Here’s our list of top picks for 2015– it should help you decide which one is best for YOU!
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Best all-around cards:
BEST OVERALL: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers a nice 40,000 point sign up bonus (after spending $4,000 in first three months), and you can use points on several airlines, hotels and other travel providers. Nice: no irritating and expensive foreign transaction fees. That 40,000 point bonus with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is good for $500 in travel when booking through the very robust and flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards program, plus it now offers primary rental car collision coverage (most cards provide secondary coverage). Details
BEST for those who spend a lot of time in Marriott Hotels: Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. Through August 31, get a big 80,000 point bonus after spending just $3,000 in the first three months– 80K is good for two free nights (up to category 8). Plus you get 15 elite credits (guaranteeing at least silver status) and a free night (in a category 1-5 hotel) every year after your anniversary date. Earn 5 points per dollar spent at over 4,000 Marriott locations, including Ritz-Carlton, plus earn two points per dollar spent on airlines, car rental and restaurants. There are no foreign transaction fees but the annual fee is $85, and not waived for first year. Details.
BEST FOR UNITED FLYERS 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. Details here.
BEST for travelers who love Southwest‘s no frills approach to travel: The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card offers 25,000 points (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 flights as well as its hotel and car rental partners. What’s nice about this offer is that the 25K bonus points help get you started toward Southwest’s coveted Companion Pass status, which requires 110,000 points. Details
Now that IHG is absorbing Kimpton, one of my favorite hotel brands, it’s time to consider getting more deeply involved in the popular IHG Rewards program…and maybe even get the IHG Rewards Club card. In addition to the Kimpton news, a primary motivation right now is that Chase is offering nice 60,000 points sign up bonus for the card after you spend just $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. What will 60,000 IHG points get you? Several free nights at IHG hotels, depending on when and where you say, and if you can take advantage of its lucrative point breaks and last minute reward nights options. No fee for the first year, then $49. Details here.
BEST for 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, three 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, and the card has a chip making it easier to use in Europe and beyond. Annual fee of $95 waived for the first year. More.
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!