recommended cards to accumulate travel points

Here are the cards I personally use to accumulate points towards free airfare and hotel stays. If you are new to travel hacking, first read my Travel Hacking series to understand if it's right for you and where to begin. I realize this can be a bit daunting to get started, so please feel to contact me for a free consultation. Finally, credit card offers and perks frequently change so read the details on the card's site before applying. 

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Chase Sapphire Reserve

Note: You now must choose between the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. For virtually everyone the Reserve is the best option.

  • Type: Personal

  • Currency: Ultimate Rewards

  • 5/24: Yes

  • Bonus: 50k points

  • Requirement: $4k / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $450 / $75 each authorized user (see Perk for offset to fee)

  • Earn: 3x on travel and dining + 50% point redemption bonus through Chase

  • Perk: $300 annual travel credit; $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check; Free PriorityPass Lounge Access; free travel insurance

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: No

 
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Chase Sapphire Preferred

Note: You now must choose between the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred.

  • Type: Personal

  • Currency: Ultimate Rewards

  • 5/24: Yes

  • Bonus: 50k points + 5k for each authorized user added in first 3 months

  • Requirement: $4k / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $95

  • Earn: 2x on travel and dining + 25% point redemption bonus through Chase

  • Perk: Free travel insurance

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: No

 
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Chase Ink Business Preferred

  • Type: Business

  • Currency: Ultimate Rewards

  • 5/24: Won't count towards 5/24 total, but can't get if 5/24

  • Bonus: 80k points

  • Requirement: $5k / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $95

  • Earn: 3x on travel, internet, cable, phone

  • Perk: $600 cell phone insurance (if you pay cell bill with card)

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: No

 
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Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Type: Personal - Cash back (convert to points if you have a Sapphire card)

  • Currency: Ultimate Rewards or cash back

  • 5/24: Yes

  • Bonus: $150 or 15k points; $25 or 2,500 points for each authorized user added in first 3 months

  • Requirement: $500 / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $0

  • Earn: 1.5x on everything

  • Perk: Great to use for categories where other cards only provide a 1x bonus; 0% intro APR for first 15 months

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%

 
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American Express Platinum

  • Type: Personal

  • Currency: Membership Rewards

  • 5/24: Yes

  • Bonus: 60k points (sometimes goes up to 20k)

  • Requirement: $5k / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $550

  • Earn: 5x on airfare and hotels (amex portal)

  • Perk: $200 airline incidentals; $200 Uber credit ($15/mo); Centurion lounge access; Hilton / Marriott / SPG Gold Status; Global Entry / TSA Pre-Check credit; Boingo in-flight wifi

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: No

 
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American Express Blue Business℠ Plus

  • Type: Business

  • Currency: Membership Rewards

  • 5/24: No

  • Bonus: 10k points (sometimes goes up to 20k)

  • Requirement: $3k / first 3 months

  • Annual Fee: $0

  • Earn: 2x on all purchases (good default card for non 3x categories)

  • Perk: No annual fee; 2x on all purchases; 0% APR for first 15 months

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Yes (2.7%)

 

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