:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an 80,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe. (Chase points are super valuable because they transfer directly to a variety of airlines and hotels.)
It earns 3 points per dollar on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and 3 points per dollar on shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to buy your cell phone. ‘5/24’ applies.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
With a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95, I suggest that as the number on card to get started with in miles and points. Get Sapphire Reserve later, perhaps, the card’s annual fee makes this the one to get first.
Points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Air France KLM, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, and Ritz-Carlton. Probably the best all-around credit card, certainly for getting started in the hobby, and with a great signup bonus.
The card earns two points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The card has an introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines
Since in general Chase doesn’t approve this card for folks who have signed up for 5 or more new card accounts in the past 24 months, it’s the first card you should apply for.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering a signup bonus of up to 75,000 Avios: (offer expired)
- Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year to earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years which can double the value of your Avios on a single redemption for 2 people.
Chase’s 5/24 reportedly does not apply.
British Airways First Class
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has an offer for a limited time to earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. (Offer expired)
There’s a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95. Cardmembers receive one free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
You also get 10% of your miles back (up to 10,000 rebated per calendar year) when you redeem miles.
Citibank doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of their cards you can have though of course how much credit they’ll make available for each person will vary. After you apply for one card they’ll consider another application from you 8 days later, but you can’t apply for more than 2 cards in 65 days.
- Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® 60,000 American Airlines miles after first purchase, $95 annual fee.
Cardmembers receive one free checked bag (on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation) and preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic itineraries.
Spending $25,000 on the card in a year will earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars. And like the personal Citi card you get 10% of your miles back (up to 10,000 rebated per calendar year) when you redeem miles.
Redeem AAdvantage Miles for Cathay Pacific
- The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months with the card.
It’s also the card with the best benefits. The value proposition here is airline lounges and elite status. It comes with Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold (matches to Marriot Gold), and National Car Rental Executive status. It gets you into Centurion lounges, Delta lounges (when flying Delta), and gives you a Priority Pass card for lounge access. There’s a $200 airline fee credit, and an Uber credit up to $200. The card earns 5 points per dollar on purchases made directly with airlines. And this $550 annual fee card is now metal.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card The signup bonus for this card lets you earn 80,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You can also earn 7,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same 3 month period. Now that Marriott points transfer to Starwood, it’s the biggest offer for Starwood points as well. The card gives you a Category 1-5 hotel free night stay every year after your account anniversary date, and 15 elite night credits just for having the product. (Offer expired)
Starwood’s Al Maha Desert Resort – Base Room is a Standalone Villa With Private Pool
- Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 spend on purchases with the card within your first 3 months of cardmembership.
American Express Points Transfer Directly to Etihad