- The US Bank Northwest Airlines card. Northwest was the biggest airline in Traverse City and I heard about the card at my local watering hole. I was so naive I thought a mile earned on the card was a mile I could fly on the airplane. My how things have changed. I eventually earned 1.3 million miles flying and buying with Northwest Airlines. It didn’t do me much good with the Delta merger. I’m fighting for status every year.
- I fell in love with Citicards and the CitiAAdvantage Mastercard because I could apply every 60 to 90 days and get a new sign-up bonus. This was my start to my 2 million miles Lifetime Platinum status with AA. Combined with funding new checking accounts with my AA credit card and having that initial funding treated as a purchase, I was well on my way to the goal. Of course those days are over for the most part, but I spent many years with Citi AA.
- The Citi Thank You points cards included the Drivers Edge card, Premier Rewards card, ATT Universal card, and there was another card for dining bonuses as well. This was the heyday of my credit card earning. I learned the benefits of this program from Nathan at the Ann Arbor Art Fair DO. (my first Flyertalk DO). We were dealing with cards that offered bonus categories and, combined with the Drivers Edge card, were earning 10-12 points per dollar. I was using my Thank You point cards to buy money orders from my local grocery store and earning six points per dollar. The points were piling up. The real winning part of this program was that we could redeem these TY points for US to India Business Class tickets for 90,000 points. The booking engine allowed us to buy the ticket at any price. I could redeem my 90K in points for a ticket that sold for $5000 or $15,000. Citi was just buying the ticket for us. If we had a non-refundable segment in that itinerary when we cancelled the ticket, they could not charge it back to Citi’s travel partner ( I think it was Expedia) so they gave us a travel voucher in our name for the value of the initial ticket. Many of us loaded up by following the rules established by Citi Thank You points and Expedia. I used those vouchers to fly for free for five years. Ah, the Good Old Days!
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is still in my wallet for everyday spending. I’ve used it for the last five years as my primary card, but it’s losing its prominence to the Chase Sapphire SM Preferred Card. The Chase card took a bump up in my use with the double points offer they just announced.
- My future card wishes are the Citi Forward and Preferred Cards with a decent sign-up bonus. When they pump up the sign-up bonus they will become my go-to cards for gas, grocery, and drugstores and the other one for dining. Each of the cards offers five points per dollar in their bonus categories for the first year of card ownership. The drawback to these cards is that the increased points per dollar is only good for one year.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49