Here’s our list of top picks– it should help you decide which one is best for YOU!
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Best all around cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard. Both offer nice 40,000 mile sign up bonuses (after spending $3,000 in first three months), and you can use miles on several airlines, hotels and other travel providers. Neither charges irritating foreign transaction fees. And the Barclaycard now has Chip & PIN for easier use overseas. That 40,000 mile bonus with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is good for $500 in travel when booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards, plus it now offers primary rental car collision coverage (most cards provide secondary coverage).
Best for travelers who love Southwest’s no frills approach to travel: The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card offers a nice 25,000 points sign up bonus (enough for one roundtrip flight) after spending just $1,000 in first three months, plus a 6,000 point bump every year on your cardmember anniversary. In addition, it does not charge foreign transaction fees, and offers two points per dollar spent on Southwest and AirTran flights.
The United Explorer Card is perfect for those who don’t fly or spend enough to earn elite status– that’s because the card provides some nice elite level perks like priority boarding, passes to United Clubs and free first checked bags. Other nice perks: no irritating foreign transaction fees, primary car rental collision coverage and double miles on tickets purchased from United. Right now you can get 30,000 bonus miles for signing up and spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Best for folks who spend a lot of time in Marriott Hotels: Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. Get a 50,000 point bonus, a free night (category 1-4) and 15 elite credits (guaranteeing at least silver status) after spending just $1,000 in the first three months. You also get a free night (in a category 1-5 hotel) every year after your anniversary date. Annual fee is $0 first year, then $85.
For business owners: The Ink Plus Business Card offers 50,000 bonus points for those who spend $5,000 within three months of opening an account. That’s a whopping $625 toward travel when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Last year Money Magazine named this the card that’s “Best for Travel Rewards for Small Business.” The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.
Big Sign-up Bonus. British Airways Visa Signature Card 0ffers a nice 50,000 mile sign up bonus after you spend $2,000 in the first three months, 2.5 Avios for every dollar spent on BA, and a free companion ticket (any class) when you spend at least $30,000 in a year. Plus there are no foreign transaction fees.
Best card for those who spend a lot of time in Hawaii… or would like to spend more! The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard. It offers a nice 35,000 mile sign up bonus (after spending $1,000 in first 90 days), a 50% off companion pass and a waived check bag fees. Mahalo!
Best for Virgin America devotees (new in Jan 2014): Virgin America Visa Signature Card
Best for frequent Delta flyers who don’t spend enough to earn Medallion status: Delta/Amex SkyMiles credit card
This is by no means an exhaustive list! Please help out your fellow business travelers and tell us which card you use most…and why…in the comments below. THANKS!