Our Favorite Rewards Credit Cards

Our Favorite Rewards Credit Cards

Using various travel rewards credit cards has really opened up doors to exciting new travel opportunities for us. We have been able to experience fantastic new destinations thanks to frequent flier miles as well as staying in some amazing hotels on points that we would never have been able to afford otherwise.

Here are some of our favorite cards that we use:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Available to U.S. Residents, $95 annual fee that is waived the first year

This is our favorite card because of its flexibility. The Sapphire Preferred Card doesn’t earn points for a specific hotel or airline program. Instead you earn Ultimate Rewards points.   You earn 1 point per dollar spent and 2 points on all dining and travel expenses such as airfare, train tickets, and taxis.

There is usually a sign up bonus for this card such as receiving 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Once you have a healthy balance of points, you can transfer them to several different frequent traveler programs on a 1-to-1 point basis. Travel partners include airlines such as United, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, as well as hotel programs including Marriott, Hyatt, and Ritz Carlton.

This is a great feature since you don’t have to be committed to a specific rewards program. Hotels and airlines often devalue their points and this is one way to avoid having your points lose value.

Starwood American Express

Available to U.S. Residents, $95 annual fee that is waived the first year

 This is another very useful card to have in your wallet. The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program is the frequent stay program for Starwood Hotels. Starwood has many great brands such as St. Regis, Sheraton, Aloft, W Hotels and more. Starwood Hotels recently merged with Marriott so unfortunately we don’t know what the future holds for this card.

This card earns Starpoints that you can cash in for free nights at Starwood hotels around the world. You earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent and 5 Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood hotels.

Another great perk is you can transfer your Starpoints to many different frequent flyer programs mostly on a 1:1 basis. If you transfer 20,000 Starpoint to an airline frequent flyer program, you get an additional 5,000 point bonus. This is a great way to accumulate points and once again, you are not tied to a specific airline.

Other Useful Credit Cards

This really depends on your travel patterns. If you frequently fly a specific airline or sleep in a certain hotel chain it is definitely worth researching the perks you get from signing up for the associated credit card. Many airline credit cards in the United States offer benefits such as one free checked bag per person on a single reservation which can be a big money saver and easily offsets the cost of the annual fee.

Hotel credit cards also offer perks such as entry-level status. We use both the Chase Marriott Rewards credit card and Chase Hyatt credit card. Both have an annual fee but both also offer a free night certificate for certain categories of hotels. This also easily offsets the cost of the annual fee.

Hotel credit cards as well as sticking to certain hotel chains have helped us earn status where we get some great benefits such as free breakfasts and lounge access.

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