Best Credit Cards
Everyone always asks me what the best credit cards are. There’s no great answer for this, despite multiple pages advertising “the ten best credit cards.” First of all, the major banks pay for many of those credit cards to be featured on all of the top sites when searching Google. Second, Everyone travels differently. Someone who flies American Airlines frequently might benefit from the American Airlines Gold or Platinum card, while someone who likes to fly all airlines will benefit from an American Express, Chase or Citi card with transferrable points. If you contact me, I can help with your individual situation. For my general recommendations, see below.
Note: Many blogs will push credit card links on their webpages. I don’t since this site is meant to offer advice, not push credit cards.
Points or Cash Back?
Ultimately you have to decide if you want to get cash back to use for your everyday spending versus travel points in a certain currency (American Express points, Chase points, etc.). The short version? If you travel once or twice a year or don’t want to deal with the complexities of redeeming points for travel, get a cash back card. The easiest one to recommend is the Citi Double Cash Back card (non-referral link). If you travel often or like taking big trips, get a travel credit card.
My Points Card Recommendations
I like recommending cards with transferrable points. This way, you can use the points currency as cash or transfer them to travel partners. You can find detailed information about all of these cards on the web, so I am including bullets here for the highlights. These are the cards that I actively recommend to my friends and family. Here are my favorites:
American Express Platinum
- General link
- Good signup bonus, ranging from 50,000 to as high as 100,000 points.
- Transfer points to airline and hotel partners or use them like cash to book travel.
- $200 travel credit each calendar year.
- $200 Uber credit each calendar year for the personal Platinum.
- 5x points for flight purchases (personal Platinum).
- Includes Hilton Gold status and premium rental car status for National, Alamo and Hertz.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Delta lounge access when flying Delta the same day and Priority Pass membership that includes two free guests for independent lounges.
- There are some links to better signup bonuses. See MileNerd’s links below.
- Not good for everyday spend since you only get one point per dollar, except for flights or hotels booked through AmexTravel.com (see post).
- This is a charge card–you must pay the balance off each month.
- The card has a high annual fee ($450 for business and $550 for personal).
- The concierge is generally unhelpful and lackluster.
American Express Blue Business Plus Card
- General link
- Double points on all purchases up to $50,000.
- Points transfer to airline and hotel partners.
- No annual fee.
- Has foreign transaction fees.
- No cool travel perks or car insurance included on other cards like the Chase Sapphire.
- Sometimes offers a signup bonus.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Reserve
If I’m being honest, MileNerd offers the best credit card signup links, updated at the beginning of each month. He does not receive commission for you clicking on the links. The list is comprehensive and consists of travel related cards. Note that you won’t find small bonus signup cards or store cards here. He was blogging daily, but ceased in 2018. The credit card link part of the site is still updated though.
Store Credit Cards
These usually don’t offer a good bang for your buck. Retail and other stores will get you to sign up for their card using various promotions, high-pressure sales tactics and leveraging positive customer experience while shopping online or in store. You are better off with a 1.5% or 2% unlimited cash back card rather than being “locked” into Gap or Victoria’s Secret currency, as enticing as that might be. Even if you shop often, these are not great cards to get.