Part 3 is a list of credit cards we’ve snagged over the year and a half.
GENERAL TRAVEL CARDS
- Barclay Arrival Mastercard– This was one of the first credit cards we got. We got 40,000 points on the credit card which was worth $400 in travel credit. Any merchant categorized as travel can be redeemed (Airbnb, car rentals, airfare, most things travel related). Also this is a great card because there are no foreign transaction fees and you get 2.2 points for every dollar you spend, higher than any other credit card.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express– this one needs some thinking. I got this in preparation of returning to America with Camille. They included a Priority lounge pass (~$300). I flew a lot within China and internationally so got decent use of the lounge pass. I also received $200 in airline incidentals, free Global Entry or TSA Precheck (gets you in and out of immigration lines fast), Boingo access (free wifi to over a million locations), and 40-50k in membership rewards points.
- Southwest credit card– Southwest Airlines and Chase are now offering their Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card® with which you will get 50,000 bonus points that you can redeem for two roundtrip flights after spending just $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months! We lucked out on this and got 70,000 points which was apparently valued at $750. Seattle to Atlanta and Atlanta to New York for both of us and we had some points left over.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®– 50k miles, $3000 spending in 3 months. This baby got us to Guatemala City from Seattle with a day to explore Dallas and see our friend Quest who gave us a great city tour.
- US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®– 50k miles, after first purchase (no time frame given but the sooner the better). US Airways and AA will merge in the 2nd quarter of 2015 so you can hack both cards and receive 100k miles.
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card– currently 25k (we got 30k), $2,000 in 3 months. These are valuable points because you can use them to book Emirates flights.
- IHG® Rewards Club Select Card– 70k points, $1,000 spending in 3 months. Rooms can be booked starting at 5k. Every 3 months they have a promotion called Point Break Points where IHG lists 100-150 hotels that can be booked for 5k. These hotels are usually $100-150 USD a night. The $1,000 you spend to meet requirements will easily come back to you. Keep the card the next year, pay the annual fee and get a free night at any Intercontinental around the world. We will likely use that stay in Paris.
- Marriott Rewards Visa– 70k points plus a free night at a Category 4 hotel, $1000 spending in 3 months. We used our voucher for a free night at Arlington Residence Inn (value of $150). We got a suite during our road trip around America.
Before getting any of these credit cards think about a few things including- whether or not you’ll even meet the minimum spending in the time given, when your trip will be, and which ones you will either keep or chop up after you use the points. If you need a step-by-step take a look at this post (Part 2) giving a good example of how we’ve done some hacks.