The following is the April 2018 edition of what we consider the Top 10 credit card products available at the moment. The list is based on a combination of factors, including current welcome bonus offers, daily earning potential, transfer partners and bonus categories, along with the ability to redeem.
1 – Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Pros: The Ink Business Preferred continues to reign supreme, thanks to a generous 80,000 point sign-up bonus after $5,000 spent in the first 3 months from account opening. That sign-up bonus is worth $1,000 towards travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Ink Business Preferred offers tons of value beyond the sign-up bonus, with a 3x point bonus on the first $150,000 spent in select categories every year. Bonus categories include travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases. Use the card abroad as much as you want because you won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is a reasonable $95 and points can be transferred to awesome travel partners like United, Hyatt, KLM/Air France Flying Blue, British Airways, Southwest and more!
Cons: The negative aspects of this card are fairly minor. For starters, it’s a business card, so you must have a business in order to apply for it. Second, the minimum spending requirement for the sign-up bonus is $5,000 in three months. That’s a tough pill to swallow for some, but worry not! We’ve got you covered with our tips on how to meet spending requirements.
2 – The Business Platinum Card from American Express
Pros: Want to earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points and have about $20,000 lying around to meet the spending requirement? Then the Business Platinum Card from American Express is the one for you. You’ll earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through AmexTravel and get 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more. In addition, you’ll get a $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fees every four years, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, a $200 airline fee credit and SPG Gold Elite status. In addition, you’ll get Amex Centurion Lounge Access and complimentary Gogo and Boingo Preferred plans. When redeeming points for Business and First class flights through Amex Travel, you’ll get 50% of your points back, which is great if you can find a reasonable fare.
Cons: To earn the first 50,000 you have to spend $10,000. Another $10,000 gets you the remaining 25,000. That’s a lot of money to spend in 3 months! The $450 annual fee also isn’t waived.
3 – Chase Sapphire Reserve
Pros: In some ways, the Chase Sapphire Reserve deserves to be ranked above the Amex Platinum card, but the spending requirement is lower at 50,000 points so it comes in third. Cardholders do earn 3X very valuable Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, which is super helpful. The card also offers a $300 annual travel credit, which you can spend on virtually anything. My favorite part? Points can either be transferred to a myriad of great travel partners or they’re worth 1.5 cents each through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
There’s also Priority Pass Select membership, which means you get to escape the hectic airport terminal for the comfort of an airport lounge pretty much anywhere in the world. Primary Rental Car Insurance is a benefit of this card – and a great way to shut up the rental car sales rep who rambles on about the gulag you’ll get shipped off to if you don’t buy insurance, since your insurance company won’t pay for the 3-car pile-up they know you’re going to get into as soon as you drive off the parking lot.
Cons: This card gives you plenty of peace of mind – at a price! You have to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to earn the sign-up bonus. After that, you’re on the hook for a $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.
4 – Chase Iberia Plus Credit Card
Pros: The new Chase Iberia Plus card has a lot going for it. First off, cardholders earn up to 75,000 Avios: 50,000 after spending $3,000 in 3 months and another 25,000 Avios after spending $10,000 within the first year. With 75,000 Avios, you can book two roundtrip business class flights between New York and Madrid during off-peak dates! Spend $30,000 every calendar year and you’ll get a $1,000 discount voucher every year towards two tickets on the same flight. In addition, cardholders qualify for a 10% discount on Iberia flights booked through iberia.com/chase10, and you’ll also earn 3X Avios on Iberia, British Airways, Are Lingus, LEVEL and OpenSkies flight purchases. I say take advantage of this bonus while you can.
Cons: The spending required to earn the full 75,000 Avios bonus is sky high. It also sucks that the category bonus is so restricted. Otherwise, this is a solid card that is worth getting.
5 – The Platinum Card from American Express
Pros: The pros are plenty for The Platinum Card from American Express. The sign-up bonus 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months. Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights and hotels through AmexTravel, as well as flights booked directly with airlines. Then there are the massive travel perks. First, you get $200 in annual Uber credits, in addition to $200 in Airline Fee Credits. Every year! Then there are my favorites: $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years, lounge access galore (including the exclusive Centurion Lounge), Starwood and Hilton Gold elite status, and access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. I could go on for days…
Cons: The obvious negative is the $550 annual fee, which is not waived. It was a real bummer when Amex increased the fee from $450 to $550 to justify the Uber credit. Not cool, Amex! But also, thank you for the Uber credit, which never go to waste. The spending requirement is also high – as you’d expect from such a highfalutin card: $5,000 in 3 months.
6 – Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
Pros: The sign-up bonus is 50,000 miles after first spend. No spending requirements – buy something from the Dollar Tree during the first 90 days and you’re done! You’ll also keep earning 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars
after spending $25,000 each calendar year. A nice perk that helps off-set the $95 annual fee is the first checked bag free benefit. You’ll also get a 25% in-flight purchase discount and preferred boarding. Plus, you’ll get 10% of your redeemed miles (up to 10,000) back every calendar year.
Cons: There aren’t really any negatives to this card. Even the $95 annual fee is worth it.
7 – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Pros: The 25,000 point sign-up bonus after $3,000 spent may not seem high, but SPG points are hard to come by. You can’t transfer them in from another program and the SPG cards are pretty much the only option. The card earns 2x points at Starwood and Marriott Rewards hotels, along with 2 stays/5 nights credit towards elite status every year. The best part are the redemptions: Starwood has a generous award chart, allowing you to redeem free nights for as few as 2,000 points. The best part? You can transfer SPG points to many airline miles at a 1:1 ratio. You’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.
Cons: Per Amex’s rules, you can only get the sign-up bonus once per lifetime. Unless you’re in a rush, you might want to wait until a 30,000 point bonus comes along.
8 – Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Pros: The sign-up bonus on the SPG Business Card is the same, except the spending requirement in $5,000 spent in 3 months. You get the same category bonuses, plus the ability to earn SPG Gold status after $30,000 spent in a year. Additionally, cardholders get free unlimited Bingo Wifi and Sheraton Club Lounge access. Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived the first year!
Cons: The only con is that SPG cards, in general, don’t offer much in the way of category bonuses.
9 – Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Pros: The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offers 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also get a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase on the card in the first 3 months. There are lots of other perks, like the Annual Companion Certificate, ability to earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQM’s after spending $25,000 on the card every year, on top of other bonuses. Cardholders earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, pay no foreign transaction fees, get their first checked bag free, and discounted SkyClub access.
Cons: You’re earning SkyMiles, which aren’t easy to redeem and have in the past been devalued without notice. Plus, the card has a $195 annual fee…
10 – IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Pros: I know, people are mad at IHG. But before I get into the negatives, I’ll cover the positives of the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card. The sign-up bonus is 60,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. In addition, cardholders earn 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels, 2 points at grocery, gas stations and restaurants. In addition, cardholders get a 10% point redemption (up to 100,000 points per year). All this for just a $49 annual fee!
Cons: The annual free night certificate was devalued recently. Starting May 1, it can only be redeemed at hotels requiring up to 40,000 points per night. Plus a few that have opted out.
What are you applying for this month?
Delta® Reserve for Business
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Travel
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- Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after you spend $3,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first 3 months.†
- Earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
- Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
- Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding and enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.‡
- Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access.‡
- Terms and limitations apply
- See Rates & Fees
Delta® Reserve for Business
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Travel
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