Wow. What a loaded question. There is a ton of information about this in the Beginners Guide. We live in such a competitive banking market that each card company and airline is throwing free miles around like like Lil Jon throws the word "Shots". The Verdict: We WIN!
Many airlines and card companies are regularly throwing out sign up bonuses of 50,000 points and sometimes even up to 100,000 points. As you may or may not know 50,000 miles can take you far. Really far. I have mentioned a few uses and depending on the airline it can be enough for:
1) Round trip US to Europe, South America or Asia in Coach.
2) 2 or more round trip Coach tickets in the US.
3) Round trip US First Class.
4) One Way Business Class from the US to Asia, Europe or South America.
These bonuses are generally in exchange for using the card. A common scenario is "Receive 50,000 Bonus MIles after spending $2,000 in 3 months". If you read the blog you know that this sounds much worse than it is. You can use your new card to pay your car insurance, cable bill, cell phone and many other useful items. By using the card to pay for these items you are not over spending and you are receiving a huge bonus.
A free flight for spending money you already need to is great but what does a card do for you after that? Depending on the card you may receive tons of additional benefits each time you travel like:
1) A free checked bag for everyone in your group.
2) Lounge Passes up to 4 times annually.
3) Trip cancellation coverage.
4) Priority check in and Airport security.
5) Even more!
SO.... what cards are out there and which one should I get?
First, where you live matters. There is no point in having a card from an airline that doesn't fly to your local airport. Find that out first. Next it really helps if you know where you might want to go. If you do, look at the airlines individual charts to see how many miles you need to go. With that in mind here are a few that are crushing it right now.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select: Waived annual fee 1st year, $95 after that.
Main Benefits: 50,000 Point bonus, Free Checked Bag on every AA flight, Zone 1 Boarding each time. 2 Lounge Passes.
British Airways Visa Signature: Waived annual fee 1st year, $95 after that.
Main Benefits: 50,000 Point bonus (Can be used on American, US Airways and many partners at amazing rates), Companion pass.
American Express Platinum: 450 Annual Fee.
Main Benefits: 40,000 Amex point bonus transferrable to most airlines, Lounge access, Dining Concierge, $200 airline credit annually and so much more. It is my go to card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Waived Annual fee 1st year, $95 after that.
Main Benefits: 40,000 point bonus +5,000 for additional user transferrable to many great airlines, primary rental car coverage, Visa Signature concierge services.
Bottom line: Any of these cards are going to net you roughly 50,000 points which will get you well on your way to a really nice flight or dream vacation. Need more help on how to use your points? THE POINTS & MILES BEGINNERS GUIDE!
Do you carry any of these? Are you thinking about one? Email me! email@example.com