We’ve simplified things with our “Best Of” rankings for best credit cards for travel rewards. 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? Sign up for Travel Freely (for free) or check out Rewards Cards 101.
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Highlights for September 2020
HUGE Increased Offer on Chase Sapphire Preferred!
This card was at a high of 60,000 points for it’s signup bonus. Now it is at 80,000 points, which is a minimum value of $1,000 when redeem in the travel portal. Whoa! Here is our link and here is an article on why this card is our #1 ranked card. replace the Chase Freedom card. The announcement also includes new spending categories for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is great news for those who just signed up for the “CFU.” Both cards will now earn 3x (3%) on dining and drugstore purchases. Read more below the Best Offers.
Chase Business Cards on the Comeback!
Chase business cards are now back in the Travel Freely affiliate portal. This is huge news because it must mean that they are trying to increase exposure and get more interest. These offers include the extremely popular Chase Ink Cards. Here’s a full breakdown of the Ink cards. Also back are the Chase Southwest business cards (Performance at 70,000 and Premier at 60,000 miles) and the Chase United Business Card (60,000 miles).
Introducing the New “Chase Freedom Flex” Card
The Chase Freedom Flex card will replace the Chase Freedom card. The announcement also includes new spending categories for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is great news for those who just signed up for the “CFU.” Both cards will now earn 3x (3%) on dining and drugstore purchases. Read more below the Best Offers.
Hotel Offers and the Best “Airbnb” Card
Looking to travel this fall and winter? There are some great offers on Hotel cards right now. If you are thinking more about an Airbnb stay, then the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is the easiest card to use for free Airbnb stays: Read more. Note: Many people get denied for a Venture card if they have opened a lot of previous accounts (from any bank). It’s best to prioritize the Venture application in front of other cards if you know you want it.
United (60,000) and Southwest (65,000) Offers Still Available
The Chase United Explorer card is up to a 60,000 miles signup bonus with a waived first year fee. The ultra-premium Chase United Infinite card has a huge 100,000 miles bonus but a $525 annual fee. Southwest has limited time signup offers of 65,000 miles for all three personal cards. Make sure you need this card for a companion pass for this year. Otherwise, I would hold off until 2021. Here’s why: Read about Southwest Companion Pass.
Best Credit Card Offers
At Travel Freely, we are all about maximizing great sign-up bonuses with the best credit cards with travel rewards. 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 (80,000 points)
- Best “No-Thinking” Card: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (50,000 points)
- Overall Best Business Travel Card: Chase Ink Business Preferred (100,000 points) or Chase Ink Business Cash (50,000 points)
- Best Airbnb Card: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (up to 100,000 points)
- Best Hotel Personal Card: Chase World of Hyatt (50,000 points) or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (100,000 points)
- Best Hotel Business Card: Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card (75,000 points)
- Best Airline Personal Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard (50,000 miles) or United Explorer Card (60,000 miles) or Southwest Airlines Plus Card (65,000 miles)
- Best Airline Business Card: Citi Business American Airlines (65,000 miles) or Chase United Business Card (60,000 miles)
- Best Cash Back Bonus Personal Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited or American Express Blue Cash Preferred or NEW Chase Freedom Flex
- Easiest Cash Back Earning Personal Card: Citi Double Cash (2% back on everything)
- Best Card for College Students/Grads: Citi Rewards+ Student Card or Discover It Student or Deserve Edu
- Best 0% APR Business Card: Chase Ink Unlimited (50,000 points and 0% Offer)
More Highlights for September 2020
Chase Freedom Unlimited and NEW Chase Freedom Flex: “Sneaky” 80,000 Chase points for both cards
Banks are improving their cash back cards right now. The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex (available Sept 15th) have a 20,000 points signup bonus for $500 in spending in 3 months. They are marketed as $200 cash, but you actually earn Chase points. The BIG kicker is a special offer of 5x / 5% on up to $12k worth of grocery purchases in the first year. If you are a family with a huge grocery bill, this becomes a no brainer. Here’s why:
If you max out or get near the $12k in spending over the year, then it’s essentially like getting a bonus of 60,000 points! On top of the signup bonus, that becomes 80,000 Chase points! That’s a cool $800 in cash back, or you can easily combine this with your Sapphire or Ink Preferred account to get over $1,000 in free travel via the portal or transfer partners.
The great news is that both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex have new spending categories such as 3% (3x) on dining and drugstores. Both will also have the 5% (5x) on groceries up to $12,000 total spent in first year in addition to the $200 new card signup bonus.
If you currently have a Chase Freedom, you will have the option to change to the Chase Freedom Flex to earn the extra spending categories. It’s not clear yet if you can get a new bonus on this card if you already have a Freedom. Note: This new Freedom Flex will be a World Mastercard, which includes a nice cell phone insurance benefit.
Note: If you love to travel and do not have a Chase Sapphire card, Travel Freely recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred before signing up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex. The only exception is if you have average credit history or no existing Chase cards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited can be easier to get approved as your first Chase card.
United, Delta, and AA Improves Change Fee Policies and More
United Airlines has come out with good news regarding some change fee policies. Read United’s announcement here. However, those who go for the most affordable basic economy do not seem to be eligible for these new policies. American Airlines followed their lead with this AA announcement. Looks like AA will apply this for current and future basic economy tickets booked by December 31, 2020. Delta has also joined too: Delta’s announcement.
SoFi Deals Continue
Some noticeable easy wins right now: SoFi Is back with an easy $50 for opening a new SoFi Money account with a special referral link (Zac’s $50 referral link) and funding with $500. Then, download the app and you can refer friends and family where you each will earn $50! The reason it’s so easy is because the full process can all be done online in a matter of 2-3 minutes from your phone There is a $50 SoFi Invest deal that is still going on, too.
COVID-19 Related Posts: In uncertain times, make sure you have the most flexible types of cards and rewards, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, to book these discounted rates with points. For the best strategy, please read our Ultimate Flexibility Strategy for Travel AND Cash options. | Tips and Travel Policies from all major brands | Check out this updated article for stay at home travel boosts
Amazing Offers on Chase Business Cards
Ink Preferred – 100,000 Points
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
- No Annual Fee
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. 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
- No Annual Fee
|Card||Sign-up Bonus||Spending Required||Annual Fee|
|Ink Preferred||100,000||$15,000 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|
best credit cards with travel rewards
Our Top Recommendations for 0% APR
Best cards for 0% APR and Balance Transfer: If you’re looking for the best balance transfer options, think about the Citi Diamond Card for a balance transfer and 0% on purchases option. The next best option would be the Citi Double Cash Card with 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. Note: You will not earn rewards for the actual balance transfers. Make sure to check terms when applying. For 0% APR, check out the Amex Blue Cash Everyday or Chase Freedom Unlimited because they also have a welcome bonus.
Best 0% Business Cards
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 when helping you with the best credit cards with travel rewards.
- 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!
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