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6 Key Travel Rewards Cards for 2019

The following are our favorite cards to kick start your travels for 2019. All the links below are our personal referral links so make sure to refer your own friends and family after being approved so you can earn extra points as well 🙂

 

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit card

This is one of the best beginner cards for every Thrifty Traveler. The card is currently offering 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership.

We’re big fans because it has a solid bonus, no foreign transactions fees, and the annual fee is waived for the first year. The sign-up bonus is worth at least $625 if redeemed through the Chase portal. Our favorite use of Ultimate Rewards points is paying for cash flight deals found through Thrifty Traveler Premium. Why would you pay cash when you can use points to pay for your next flight?

 

2. American Express Gold card

The recently revamped American Express Gold Card has one of the top spots in my wallet, primarily due to earning 4X points at US restaurants and grocery stores. It is currently offering 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership.

As another bonus, you currently get 20% back in statement credits on dining purchases at U.S. restaurants, up to $100 during the first three months of card membership. The Annual Fee is $250, however, the card’s benefits offer significant value including $120 in annual dining credit, and a $100 annual airline credit. You can also get the card in a fancy rose gold finish through Jan. 9, 2019.

Thrifty Tip: To trigger the $100 airline credit you can purchase two $50 e-gift cards from Delta.com. This must be done on a desktop browser (not mobile).

 

3. American Express Hilton card

The American Express Hilton card currently offering 100,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. There is no annual fee on this card and the spend requirement is incredibly low.

It’s important to note there are currently three Amex Hilton personal cards and you can earn the sign-up bonus on each card once per lifetime. Already have this card? Click “View all cards with a Referral offer” to pick up one of the other Hilton Ascend (150k bonus) or Hilton Aspire cards (150k bonus).

Thrifty Tip: Want to pool your points with friends and family? Don’t forget you can pool your points with friends and family members through the Hilton Honors program. 

 

4. American Express SPG / Marriott card

The American Express SPG card currently offering 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. There is no annual fee the first year. Is this card worth much beyond the initial sign-up bonus? Not really but snag the Marriott points while you can.

 

5. American Express Blue Business Plus card

This card has no annual fee and earns 2X Membership Rewards points on every purchase up to $50,000. This is my favorite card for everyday business spending. The card only offers a 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus, BUT the 2X earning and no annual fee is where the value is.

Thrifty Tip: This is an easy business card to be approved for, even if you only have a business selling on eBay or Craigslist.

 

6. American Express Business Platinum card 

Don’t let this card’s high annual fee scare you. This is arguably the best travel rewards card. The Platinum Business Card is currently offering 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 and an extra 25,000 when you spend $10,000 more in the first three months of card membership. 

The Annual Fee is $450, however, the card offers incredible benefits:

  • 35% points back when you buy a fare with your Membership Rewards points
  • Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass, and Centurion lounge access
  • Free Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Earn 1.5x Membership Rewards on purchases of $5k or more
  • $200 annual airline credit
  • Complimentary access to WeWork starting in February

We’ve labeled the card as the best card for Delta travelers. The welcome offer bonus alone is worth between $750 and $1,000 because Membership Rewards points are so valuable. Our favorite use of Membership Rewards is to buy flight deals found through Thrifty Traveler Premium and get 35% points back. No other card comes close in overall benefits.

Thrifty Tip: To trigger the $200 airline credit you can purchase four $50 e-gift cards from Delta.com. This must be done on a desktop browser (not mobile).

 

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