Disclosure: Some posts contain referral links (much love if you use them!). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any entities.
So, last week I went over how great credit cards are at making travel accessible – check it out here – and today I’m going to run down my favorite travel credit cards. These are by no means the only cards out there, and they aren’t even the only travel cards I have. The combination of rewards, minimum spend
Best Airline Card
If you are flying domestically, chances are that Southwest can get you where you need to go. And that’s not to say they always have the best prices – sometimes that award goes to the ultra-low airlines like Frontier or Spirit. But out of all of the airlines that I know of, Southwest has by far the best reward program. There are no blackout dates, which means every flight and every destination is points-eligible.
Southwest has a couple different credit cards, but their Plus card and Priority card are relatively similar. Currently, the
If you are interested in applying for the Chase Priority card, head here and punch your info in. For a low minimum spend, this is about the best value you can hope to get out of a credit card. And don’t forget, Southwest is starting flights to Hawaii soon!
Best Flex Card
My personal favorite flex card – aka card-that-gets-me-flexible-points – is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. For a $4,000 spend in 3 months, 50,000 bonus points are deposited. That is up to $625 in value when you redeem the points through their travel portal. But what makes the Sapphire card so valuable is that it also has 1:1 points transfer to a bunch of partners. So if you want to fly Southwest, you can send your points over that way – and 50,000 Southwest points is closer to $1,000 in SW travel!
There is an annual fee of $95, but that is waived the first year. If you get this card, get the bonus and then decide the annual fee isn’t worth the benefits… you can cancel before the annual fee comes around again. Personally though, this is the one card I would maybe consider paying the annual fee for. Once you cancel, you aren’t eligible for the sign up bonus again for another 4 years, and this card has some pretty sweet perks.
Head on over here to apply for the Sapphire Preferred card – if you can hit the minimum spend, I can’t recommend this card enough.
Best Hotel Card
Hotel cards are a little trickier – usually they don’t get you the best value, even though they seem to have really high sign-up bonuses. For example, 100k Marriott points might only get you two nights or less at a hotel. For that reason, my favorite card is the IHG Premier card. The bonus is 80,000 points after a $2k spend with a $89 annual fee. Plus you can earn an extra 5,000 points after adding an authorized user.
One of the reasons I love this card so much is because of IHG Pointbreaks. Pointbreaks is an ongoing promotion that IHG runs where you can redeem points for hotel stays starting at 5,000 points a night. Every 3 months, a new list of hotels gets released and the best ones get snapped up pretty quickly. I always keep my eye on the hotels and see if there are any located in places that Sarah and I want to visit – if so, we grab a couple nights there and snag some Southwest flights with points. We used this points combo to spend a fun weekend in Austin, TX last year.
And bonus, this card gives you immediate Platinum Elite status, and this gets you allll kind of perks. I almost always get upgraded and they are extra nice once they see that status next to your name – which is handy, because all I did for the status was get a credit card.
Apply here if the IHG Premier card strikes your fancy!
The Simple Summary
Each of these 3 cards can make a pretty big dent in travel expenses and they have helped us immensely over the years. Let me know if you have any questions about any of them! I haven’t regretted taking the plunge, and these three have stayed in my wallet for multiple years. Also, if you are planning on applying, much love if you use our referral links 🙂