We’ve simplified things with our “Best Of” rankings here. If you don’t have time to research cards, take advantage of our expertise! Travel Freely is here to help you with the best credit card offers. Need a primer on Rewards Cards? Check out Rewards Cards 101 or watch our Free Travel 101 webinar for absolute beginners.
Don’t Let Offers Disappear – We’ve seen a LOT of offers come and go. Some offers have clear expiration dates, and others just vanish without warning. My advice: If you are ready for another card, and you know the card you want… Don’t delay!
Please note: You can support Travel Freely by using our partner links when you sign up for a card, which may earn us a commission. See full advertising disclosure below. If there’s a better link I can offer that will not earn commission, I will post the better offer. I hope that earns your respect and trust over time.
Beginner? Free Travel Starts Here.
1. Make sure you sign up for Travel Freely – it’s free, and you’ll immediately get access to the short ebook Free Travel 101 and receive custom card recommendations. (We don’t ask for credit card info or any sensitive information).
2. Watch our Free Travel 101 Webinar recording – the password to this page is “itravelfreely.”
3. If you’re just starting out, we recommend starting slow by getting the very best personal card (or business card) and hitting your bonus. This is often the Chase Sapphire Preferred for a personal card, and the Chase Ink Preferred (or Chase Ink Cash) for business cards.
Want a plan? Here are some brand new plans based on your situation.
Highlights for January 2020
Southwest Companion Pass aka “The Best Deal in Free Travel”
It’s officially on for the pursuit of a companion pass good through 2021! If you haven’t gotten any Southwest cards yet, you’ll want to start with the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card. Note: There are quite a few nuances to obtaining a companion pass, so please read this comprehensive article on Southwest Companion Pass Strategy before you start.
0% APR Is All The Rage
‘Tis the season for 0% interest and free balance transfers. While we recommend getting cards with large sign-up bonuses and paying your cards off in full, many people can save a lot of money by transferring their balance to a 0% APR card. See below for some of our top picks. Note: The money from balance transfers will not earn points or count towards a sign-up bonus.
Best Credit Card Offers
At Travel Freely, we are all about maximizing great sign-up bonuses. It’s part of our approach to get the most amount of points in the least amount of time. Sign-up bonuses are the #1 way to rack up points WITHOUT traveling or spending a lot of money. Some people get more rewards in one bonus than they would in an entire year’s worth of spending on the same old card they’ve had for 5 years. Check out the BEST deals here.
- Overall Best Starter Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (60,000 points)
- Best “No-Thinking” Card for Beginners: Capital One® Venture® Rewards (50,000 points)
- Overall Best Business Travel Card: Chase Ink Business Preferred (80,000 points)
- Best Travel Business Card With No Annual Fee: Chase Ink Business Cash (50,000 points / $500 bonus)
- Best Airline Personal Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred (60,000 points) or Southwest Cards (75,000 miles)
- Best Airline Business Card: Chase Southwest Performance Business (70,000 Miles) and Citi Business Advantage Platinum Select (70,000 Miles)
- Best Hotel Personal Card: Chase World of Hyatt (50,000 points) or Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (100,000 points)
- Best Hotel Business Card: Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card (75,000 points)
- Best Cash Back Personal Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited ($200 bonus and 1.5x on all purchases) or Blue Cash Everday ($225 welcome offer)
- Best Cash Back Business Card: Capital One Spark Cash for Business ($2,000 bonus for $50k spend)
- Best Ultra-Premium Card: Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Best Card for College Students/Grads: Chase Freedom Unlimited or Discover It Student
- Best 0% APR Cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom or Capital One Quicksilver (both 15 months 0% APR)
- Best 0% APR Business Card: Chase Ink Cash (50,000 points and 0% Offer) or Chase Ink Unlimited (50,000 points and 0% Offer)
- Best Balance Transfer: Capital One Quicksilver, Citi Simplicity Card, Citi Double Cash, Wells Fargo Cash Wise
- Best Business Balance Transfer: Amex Blue Business Plus, or Amex Blue Business Cash
Amazing Offers on Chase Business Cards
Ink Preferred – 80,000 Points (Learn More)
This is the best overall business card right now with a great sign-up bonus and 3X categories. It’s hard to beat the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you’re looking for an all-around business card that has flexible redemption options and can be combined with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
- Earns 3X rewards on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)
- Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel
- Cell phone protection against theft or damage
- No foreign transaction fees
Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. An excellent companion to the Ink Preferred, personal Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred. Like the personal Sapphire cards, this card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Earn 5X rewards (on first $25k spent) for phone, TV, internet, and office supply stores.
- Earn 2X rewards on gas and restaurants
- It has 0% APR for 12 months
- No Annual Fee
Easy Trick to Get 5x Chase points on Amazon.com or at Home Depot
Super Cool Pro Tip: The Chase Ink Cash earns 5x points at office supply stores. Did you know they also sell lots of gift cards to your favorite stores at office supply stores? I use my Chase Ink Cash to buy Amazon gift cards. Then I load those cards to my Amazon account. My Amazon purchases are then essentially earning 5x Chase points! You can do this for any store like Home Depot, Lowe’s Apple, etc. if they sell gift cards. The max spends on 5x earning is $25k per year.
An all-round great cash back business card with no annual fee. It’s very simple. You earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. Also has 0% APR for 12 months. This can be a great standalone card, but it is a excellent companion card to the Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!
- Earn 1.5X rewards on Everything
- It has 0% APR for 12 months
- No Annual Fee
|Card||Sign-up Bonus||Spending Required||Annual Fee|
|Ink Preferred||80,000||$5,000 in first 3 months||$95|
|Ink Cash||$500||$3,000 in first 3 months||$0|
|Ink Unlimited||$500||$3,000 in first 3 months||$0|
Our Top Recommendations for 0% APR
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is our top choice for 0% APR AND Travel Rewards because it currently has a 15 month 0% APR offer AND it can earn 1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every purchase. This card is marketed as a cash back card, but you can elect to get Ultimate Rewards points instead and redeem for free travel. These points become even more valuable if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve where you can easily transfer points to get 25-50% more value in the Chase Travel Portal. If you like the rotating 5x spending categories, then the Chase Freedom may be a great idea, too. Others worth a mention: Capital One Quicksilver, Citi Simplicity Card, Citi Double Cash, Wells Fargo Cash Wise, and Citi Rewards+.
The Chase Ink Business Cash is our top business credit card choice for a 0% APR card AND Travel Rewards. Just like the Chase Freedom Unlimited personal card, it can earn 1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every purchase. You can also earn 5x points in several categories, including buying gift cards to your favorite stores at office supply stores. Others worth a mention:
If you already have these cards or looking for something else, here are some other great options:
Best cards for 0% Balance Transfer APR
0% Balance Transfer APR: If you’re looking for the best balance transfer options, think about the Capital One Quicksilver. Also, the best one for long-term 0% is the Citi Simplicity Card with 21 months at 0% for balance transfers. This card also comes with 0% Purchase APR for 12 months. The next best option would be the Citi Double Cash Card with 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. It does not have a 0% Purchase APR offer. Note: You will not earn rewards for the actual balance transfers. Make sure to check terms when applying.
Special Guide for Business Owners
What’s Our Criteria for the Best Cards?
- Value of points – Not all points and miles have the same value when it comes time to redeeming them. We take this seriously.
- Bonuses – Travel Freely seeks to maximize sign-up bonuses, so if great sign-up bonus offers come out, those cards will move up in the rankings.
- Type of Card – We value airline cards higher than hotel cards because airfare never goes on sale (whereas hotel sites can get you almost 50% retail rates). So airfare is the highest value in free travel. So, if we see airlines and hotel cards as similarly great deals, the airline card will get the edge in the rankings.
- Bonus spending requirement – We rank cards lower that require major spending as part of sign-up bonus. For example: Some cards offer 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, but then they’ll offer an add’l 25,000 points if you spend $10-15k in additional spending over the course of the year. This is considered major spending to us and we do not factor that in for the normal free traveler.
- Ease-of-use – Factors such as customer service and redemption fees play a factor in our rankings. We don’t want you to spend hours on the phone with poorly trained, off-shore customer service when you have a question about your card. Avoiding ridiculous fees for redeeming free travel are also important to us. For example: Frontier – You might get a “free flight” on Frontier Airlines with 20,000 points. But, you have to spend a reward redemption fee, bag fee for carry-on or checked luggage, and a seat booking fee. You might spend $96 in fees for a “free” $110 flight!
Here’s Help with Rewards Programs:
The three major bank rewards programs are Chase, Amex, Citi, and Marriot Bonvoy. Here are some comprehensive guides to help you understand them better.
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