What’s in your wallet may very well decide which cabin you fly in or what hotel you can swing. Not all rewards earning credit cards are created equal and these days, many carry game changing benefits, which can see you earning more points, more cash back and even access to some VIP travel amenities. Here are the five best options (in our opinion) in the US + UK.

Unlike most, I don’t receive commission from these cards so my opinions are entirely genuine!

Best US Travel Rewards Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 points after spending 3k in 3 months. No fee first year, $95 after.

Earning: 1 point per $ on all purchases, up to 5x on Starwood purchases. 

If you’re interested in doing crazy things with your points this is the Swiss Army Knife of cards. These points can be transferred into almost any airline’s points and for every 20,000 you transfer, you get a 5,000 point bonus. Unlike all other cards, this unlocks some incredible programs like Japan Airlines, whose miles you can use on Emirates at the best rates, and Asiana, whose miles you can use for the best rates on Lufthansa first class, amongst many other brilliant tricks…

Citi Prestige Card

Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending 3k in 3 months. $450 annual fee. 

Earning: 1 point per $ on all purchases, 3 points per $ on air + hotel, 2x on dining + entertainment. 

This card is my favorite. It comes with an annual $250 airline credit, which can be used to buy tickets, upgrades and more. Additionally, it comes with airport lounge access for member and two guests almost everywhere in the world, fourth night free on all paid hotel stays (yes, really) and an excellent points program. The benefits are worth far more than the annual fee if you travel.

Airlines You Can Transfer Points To: Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific, EVA, Qantas, Qatar, Singapore, Thai, Virgin America. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending 4k in 3 months, $95 annual fee.

Earning: 1 point per $ on all purchases, 2x points on travel, 2x points on dining.

Looking to jump into the hobby in the best way possible? This card is a no brainer, offering excellent earning opportunities on travel and dining, combined with a great start up bonus to jumpstart your mileage account. There are a couple great lesser known benefits like primary rental car insurance coverage and a (almost) no questions asked purchase protection policy.

Airlines You Can Transfer Points To: United, Singapore, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korean, Southwest. 

American Express Premier Rewards Gold

Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending 2k in 3 months, No fee first year, $195 after.

Earning: 1 point per $ on all purchases, 3x points on airfare, 2x points on entertainment.

Book lots of air travel? There’s no better card than the Amex Premier Rewards Gold, which offers 3x points on airfare purchases made direct with an airline. The card offers some great travel benefits such as a $100 annual airline credit and participation in Amex’s preferred hotel booking program, which gives benefits such as dining credits, upgrades and wifi when booking hotels through Amex travel. 

Airlines You Can Transfer Points To: Delta, Air Canada (Aeroplan), Jet Blue, British Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Singapore, Iberia, ANA, El Al, Hawaiian, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic.

Chase Freedom

Sign Up Bonus: 15,000 points after spending $500 in 3 months. No annual fee.

Earning: 1 point per $ on all purchases, up to 5x on rotating categories. 

There’s a lot to love about a no fee credit card and there’s even more to love about one that offers up to 5x points on certain purchases. To unlock the full potential of this card you’ll need the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which allows you to turn your cash back points into airline miles, but once you combine the two, you’ve got a real mileage factory. Every quarter (three months) different categories will give more points. For instance, for the fall, gas stations may offer 5x points, allowing you to rack em up. 

Airlines You Can Transfer Points To (If You Also Have Sapphire Preferred): United, Singapore, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korean, Southwest. 

Best UK Travel Rewards Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Sign Up Bonus: 10,000 points after £1000 in 3 months. £75 annual fee.

Earning: 1 point per £ on all purchases, up to 5x at Starwood properties.

If you’re interested in doing crazy things with your points this is the Swiss Army Knife of cards. These points can be transferred into almost any airline’s points and for every 20,000 you transfer, you get a 5,000 point bonus. Unlike all other cards, this unlocks some incredible programs like Japan Airlines, whose miles you can use on Emirates at the best rates, and Asiana, whose miles you can use for the best rates on Lufthansa first class, amongst many other brilliant tricks…

American Express Premier Rewards Gold

Sign Up Bonus: 20,000 Points after spending £2k in 3 months. No fee first year, £140 after. 

Earning: 1 Point per £ on all purchases, up to 3x on travel purchases.

Book lots of air travel? There’s no better card than the Amex Premier Rewards Gold, which offers 3x points on airfare purchases made direct with an airline. The card offers some great travel benefits such as two annual lounge passes and participation in Amex’s preferred hotel booking program, which gives benefits such as dining credits, upgrades and wifi when booking hotels through Amex travel, with an average £75 hotel credit for each stay. 

Airlines You Can Transfer Points To: Air France KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia program, Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles®, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Finnair Plus, Iberia Plus, SAS EuroBonus, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

British Airways Premium American Express

Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 miles after spending £3k in 3 months. Annual fee £195.

Earning: 1.5x miles per £ on all purchases, 3x miles on British Airways purchases.

If you earn lots of miles and want to stretch them further, this is the right card. The British Airways Premium Amex offers the last solid deal in British Airways Avios program with their two for one voucher. After spending £10,000 in a year, you’ll receive a voucher which allows you to use half the points generally required for two passengers. You’ll just pay the (substantial) taxes. If British Airways is your airline, the ability to earn miles for every purchase is very attractive. 

Airlines You Can Fly On (Companion Voucher MUST Be Used On BA): Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, TAM, Qantas. 

Virgin Atlantic Premium American Express

Sign Up Bonus: 18,500 miles on your first purchase. Annual fee £140. 

Earning: 2x miles per £1 on all purchases, 4x on Virgin Atlantic purchases.

If you’re Virgin Atlantic all the way, this is the best way to earn miles every day. Considering Virgin have one of the most favorable award charts, where just 40,000 miles can get you one way in business class to the US, this is a pretty solid offer. After spending £5k, you’ll also get a voucher which allows you to book an economy ticket using miles and get a free upgrade to premium. You can even earn two of them in a year and take a friend. 

Airlines You Can Fly On: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Delta, Air China, South African, ANA, Singapore.

Hilton Rewards Card

Sign Up Bonus: Free night at any Hilton property after spending £750 in 3 months. No annual fee.

Earning: 2 points per £ on all purchases. Up to 3x bonus on Hilton purchases.

If you like free hotel nights and elite status you can achieve without leaving home, this is an excellent card. You’ll receive a free night as a welcome bonus, bonus points on your first stay and if you spend £10,000 in your first year, you’ll be rewarded with Hilton Gold status (not much to it sadly), but it’s still something. For no fee and a reasonable spending requirement, this is a pretty easy way to grab a free night at some amazing properties around the world.