The Top 25 Credit Cards

(If you see any errors or missing cards, please let me know. I try to keep a full list, but it’s a lot of information and I do make mistakes).

Significant Changes Since Last Month:
-Citibank American card without 24 month limitation in terms.
-Barclays American card now available.
-Wyndham 45,000-point offer is back.

Time for the monthly edition of my Top 25 Credit Cards. I call it “Top 25” out of tradition, but you get a lot more links than that below. Again, if you’re a rookie, make sure you read The Newbie Guide. It’s a little outdated but many of your questions can still be answered there. Basic things like not applying for 3 Chase cards at the same time should be known before you continue. For people running out of cards, remember there’s often a Business card option. I listed a few here but not many, so it might be worth exploring more Business cards. Also, “churning” might be an option. The dates here were a guideline but things always tend to vary individually.

Miles and points aren’t an equal currency. 50,000 Delta Skymiles are worth less to me than 50,000 miles from Singapore Airlines. 25,000 Hyatt points mean more to me than 25,000 Hilton points. And so on. These links work right now (January 2nd at midnight). If you read this later, many of the offers will have changed. Things move fast in this game so read offer details and terms before applying. Especially all that small print when you’re trying to get bonuses more than once on the same card. Ok, enough blabbering…here we go! My “Top 25” current credit cards are below…

Various American Express Cards – try for potentially better Amex offers here

  • Mercedes Benz Platinum 
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.
    • Temporarily up to 75,000 points here.
    • Big $475 fee but benefits like global entry credit and $200 credit.
    • A no-fee for the first year Platinum card is here.
    • Look for MUCH better targeted Amex offers in your mailbox or here.

     

  • Business Platinum
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Or 100,000 points here if you don’t mind some spending.
    • For Amex cards, try signing in first. Also try clicking the links in an incognito browser. Play with these a little bit and you’ll regularly see better offers.
    • If you don’t see it yet, you can also try this.
    • Or this.
    • Possible 100,000 points.
  • Business Gold Rewards
    • Spend $10,000 in 3 months. Get 75,000 points.
    • Possible smaller spend for the same 75,000 points.
  • Premier Rewards Gold
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Some people have seen 100,000 points.
    • Others seeing 65,000-point offers.
    • A different (Ameriprise) Gold card here.
    • The above links may be dead. As always, if you are aware of something better, please send me the link so everyone can benefit.
  • Sapphire Reserve (Chase)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 100,000 points.
    • Big $450 fee.
    • $300 annual travel credit used cleverly and collected twice helps.
  • Ink Business Preferred
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 80,000 points.
    • The points transfer to United, Southwest, British, Hyatt, etc.
    • Ink Cash at the same link still gives 5X at office stores.
  • Sapphire Preferred (Chase)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Add an authorized user for 5,000 more.
    • These Ultimate Rewards points are valuable. See Ink.
    • Bonus is up from 40,000.
    • Some preapproved for much better 70,000-point offer in-branch.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest aka SPG (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Try incognito and different browsers to see a possible 30,000.
    • Great currency to have. See Cash + Points for hotel stays.
    • I’m also a big fan of some of their 3,000-point properties.
    • The Business version of the card is here and is 25,000 points.
  • British Airways (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Looks like the higher bonuses for big spenders are dead for now.
  • Barclay Arrival (Barclays)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Some of the most flexible, easy-to-use miles around.
    • Increased from 40,000.
  • American Airlines (Citibank and Barclays)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Business card is here.
    • Until it dies, this link doesn’t have the every 24 month limitation.
    • The Barclays 40,000-mile card is here.
    • Targeted offers for 60,000 miles have been around. Call Citibank and try.
    • 60,000 miles with big annual fee for Executive card here.
  • United Airlines (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months and add a user. Get 55,000 miles.
    • Here’s another link that might work.
    • Some people being targeted for 70,000-mile offers.
    • 50,000 miles for the Business version here.
  • Southwest (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Premier, Plus, and Business cards all back up to 50,000.
    • If necessary, check the Wiki post here.
    • If any of those dip, try checking referral links.
    • A possible 70,000-point offer?
    • Best strategy for companion pass is to earn all 110,000 points early in a year.
  • Hilton Honors Reserve (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,500 in 4 months. Get 2 weekend nights.
    • This is the best Hilton card.
    • Gold status while you have the card. Upgrades, breakfast, internet, etc.
    • Here’s a link with $100.
  • Prestige (Citibank)
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Try different browsers and incognito mode. Otherwise, it’s going to be 40,000.
    • Nice benefits including $250 annual airline credit help with big $450 annual fee.
    • People are getting a lower $350 annual fee applying in local branches.
    • The benefits like lounge access and golf are going away next year.
    • A tool on Citibank’s site shows cards you are prequalified for. You might also get a 50,000-point offer there.
    • See if you’re targeted for a 100,000-point offer.
  • Fairmont Hotel (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 2 nights and breakfast at any Fairmont.
    • Many of these hotels are very expensive (see: Maui).
  • Marriott (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months and add a user. Get 87,500 points.
    • Business version is here.
    • 150,000 points with this strange and not-great offer.
  • Hyatt (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 2 nights and 5,000 points for adding a user.
    • Because of the annual anniversary free night, it’s one of the few cards I keep open.
  • Ritz Carlton (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 2 free nights.
    • Try this link when the other one dies. Slightly higher spend.
    • Big $395 annual fee. But a travel credit of $300 makes that much less of a pain.
    • New offer here worth 3 nights with a $450 fee.
  • Delta (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 70,000 miles from Platinum card.
    • Or 50,000 miles with no first-year fee from Gold card.
    • When these die, you should still be able to use referral links for the big bonuses.
    • See if you’re targeted for 75,000 miles here.
  • InterContinental Hotel aka IHG aka Priority Club (Chase)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 80,000 points.
    • Some of you have seen 60,000 when you click to apply but got Chase to match.
    • Even when it’s 60,000 points, this is probably the most underrated hotel card.
  • Avianca LifeMiles (Banco Popular)
    • 20,000 or 40,000 miles after first purchase.
    • The Vuela version should show 60,000 if you use code AVSPWE.
    • Will be interesting to see if we can churn this card.
  • Club Carlson Premier (US Bank)
    • Spend $2,500 in 90 days. Get 85,000 points.
    • Great hotel card and not from the usual issuers.
  • Hilton Honors (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,000 in 4 months. Get 75,000 points.
    • Or 60,000 here.
    • Up from the normal 40,000.
  • Asiana (Bank of America)
    • Spend $3,000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 miles.
    • Some good uses with partners like First Class on Lufthansa.
  • FlexPerks (US Bank)
    • Spend $2,000. Get 20,000 points.
    • Many different card options for FlexPerks. Gold is 30,000 points.
    • Very useful points for paid flights.
  • Thank You Premier (Citibank)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • If you’re looking for the old 50,000-point offer, you can try this.
    • Bonuses on this card go up/down often.
  • Lufthansa (Barclays)
    • Spend $5,000 in 90 days. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Bonus up from 35,000 miles again.
  • Wyndham (Barclays)
    • Spend $2,000 in 90 days. Get 45,000 points.
    • Offer has fluctuated between 30,000 and 45,000 for a LONG time.
    • Book any Wyndham hotel for 15,000 points a night.
  • JetBlue (Barclays)
    • Spend $1000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 points.
    • Business version is here.
  • Hilton Honors (American Express)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 75,000 points.
    • Another temporary, unusually high offer.
  • Hilton Honors Surpass (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 100,000 points.
    • That bonus is way up from 60,000.
    • Get the previous card on the list and you’ll get offers to upgrade to this one.
  • Alaska Airlines (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 miles.
    • Offer with $100 credit here.
    • Lesser offer with $100 credit here.
    • Business version is here.
    • Bank of America cards can be MUCH more “churnable” than most.
    • Reader Ashok says now limited to only one every 90 days.
  • Merril Lynch (Bank of America)
    • Spend $3,000 in 90 days. Get 50,000 points.
    • Newly added but looks impressive.
  • Virgin Atlantic (Bank of America)
    • The 75,000 to 90,000 mile offer is back (again).
    • Again, Bank of America is more churnable than most.
  • Premier Traveler (PNC)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 30,000 points.
    • 2% back card if used for travel.
    • Limited states.
  • Korean (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 15,000 miles.
    • Back down from 25,000. Goes up and down often.
  • Propel (Wells Fargo)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • It’s always good to see cards from different banks.
    • A note on this one from reader Adam.
    • Here’s a few Business cards from Wells Fargo.
  • Spark (Capital One)
    • Spend $4,500 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Redeem the miles for $500 in travel purchases.
    • No annual fee version of this card being advertised in-branch.
  • Venture (Capital One)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • Has been up from 20,000 miles for a while.
  • Multiple Business Cards (Bank of America)
    • $200 back on each of these with minimal spend.
    • Obviously very interesting because it’s Bank of America.
  • Gold Charge Card and/or Green Charge Card (American Express)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Not the greatest, but nice to have different Amex options.
  • Hawaiian Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 35,000 miles.
    • Better 50,000 until it dies if you log in and click View My Account. Or try this.
    • Business version is here.
  • Diners Club Elite (BMO Harris Bank)
    • 3x points at gas station, grocery stores, and pharmacies.
    • Killer way to pick up Starwood points.
    • Big annual fee.
    • Application links have been down lately.
  • Aeroplan (TD Bank)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 billing statements. Get 25,000 miles.
    • Unspectacular, but low spend and not the usual issuer.
  • Virgin America (Comenity)
    • 2 different card offers I discussed here.
    • Issued by Comenity Bank, which is the best thing about these cards.
    • Oh, and flights to glorious Hawaii now!
  • Freedom (Chase)
    • Worth having in your collection for the 5% quarterly bonuses.
    • Extra 2,500 points for adding an authorized user.
    • No reason to close this one.
    • Maybe a better bonus here?
    • Another version is Freedom Unlimited.
    • Some people getting 30,000 points ($300)f in-branch.
  • Amtrak (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 points.
    • Some limitations on the point transfers that made this card great.
    • Here’s a 20,000-point link if/when the other one dies.
  • Bank Americard Travel Rewards (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 20,000 points.
    • This is double the normal offer. Worth $200.
  • Lifemiles (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 20,000 miles.
    • Down (again) from 35,000 miles.
  • LAN (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 20,000 miles.
    • Decreased recently. The bonus goes up and down often.
  • Frontier Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $500 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • Moved way down. These miles suck. Expire after 6 months of no activity.
    • Interesting use for the miles here.
  • LaQuinta (First Bank of Omaha)
    • 20,000 to 40,000 points.
    • Big spending to get the higher of that range.
  • Expedia (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 20,000 points.
    • Also a 10,000-point version with no annual fee.
  • Everyday (Amex)
    • 30,000 and 25,000-point offers are dead so it moves down the list for now.
    • Always try an incognito browser to open the link with Amex.
    • No annual fee. Preferred has a 15,000-point bonus with a $95 fee.
  • Sun Country (First National Bank of Omaha)
    • Spend $500 in 3 billing cycles. Get 40,000 points.
    • Not the most popular airline in the world. Sorry Omaha.
  • Best Western (First Bank of Omaha)
    • Multiple card options. Up to 70,000 points on one.
    • Up to 80,000 points on Business version.
    • Better than the old Barclays Best Western card.
  • NFL (Barclays)
    • Spend $500 in 90 days. Get $100 credit.
    • Offer has been higher in the past.
  • Total Rewards (Comenity)
    • Spend $750 in 90 days. Get 10,000 points.
    • Popular card for Vegas regulars.
  • Spirit (Bank of America)
    • Pro: 15,000 miles after first purchase.
    • Con: It’s Spirit Airlines.
  • ANA (FNBO)
    • Spend $3,000 by the end of November. Get 10,000 miles.
    • Not the usual issuer but also not a great offer.
  • Choice Hotel (Barclays)
    • I keep this as the last card mostly out of tradition.
    • Maybe a version with a $25 credit here.
    • If you’ve been reading this far, I salute you!

Beyond this mile/point list, the following are some great cashback cards:

milenerdThe Top 25 Credit Cards