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Best Credit Cards: December 2018

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By: Bryce Conway – Founder of 10xTravel.com

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best credit card offers for December 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonuses, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, I am going to rank the top offers based on the order in which I think they should be chosen by the average person.

Quite a few changes this month as Chase has expanded the 5/24 rule to more cards and a couple of cards have gone through dramatic transformations.

If you’ve ever watched the NFL Draft before, consider this list my version of “Todd’s Big Board”. It’s simply the best overall cards available without regard to a specific points/miles need.

I also divide these top credit offers in to two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

(If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is you’re going to want to give this a read) 

And finally, I added a list of the cards to the beginning of the post for easier reading. You can simply click on “the list” or “the details” below to read more about each card.

As always, feel free to email me with questions (Bryce@10xTravel.com) about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Under 5/24:

The List

The Details

Over 5/24:

The List

The Details

 

Best Credit Cards Under 5/24

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Preferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)
Ink Business Cash $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Unlimited $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority 40,000 Southwest points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 in the first yearLearn More
United Explorer Card 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 3 months, an additional 25,000 miles after $10,000 spend in 6 months(Learn more)
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Two free nights, up to 35,000 points each, after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months Learn more
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 80,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
British Airways Visa Signature Card 50,000 Avios after $3k of purchases in the first 3 months, 25,000 Avios after $10k of purchases in the first year, additional 25,000 Avios after $20k spend in the first yearLearn More
Chase Freedom $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months(Learn more)

 

 

 

Best Credit Cards Over 5/24

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 all in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn More
American Express Business Gold Card Earn 4x points on select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn More
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, an additional 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in 6 monthsLearn More
Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500 cash back after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 monthsLearn More
The Platinum Card from American Express Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 125,000 Hilton Points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

 

The Details: Best CardsUnder 5/24

 

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred  

Image result for chase sapphire preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

Chase Sapphire Preferred  holds on to its #1 overall ranking because of its incredible signup bonus, reasonable annual fee (that is also waived for the first year), and the amazing value of the points it earns.

Note however that the Sapphire Preferred no longer offers a 5,000 point bonus for adding an authorized user. This benefit was removed in mid August.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are widely considered to be among the best points in the industry thanks to their ability to be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners. This gives you a ton of options for redeeming your points no matter where you want to travel.

You can also redeem Ultimate Rewards to book travel via the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point, meaning the 50,000 bonus points offered by this card are worth a minimum of $625 when redeemed to book travel.

The 50,000 bonus points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth $625+ of travel

Transferring them to Chase’s many transfer partners can provide the highest redemption values if you know where to look.

Check out our recent article on why this should be the first card you start with for more information.

We also recently published an article on how the 10xT Staff would use the ~60,000 bonus points from Chase Sapphire Preferred .

Note that Chase has imposed new restrictions on the Chase Sapphire cards that limit your ability to get multiple versions of them. [More details on that here].

2) Ink Business Preferred  

Image result for chase ink preferred

Current Offer:

  • 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites each account anniversary year.

(Full offer details available here: Learn More )

Commentary:

Chase Ink Business Preferred earns the exact same Chase Ultimate Rewards Points as the Chase Sapphire Preferred (discussed earlier) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve (that’s next).

The 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and can be transferred to any of Chase’s hotel or airline partners, which include Southwest, United, Hyatt, Marriott, and more.

One of the best things about this card is that you can pool all of your points with those earned from your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, making for a seamless integration of points earned from your business and points earned from personal spending.

I use this card for almost all of our business expenses here at 10xT, mainly because of the 3x points on advertising purchases and the fact that all of the points can be combined with my Chase Sapphire card.

This is certainly the best business credit card on the market (we use it for all things 10xT) and also one of the best overall cards. If you’re not sure what you do qualifies as a business, let us help guide you through the process. Many people incorrectly assume that they are not able to qualify for business credit cards.

You can read more about the Chase Ink Preferred offer here: Learn More

3) Chase Sapphire Reserve

Image result for chase sapphire reserve

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit, good for any form of travel
  • Priority Pass Membership, giving you access to 900+ airline lounges worldwide
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is widely regarded as the best premium travel credit card on the market thanks to its generous signup bonus and incredible perks. It’s got a lot of moving parts though so let’s take a look at how they work.

Let’s start with the bad news. It has a sizeable fee that is not waived for the first year. Plan on it being charged to your card in the first month or so.

Most people don’t get past that fee. But read on…that fee gets you a ton of amazing perks.

For starters, you get 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. See above for an overview of how these points work (they’re amazing).

You can also check out what the 10xT Staff would do with these points.

Having Sapphire Reserve also makes your Chase points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book travel, meaning your 50,000 point bonus is worth $750 of travel.

Next, you get a $300 annual travel credit that is good for any sort of travel expense. Even paid tickets. So unless you are spending less than $300 on travel per year (in which case, why are you reading this website?) the annual fee becomes more manageable.

image1

The swipe marks say it all; Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of my personal favorites

Finally, your Sapphire Reserves comes with complimentary membership to Priority Pass. Allowing you to access more than 900 airport lounges worldwide.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also gives you a $100 credit every four years to cover your application fees for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, as well as some of the best trip interruption and rental car insurance coverage on the market. Personally, I think that TSA Precheck is the best $100 I have ever spent.

The fee is certainly not cheap but in this case it is absolutely worth it.

10xT Writer Caroline Lupini wrote a fantastic review of all things Chase Sapphire Reserve, check it out here.

You can also read more about the card offer here: Learn More

Note that Chase has imposed new restrictions on the Chase Sapphire cards that limit your ability to get multiple versions of them. [More details on that here].

4a) Ink Business Cash

Image result for chase ink cash

Current Offer:

  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchase in the first 3 months
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services on up to $25,000 of spend per year
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each year
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

This $500 (50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points) offer was launched a few months ago and is the highest public offer I have ever seen for this card. I am not sure how long this will last.

The real play with Ink Cash is to pair with another Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card (Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink, Sapphire Preferred) and transfer points earned from the Ink Cash to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account. This allows your $500 “cash” signup bonus to be used for higher value travel redemptions.

This effectively gives you a way to earn 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on purchases made at office supply stores, internet, and cable and phone services.

You can read more about the Chase Ink Cash card here: Learn More

4b) Ink Business Unlimited

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

Current Offer:

  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchase in the first 3 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

The Ink Business Unlimited just launched in the spring to the excitement of everyone in the points/miles community!

This $500 (50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points) is the same bonus that is being offered by Ink Cash and overall a great value, particularly for anyone who has Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Preferred. This allows your $500 “cash” signup bonus to be used for higher value travel redemptions.

Ink Unlimited also earns an unlimited 1.5x points on every purchase. Making this a great card for any business owners who do a substantial amount of non-category spend.

You can read more about the Chase Ink Unlimited card here: Learn More

 

5) Chase Southwest Airlines Business Credit Card

Current Offer:

  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • 6,000 (3,000 for personal plus) bonus points on your cardmember anniversary

Commentary:

The Southwest Business credit card remains at 60,000 points, the highest among all the Southwest cards.

The best way to fully utilize these card bonuses is to work toward a Southwest Companion Pass, which is widely considered to be one of the best airline perks in the industry. To earn the pass you need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in the same calendar year.

 

6) Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Current Offer:

  • 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 20,000 more points after you spend $12,000 in the first year  (60k total points)
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • 3,000 for personal plus bonus points on your cardmember anniversary

Note that there is also a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card with a very similar offer.

Commentary:

The Southwest personal cards have jumped to a 60,000 total bonus, though it requires a high level of minimum spend to earn them. Personally I would suggest that you keep an eye out for an offer in the airport with a lower minmum spend.

The best way to fully utilize these card bonuses is to work toward a Southwest Companion Pass, which can be had by earning 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in the same calendar year.

Be aware though that Chase recently changed their rules to prevent anyone from getting two personal Southwest card bonuses in less than 24 months.

6b) Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

Current Offer:

  • 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, 20,000 additional points after you spend $12,000 in your first year
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $75 annual Southwest Airlines credit
  • 4 upgraded boarding positions per year
  • 7,500 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary

(Full offer details can be found here. Learn More )

Commentary:

This is a brand new card that just launched this past summer. Unfortunately the signup bonus has already dropped from its initial offer, causing this card to slip in the monthly rankings.

This card is best used in conjunction with a Southwest Business Credit card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. The timing is ideal right now, as Companion Pass should be earned early in the calendar year.

Note that you are not eligible for this card if you have received a bonus on another Southwest personal card in the last 24 months.

7) United  Explorer 

Current Offer:

  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • An additional 25,000 miles (65,000 total) after $10,000 spend in 6 months
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
  • Free checked bag for the primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation
  • 2 United Club passes each year on your cardmember anniversary

Note also that there is a business version of this card offering 50,000 bonus points.

Commentary:

This offer just jumped up to 65,000 total bonus miles again after a couple months at a lower offer. Like the Southwest cards though it has a tiered minimum spending requirement.

To put things in perspective, you can fly round trip to Europe on a Saver Level ticket for 60,000 United miles so this one card will just about earn you a free international flight.

You can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United to top off your account if needed.

The 2 United Club passes are also a nice perk for anyone who doesn’t have a card that offers lounge access. Once you try the lounge life there really is no going back.

Our own Julie Szpira wrote a recent article on why you should get the United MileagePlus explorer card. Worth a read for anyone considering getting this card.

8) The World of Hyatt Credit Card 

Current Offer:

  • 40,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months, an additional 20,000 bonus points (60,000 total) after $6,000 total spend in the first 6 months
  • 4x on purchases made with Hyatt, 2x on restaurants, airline tickets (purchased directly with the airline) and fitness memberships. 1x on everything else
  • 1 free night (category 1-4) each year on your card member anniversary, 1 additional free night when you spend $15,000 on the card in a year
  • Discoverist Status with Hyatt as long as the card is open

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

December unfortunately marks the first month in which the World of Hyatt Card falls in the “under 5/24” category. Yes, it seems that Chase is now enforcing the 5/24 rule on this card as of mid November.

There is a lot to be excited about with the World of Hyatt Credit Card , starting with the massive 60,000 point bonus. 60,000 bonus points can score you 3 free nights at highest tier Hyatt properties in the world or as many as 12 free nights in lower tier properties.

(Here is a full card review by 10xT Contributor Julie S)

Personally I just got this card and used the 60,000 bonus points to book 2 free nights at the world-renowned Park Hyatt Tokyo (from the movie Lost in Translation) for my recent trip to Japan. I had my wife do the same and we were able to cover our entire 4 night stay there. Rooms typically go for $600+ per night.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

Staying at the famous Park Hyatt Tokyo thanks to the Hyatt Card

The annual free night perk also makes this card worth keeping long term for many travelers, though the category 1-4 restriction is less than ideal.

You’ll get better spending rewards on either of the Chase Sapphire products (particularly because Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to Hyatt) but this card is still a good grab for the bonus and ongoing perks.

9) Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card

Image result for marriott premier plus

Current Offer:

  • Two Free Nights, up to 35,000 points per night, after $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Free Night Award (up to 35,000 points) every year on your account anniversary
  • 6 points per $1 spent at Marriott and SPG hotels, 2 points per $1 on everything else
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status

(Full offer details can be found here. Learn More )

Commentary:

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card falls to #9 this week due to the bonus dropping (by most opinions) to just two free nights at any property up to 35k points per night.

I used 75,000 Marriott points to book a multi-night stay at the Rome Marriott Flora

This effectively forces you to use the free nights at higher end properties instead of getting even more nights at cheaper hotels.

You can use them to book award nights at hundreds of Marriott or Starwood properties or transfer them to more than a dozen airline programs.

This card also gives you an annual free night on your account anniversary each year, able to be used at any Marriott hotel that costs up to 35,000 points per night. Which covers most Marriott properties in their portfolio and makes the card worth keeping indefinitely for many people.

Personally, I just used this benefit to book a free night at the Houston Airport Marriott for my recent trip to Japan. A savings of about $120.

And finally, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit card offers 6x points per $1 spent at any Marriott/SPG properties and 2x points per $1 on everything else. Making it a decent choice for everyday spend for anyone looking to earn points to be used with the more than one dozen airline transfer partners of Marriott.

I have confirmed (being my own data point) that you do need to be below 5/24 to get this card. We also know that you are not eligible to receive this bonus if you have received another Marriott personal card bonus in the last 24 months.

You also are not eligible to receive this bonus if you have received a bonus on the Starwood Preferred Luxury card or Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card in the past 24 months.

You can read more about the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card here. Learn More .

10) IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Current Offer:

  • 80,000 IHG points after $2,000 spend in the first 3 months
  • 10 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels, 2 points per $1 at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, 1 point per $1 on all else.
  • One free night at an IHG hotel after your account anniversary each year*
  • IHG Platinum Status for as long as you hold the card.

*Restrictions apply

Commentary:

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card  also makes its debut in the “under 5/24” list thanks to a recent rules change by Chase. It seems that as of mid November you now have to be under 5/24 to be approved for this card.

The current offer is for 80,000 bonus points, which is still a very attractive offer.

The IHG card confuses a lot of people because you have probably never seen an “IHG Hotel” along the side of the road. IHG hotels include Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, and more. There are more than 5,000 of them to choose from worldwide.

Many IHG properties go for as little as 10,000 points per night, with occasional offers as low as 5,000 points per night via their Pointbreaks program 

Personally, I just used the annual free night certificate to book a free night at the Intercontinental Osaka. Which normally goes for ~$400 a night.

I used my IHG anniversary free night to book the Intercontinental Osaka

11) British Airways Visa Signature Card

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $10,000 in the first year
  • Another 25,000 Avios after spending $20,000 in the first year
  • 3 Avios per $1 spent with British Airways, 1x Avios per $1 on everything else
  • Earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for 2 years, when you spend $30,000 in a year

(British Airways Card: Learn More)

Commentary:

The British Airways Visa Signature Card bonus offer remains at 100,000 total bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 in the first year (tiered bonuses, see above). This is the highest bonus I can recall seeing on this card.

This card also seems to enforce the 5/24 rule as of mid November.

The play with British Airways miles is to use them for short distance flights on American Airlines and other OneWorld carriers. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, meaning you can find some flights for as little as 7,500 miles each way.

Note that Chase also recently launched similar offers for the Air Lingus Card and Iberia Plus card, which also earn Avios.

(British Airways Card: Learn More)

Other cards to consider:

Image result for chase freedom

Chase Freedom : $150 bonus after $500 spend, rotating 5% back categories and 1% back on everything else. Can transfer your points to another Chase Ultimate Rewards card (such as Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink) to be used at a higher value for travel. Chase Freedom .

Image result for chase freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited : $150 bonus after $500 spend, 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Can transfer points as described in Chase Freedom above. Chase Freedom Unlimited

 

The Details: Best Cards Over 5/24

1) Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 2 miles per $1 on all purchases

(Full offer details here: Learn more )

Note that we are ranking this offer #1 in the “Over 5/24” list due to a 75k offer that can be found with quick google searchOur link only offers 50,000 bonus points.  (Note that this card is no longer offering the aforementioned bonus)

Commentary:

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card just underwent one of the largest card transformations I have ever seen last month, causing it to jump all the way from #18 on our list to #1.

The biggest improvement was the introduction of more than a dozen transfer partners, including Air Canada, Air France, Etihad, and Cathay Pacific. Points transfer at a rate of 2 Capital One miles > 1.5 airline miles.

Venture also keeps its original points redemption option of redeeming points to erase any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent per point.

Meaning the 50,000 bonus miles are worth $500 in free travel. Airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, Uber, taxis, you name it.  Simply pay with your Venture card and use your points to erase the charge later.

You can read more about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card here.

2) The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Current Offer:

  • Limited time offer of 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points after you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months.
  • 25,000 additional bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels book on amextravel.com
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $200 annual airline incidental credit

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

The Business Platinum by American Express  falls to #2 despite having the exact same offer from last month.

The current offer of 75,000 bonus points is lower than previous offers on this card but still a fantastic offer.

Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards are incredibly valuable because of their ability to be transferred to 17 airline partners and 3 hotel partners or use to book with Amex Travel.

The spend required to earn the bonus on this card is one of the highest on the market but the 5x on travel bookings with Amex is a great perk for business owners who need to book a significant amount of travel.

Amex Business Platinum cardholders also get complimentary access to the Amex Centurion Lounges, which are some of the best airport lounges in the US.

 

Amex Centurion Lounge, image courtesy of thecenturionlounge.com

Cardholders also receive Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Hilton. When you link your SPG and Marriott accounts, you will then have Gold status with Marriott as well.

And lastly, American Express has upgraded this card to a new metal version. Not exactly a travel perk, but it certainly beats a plastic card.

Here is a detailed overview of what the 10xT staff would each do with the bonus points on this card.

3) Citi Premier 

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3x points on Travel, which includes gas stations
  • 2x points on Dining and Entertainment, 1x on everything else.
  • No foreign transaction fees

(More details available on our credit cards page)

Commentary:

The Citi Premier (previously called “ThankYou Premier”) falls to #3 on the “over 5/24” list also while maintaining its same offer. The 50,000 bonus points is still one of the best overall credit card bonuses on the market this month.

The Citi Premier is basically Citi’s version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred . The ThankYou Points can either be used to book travel (airfare, hotels, etc.) via the Citi Travel Center at a value of 1.25 cents per point or transferred to any of Citi’s transfer partners, which include Cathay Pacific, Air France, Etihad, Hilton, and more. Many, but not all, of the transfer rates are 1:1.

 

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific

At a value of 1.25 cents via the Citi Travel Center this 50,000 point bonus is worth $625 of travel, with the potential to fetch even higher values via a partner transfer.

If you are over 5/24 and eligible to receive this card bonus, I think this card is a must get for any traveler.

You’ll want to be aware of Citi’s bonus and application rules before applying for this card.

Also check out what the 10xT Staff would do with this bonus.

4a) American Express Business Gold Card

Current Offer:

  • 4x points per $1 in two categories of your choice, up to a combined $150,000 of spend per year
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else.

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Note that we are ranking this card based on the widely available 50,000 point referrals

Commentary:

The real benefit of the American Express Business Gold Card is the ability to choose your 4x points category. You can choose from airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S, purchases for advertising, gas stations, shipping, and computer hardware and software. Making this one of the best go-to spending cards for business owners.

See the Business Platinum card commentary above for details on why Membership Rewards points are so valuable. Personally these are a close second in my book behind Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I just used 120,000 Amex Membership Rewards points myself to book a $20,000 First Class flight on ANA to Japan.

ANA First Class Review IAH to NRT

I redeemed 120,000 Amex points to book this seat round-trip to Japan.

Again, please look for a 50,000 point referral if you want this card. Our link currently offers no bonus points.

Here is what the 10xT Staff would do with a bonus of Amex points.

4b) The American Express Gold Card

Current Offer:

  • 20% back on U.S. dining purchases, up to $100 total, in the first 3 months
  • 4x at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets, 3x on airfare purchased directly from the airline, 1x on all else

Let’s start with the most important point. You should only get this card if you find an offer for 50,000 bonus points. Our link only provides 25,000 bonus points at the moment so feel free to use this referral link.

These are the exact same points mentioned in the American Express Business Gold section above.

5a) Capital One Spark Miles for  Business

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • An additional 150,000 bonus miles (worth $1,500) when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months
  • 2 points per $1 on all purchases

(Full offer details here: Learn more )

Commentary:

Spark Miles is basically the business version of the Capital One Venture. The two cards earn the same exact points, though the Spark Miles card comes with a much higher signup bonus.

If you can hit the minimum spend this card is a must grab. The points can transfer to a handful of airline partners or be redeemed to “erase” any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent per point.

5b) Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Image result for capital one spark business

Current Offer:

  • $500 cash back you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • An additional $1,500 cash back when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months
  • 2 points per $1 on all purchases

(Full offer details here: Learn more )

Commentary:

Like the Venture Card, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card made a massive jump up the rankings this month thanks to a huge increase in the signup bonus.

Spark Cash is now offering up to $2,000 cash back after you spend $50,000 in the first month. A must grab for any business owner who can hit that spend.

Spark Cash is basically just a 2% cash back business card after you earn the bonus. Which is great for many people.

Note that while this is a business credit card, Capital One will still report it to your personal credit. Meaning it will add to your 5/24 number.

 

6) The Platinum Card from American Express

Current Offer:

  • Limited time offer of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • $200 in annual Uber credits
  • $200 in annual airline incidental fees with one airline
  • Priority Pass + Centurion Lounge access
  • $100 TSA Precheck/Global Entry fee credit

(Full offer details available here: Learn More )

Commentary:

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Platinum Card from American Express is another example of a high-annual fee card that comes with a ton of great benefits. You will also want to check the Card Match tool to see if you are targeted for a higher offer. Some readers have been able to find offers with 100,000 bonus points.

Many people can’t get past the hefty fee, but the benefits more than make up for it.

The 60,000 bonus points can be transferred to 17 airline and 3 hotel partners or redeemed to book travel directly with American Express for a minimum of $600 of travel. You’ll get the most value by transferring to airline partners.

Throw in the $200 annual Uber credits ($15 per month and $35 in December). Simply add your Platinum Card to your Uber account and its automatic. Note that this also currently works for orders with Uber eats.

Like the Business Platinum from American Express Open , you will also receive Gold status with SPG and Hilton, an annual $200 airline fee credit, Priority Pass Select and Centurion Lounge access, and you’ll earn 5x points per dollar on hotel and airfare bookings via Amex Travel.

One key difference is that you can also earn 5x points per dollar on airfare when booking directly with an airline.

Not sure what you would do with these points? Here’s a quick look at how each member of the 10xT staff would spend them.

 

7)AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard (Personal & Business)

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles when you make your first purchase and pay the annual fee (both personal and business)
  • 2x points on American Airlines purchases, 1x on everything else
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 per year

Commentary:

This card is pretty straightforward, make one purchase and pay the $95 fee to earn 50,000 American Airlines miles. No minimum spend required.

Ideally get both this and the Citi AAdvantage cards to quickly stockpile 100,000+ American Airlines miles, which can get you just about anywhere on the planet. Possibly in business/first class.

 

You can quickly earn 100,000+ American Airlines miles with these 2 cards

8) Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card 

Current Offer:

  • 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • $300 annual credit at participating Marriott and SPG properties
  • Annual free night award (up to 50,000 points per night)
  • 6x points at Marriott/SPG properties, 3x on dining and travel booked directly with airlines, 2x on everything else
  • Automatic gold status

Commentary:

The Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card falls to 8 this month thanks do a reduction in its bonus offer, which is now 75,000 Starwood points. With Amex limiting you to one bonus per lifetime it might be best to wait for a higher offer on this card. But overall it is still a decent card at the current bonus.

First things first, note that the  bonus points are not the old Starpoints that you are used to. They are Marriott points now, which are significantly less valuable.

These points can be used to book Marrriott/Starwood stays or transferred to 20+ airlines at a rate of 3:1, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 60,000 miles transferred. This is effectively the same as the old SPG > Airline transfer rate.

This card comes with a hefty annual fee but also a ton of perks. The biggest perk being the $300 annual credit at participating Marriott and SPG properties. This credit should work on just about any expense (room rate, on site expenses, etc.) so it would be difficult not to take full advantage of it each year.

The SPG Luxury card also comes with an annual free night award after your cardmember anniversary, good for a free night up to 50,000 points per night. Which covers just about any SPG/Marriott property you would like to visit.

Finally, the SPG Luxury card comes with a $100 Global Entry/$85 TSA PreCheck Credit that is similar to what is offered by many other premium credit cards on the market.

Note that you are not eligible to receive this card if you have received an upgrade or welcome offer on the Chase Marriott personal or business credit card in the past 24 months.

9) Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

Current Offer:

  • 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual free night award (up to 35,000 points per night)
  • 6x points at Marriott/SPG properties, 4x on U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone service purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and U.S. purchase for shipping, 2x on everything else
  • Automatic silver elite status

(Full offer details available here: Learn More )

Commentary:

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card card features the same  type of points as the newly launched SPG Luxury card with a significantly lower annual fee. This card, however, does not have many of the same premium perks as the SPG Luxury card.

The bonus on this card also recently fell to 75,000 points, so it might be best to wait.

This card is an excellent choice because 1) it does not add to your 5/24 count 2) you can get both it AND the SPG Luxury card and 3) it has a much lower annual fee.

Note that you will not be eligible for this card bonus if you have received an upgrade or welcome offer on the Marriott personal card in the past 24 months.

10) Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Current Offer:

  • 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual free night award (up to 35,000 points per night)
  • 6x points at Marriott/SPG properties, 2x on everything else
  • Automatic silver status

Commentary:

Rounding out the SPG family is the Amex SPG personal card, offering a limited time offer of 75,000 bonus points.

I won’t go over the value of these points a third time. Take a look at the SPG Luxury Card overview to see how they work.

Note that you are not eligible for this card if you have received a bonus on a Marriott personal card from Chase in the past 24 months.

11a) Citibusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard 

Current Offer:

  • 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA itineraries
  • 2x AA miles per $1 spent on AA and in select business categories, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 per year

(Full offer details can be found on our credit cards page)

Commentary:

70,000 is the highest public offer I have ever seen for this card, making it one of the better cobranded cards on the market right now. For perspective, you can fly round trip to Europe for 60,000 or less AA miles at Saver Level. Or one-way in business class.

This card doesn’t have fantastic ancillary perks but the signup bonus offer makes it worth pursuing for just about anyone over 5/24.

11b) Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard 

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA itineraries
  • 2x AA miles per $1 spent on AA and in select business categories, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 per year

(Full offer details can be found on our credit cards page)

Commentary:

Same points and basically the same card as the business version above (with a lower bonus). Yes, you can get both.

12) Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express 

Current Offer:

  • 125,000 Hilton Points after $2,000 spend in the first 3 months
  • Complimentary gold status with Hilton
  • 12x points on Hilton purchases, 6x at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. 3x on everything else.

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

Commentary:

The 125,000 bonus on this card is a slight upgrade over it’s past bonus of 100,000 points. Overall this card is great when compared to other Hilton offers but in the middle of the pack in the world of hotel cards. Remember, these are Hilton points we are talking about so don’t get too excited by the large number. Most consider Hilton points to be worth about 0.5 cents per point.

This card is worth getting if you are well over 5/24 and value Hilton points and Hilton Gold Status. Otherwise consider other options.

I recently was able to use Hilton points to book a 2 night stay at the iconic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Which is about as good a use of Hilton points as you will find.

I recently used Hilton points to book an award stay at the iconic Hotel Coronado in San Diego, CA

Note that there is also a business version of this card that offers 125,000 bonus points. You can learn more about that card here .

13) Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Current Offer:

  • 150,000 Hilton Points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months
  • Complimentary Diamond status with Hilton
  • 14x points on Hilton purchases, 7x at restaurants, flights booked with airlines, and select car rentals. 3x on everything else.

Commentary:

150,000 is as high a bonus as I have ever seen publicly on a Hilton card. Watch out though, this card has a large annual fee that is not waived for the first year.

Overall a decent card for Hilton fanatics, but not a great choice for the average person.

14) Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard (It’s Back!)

Current Offer:

  • 70,000 bonus miles (worth $700) after $5,000 spend in the first 90 days
  • Unlimited 2x miles on every purchase
  • Get 5% of your redeemed miles back

(Learn more by visiting our credit cards page)

Commentary:

Arrival Plus is back! After a short hiatus, then a modified re-launch, Arrival Plus is back to basically its original form.

Like the Capital One Venture (mentioned in a bit) these miles can only be used to erase any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent per mile. Meaning the 70,000 mile bonus is worth $700 toward any type of travel.

One catch though, there is a $100 (10,000 point) minimum redemption amount. So don’t plan on using this to cover small travel expenses such as Ubers or taxis.

Overall a great card for the bonus, but your long term spend is better put on a card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred.

 

15) Capital One Savor Card  

Current Offer:

  • $500 cash back once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Unlimited 4% back on dining, 2% on groceries, 1% on everything else

(Full offer details here: Learn more )

Commentary:

This is a brand new card from Capital One that just launched early this fall!

The $500 bonus on this card is the best cash back bonus on the market to my knowledge. This card also earns 4% back on dining and entertainment, making it a great long-term option for anyone who prefers cash back over travel.

(Capital One Savor: Learn more )

 

Other cards to consider:

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card: 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. $95 annual fee not waived first year. $100 annual travel credit for airline incidentals. The points can be redeemed at 1 cent each for statement credits so 50,000 = $500 in value.

JetBlue Plus Card: 40,000 bonus points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. This card is issued by Barclays and is a good grab for anyone living near an airport serviced by JetBlue.

Alaska Airlines Card: 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months. Annual free companion fare, paying just taxes and fees.

As always, feel free to email me (Bryce@10xtravel.com) with any questions or if you need help choosing a card!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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