What’s your favorite credit card to earn points?
I get asked this question a lot. At first, my response tends to be, “Well, it depends.”
People are intrigued by the miles and points game, but hesitant about applying for a credit card. They are looking for 1 or 2 multi-purpose cards, particularly as they get started with miles and points.
My delayed reaction to answering this question is for 2 reasons.
The best practice for applying for travel rewards credit cards is to choose a card to help you meet a specific travel goal. Everyone’s travel goals are different so giving a blanket recommendation is not as simple as it seems.
I also get stuck on the word “favorite.” If I signed up for a credit card because of a lucrative welcome bonus and those miles and points helped me to book a trip to an incredible destination, but the card, in the long run, didn’t offer generous bonus categories or perks, is it my favorite because of the fantastic trip?
Do the travel rewards credit card bonus categories and perks determine my favorite?
I’d like to rephrase the question.
Let’s imagine the person asking is just getting started with miles and points and is looking for a credit card to earn points from general spending and paying bills.
Which credit card should I apply for to start earning miles and points AND keep in my wallet for the long haul?
My answer is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card has gone through some changes, but it remains a strong choice. I ALWAYS have this card in my wallet.
To start, this travel rewards credit card comes with a welcome bonus after meeting a set minimum spend requirement. This can go a long way in giving your award travel accounts a boost.
You get 2x the points for restaurants and travel and 1x the points on all other purchases. Chase’s definition of travel is quite generous. Buses, tolls, parking meters, and taxis all count as travel and earn 2x the points, as well as hotels, flights, and car rentals.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. This makes the Sapphire Preferred a great card for you to keep in your wallet for international trips.
The card comes with primary collision insurance on car rentals, which covers damage done to the rental vehicle. (This does not include injuries or damages to another vehicle.)
You can even earn more than 2x the points with Chase Sapphire Preferred by joining an airline or hotel dining program.
Chase’s Shopping Portal has hundreds of merchants for pretty much any product you would be looking to buy. It’s simple to shop through the portal and earn a lot of points for your regular purchases.
Chase UR points redeemed for travel have solid value. There are 10 airline and hotel partners that you can transfer UR points to at a 1:1 ratio. These partners can elevate the value of your points by giving you access to premium seats on flights that would normally cost thousands of dollars.
You can also book travel directly within the Chase portal and get a 1.25 cent per point value for your Ultimate Rewards points. This is a good option to have when you don’t have the flexibility to search for the best award flight.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is also part of the Visa Signature Card program, which includes baggage benefits if your luggage is lost or delayed.
Why should the Chase Sapphire Preferred be your first travel rewards card?
Aside from the benefits discussed above, Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards like the Sapphire Preferred are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
This rule says, Chase will deny you for any of their credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards in the last 24 months from ANY bank. This also includes merchant Credit Cards like a Macy’s store card but not business credit cards from banks other than Chase.
For anyone wanting to get started with miles and points, it’s important to choose an Ultimate Rewards earning card first. The Sapphire Preferred is a perfect choice.
It comes with important travel perks like no foreign transaction fees and access to airline and hotel transfer partners. The annual fee is reasonable for the long haul and can be negated by the upside the card brings.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is my favorite credit card for anyone new to miles and points. The points I’ve earned have been invaluable in booking free travel! It’s the best card to start with AND keep in your wallet as part of your miles and points earning strategy.
What is your favorite travel rewards credit card?
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