Best Credit Cards

Last Updated: October 2nd

(If you see any errors, 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:
-Some readers getting 100,000 points for IHG card by calling to apply.
-Southwest much higher for this month. Perfect time to go for companion pass.
-Barclays Arrival dropped from 50,000 to 40,000 points.
-Merrill Lynch card is gone…
-But Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card is alive now.
-Delta 60,000 and 70,000 point Gold and Platinum links added.

 

Before Playing This Game:
-Find a new hobby until you can pay off all balances each month.
-Take a second to look at what you’re applying for and confirm a bonus is what you expect.
-Get a screenshot of the bonus description in case you have issues collecting it later.
-Take 2 minutes to read the small print before applying.
(Look for “once in a lifetime,” “no bonus for cardholders in last 24 months,” etc.)
-Keep everything very organized in a spreadsheet. You’ll thank me later.

 

Time for my monthly Top 25 Credit Cards. It’s called “Top 25” out of tradition, but you’ll get many 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 It’s a little outdated but many basic questions can still be answered there. For people running out of cards, remember there’s often a Business card option. Also, “churning” (getting the same card more than once) might be an option. The dates here were a guideline but things always tend to vary individually. If you’re new, it might be wise to start with Chase cards because of the limitations they’ll place on you soon.

Miles and points are far from an equal currency. 50,000 Delta SkyMiles are worth less to me than that amount from Alaska Airlines. 25,000 Hyatt points mean way more than the same number from Hilton. And so on. These links work right now (October 2nd at midnight). If you read this later, many of the offers will have changed. Things move fast 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 chatter…here we go! My “Top 25” current credit cards are below.

Before getting to the main list, I’ve grouped the most popular American Express cards together…

(You can always roll the dice for better Amex offers here, with much better targeted offers in your mailbox, or by checking here)

  • Platinum 
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.
    • Mercedes Benz version and Schwab link offering same bonus.
    • May still see 75,000 points with regular link in an incognito browser.
    • Possible 100,000 points here.
    • Small number of readers seeing 100,000 points here in an incognito window, then searching for American Express, then clicking Cards->Charge & Credit Card Offers->Check For Offers.
  • Business Platinum
    • Spend $10,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points. Or $20,000 for 75,000.
    • Again, for Amex cards, try signing in first. Also try clicking the links in an incognito browser. Play around with these a little bit and you’ll regularly see better offers.
    • Some readers are getting a 100,000-point offer by calling 1-800-971-6736 and asking for it. Spend is $10,000 in 3 months.
  • Business Gold Rewards
    • Spend $10,000 in 3 months. Get 75,000 points.
    • Try this link too for $5,000 spend and same bonus.
    • Some readers getting the same offer by calling 1-800-971-6736 and asking for it.
  • 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.

Amex offers vary. I listed some of the better scenarios. As always, if you find anything superior, please send me the link so everyone can benefit. Now to the main list…

  • Southwest (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 60,000 points on all 3 cards.
    • Number 1 for this month only. Big bonuses could end this month. Perfect companion pass time is now.
    • If any of those offers disappear, try checking referral links.
    • Best companion pass strategy is to earn 110,000 points early in a year.
  • Altitude Reserve (US Bank)
    • Spend $4,500 in 90 days. Get 50,000 points.
    • Bad? $400 fee.
    • Good? $325 annual travel credit.
    • 3x points on travel & mobile wallet spending.
  • Ink Business Preferred (Chase)
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 80,000 points.
    • Some have seen 100,000 points in-branch.
    • 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.
    • These Ultimate Rewards points are very valuable. See Ink.
    • Try applying in-branch for 75,000 points.
  • Premium Rewards (Bank Of America)
    • Spend $3,000 in 90 days. Get 50,000 points.
    • $100 annual airline credit and Global Entry credit.
  • Sapphire Reserve (Chase)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Down from 100,000 points, so way down from #1 on the list.
    • Big $450 fee.
    • $300 annual travel credit helps.
  • InterContinental Hotel aka IHG aka Priority Club (Chase)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 80,000 points.
    • Offer with $50 statement credit is here.
    • Or call 1-888-897-0083 to apply and get 100,000 points.
    • Add a user for an extra 5,000 points.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Business version is here. 30,000 for bigger spenders.
  • American Airlines (Citibank + one Barclays option)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 60,000 miles.
      (No bonus if any Citi American personal card opened/closed in 24 months)
    • Business card is here.
      (No bonus if any Citi American Business card opened/closed in 24 months)
    • Executive card is 75,000 points but has a huge annual fee.
    • The Barclays 60,000-mile card is here. Or here with code 667608 for an extra 500 miles.
  • Barclay Arrival (Barclays)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • Some of the most flexible, easy-to-use miles around.
    • Down from 50,000.
  • Prestige (Citibank)
    • Spend $7,500 in 3 months. Get 75,000 points.
    • Might need to open link in incognito browser.
    • Nice benefits like $250 annual airline credit help with $450 annual fee.
    • Increased from 50,000.
  • British Airways (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Spend $10,000 the first year for 75,000. Spend $20,000 for 100,000.
  • Thank You Premier (Citibank)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • This one comes and goes fairly often.
  • United Airlines (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months and add a user. Get 55,000 miles.
    • Here’s a link that might work for a $50 credit.
    • Some targeted for better bonuses here, here, here, here or here.
    • 50,000 miles for the Business version here or here.
  • Hilton Honors Surpass (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 100,000 points + a weekend night.
    • That bonus moves up and down all the time. Recently up.
  • Hyatt (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months and add a user. Get 45,000-points.
    • One of the few cards I keep open – because of the annual free night.
  • Ritz Carlton (Chase)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 2 free nights.
    • Big annual fee. But a travel credit of $300 makes that much less of a pain.
    • Some readers are calling/messaging and getting matched to 3 free nights.
  • Alaska Airlines (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 miles and $100 credit.
    • Offer without $100 credit here.
    • Best offer until it dies is this one that waives companion ticket fee.
    • Business version worth 30,000 miles is here.
  • Delta (American Express)
    • 60,000 for Gold. 70,000 for Platinum.
    • Both personal and business versions.
    • If links die, you can still find offers here.
    • The premium Delta Reserve card is here.
  • Marriott (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months and add a user. Get 87,500 points.
    • Business version worth 80,000 points is here.
    • A $200 statement credit offer with two Category 5 nights is here.
    • 150,000 points with this strange offer.
  • 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 in 4 months. Get 20,000 points.
    • Many different card options for FlexPerks. Gold is 30,000 points.
    • Very useful points, especially as miles become harder to use.
  • 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.
  • JetBlue (Barclays)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 40,000 points.
    • No-fee version worth 15,000 points is here.
    • Business version worth 30,000 points is here.
  • Lufthansa (Barclays)
    • Spend $5,000 in 90 days. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Bonus up from 35,000 miles again.
  • Propel (Wells Fargo)
    • Apply in-person at a branch or call for 40,000 points.
    • If you bank at Wells Fargo, see what cards are in your account.
  • Hilton Honors (American Express)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Just lowered from 80,000.
  • Club Carlson Premier (US Bank)
    • Spend $2,500 in 90 days. Get 85,000 points.
    • Nice hotel card that’s not from the usual issuers.
  • Virgin Atlantic (Bank of America)
    • The 75,000 to 90,000 mile offer is back (again).
    • In my opinion, the golden age of churning B of A cards is over.
  • Korean (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 15,000 miles.
    • Back down from 30,000. Goes up and down pretty often.
  • Spark (Capital One)
    • Spend $4,500 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Redeem the miles for $500 in travel purchases.
    • No-fee version of this card might be found 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.
  • Hawaiian Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 35,000 miles.
    • Better 50,000 until it dies if you log in and View My Account. Or try clicking here.
    • Business version is here.
  • Blue For Business (American Express)
    •  Spend $5,000 in 6 months. Get 25,000 Membership Rewards points.
    • 30% annual bonus on points earned during the year.
  • Multiple Business Cards (Bank of America)
    • $200 back on each of these with minimal spend.
    • Was/is particularly interesting because it’s Bank of America.
  • Aeroplan (TD Bank)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 billing statements. Get 25,000 miles.
    • Also a much bigger 55,000-mile offer with a big $399 fee.
    • Other cards from TD here.
  • Freedom (Chase)
    • Worth having in your no-fee collection for the 5% quarterly bonuses.
    • Maybe a better bonus here?
    • Some have gotten 30,000 points ($300) in-branch.
  • Cathay Pacific (Synchrony)
    • Spend $2,500 in 90 days. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Bonus just doubled.
    • I like the airline. Not my favorite bank.
  • Visa Infinite (UBS)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 or 50,000 points.
    • Big $495 annual fee.
    • Even with a $250 airline credit, I’m not a huge fan of this one.
  • Amtrak (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 30,000 points.
    • Up from 20,000.
  • Premier Traveler (PNC)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 30,000 points.
    • 2% back card if used for travel.
    • Limited states.
  • Bank Americard Travel Rewards (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1,000 in 90 days. Get 20,000 points.
    • This is twice the old bonus. Worth $200.
  • Wyndham (Barclays)
    • Spend $1. Get 15,000 points.
    • Offer has fluctuated up and down for a LONG time.
    • Down from 45,000 so I’d wait.
  • LAN (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 20,000 miles.
    • This bonus has gone up and down often.
  • Go Rewards (Navy Federal Credit Union)
    • Spend $3,000 in 90 days. Get 20,000 points.
    • Must be in the credit union and/or military.
  • Frontier Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $500 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • These miles kind of suck. Expire after 6 months of no activity.
    • In case of emergency, there’s an interesting use for the miles here.
  • TravElite (First Bank of Omaha)
    • Decent no-fee card to have.
    • Some benefits like Global Entry credit. Register for their Premium Concierge.
    • No bonus at the moment. Was 25,000 points.
  • Expedia (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Also a 15,000-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 $1,000 in 3 billing cycles. Get 30,000 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 with big spending.
    • Decent. Better than the old Barclays Best Western card.
  • Spirit (Bank of America)
    • Pro: 15,000 miles after first purchase.
    • Con: It’s Spirit Airlines.
    • Business link is here.
  • Total Rewards (Comenity)
    • Spend $750 in 90 days. Get 10,000 points.
    • Popular card for Vegas regulars.
  • Choice Hotel (Barclays)
    • I keep this card last out of tradition.
    • Maybe a version with a $25 credit if you start booking a room.
    • If you’ve been reading this far, I salute you!

Beyond that mile/point list, the following are some cashback options:

 

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