Best Credit Card Offers

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!

One of the keys to traveling the world for next to nothing is credit cards. Virtually all airlines and hotel chains have co-branded credit cards that allow you to accrue points in your preferred program. Not only do credit card companies offer huge sign-up bonuses just for being approved for a card, but they also offer bonus points for spending in certain categories.

I earn around a million miles a year through credit cards, about half of which come strictly from the sign-up bonuses earned by being approved for a credit card and completing a minimal amount of spend. The other half I earn through maximizing everyday spend (allowing me to earn anywhere from 2x to 5x points per dollar) and taking advantage of every bonus promotion available to me. Every year I redeem these points for a handful of first class trips around the world.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how credit scores work, as most people believe that applying for a credit card will negatively impact their credit score. Credit scores are made up of the following components:

  • 35% of your score is made up of your payment history
  • 30% of your score is your credit utilization
  • 15% of your score is your credit history
  • 10% of your score is made up of the types of credit you use
  • 10% of your score is your request for new credit

When you apply for credit cards you get hit with an inquiry, which falls in the category of requests for new credit. You’ll temporarily be dinged 2-3 points on your credit score, though that falls off within two years. Meanwhile virtually all the other components of your credit score can improve as a result of applying for a credit card, meaning your credit score can actually go up as a result of applying for more cards. As long as you keep your credit utilization low and make your payments on time, you shouldn’t see a negative impact on your credit score from applying for cards. My credit score is actually much better now than it was before I started applying for lots of credit cards, and I apply for about a dozen a year.

With that in mind, I figured I’d share what I consider to be some of the “must have” cards available now.

If you’re looking for individual airline, hotel, or bank rewards cards, check out those pages for more comprehensive listings.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card

Current offer: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $450

Why it’s a great offer: This card was launched in August, and is possibly the hottest credit card offer we’ve ever seen. The card has a massive sign-up bonus, and on top of that has lots of perks that make it valuable long term.

Most notably, the card offers triple points on dining and travel, and also offers a $300 annual travel credit. The travel credit is issued per calendar year while the annual fee is charged per cardmember year, meaning you’ll potentially get $600 in travel credits before your second year’s annual fee is due.

I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the 100,000 points are worth $1,700. On top of that you can potentially come out $150 ahead on the travel credit in the first year (since you can get $600 and the annual fee is just $450), meaning I give this sign-up bonus a value of ~$1,850.

St-Regis-Bali-Resort - 2
Redeem points earned on the card for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a hotel stay

2. The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Current offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points — earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000, and an extra 50,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first three months
Annual fee: $450

Why it’s a great offer: While the minimum spend requirement is big, a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points is huge. Taking advantage of this offer could even make sense if you only plan on spending the $5,000 within three months to earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points.

This card comes with so many great perks, including a $200 annual airline fee credit (before you pay your second year’s annual fee you can receive two of those), access to Boingo hotspots10 Gogo passesaccess to American Express Fine Hotels & Resortsaccess to Delta SkyClubs, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex Centurion Lounge, a Global Entry fee credit, and Gold elite status in both Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest/Marriott.

However, the cherry on top is that having this card will increase the value of all your Membership Rewards points, as you’ll be able to get up to two cents each when redeeming them towards the cost of an airline ticket. This is a great new benefit, and how I plan on using most of my Amex points going forward.

American-Business-Class-787 - 7
Get two cents of value per Amex point towards a business class ticket

3. Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Current offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months from account opening
Annual fee: $95

Why it’s a great offer: The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses which help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spend. This card is brand new, and offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

So this is a card that’s good for both for the sign-up bonus and for everyday spend. I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth ~$1,265 after subtracting the annual fee.

Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel in Korean Air first class

4. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Current offer: Three complimentary nights at any Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after spending $5,000 within three months, plus 10,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within the first three months
Annual fee: $450

Why it’s a great offer: This card has a fantastic increased sign-up bonus at the moment, which gives you three complimentary nights at any Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property. The exact value of that bonus depends on what you plan on redeeming those nights for, but suffice to say that three nights at most Ritz-Carlton properties aren’t cheap, whether you’re looking to redeem within the US or internationally.

The card also comes with a $300 airline credit, Ritz-Carlton Gold status for the first year, a $100 companion airfare benefit, and much more.

Also keep in mind that anecdotally this card will be easier to be approved for than the Sapphire Reserve, since it’s not subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule.

Redeem your three complimentary nights at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Why it’s a great offer: Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Korean Air, United, Hyatt, and many other programs. The card is also great for everyday spend given that it offers double points on dining and travel. I value the sign-up bonus on this card at ~$935.

Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for the Park Hyatt Maldives

6. The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN 

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months
Annual fee: $175 (waived the first year)

Why you should consider applying: This is one of the best small business cards out there in terms of the bonus points it offers, given that you earn bonus points in the following five categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

You can pick in which category you want to earn 3x points, and then in the other four categories you earn 2x points.

On top of that, this is a fantastic sign-up bonus for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee the first year. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth ~$850.

Redeem your Amex points for ANA first class

7. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit; get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem for travel statement credits
Annual fee: $89 annual fee waived for the first year

Why it’s a great offer: This sign-up bonus is 25% bigger than usual, and it’s the best offer we’ve ever seen on this card. This is one of the best travel cashback credit cards, as you essentially earn the equivalent of a ~2.1% return on everyday spend, which can be applied towards travel purchases. Add in the great sign-up bonus, and this is a very compelling card.

Sapsan-Train-Business-Class - 4
You can even redeem your Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles towards train tickets

8. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express

Current offer: Personal — 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months; Business — 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Why it’s a great offer: Starpoints remain the most valuable points currency out there to me, and are a great value for both hotel redemptions and airline mileage transfers. I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so this sign-up bonus is worth $550 to me. With the upcoming merger between Marriott and Starwood, who knows how much longer this card will be around.

Al-Maha-Resort-Dubai-Rooms - 46
Redeem Starpoints at Al Maha in Dubai

9. Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Current offer: Two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months
Annual fee: $95

Why it’s a great offer: These free night certificates are redeemable all the way up to Category 10 properties, potentially making this sign-up bonus worth the equivalent of 190,000 HHonors points.

So in terms of buying power, the value of these certificates has hugely increased compared to the buying power of HHonors points. Furthermore you get HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card, which gets you free breakfast and/or club lounge access. As far as I’m concerned that’s the most useful hotel elite benefit there is. That’s a great deal just for paying the very reasonable annual fee.

Use your free weekend nights at the new Conrad Bora Bora

10. LifeMiles Avianca Vuela Visa Card

Current offer: 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles after first card use when using promotion code AVSPWE at the time of application
Annual fee: $149

Why it’s a great offer: This is a brand new card offer, and interestingly the card is issued by Banco Popular, which is otherwise a fairly unknown issuer in the U.S. mainland. LifeMiles are great for premium cabin redemptions on Star Alliance airlines, so this is a great card to pick up for the bonus miles. Personally I’m waiting for to read some more data points on peoples’ luck applying, just to be sure I get approved when I go and apply.

Avianca-Business-Class-787 - 9
Redeem LifeMiles for Avianca 787 business class

Anyway, those are my top credit cards based on sign-up bonuses this month.

If you have any questions or other cards you think have great sign-up bonuses, let me know in the comments section!

Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


  1. “American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

    Current offer: 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $1,000 ……. ”

    Didn’t you mean Membership Rewards points? 😉

    You don’t have to post this, thought I would point it out.

  2. Hey Lucky,
    Good job as always. The current Chase Sapphire offer is $3000 spend in THREE months, not 6.

  3. What about the Hyatt Card and the Priority Club cards which you consider good for getting and simply holding on to? (i.e. the value of the benefits are greater than the value of the annual fee)

  4. Does anyone know about or used the citicard that gives 1 point for every mile flown, dollar spent on any flight ticket including purchases for other persons? If so, is it a good deal and is there anything else outhere like that?

  5. If you are a United elite, you can get a 50k bonus for the Explorer Card. Once logged in on the United site, the ads on there were saying 60K instead of 40K, not sure how to get it now that there aren’t those ads.

  6. Hi Lucky,

    Do you have referral links for the Hyatt and Priority Club cards? Do you recommend either of these?



  7. Lucky , I’m getting ready to apply for U.S. airways cards. Both Personal and Business. Do you think it matters if I do both at the same time are should I wait between aps.?

  8. @ Big D — Applying at the same time shouldn’t be any issue since one is a personal and one a business. I’d knock ’em both out at once in your shoes.

  9. Lucky,

    Is your link for the US Airways Barclays card still valid for 40k w/ first purchase?

    The application says that the offer is only for Chairman’s Preferred Members only. I recently got the 40k offer successfully a couple of months ago, but now the publicly advertised rate is for only 30k miles with first purchase.


  10. Do you have a working link for the 25K signup bonus for Premier Rewards Gold AmEx? Link above generates an error page for me.

  11. @ Eric — Are you logged into your American Express account? If so, I suggest logging out and you shouldn’t have an issue. Sorry about that! Let me know if you still have any issues.

  12. I do not see this part anymore when I click on the spg amex link:
    5,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 within six months

    is it over?

  13. Hey Lucky,

    Does the 50,000 mile Delta Amex referral deal still exist? If so, I would like to get that from you!

    Also, here is a link to the current Alaska Airlines deal. I earned another 10,000 miles by signing up while on an Alaska Airlines flight. Unfortunately, they don’t fly out of my small regional airport so I always end up spending another $25 on a ‘Partner Airline Fee’ to use it on Delta, but that is just my personal circumstances.

    Earn 25,000 Bonus Miles Upon Approval†

    Receive an annual Companion Fare of $110 ¥ (USD)
    ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $11 depending on your Alaska Airlines flight itinerary).
    Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets and vacation packages.†
    Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases

  14. My first year renewal fees for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are due in a couple of months. I called twice to ask if they would be able to provide anything to offset the $95 renewal fee and each time they told me that I got a great signup bonus (40k points) and that I had enough points in my account to pay for the renewal fee. They also offered to downgrade the card. Any suggestions?

  15. @ Prabir — I guess it depends how much you value the benefits of the card. I think it’s well worth the annual fee given the double points on dining and travel, though if you’re not getting enough value out of it I’d downgrade in your shoes.

    @ Kyle McKenna — While it says that, in practice I haven’t heard of anyone having trouble applying for and being approved for it.

  16. Lucky, the link to the free credit report and score takes me to a page that says “The advertisement that led you to us was not compliant and potentially
    misleading. It is not approved by our company.

    If you have questions, please email us anytime at

    We apologize for any inconvenience.”

  17. Just recieved theoffer in the mail for 100k Am. exp. platnum? I fly out of dfw so one world products is what I accumulate . I have citi. What airline can I transfer the amex points to that will give me the most bang for my buck?! We like to travel to asia and europe and middle east.

    Also in fine print it says that guests pay 27$ to enter the lounge with you. Does that mean spouse and kids too?

  18. @ Siso — If you’re entering on Priority Pass you do have to pay for any guests. If you’re entering with the AmEx Platinum card (to American, Delta, or US Airways lounges), you’re allowed two guests.

  19. Hey Lucky, do you have a referral link for the Canadian American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum card? TPG has a link on his site, but I would rather you get the business! Thanks!

  20. @ coalharbour — Thanks so much for thinking of me! Unfortunately I don’t have any Canadian affiliate links… yet. Appreciate the thought, though!

  21. When I click on the link for, I am forwarded to a page that says :

    “The advertisement that led you to us was not compliant and potentially misleading. It is not approved by our company.”

    You might want to take a look at what is causing that.

  22. I have a question regarding the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. AS far as the balance transfer, does one get 10k miles after a transfer of ANY amount or does one get 1-mile per dollar transferred up to 10k?

    thanks 😉

  23. @ ATC — Sorry about that, updated the description to be more accurate. It’s one mile per dollar, up to 10,000 bonus miles.

  24. Ben, I am torn between these two cards:Hyatt Gold and Citi Honors Reserve.

    I scared to apply for both, even though I have 2 inquiries in the last 2 years, but dont want to ding my Credit report (775)

    I have along history with both Citi and Chase and they are both so tempting ( of course I will use your link 🙂 )

    Which one is the better one?

  25. @ jorge — To be honest they’re both great cards and you can’t go wrong with either.

    I’d say the Citi Reserve has more benefits if you’re actually looking for hotel status as well. You get two free nights AND Hilton Gold, which gets you free internet, breakfast, and lounge access.

    I value the Hyatt free nights you get from signing up somewhat more, but you only get Platinum status, which basically only gets you free internet.

    So I guess it depends what you’re looking for. The cards are issued by different banks, and if you’ve only had two inquiries in the past two years, I’d say get both of ’em! Your score should take at most a two point hit per application, and long term it may actually go up from having more credit that you’re not fully utilizing.

    Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

  26. I want to earn United miles but don’t necessarily need the travel benefits because I have Star Alliance Gold from US Airways. Am I better off with Chase Saphire Preferred and transfer miles to United, or with one of the United Explorer cards?

  27. @ Kevin — In almost all cases I’d say the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better option — you get double points on dining and travel plus a 7% annual points dividend, so in almost all cases you’ll get a higher return than the Explorer card.

  28. Ben, can I apply American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and American Express Business Rewards Gold Card at the same time and get sign-up bonus on both card? Thanks.

  29. @Lucky – Bummed that the link for the 75k Business Gold AE card is dead – I was right about to apply for one for my wife too.

    If she still wanted to go with AE, would she be better to get the Personal Preferred Rewards Gold Card – since it has some different perks from the business card, 2 complimentary airport VIP lounge passes for example.

    Or would you recommend the Chase Ink? For regular spend it looks better and still has a 50k sign up bonus.

    Finally – for married couples applying individually for cards (makes more sense since you can both qualify for a bonus I presume), does it have any knock on affect on your spouse’s credit? Or are you treated just like any other 2 individuals?

    And I just applied for the BA visa signature card through Chase (50k bonus). Could I apply for the Chase Ink too or do I have to wait 3 months or something to apply for another chase card?

    Thanks as ever for all the tips and tricks – we all appreciate it!

  30. @ Pete — In your shoes I’d go for the Chase Ink. The sign-up bonus is great and the return in some categories is amazing at 5x points per dollar.

    If you apply for a card it has no impact on your spouse’s credit, so you could both apply for the same cards to earn the sign-up bonus and then consolidate your points.

    The Chase Ink is a business card while the BA Visa is a personal card, so you should have no problem getting approved for it right away.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  31. @ Christopher — You sure can. One is a business card while the other is a personal card, so you’re eligible for the sign-up bonuses on both cards at the same time.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  32. Thanks Ben!

    And do you think there’s much chance of getting approved for the other card (either Bold or Plus) and also the Sapphire while I’m at it? I already have the Freedom card with Chase, have had it for a year or so. And the BA application with Chase is still pending. There must be a limit with one bank no?

  33. @ Pete — There’s definitely a limit, though I don’t think you’ve reached it. You’re looking at potentially having one business card and three personal cards with them.

    In your shoes I’d call them regarding the BA application at the reconsideration line, and they should be able to instantly approve it over the phone. That phone number is (888) 245-0625.

    Once that’s complete I’d apply for the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold or Ink Plus.

  34. @Lucky Thanks Ben! BA card taken care of, will keep you posted on the rest 😉 Also, been reading about the bluebird card that got you the 5x bonus from Office Depot and could be used elsewhere – is that something that’s come and gone?

  35. @ Pete — Awesome, let me know how the rest of it goes.

    Unfortunately Bluebird is “dead” at Office Depots, though you can still buy them at many CVS locations. Not quite as rewarding, but can still make sense.

  36. For everyone who might find this helpful, I applied for the Chase/BA cobranded card a week or so ago and got accepted. (I already have the freedom card too). I applied today for the chase sapphire AND the chase UA card. It showed as processing so I called (888) 245-0625 and I’d been turned down for both. They said that 3 applications in a month is more love than they can handle.

    British Airways is currently still doing their background check for that card, though chase have approved it in terms of credit. But she said I would need to wait at least 30 days to apply for another card and even then probably just 1, not 2!

    Wish my credit a speedy recovery and hopefully my wife gets approved on the Sapphire she just applied for. Spending’s so much less fun with no bonus goals to aim for!

  37. @Lucky – advice – the other card I was eyeing up (but planning to wait a while on) was the Hilton reserve with Citi. Since Citi and Chase are completely separate, would it be feasable to apply for the Hilton card today? Or, following my previous post, is it time to accept defeat for a couple of months and relax?

    I’ve got a group of students I work with all booking transatlantic flights this time of year so it’s a great opportunity to hit some higher spend targets that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to get. Which is why I’m trying to collect all the cards I can…

  38. @ Pete — Generally three personal cards in a month is a bit much. If you had done the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus you would have probably been fine, though, since it’s a business card.

    Since Citi is a totally different issuer, yes, I’d suggest applying for that today, as the other two inquiries probably haven’t hit your report yet.

  39. @Lucky – Citi HHonours – Approved. But Chase need more substantial history with major cards (more than the 2 years I have) to approve any business applications so that’s it for now it sounds like 😉

  40. Success! As per my comment around a month ago, I was declined for the Chase Sapphire. I’d recently applied for the Chase British Airways card and they said I’d made too many requests for credit to be approved.

    SO, I called up again today, had them look up the application again (it was still on their system) and asked if they could reconsider it since I am “really not looking for any more credit (I was given more than enough on the BA card), I’m just really keen to have the 7% dividends etc on the sapphire card – I’d prefer to use it for my everyday spend over the other cards”. She caught the hint and we managed to move credit around from my existing cards to find the $5k initial credit line required for the Saphhire card!!!

    So it seems that you never truly get declined a Chase card – just wait a little, call back from a different angle and see if, rather than opening up further credit, they can simply more credit from existing Chase cards.

    Persistence pays! – and in this case, it pays 40,000 rewards points!


  41. When I apply for american express delta, I notice now that it say if you been identify as an existing card member, you do not get the 30k, but instead they will offer 10k.
    had anyone had experience with this?

  42. @ Jeff — I’d suggest clearing your cookies and not logging into your American Express account when applying, and that should get you around that issue.

  43. thanks, I was just wondering would they know after they approve it and it’s all part of the same SS#.
    I will try and see does that work.

  44. @ Jeff — They would, but they wouldn’t have an issue with it. You would still get the bonus and everything.

  45. @ Fishing4Deals — I’ve done a bit of research, and apparently that is indeed a rule for any Visa Signature card.

  46. Lucky,
    I have the Citi/AA Visa and Citi/AA Amex, and am interested in the Citi/AA Mastercard. However, I noticed this language on their application: * This Citi® / AAdvantage® card offer is only valid for new applicants for a Citi® / AAdvantage® account made pursuant to this offer and is not available to existing cardmembers or recent applicants for a Citi® / AAdvantage® credit card.
    Does this mean I’m not eligible? I’m sure I can get approved for the card, but don’t want to spend the $3K over the next 3 months only to find out I don’t get the 40K miles. Your thoughts?

  47. @ Greg — While the wording is confusing, you’re absolutely able to apply for the card since you don’t have that exact one yet. You have nothing to worry about. 🙂

  48. Hey Lucky – you may have seen this already but I just saw an offer on the homepage of for a 50k signup bonus on the Explorer card. I applied and got selected on the spot. Only $2000k spend in 3 months. I logged in with my wife’s account and it only displays the 30k bonus – any idea how they target it? She couldn’t even copy and paste the link to apply.

    Also question – if a mileage account is expiring, can you keep all those miles from expiring by applying for a credit card and accumulating more miles? Or do you need to redeem miles or earn more through actually flying to prevent expiration?



  49. @ Pete — United does indeed seem to have excellent targeted offers when logged into MileagePlus accounts, though I haven’t been able to figure out how they’re doing the targeting. Happy to hear you got such a good offer!

    As far as your points expiration question goes, any activity at all will reset the expiration date — you don’t need to fly.

  50. Lucky,
    What does it mean”This card is churnable, meaning you can earn the sign-up bonus on it multiple times.”? How do you exactly do with it?

  51. Hi Lucky – I’m very interested in applying for both the Blue Cash Everyday and Platinum AMEX cards. However, I wanted to know if I would qualify for both bonus offers? In addition, which card is worth applying for first and how long should I wait before applying for the second one?

  52. @ Rachel — You can absolutely get approved for both at once. The Blue Cash Everyday Card is a credit card while the Platinum Card is a charge card, so you can get approved for both the same day.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  53. Thanks for your prompt response! The offer terms of the Platinum card states, “If you are identified as a current American Express® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.” So I just wanted to clarify if I apply for both cards in the same day then I will receive both bonus offers? Also is there any particular time of the year when the bonus offers increase?

  54. @ Rachel — You would indeed be eligible, since the Blue Cash Everyday Card isn’t one of the cards specifically excluded.

    The offers on those two cards tend to be the same throughout the year.

  55. 08/07/2013 I was dennied by Amex when I applied SPG personal (30k). At that time, I didn’t want to apply business one because I was denied by personal one. The reason was I had many pulls in my Credit Report. I am thinking to apply personal and business again. However, I dont know when I should I apply? Right now, the bonus is only 25k for each. If I wait until July or August (30k coming up again), will I waste my time? or I just need to apply 1 or 2 more month to get 25k? These cards are churning from this forum.
    Right now my FICO scores is around 750

  56. Hi Lucky,

    When trying to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest from AmEx, I see only the 10,000 point bonus after first purchase, nothing anywhere about the 15,000 add’l after $5K in purchases within 6 mo. Am I missing it, or has this offer recently changed? Many thanks for your help, and for the great blog.

  57. Hi, lucky,

    When I tried use your link to apply for americanexpress premier reward gold card, there is no mention 25k points as signing bonus. Anything wrong? thanks!

  58. Just got an offer in the mail for Card members: 50,000 MR pts if approved for the AMEX Biz Plat by 22 Nov. $5K required spend in 3months. I don’t see any language indicating it’s targeted.

  59. Hi Lucky,
    1. Can I also apply and get bonus for HH AMEX, while I still have HH Surpass AMEX?
    2. If I had United Mileage Plus Visa by Chase 5~6 years ago, can I apply for United MileagePlus Explorer Card and get the bonus?

  60. @Greg Don’t know if this has been answered but the Starwood Preferred Guest 10k/15k points is only available to those who do not already have an AMEX card. You might have missed that since they switch screens on you once they determine you are an existing card holder…and that is ANY AMEX card. As it is you only get 10K points and that’s it. This is pointed out in small print off to the side and again, you might have missed it.

  61. Via MMS, I learned that car rentals can be much cheaper using Ultimate Rewards to book through the portal (right now for my Phoenix trip next year, the price is between 1/2 off and 2/3 off). However, I have a question about how car insurance would work if I used points. Would I still get insurance from Chase (through the card that is linked to the Ultimate Rewards card)?

  62. Also, I see that I could use points and money. Let’s say for example my car rental is 10,000 points. What happens if I use 9,900 points + $1, will I be covered for my whole rental from Chase?

  63. You might want to update that United’s MileagePlus miles are no longer very valuable given the devaluation. Even prior, they are near useless given the meager seat allocations on airlines like ANA and Singapore (and no first allocations on Singapore), and for practical purposes, no first on Lufthansa.

  64. @lucky thanks for this great site. I had a question. Once you receive the awards do you terminate the card to avoid paying the annual fees? Do you lose the point balances within UA at chase for example? I also thought there is negative impact from shutting off credit cards as well.

  65. Would you recommend waiting until US Airways CC is converted to another Barclays product? I would like to apply for the Arrivals card ($89 fee version) but want to know whether I should wait until my US Airways CC is converted to an Arrivals card, or just go ahead and apply for a new Arrival card?

  66. @ Sam – Thanks for reading! I try to keep cards as long as possible, personally, and in many cases find the annual fee is offset by the card benefits. You shouldn’t lose your miles by canceling a card though, and the main impact to your credit is in the average age of your accounts.

  67. @ Bobos – I wouldn’t, actually. If the card is converted you wouldn’t receive the sign up bonus on the new product, so I’d probably go ahead and apply for the Arrivals card separately.

  68. With regards to the Sapphire Preferred. I have the MasterCard version of both the CSP and Freedom. I’ve read that I can transfer the CSP points to the Freedom, apply for the Visa CSP, transfer the points to the Visa CSP and then apply for the Visa Freedom. Is this a correct strategy in your opinion?

  69. @ Victor — Yes, you can transfer the points from the Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom and then to a different Sapphire Preferred, assuming they’re all in your name.

  70. If I’m an authorized user on a Chase Freedom, can I transfer points from the Chase Freedom account to my Saphire Preferred account? The primary account holder is an authorized user on my CSP- we’re family members, but not married.

  71. Lucky, do you have any recommendations for a balance transfer card? Are they all pretty standard, having a 3% fee and then zero percent for a set period of time? Are there any that are zero fee, and zero int? Thanks

  72. Lucky,

    The AS 30K credit card link is no more valid. There is 25K and a 40K with bigger spend.

    – naroowal

  73. Hey Lucky,
    I got the Alaska Mileage Plan Business Visa Card (through your referral of course!)Do you know how long after the first spend we should get the bonus?

    It’s been about one billing cycle and nothing yet. I talked to BoA and they just refer me to Alaska Mileage Plan saying they have no idea about bonuses and promotions…

  74. @ sg — Typically in my experience it posts after the first billing cycle after which you completed minimum spend closes. I’d give it one extra cycle, as I’m sure it’ll post automatically.

  75. @ Avi Green — You can be approved for the Alaska card multiple times without even canceling your previous versions of the card. For example, if you get one of their cards today you’ll probably be approved if you apply again in a few months.

  76. Hi Lucky!

    Tried your Amex link for the Premier Rewards GC and I get an error message saying:”You have been identified as a current American Express Card Member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express Card Members” I only have the Hilton and Costco Amex, no gold card for over 2 years.

    Any suggestions / ideas?

  77. Do you ever cancel your credit cards before you have to pay for the annual fees? I would like to open up new credit cards but in order not to pay for current cards annual fees, I would have to cancel the card and I wondering how it would hurt my credit score. Would it be better to downgrade to a no annual fee card?

  78. @ qiddd — Part of your credit score is made up of the average age of your accounts, so generally the longer your average account is open, the better. So if you can downgrade to a no annual fee card that would be good, since it extends the average age of your accounts.

    That being said, this shouldn’t be a huge deal as long as you keep a few cards long term, as they’ll balance out the ones you cancel on shorter notice.

  79. Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere, but quick question. I applied (along with a bunch of other people I’m sure) for the Amex Business Gold card last year when it had the 75k signup bonus. I’m considering cancelling the card before the $175 hits and just want to know what would happen to all my MR points if I do? Do I need to transfer them out of MR before cancelling the card? It’s currently the only card I have that accrues MR points (I have other Amex but they’re linked directly to AA etc).

    Thanks 🙂

  80. @ Pete B — Yes, if it’s the only card you have that accrues Membership Rewards you’d need to transfer them out or they’ll be forfeited. The only alternative is to get another card which accrues Membership Rewards points before closing this one down, as you could otherwise “pool” the points there.

  81. The only MR one I see on the list is the Amex Premier Rewards – at only 25k signup bonus, is it worth holding out for a better promotion? I’m assuming a lot of these cards aren’t churnable so wouldn’t want to rush!

  82. @ Pete B — The two best options are the Platinum Card or Premier Rewards Gold Card. Haven’t seen a higher sign-up bonus than 25K on the Premier Rewards Gold Card for a while, and the card is pretty rewarding for everyday spend…

  83. Hi Lucky, love this blog, You are showing me the seats I may never see….Any thoughts on the Capital One Venture cards? I’m leaning towards the Chase Sapphire cards, but just figured I’d ask. Thanks!

  84. Hi Ben! I have the AMEX Business Gold, got it last year with the 75k promo and probably will cancel this month. With that in mind, I just got approved for AMEX Premier Rewards Gold.

    Question – I’m getting the impression from the website that I need to create a new user ID for the new card? Is that because one is business while the other is personal? Or am I just missing something.

    Once I’ve got the new one set up, I can simply pool the points like you do with Chase, right?

  85. @ Pete B — You’ll actually want to set them up under the same user ID if you can, as it’ll make it easier to pool the points. There should be an option in your existing card’s account to add another card, so that’s where you’ll want to do it.

  86. AXON awards were discontinued last year. Luckily I booked ones to the Hilton in Hawaii just before the cutoff date.

  87. Hi Ben.

    My wife and I both have Alaska rewards CCs, mine is the Signature Card and wife is Platinum Plus. We live in Seattle and typically fly Alaska Air or Delta. What’s the best card out there with bonuses that are compatible with Alaska and Delta? An Am Ex? Oh and when you say the Alaska Card is churnable what do you mean? How often can you cancel and reapply to get the bonus miles?


  88. Chad,

    An earlier poster commented that by “churnable” he means that you can apply for and be approved for multiple Alaska Airlines credit cards. This is true for any credit card, depending on your credit worthiness.

    Ultimately, Alaska Airlines miles are NOT “churnable.” Those miles are earned the same way as every other rewards card. You have one chance to earn bonus miles on a new card. After that you’re eligible for the base earnings: 1 mile/dollar, 2 miles/dollar spent w/ Alaska Air, plus your companion fare discount, etc.

    To answer your final question: you can close an account at your discretion. Whether or not you would be approved for a new card application is another story.

    Best wishes,
    Someone who provides customer service for Alaska Airlines credit cards and activates new accounts on a daily basis

  89. Lucky, clicked on your link for the US Airways MC and was instantly approved! Score! I usually apply this card every 6 month (and cancel one every 6 month). I then clicked on your link for the Ink Plus card but got a message to wait 10 days for an approval. I called recon line about 8hrs later. Spoke to a nice gentleman who asked me about my biz and why I wanted the Ink Plus as I already have an Ink Bold. I told him I needed a credit card and not a charge card. Approved and he cancelled my 10 month old Ink Bold card (which I was planning to cancel anyway). Scored again! Thanks Lucky.

  90. Hey Lucky, can i apply for both SPG Business and personal in the same day? will that get tagged as duplicate application by AMEX?

  91. @ Jay — You can apply same day I believe, but usually it will take a while before they’ll approve the second one, at least in my experience.

  92. Lucky – I miss hearing you and the boys (even Hunter) on the podcast.

    After reading your blog (as well as View from the Wing) and hours of consideration, based upon the effective 2.2 cents per dollar spend, I applied for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard through your link and BAM – was approved with a $10K limit. Approved despite already having a Barclay Card iTunes Rewards card with $6K limit.

    With regards to the Chase Southwest Visa, I noticed on July 1 you updated that offer/link to reflect the 25,000 points offer. The FT wiki for “Chase Southwest Visa 50,000 Rapid Reward Points Offers” still has 2 working links for Southwest 50,000 point business card and Southwest 50,000 point personal card respectively.

  93. Lucky,

    Have 1.5M Marriott Rewards points and want to use them for free hotel rooms now that I’m retired. Goal to to fly free too. Other than United, MR points don’t transfer very well. What would you suggest for the best strategy to obtain and add airlines miles for award travel. I know there are lots of cards but I’d like to try to keep things simple, maybe a couple of cards.


  94. Hey Lucky!

    So glad I found your super useful website!
    I’m planning a trip to Asia in November and want to take the trip total amount and apply for a CC and take advantage of awesome CC sing up bonus offers.

    I was told by a colleague that the Chase United CC Mileage Plus card is giving away 50k points after a $2,000 spend in 3 months ! Pretty good deal….

    I’m trying to come up with a game plan to sign up for CC cards and utilize them.

    Currently I have chase freedom, citi diamond+ citi advantage (with 65,000 thank you points) ,
    and Barclayus Arrival plus (with 67k points) . I do have a business and no business cards yet.

    Which card do you think would be best for me in my situation? With this in mind, my goal is to save up for my dream honeymoon in Tahiti or Maldives a few years from now. and maybe a round trip flight to europe somewhere in between :).

    Thanks Lucky! I will be following your blog closely!

  95. Lucky,

    I have a new Chase Sapphire and have met the spend.

    Also a Marriott Rewards Visa and a AM Ex Delta Platinum. I’ve had those two for many years.

  96. @ Coco — Welcome! If the goal is to earn miles that will get you to the Maldives or Tahiti, United miles are probably the worst mileage currency for accomplishing that, since they don’t have good partners in that region

    In your shoes I would build American miles, so I’d go for either a Starwood credit card (those transfer to American), a US Airways credit card, or one of American’s many co-branded credit cards. Good luck!

  97. Lucky,

    I have a new Chase Sapphire and have met the spend.

    Also a Marriott Rewards Visa and a AM Ex Delta Platinum. I’ve had those two for many years.

  98. I am planning on flying united in December to Vietnam. Is there any advantage to getting the chase sapphire over the united mileage plus card?

  99. @ Tyler — What are you trying to get with the card — earn as many miles as possible, benefits, or? The Chase Sapphire Preferred will typically be more rewarding for everyday spend, but which card is better really depends on what you’re trying to get out of the card.

  100. lucky,

    I have a specifically want to fly United in December. After that I just want to earn as many miles as possible and not specifically with any airline. Should I maybe get the United mileageplus card now that has 50,000 bonus point, and get the chase sapphire after I pay the minimum to get my points on the United Mileageplus? Thanks for your help.

  101. @ tyler — Yes, I’d say that’s a pretty good option right now since it’s a promotional offer on the United Explorer Card, while I would guess the Sapphire Preferred bonus will probably stick for a while.

  102. I thought I had asked this, but didn’t see it. I had the US Airways cards and cancelled it sometime this year. Lucky, if I reapply and am accepted, would I get the bonus miles? Has anyone out there done that?

  103. @ Lynn — It’s really hit or miss with US Airways. Some report having luck earning the bonus multiple times, while others don’t.

  104. Hi Lucky.

    Thanks for the excellent blog. I applied for Chase SP exactly 85 days ago & plan to apply for Ink Plus® Business Card once 90 days are over. I have few questions before I apply for my very first business card (of course through your link 🙂 ) & would appreciate if you can answer:

    1) When I apply for the business card as “Sole Proprietor” with $0 revenue, will I run into any issues while filing tax? Do tax filing require mentioning businesses I own? I am sure you know it already that I actually do not own a business & perhaps won’t ever. Will I have to register my business or file tax for my business separately? Just an FYI, I file taxes jointly with my husband if that creates any issue ?

    2) I read somewhere online that once you are approved for a business card, CHASE does a tricky follow up call. Is it true? What should I expect in the follow up if there is any ( I hope none) ?

    3) Can I transfer my UR points from SP to the new business account & downgrade the SP? I won’t downgrade SP first year for sure but my plan is to downgrade before 2 year anniversary.

    4) If I want to apply for another business card next year from CHASE or somewhere else, can I still do so as “Sole Proprietor” with $0 revenue?

    Many Thanks In Advance.

  105. @ Melissa —

    1) I’m not a tax professional so wouldn’t be the person to ask, but I know a lot of people don’t file one for a sole proprietorship with no income.
    2) It really depends on the situation. In many cases it takes them a while to approve applications, typically without a phone call.
    3) Yep, you sure can!
    4) You should be able to.

  106. Lucky, do you cancel the cards after the initial year? as quite a few of them have annual fees afterwards. I heard that one’s first card should be kept for life, is that so?

  107. @ Amy — It all depends on the card. For example, here’s my decision making process from this year:

    I usually keep the card if I put a lot of spend on it due to the bonus categories, or if it has annual benefits that outweigh the annual fee (like a free night certificate). Otherwise I’ll cancel it.

    The average age of accounts is one thing that factors into your credit score, so it does make sense to keep a few cards long term. That’s why I recommend no annual fee cards, like the Chase Freedom, for example, which can be worth keeping long term.

  108. @Melissa-
    A sole proprietorship is also called a DBA- “Doing Business As”, as in Melissa Doing Business As “Luczun & Associates”. The business name is just an alias, so any income would be reported on your personal taxes as your personal miscellaneous income.

  109. Lucky.
    thanks for such informative site. i am considering applying for hyatt CC. i know they offer platinum status with the membership but if you already achieved the status, do they give you the next level up which is diamond?
    thanks in advance.

  110. @ steven k — They don’t. If you’re already Platinum you get nothing extra on the status front. By putting $20,000-40,000 of spend on the card you can earn some elite qualifying stays/nights towards status, but that’s the extent of it.

  111. Lucky,

    Thank you for all the info this is a great site! I have been reading this blog and a few others for a while now. I just moved a few states away but I still travel home quite a bit (at least 1-2 times a month). I am looking for a cheap economy ticket and I have been looking for a good card that I can transfer miles to both Delta and United. I have found that it’s a toss up as to who is cheaper every time I fly. I only stay in a hotel maybe once every month and only for a short stay. Although hotel points would be a bonus, they are not my priority at this point. I applied for the Chase Sapphire card through your link, but I was declined because I don’t have a long enough credit history (I have good credit just a short history). I was wondering what card you would recommend for a traveler like me? Thank you for help!


  112. Hi Lucky, Love reading your emails I get. I am in Canada. Do you suggest getting and then canceling a award card after you have done the spend, just to get the points, and keep on doing this. Or am I best to keep them, but hen so many cards will leave little room for more credit. just a little puzzled on the best plan of attack for points. thanks so much ! Susan, canada

  113. @ susan — Thanks for reading! Sorry, I’m really not an expert on how the Canadian credit system works, so don’t want to give any advice that might be wrong and could impact your credit score. In general I wouldn’t keep a card open if you’re not getting value out of it, so if you sign-up for it and aren’t getting marginal benefits out of it, I’d definitely cancel, at least in general.

  114. Hey Ben, does the Citi Hilton Reserve Card still come with a $0 introductory annual fee the first year? The Citi page via the above link doesn’t mention that – maybe the offer has changed?

  115. @ Zack — Nope, the annual fee is $95, and isn’t waived the first year. Don’t remember it being waived anytime recently.

  116. Hello Lucky,

    I appreciate you your precious information on various credit cards on their benefits.
    Could you update Lufthansa Miles and More World Premier Master Card? Your info says it gives 3 oneway first class tickets on 2 class aircraft and 2 oneway first class tickets on 3 class aircraft in the US. But I don’t see it mentioned on a page the link you posted took me to. There may be some other changes I haven’t noticed as well. Thank you.

  117. @ Michael — That information is indeed accurate. Lufthansa has very attractive rates for two cabin first class or three cabin business class within the US.

  118. What frequency should I open new cards? Would you recommend closing them prior to the first annual fee being charged?

  119. I am in need of a new cc and would love to get one with ultimate rewards, as i have over 55k points that i am not ready to use. (But will transfer if i have to.) Looking to cancel both united explorer and Chase ink (plus i think). As a side note… At first united explorer offered no retention bonus, but on second try was offered 10k. Guess i probably sh/could have accepted and still cancelled but I am already very close to my 60 day post annual fee payment date. So need to cancel asap.
    I had the chase sapphire a couple of years ago and recommended it to several extended family members (unfortunately without any referrals) and now have the ink plus.
    Any idea when some good bonuses for any of the Chase cards will occur?
    Could also benefit from any card that could be useful as we take advantage of the etihad fare to abu dhabi in three weeks. We are still figuring out where to stay using the least amount of cash!

  120. Hello Lucky,

    I’m looking for a business credit card that’s best for my company. We spend about $3,000/month on gas, plus the occasional hefty vehicle repairs.

    In terms of cash redemption, which card would you recommend?

    The Chase Ink Plus with it’s 2% cash back on gas looks enticing.

    The Citi Thank You Premier with is 50,000 signup bonus (with 3X points on gas) also looks good, but how valuable are those points?

    Transferability to airlines is not important.


  121. Following up on Gerardo’s question above, I’min a similar situation. We want to move away from our Business Gold AMEX card to something that’s revolving instead, and we rack up around 100,000 Membership Rewards points each year. We already use the Chase business Ink card but a) I’d like to get some kind of bonus and b) I don’t want to have a single card at my disposal.
    (And of course I’ll sign up through your site!)

  122. @ CB — Does it have to be a business card, and what category is most of your spend in, if I may ask? also, what kind of tickets are you usually looking to redeem for?

  123. @ Gerardo — Hmmm, that’s a toughie. Does it have to be a business card, or would you consider a personal card and then “reimbursing” yourself, as you might have more luck with bonus categories that way?

  124. My preference is for it to be a business card since these are tied to the business address and use corporate credit for evaluation. And the spend is almost all on paper for our printing press – which doesn’t qualify as office supply paper (which would be awesome!).

  125. It would have to be a business card. The owner of my company does not wish to open personal accounts.

    Since I started this fun hobby I’ve turned her on to a couple of co-branded airline cards for the huge sign up bonuses. But I doubt she will use them to travel.

    The owner is more interested in redeeming points for gift cards to give to her employees. We have not been maximizing our point earnings, or redemption for that matter.

  126. @ CB — I’d consider the SPG AmEx. Since you’re spending mostly in non-bonused categories, it’s a card that’s tough to beat. It has a low annual fee and the points are extremely flexible, since they can be transferred to dozens of airline partners or be redeemed for hotel stays.

  127. Thank you!

    On a side note, I applied for the Citi Business AAdvantage card for myself, through your link.

    I’m awaiting a decision. I made up a business name and some income. In retrospect I should have signed up using my name and personal income. My credit is excellent and I hear individuals get approved all the time for business cards.

    Hope Citi doesn’t monitor this blog. If so feel free not to publish this comment.

  128. @ Gerardo — Good luck! Let me know if I can ever help with anything, and thanks for the support!

  129. Lucky –
    I followed the link on your site so you’d get the referral but I’m not sure the tracking followed me once I called to complete the app and ask about how it impacts my existing cards. Is there a way for me to assure you were given the proper credit?

  130. Hey Lucky,

    I was denied for the Citi Business AAdvantage card. Will know the reason soon.

    So, my next step is to call the reconsideration line. I have a Citi AAdvantage Platinum personal card opened in April 2014 ($16,500 credit line) Overall, I have $73,000 in revolving credit (1 AMEX Delta, 4 Capital One, 1 BofA, 1 Chase) Use is normally 2% but has been up to 15%.

    I could ask that my Citi AA Plat credit line be reduced. Or should I cancel it and reapply in 90 days per FT Wiki.

    Any advice?

  131. Just applied the US airway card for the entire household, 2 out of 3 approved and one pending. Lucky, I assume the miles can be combined with AA miles later?

    For the Citi AA card, I had it before (also 50k bonus miles) and cancelled last year, when can I apply again for the 50k bonus miles?

  132. @ JW — Correct, once the programs merge in the second quarter the points will be combined. The Citi AAdvantage Card bonus generally can’t be earned multiple times nowadays.

  133. We applied for the Citi AA Mastercard (through your link of course) and both applications were approved. We had the Visa version and closed it last August. Does that mean we’re qualified for another around of bonus?

  134. @ JW — Congrats and thanks for the support. Citi is rather inconsistent, so there’s no way to know for sure. Some report being able to earn the bonus again, while others don’t. So unfortunately I can’t say for sure one way or another. Sorry. 🙁

  135. Lucky, I’m looking for some quick advice… I just got invited from Amex Enhanced Business Gold card for 50k points. I do not have any Amex cards (except jet blue) and have been looking to add it.

    Currently my want list is: Amex Gold (for airlines), Chase Sapphire Preferred (restaurants), Ink (cable/phone/internet/cell), and Freedom/SPG/Barclays Always, the list seems to grow and grow.

    My point is this, I have to work at one card at a time to meet the spending req. Should my next card be this or is there another better deal I should focus on.

    Thanks in advance!

  136. @ gaspipe1 — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a better offer on the card in the future, so I might first go with a card which is rewarding for everyday spend, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

  137. Lucky,

    Thoughts on Visa Black Card? Does it get you into the LH First Class lounge at Frankfurt?

  138. @Lucky, you the man… I will get the Chase SP card now and wait till I see a 75k or 100k reward on the Amex Gold. Thanks again!

  139. Hey Lucky,

    Received the Citi Platinum Select MC today after applying through your link and on my way to the 50K bonus. I’ve added my wife as an authorized user. Question – does this prevent her from earning the bonus if she applies for the card also? (She’s planning on applying for her own once we meet the 3K spend on mine).


  140. @ Arun — Thanks for the support! Nope, she’s still eligible for the sign-up bonus. Her being an authorized user on your card doesn’t impact her ability to get the bonus.

  141. You might want to change your description of the Club Carlson card to reflect the change to the free night on award stays. I use your site as my go-to for what’s up with credit cards.

  142. Hi Lucky,

    Wondering if you can give me suggestion on a new credit card. Currently I have: AX PRG, AX Blue (hardly used), AX Hilton, Capital One Quicksilver (hardly used), Chase Sapphire, Macys (hardly used).
    I’m thinking to cancel the ones I hardly used. What do you think? As always, appreciate your input.

  143. I understand the reason to get the Premiere and Prestige cards. After the minimum spends are met and the $250 travel credit is used, though, is this card really a superior value? Wouldn’t the Barclay Arrival+ be a stronger card for putting non-bonused spend on? The Citi cards = 1.33 (1.66 for American) while Barclay offers 2.2% points for any charge that can be redeemed for travel. (Travel spend may be different but someone is going to have to walk through the math… if 3x points = 3.99 (4.98 American), that would definitely be a superior return to Barclay Arrival+). Thanks.

  144. @ Travel123 — It all depends in which categories you’re spending the most money. Keep in mind that the Barlcaycard Arrival offers the equivalent of ~2.22% cash back regardless of the category. While the Citi Prestige only offers 1.33/1.66 cents per point, keep in mind you earn 2-3x points per dollar on many categories. So if a lot of your spend is in the right categories, you could come out ahead with the Citi Prestige. That’s the case for me, for example, since so much of my spend is on travel.

  145. Lucky–I love your tips and ways of thinking–we share a lot in common on getting and using points and miles! My accomplishments in the past 90 days are taking out two city advantage platinum cards–one for me and one for my wife and fortunately, we BOTH got 50,000 points. I end up flying first class to conferences in the Caribbean and paying for it (tax deductible) then use 100,000 points to get my wife a FREE first class ticket.
    When all is said and done we go to places like St. Maarten or Grand Cayman and we both fly in first class for a total out of pocket cost (again, my ticket being fully tax deductible as a business expense) of $600 roundtrip for two people to the Caribbean in First Class. I imagine you panting like a hungry dog knowing that many people like yourself live day and night to figure out how to game the system and win. Additionally, I just took out the AMEX SPG Business card for another 25,000 points to add to my 1,400,000 already accumulated. I agree with you the SPG card, bar none is my favorite. I’ve accumulated at least 3,000,000 points in the past decade and received 150 free or dirt cheap nights at some astounding properties–examples–Schloss Fuschl outside of Salzburg; Hotel Imperial in Vienna; Park Tower Buenos Aires; The W Seattle; and so many more I can’t count them. Sadly, I can state that it is only recently I found your site and am so happy I did. I immediately signed up for award wallet and cannot thank you enough for that recommendation. It even lists things that I could not otherwise easily have known–like my Ritz Carlton Rewards Card has 3 available certificates to upgrade to club level. One year I kept a running calculator of how much free travel I achieved and it easily exceeded $25,000. My top coup in the past 3 years is no longer available (sadly). I ALWAYS bought myself up on USAIRWAYS to Chairman’s preferred status. It provided 2 business class upgrades on international travel (my estimated value is $4000 each) and though I had to be flexible in travel site/date, I never missed using my certificates. One year, I found out that after I bought up, USAIRWAYS computer had a glitch, providing 2 EXTRA international certificates (the error went away after 30-60 days if you didn’t book). So last year we had $16,000 of international certificates used (purchased coach ticket to Europe, approximately $1000, flew in business (approx cost of ticket $5,000). I know you are well aware of the AA bonus points for being preferred status (sadly I am only Platinum) and flying on purchased first class tickets (which I nearly always tax deduct). I agree with something you wrote in particular–the only reason to accumulate points is to USE points!!!! YOU ROCK LUCKY and I’m feeling even more LUCKY that I’ve found your site!

  146. @ Steve Wolfe — That made my day, thanks so much for the kind words and for reading, I appreciate it. Here’s to many more great trips!

  147. Hi Lucky,

    I read somewhere that you can only earn credit card sign up bonuses once, and you can never get another bonus if you cancel and sign up again. I was wondering how you’re able to apply for 12 credit cards a year and get the sign up bonuses they offer. Do you sign up for a different card each time?

  148. @ grace — It all depends on the card. Every card/issuer has a different policy when it comes to earning the bonus more than once. Some cards allow you to earn the bonus more than once, while others don’t.

  149. Lucky,
    Something I forgot to mention about SPG AMEX (and the SPG program in general)–I’ve created my own version of cash and points. I book a night using points for a free night. That of course gets the standard room. Then I ALWAYS write an email to the concierge letting them know I am a loyal SPG customer, have stayed at many properties, look forward to staying at their luxurious property…………..and might I be able to upgrade to a suite for a reasonable additional fee. I explain that many SPG properties have allowed me to do so. Here’s an example–the Westin Punta Cana. For a total cost of $200 per night (granted, in addition to 12,000 points per night) I get their 1100 square foot EXECUTIVE SUITE (they only have 2) with a massive oceanfront L-shaped balcony that I estimate to be at least 70 feet. I think of this as a CUSTOMER CREATED CASH AND POINTS……though unlike the standard cash and points, I’m using the full value of points and adding cash to get a BIG MAMA suite! I personally value this 200 dollars a night as the best spent money and since I have a lot of SPG points, I’m glad to blow some to get this deal. For those who don’t know, you also get the 5th night free when you book with points, so this essentially saves the use of points every 5th night (that is pretty standard for SPG).

    This idea of customer created policies has worked for me many times. Once when buying up to Chairman’s preferred, I was less than a thousand miles away from Gold Preferred. Buying up from Gold to Chairman’s cost $1499; Buying up from Silver to Chairman’s cost $2499. So I called the Chairman’s desk, advised of my loyalty, and negotiated a $1000 savings (since I was only 300-400 miles away from Gold Status). The airline told me they would ONE TIME allow me to do this.

    I see no reason why not to request certain policies be broken when you truly are a loyal customer and close to a certain status level…….or as above………getting the very best suites for pennies on the dollar…..and some points.

    As noted previously, your tips are astounding. Looking forward to more cheap or free travel.

    How do you know when you’ve having a good day? When it’s 8am, work has barely started and you can say to your fellow employees…’s only 8am, do you know what I’ve done today so far?…….taken out another credit card and earned 50,000 miles/points/etc!!

  150. Hi Lucky, I got an email from AMEX on the Mercedes Benz Platinum card offering 50,000 MR points after spending $3000 with $475 annual fee. I had an AMEX Platinum a few years ago and cancelled. Now I have an AMEX Business Platinum card and used the free credit for Global Entry last year. I was thinking to cancel the Business Platinum card next Jan after getting the $200 airline fee. Do you know if get the MB Platinum card I can get another Global Entry credit for my spouse? Is there any other difference between two Platinum cards, other than the MB card offering some credit for MB purchase? Thanks.

  151. @ JW — The cards are very similar, so that’s not a bad option. You should be able to get the Global Entry credit if you get the new MB Plat Card.

  152. Hi Lucky,

    I guess because I don’t travel much because of the costs, I have a hard time planning which card makes the most sense. I wish there was some optimization chart (which I know is really way too much to ask, but just pointing me to something might help). Something like:

    $450 a year is worth it with this card if you’re planning to do X # of international trips a year.

    Because it looks amazing, but I can’t figure out if that amount a year is worth it for my possible travel.

    A real question I have is how do you balance spending on tickets vs using Miles? If you use miles, then you’re not getting the 2x per $1 on the credit card, right? Which means you aren’t earning miles when you use them unless you’ve already reached a particular tier in a loyalty program, which you reach by earning the miles.;) What sort of balance did you use when you were first starting out to maximize points, and does the 2x per $1 still hold real value at the level where you are now if you’re mostly using points to travel?:)

  153. Sorry guys I only see these “tricks” working if you are already rich and spending a lot of cash every month. I have the B of A Travel Rewards Card and am currently earning 2.625 points per $1 spent and it still takes a long time to accumulate points. I do charge everything I can a month, but unless you are able to charge huge amounts a month I don’t see any of these offers being workable for the average spender. If you are able to use a card for business expenses of let’s say $10,000 a month or more, then that could be a different story.

    Applying for cards to get sign-up bonuses would only work for a couple of years. Eventually you would run out of cards to apply for.

    I guess it’s just like everything else in this world… once you are rich you can do what you want.

  154. How is it you never mention rail travel? Granted it is not as fast as air but…..

    So, I got a Chase Sapphire card (40K points for $3K in 90 days), got my wife a card of her own (same deal – just waited until I had met the requirement for mine), and then got a Chase Ink card (50K points for $5K in 90 days.)

    OK, at the end of 8 months we had amassed 130,000 sign-on bonus points plus the actual points for purchases (a new computer at Office Max using the Ink card gave me 5 points/$1) and buying meals on 1st Fridays gave 3 points/$1 on the Sapphire cards.). We were sitting comfortably on 181,000 points. Oh yes, buying ink cartridges for the printer using the INK card (no pun intended) at their affiliated sales site gave 22 points /1$ (an easy 2,200 points and discount prices on the cartridges as well – good stuff.)

    Now – since these points transfer to Amtrak and Marriott on a 1:1 basis (as well as a host of others) I topped off my Marriott Platinum account with 45,000 points and reserved 5 nights (4 nights paid with points and given a bonus night for the 4 night reservation) at a level 8 hotel in San Francisco – I knew I would get upgraded to a nice junior-suite because of my Platinum status. Breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and evening snacks (easily turned into a modest meal), free Pepsi, and always fruit and cookies made food cost minimal.

    I transferred 120,000 points to Amtrak and made reservations for a Deluxe Bedroom from New York to San Francisco and return (all meals are included on the train). 3 1/2 days outbound and routed back through New Orleans for a 5 day return.

    A 14 day vacation costing me less than $500 for lunches in SFO, a few trinkets, and gratuities on the train (similar to what you expect on a cruise.

    One more thing about the Chase organization. If you book your travel through them, your points can be applied at a bonus of 20% towards, lodging, cruises, etc. And the Chase Travel Agency gets you the same prices as you would get through CruiseCompete, Kayak, or Trivago.

    I subsequently have dropped my account with Chase and will wait 24 months to reapply and off we go again…

    Not a bad way to see the country – Grand Canyon, Colorado River, so many things that pass by the windows of the dome cars, not hidden by clouds.

    Think about it.

  155. @Richard Dow

    You forget to mention the Chase Ink card is for business owners only. I took a look at the application and it’s impossible for an individual to get this card. That being said your “business” purchases on this card would be almost impossible for an individual to accomplish – $5,000 in 90 days? I think not.

    Your story while most likely true, as presented should have the back story that you own a business and thus have the ability and expenses to use a card intended for Business use.

  156. Gordon –

    After reading this posting, I am not sure you will respond but I would be interested in your view.

    Setting up a business is simple – for less than $100 in most states you can get incorporated as an LLC. If not an LLC then a dba (doing business as) and submitting your business on a Schedule C as a part of your 1040 tax return. Certainly you have some skill that would qualify you as a consultant. As long as you stay inside the law there is a lot of flexibility. Tax evasion is ILLEGAL, tax avoidance is NOT. I set up my business to avoid paying $.01 more tax than required by law. The government is not entitled to more than what the law requires.

    How many lawyers operate as independent entities? More than you might realize.

    The Ink card DOES (as you point out) require you to have a business to qualify but the credit limit for an LLC is really based on the creditworthiness of the owner. Buying a computer, printer, and desk from Office Depot, and some entertaining expenses (lunches, etc.) quickly add up. There is NOT a rule that says ALL purchases on the INK card HAVE to be business. I have written checks to the business to reimburse personal expenses incurred through the use of the card. Not illegal nor immoral.

    Also, my cell phone and internet expenses are just over $300/month – there is almost $1,000 on the Ink card and by the way, 5,000 points because the Ink card gives 5 points per dollar on telecommunications. I reimburse the LLC for any personal usage to avoid a tax issue.

    I feel morally and ethically sound in what I have done and that is why I posted my story.

  157. Such a shame these are all American credit cards. I got excited when I saw the British Airways visa (in the UK we only have AMEX with British Airways)

  158. Any recommendations for acquiring Delta Skymiles, or using them through another program?

  159. Hey Lucky, saw you on ABC, congrats!. Quick question, How do you keep up with payments on all these cards?…one must charge thousands a month in order to get to your level, how do you do it and keep yourself under a low credit utilization?.

  160. You mention that you earn half your pints from cc signups. Are you cancelling the card after a year and signing up for the same card again after a waiting period?

    Also, most of these cards require you to spend 3-4K in 3 months. Assuming 40K average points and 4 k avg spend to get the signup points you would need to spend approximately $50,000 on credit cards just to get the signup points. You would need to spend another $200-500K on the credit cards to get the other 500,000 points. For transparency, how much are you spending on credit cards to get to the 1,000,0000 points? Just not sure most readers are spending enough on credit cards to get near these levels


  161. You don’t mention anything about the CapitalOne Credit Card even though many people have asked you about it in the comments! I’m interested, because I’ve heard it has a good points program to reward with any vacation costs, and planes (any).
    What are your thoughts on the card.
    Thank You! You have a great website, very helpful!

  162. Good afternoon. Great website! Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    But you know anything about brazilians cards? what about them? Do you know any that could fit better for us brazilians to get the same benefits you get with these cards you were talking about in this page?

  163. Recently I signed up for the Delta Skymiles Amex Gold Card but was disappointed that I was denied entry into the Amex Lounge in Sydney Airport. Can you recommend a credit card that provides the most accessibility to airport lounges in the US and Europe? Thanks!

  164. In your opinion, which is better: a cash back credit card or the card that gives you points to redeem for flights, hotels, etc? I already have a united credit card and a Marriott credit card but now I’m looking for the next one.

  165. Dear Ben,

    Thanks so much for your wonderful site. I have been maximizing AA miles, since I am working in India and fly back to the US a few times a year with stops in Europe and SA for leisure. My question for you is: After getting all the recommended cards to build up AA miles, what would be the next strategy to use? One idea: could I get the Citi Thank You and earn 50k miles bonus, transfer the miles to Qatar FF program and then possibly transfer miles out of AA account over to Qatar to have enough miles for a Business Class fight to the US? Thanks very much!

  166. hmmm, i started following this blog recently.. But seems most credit cards you have to be an US citizen. I then tried to google European cards with similar benefits, seems they are all behind here haha.. only found cards that give 1% discount on buying stuff.

    Any idea’s on this ?

    Kind regards,
    safe and pleasant trips !

  167. I see people are asking you how to spend the dollars needed for a bonus in such a short time. When I buy a new car, I always save up for the down payment and then charge the down payment on a credit card. I have never had a dealer refuse me. Needs some planning but works!

  168. Lucky, which is the best credit card to have in Australia. I have had the NAB Velocity VISA and AMEX card and have just found out that after accumulating just under 200,000 points I am pretty limited on how I can spend my points on flights on Virgin. I had hoped that I could have upgraded from economy to business on an upcoming flight to London. However that can’t happen. Any advice???

  169. Dear Ben,

    I found your blog quite interesting and with lots of useful information. Currently I’m a med student traveling back to the US only during school brakes. Since I’m new to all of this info, I’d like a word of advice. I’m planning to get my first credit card, but after reading your blog I’m not sure whether I should get of one of the cards on your Best Credit Cards Offers list or one of the Cards that you carry on you in your wallet. I’m a bit confused since I see two options here that look appealing to me such as the Citi Prestige or the Saffire card, but still would like you to help me a little with this.

    Thanks a lot,


  170. For the Citi Prestige, you mentioned “This includes a $250 per calendar year airline credit (with your first year’s annual fee you get two of those $250 credits)…”

    I didn’t see that anywhere on the Citi Prestige web site or T&Cs. Is that still available (the 2 credits for the first year)?

    Similar question for the Global Entry $100 credit. Is that still available?

  171. @ Rob Sherwood — You get a $250 credit each calendar year. My point is that by the time you pay the first year’s annual fee you will have received two credits (that being said, you wouldn’t get one the next year then, as you’ve already used it up). The Global Entry fee credit is still in place.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  172. Hi i was curious which Canadian credit cards are the best since i live in Canada i cant apply for these cards?

  173. Lucky, do you renew all your credit cards, or cancel some before you have to pay the annual fee?
    How much do you pay in credit card annual fees?
    Also what are your guidelines regarding applying to credit cards – how many applications per day, week or how do you space them?
    Have you had many rejections from credit cards?

  174. Hi Lucky,

    I am new to your site and wondering if these cards you list are available when you live in Australia. If not, are there recommendations you would have for a person living there (as I do). My wife and I have made several Pacific crossings using points including some business class legs, but your website opened up many new possibilities for us.

    Kind regards,


  175. Lucky, are you sure about two $250 credits on the Citi prestige in the first year? I just signed up and got my card in the mail (it looks like a great offering btw, super easy to come out WAY ahead on it), but only see them talking about 1 $250 credit, not two.

  176. For Citi Premier, is it possible to get a second card without cancelling the first, say 9 months after getting the first? I’m trying to finesse the 18 month since opening/closing.
    Thanks so much, Jim

  177. Lucky,

    I have been reading your blog/site for a while now … and I am a noob 😉

    I wanted to get started on building reward points and I am a big big fan of yours.

    What card or cards you recommend for me for traveling internationally and for everyday use as well ?



  178. Hi Lucky,
    I currently have a Venture card, a British airways card, AK Airlines business and personal cc’s, Flexperks and I will need to replace by Amex Costco Cards with Citibank by April. I have two businesses and put most of my expenses at one on the Alaska Air cards and all the expenses at the other business on the Venture Card… current spend is $500,000 a year at one business and about 1 million at the other…my family and I mostly fly Alaska Airlines. Should I continue to split the spend on the Venture and Alaska? Credit ranges between 785-810. Is there another card that would better maximize the spend…maybe the Barclay? Any other strategies would be appreciated:)
    Thank you so much,

  179. Isn’t cash still king?
    With a card like Capital One giving 2% isn’t that still better than travel rewards?
    I’m not familiar yet with travel reward gathering and we are a family of four so buying tix for all four is a must.

    Currently spending about $50k per month for business cards and about $10k per month for personal.

    Thoughts? Thanks

  180. In another post you mentioned that with the Club Carlson Premier card, that if you have this card you get one free award night for every two or more consecutive award nights you redeem for. Is this still the case?


  181. Hey Lucky,

    I received four emails from Hilton HHonors telling me that I had received one free weekend night for spending a minimum $2,500 within the four month period. However, each of the four certificate numbers are identical. So, the dumb question of the day is: Did I only get one free weekend night?

  182. There’s something I don’t understand. You say you earn half a million (the other half probably from referrals?) miles using these. That’s only the first year. How do you get the bonuses the second year? I understand some of these have the spend $20k a year and get some miles… but the signup bonus doesn’t get back. So if you earned 500.000 miles the first year, how do you, on a normal basis get the 500k the second year?? Am I missing something?

    Unrelated question, how often would you say to apply between cards (of different banks / card makers) ? If you get denied, how long after do you re-try?

    Btw, I love your blog. You are just awesome.

  183. Hi Lucky,

    First-time poster here. Partly on your recommendation, I’ve gotten a few cards without foreign-transaction fees. Now, I travel quite a lot and I’m starting to notice that even between cards that claim not to charge a foreign-currency fee, there’s a pretty serious difference between the exchange rate I’m charged. Specifically, I’n finding that my Amex Gold Card gives the best rates, followed by my Citigold Debit Card, and Barclays Arrival at the back of the pack. Has anyone else noticed this?

  184. Its a shame you cannot apply for many of these cards, namely the Chase Sapphire cards, Starwoods, etc if you are not based in the USA. Is there anyway around this?

  185. I was surprised to see Sapphire card in my cred card match tool, considering I already have one from Chase. Can you have more than one churnable Sapphire card?

  186. I had a United Explorer card where my wife was an authorized user. We cancelled it April 2015
    Can she apply for her own Explorer card account today and get the bonuses? Or will they give her the card and not the bonuses because she was an authorized user and it hasn’t been two years? In that case it would have been better to what until April 2017.

  187. Lucky,

    I am not a USA resident without a SS number. However, i am able to get hold of credit cards by visiting a bank branch and requesting one. I had previously set up a Citi non-resident bank account fyi.

    I currently have the Citi AA Platinum Select.

    Do you think that I can walk into a branch of Chase and ask for a credit card without having a prioir relationship with Chase?

    Also for the BA Avios card, is the only option to get this online? As online, a SS number is asked for – which I do not have. This could be ignored in a bank branch.


  188. Anyone who can afford to spend $5000 in 3 months on a credit card is the sort of person who can afford to fly First Class anyway.

    This whole section sounds like a paid plug for the listed credit cards.

  189. Not true at all Jesus. We can easily put $5000 on a credit card in three months, but as much as we travel, we certainly cannot afford to pay for first class all of the time, particularly overseas.

  190. Lucky: Can you explain how to compare CREDIT cards that offer points or miles or other “bitcoins” to purchase travel with any commercial carrier? Is there a web site that will convert the various credits to a dollar or other unifying figure allowing comparisons?

    Also, is there a a way to compare cards that give 2x points/dollar spent vs. another card that offers1 point/dollar spent but each card has a different point requirement for the same travel (flight/miles) to a major city here in the US or in Europe?

    Bottom line: What is the best credit card for people with very good credit who wish to earn points or miles for travel on any airline or other commercial travel carriers? In my opinion, I believe this industry makes it very confusing (sales) to compare miles and/or points. As a start, I believe that consumers need basic regulations to require credit card cos to establish a conversion table/system allowing consumers to compare miles and/or points between various bank credit card offerings. What is your opinion?

  191. Ben,
    I travel a little for business 10 to 25 segments a year. Since Costco has rid itself of every card but a Visa branded card I was thinking of which one to buy. I already have a platinum Amex and an American which allows me to get into the clubs. I stay at either Hyatt or Marriotts usually. I like the 2 free nights at Hyatt but I also like the one free night every year at Marriott. Any ideas?

  192. Interesting post but unfortunately again only US cards. Would love to see EU reward card reviews, virtually no decent comparison available on the web, so might be good for you guys as well to do some tips and reviews on those! Thanks!

  193. When you redeem for travel purchase with arrival plus, does the amount you are redeeming have to be atleast $100 or can you only redeem per one transaction, which has to be atleast $100? ex. Does two purchases equaling $100+ count for a redemption?

  194. I use Bankard Mastercard and the best deal I get is 5 percent rebate on online purchases 🙂 I can’t dispose it off though coz it lets me book flights the payment of which payment is deferred up to three months for installment up to 24 months. None of the cards here offers like that. hehe

  195. Chase Sapphire reserve 100K Bonus points ends tomorrow (Jan 11th) according to their website. It is worth mentioning on the main page so people can still apply. That is a great offer and it seems that is about to end.

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