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Since rewards credit cards are still the quickest and easiest way to get a nice infusion of miles and points in a hurry, I like to keep an eye on some of my favorite offers and share that list a few times a year. As we are steaming toward the end of 2014, I thought it was time to offer an updated list of my current favorites.
My favorites are selected due to the value of the sign-up bonus points or other built-in card perks, any advertized limited time offers, the timing of the offers, and the likelihood of the offer changing or card going away in the near term future. I am only referencing the highest public offers that I know of, but it is always possible that there are targeted offers out there for some of these cards that are even more lucrative. If you have access to a targeted higher offer then that makes the deal even sweeter!
Which cards are best for you totally depend on your current situation and travel goals. Also, as always, take it slow with credit cards and don’t be tempted to overdue it and spend more than you otherwise would just to earn miles.
Favorite Current Airline Cards:
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®: 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of $89 annual fee
This card is high on my list because of its time limited sign-up nature due to the impending American merger when the US Airways card will convert to an American branded card and no longer be available for new sign-ups. You can read more about that transition here.
There is also a version of this offer that comes with 10,000 anniversary miles that is marketed to US Airways elites, but that offer has been reported to work for some non-elites, too!
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
I like this card because it has a 50,000 mile offer available to everyone and it gives you 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back, up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year. It also gives you access to saving up to 7,500 miles on select destinations each month!
Southwest Credit Cards: All four Southwest credit cards are currently offering 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on the card in the first 3 months. The annual fees and anniversary bonus vary with each card.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Personal Credit Card: Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account ($99 annual fee)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card: Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account ($99 annual fee)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Personal Card: Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account ($69 annual fee)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card: Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account ($69 annual fee)
I like these cards not only for the temporarily increased sign-up bonuses, but also because right now is the best time of the year to get them to help earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card: 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
This card is temporarily offering a $0 intro annual fee the first year. I love using Avios for short-haul flights on partners such as Alaska, American, and US Airways starting at just 4,500 Avios each way.
Favorite Current Hotel Credit Cards:
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase, plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days, $75 annual fee
I love that this card has a “last award night free” benefit that allows you to essentially double the value of your points if you have two night award stays. You are just charged the points price for the first night of your two night award stay.
Hyatt Visa Signature: Two free award nights after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months
Being able to get two nights at any Hyatt property worldwide is pretty fantastic given how many great Hyatt properties there are for family getaways.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card: Two weekend night certificates at Hilton properties after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first four months + $100 statement credit after spend $100 or more at Hilton property in first 3 months, $95 annual fee
This card will award two nights to use on the weekends at Hilton properties around the world – it also awards HHonors Gold status for the duration of card membership.
Favorite Current Flexible Point Cards:
The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card: One Year of Amazon Prime plus 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months, $95 annual fee
The sign-up bonus on this card is not high compared to other cards, but I like the everyday earning this card brings to my wallet in the form of 3x on the first $6,000 of eligible purchases in a calendar year at supermarkets located in the U.S. and 2x at U.S. gas stations + 50% bonus on all points earned with 30 transactions in a billing cycle. That means I’m getting 4.5x at the grocery store, which I really like! A year or Amazon Prime was recently added as a temporary addition to the sign-up bonus. The Amex “Offers for You” that have been coming out recently also don’t hurt!
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®: 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
This card is great for those who want to redeem their points for domestic economy flights, lower cost hotels, and many other vacation charges. It awards 2X miles on all purchases so is pretty simple for both earning and redeeming.
Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months, $475 annual fee
This is a card we have not just for the sign-up bonus points, but also because it offers $200 in the form of airline incidental charges each calendar year plus lots of travel perks including access the Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas, New York, and San Francisco.
Personally I will be focusing on building US Airways/American miles before the end of the year. What are your current favorite rewards cards or rewards card offers?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.