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What are some of your go-to travel cards?

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iced
Valued Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?


@MT936 wrote:

@iced I want to get some ideas based on other people's usage. How about yourself?


I don't see how this is going to help you since you aren't me and don't fly out of my airport or have my exact same spend pattern, but ok:

 

I'm in both the UR/UA and MR/DL ecosystem, though my MR/DL accrual is mostly from flying and my UR/UA accrual is mostly from spend. This makes sense for me because I'm in a pseudo-hub for DL (side rant: I don't care what DL says, they just don't have the nonstops out of BOS to call it a full hub - if they want that moniker they need to up their regional flights) but I'm also a former UA 1K with a ton of miles from that program and BOS is a heavy *A hub for international.

 

- I have an American Express Platinum that I use only for airfare purchases at 5x or the occasional side purchase with a promotion (aka right now I'm getting 6x on Amazon). These supplement my DL pool. 

 

- I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve I use only for dining/travel at 3x (10x for Lyft) and the occasional side purchase with a promotion (aka right now I'm getting 5x on groceries and DoorDash, though I think I've already capped DoorDash). These supplement my UA pool. 

 

- I just got a Chase Freedom Unlimited (the SO relented, go 1/24?) that I use for 1.5x on whatever other spend doesn't fit elsewhere plus the occasional side purchase with a promotion (aka 5x on DoorDash since my Reserve limit was hit). These supplement my UA pool.

 

Back in my UA days, I used the MP Club instead of the Freedom Unlimited for the same earning plus UC access, but now I'm relying on the Platinum for SC access instead.

 

And...that's it. 3 cards get 99% of my spend.

Message 11 of 45
Citylights18
Valued Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?


@iced wrote:

@MT936 wrote:

Hello All, 

 

Before the pandemic hit I was starting to look for travel cards (travel points, airlines, hotels, etc.) to apply for next. What are some of your favorites and recommendations? I was looking into the Chase sapphire reserve, delta gold, and amex platinum among others. 


You gotta provide a little more context. As-is, this is like asking what cuisine is people's recommendations: you're going to get 100 opinions and 100 of them don't know your specific tastes or dislikes.

 

What would help people answer:

 

1. Your travel habits. Are you a flyer or driver? International travel? How often do you travel? Any particular recurring locations or just wherever sounds good?

 

2. Airline information (if appicable). Is your home airport a fortress hub for one airline or do you have several viable options? Do you have a preferred airline?

 

3. Hotel information: preferred hotel chain, existing status, etc.

 

4. Your spend patterns. How much dining/travel spend do you have monthly? If not much, what other categories do you spend the most on?

 

Mods: there really needs to be a sticky similar to the "info that is needed" post over on auto loans for questions like this.


Also if you are in the market for business vs. personal.

Official travel point totals as of 12/26/23 (1,382,693 Total Points)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 661,525 | IHG One Rewards 144,443 | Hilton Honors 143,801 | AMEX Membership Rewards 102,729 | World of Hyatt 90,413 | Marriott Bonvoy 65,343 | Citi Thank You 62,712 | Wells Fargo Rewards 33,652 | Southwest Rapid Rewards 28,105 | United MileagePlus 13,316 | British Airways Avios 12,333 | Jet Blue TrueBlue 11,661 | NASA Platinum Rewards 1,883 | AA Advantage 1,744 | Navy Federal Rewards 792 | Delta Sky Miles 175 | Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points 100 | Lowes Business Rewards 6,992 ($69.92) | Amazon Rewards 475 ($4.75) | Discover CB 499 ($4.99)
Message 12 of 45
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?

I like the Sapphire Reserve since the 3x categories work best while traveling.  I can charge everything from meals to flight/hotel and all the random stuff inbetween on one card to get a solid return on my spend.

Message 13 of 45
Citylights18
Valued Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?

The question is are travel prices going up or down? My guess is they are going down.

 

When prices are up hotel redemptions with fixed category pricing will save you a lot of money. However with hotel prices trending down a travel card with a 1.25 or 1.5 redemption can take advantage of lower prices with a further discount. The cards which have that capability are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, US Bank Altitude Reserve and the duo of Wells Fargo Propel/Signature have that 1.5 redemption (amounting to a 33% discount) on points in their systems. Instad of paying $200 in a normal economy for a hotel night, that hotel might go for $100 and then you can get the night for 6600 points which is the same as $66 dollars.

 

One thing to keep in mind is how tight the pricing is on those portals. Chase is reliable powered by Expedia. Others show some degree of price slippage. US Bank has real time rewards where you can by directly from hotel and airlines then redeem what was spent at 1.5. However one of the limitations is that you need 50,000 points/$500 dollars to reedem hotels real time so it doesn't accomodate flash sale pricing for a couple of nights.

 

World of Hyatt is a powerful card. First you start with a free night in a Cat 1-4 property. Cat 4 is 15,000 points to redeem but can be with resort fees and taxes included cost as much as $400. If one was to put all of their spend onto this card by the time they hit 15,000 points its a second free night of $400. The earning structure is the same as the CSP, aside from the hotel earn being 1x on Hyatt but (you get 9x on Hyatt properties which its assumed you use) so you could switch off from flexible rewards to hotel rewards. But if you spent that same 15,000 on the CSP with assumed average earn rate of 1.5 ccp that would give you 22,500 points, $450 in value.

 

If just going with the World of Hyatt then you'll get $400 value on anniversary, $450 value on the 22,500 points and then another $400 when you hit 15,000 spend. That's an earning structure that keeps giving long after you earn the SUB.

 

https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/hyatt/hyatt-offering-bonus-elite-qualifying-nights-opening-s...

Official travel point totals as of 12/26/23 (1,382,693 Total Points)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 661,525 | IHG One Rewards 144,443 | Hilton Honors 143,801 | AMEX Membership Rewards 102,729 | World of Hyatt 90,413 | Marriott Bonvoy 65,343 | Citi Thank You 62,712 | Wells Fargo Rewards 33,652 | Southwest Rapid Rewards 28,105 | United MileagePlus 13,316 | British Airways Avios 12,333 | Jet Blue TrueBlue 11,661 | NASA Platinum Rewards 1,883 | AA Advantage 1,744 | Navy Federal Rewards 792 | Delta Sky Miles 175 | Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points 100 | Lowes Business Rewards 6,992 ($69.92) | Amazon Rewards 475 ($4.75) | Discover CB 499 ($4.99)
Message 14 of 45
Andypanda
Established Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?

If you want a good no af card, there is the wf propel card. 3x on hotel, planes, trains, rentsl cars, restaurants ect. If you pair it with the wf vida signatur account, you cab get 1.5x on airfare redemption.

Message 15 of 45
M_Smart007
Legendary Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?


@Andypanda wrote:

If you want a good no af card, there is the wf propel card. 3x on hotel, planes, trains, rentsl cars, restaurants ect. If you pair it with the wf vida signatur account, you cab get 1.5x on airfare redemption.


It is a good card, and I have the WF Cash Wise Visa also, I should use it more.

Message 16 of 45
EAJuggalo
Established Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?

Here is what works for me.  I fly two to three times per year on either Delta or SW, hoping to get international next year.  I have the AMEX Gold and Chase CSP that you will never get out of my wallet.  4x dining and groceries with the Gold, and 2x travel with CSP.  I would pay the $95 AF for the CSP just to have primary rental car insurance and be able to transfer points to SWA.  I use the points accumulated on the Gold to transfer to Delta for flights that way.  I currently hold the Delta Gold but will be PCing it to a no AF Blue when the AF hits, the changes AMEX and Delta made to the card make it not even close to being worth the new higher AF.  I have the Hilton No-AF card that I use to pay for my stays in Hilton hotels and sometimes gas.  I am considering upgrading that to the Aspire for the Diamond benefit and free weekend night.  My wife and I do a lot of weekend driving trips.

EX700 TU 704 EQ 694 4/03/22
Cap1 QS-$4,500 Chase Freedom Flex- $800 Chase Freedom Unlimited- $1,000 Victoria's Secret- $1,200 Citi DC- $800 Amazon Store Card- $3,500 AMEX Hilton Honors-$1,000 Discover It-$1,000 Wal-Mart MC $290 Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000 NFCU Flagship $13,800 AMEX BCE-$1,000 AMEX Gold-$5,000 AMEX Delta Blue $1,000 Lowe's $5,000 Navy Platinum $17,000 AMEX BBP $2,000
Message 17 of 45
K-in-Boston
Credit Mentor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?

<not trolling I swear>Since I live in a Delta hub (BOS) with lots of other SkyTeam airlines operating here, SkyMiles is hands-down the best frequent flyer program</not trolling>, and I stay exclusively in Marriott properties, I am heavily invested in Amex with Business Platinum, Platinum, Gold, 2x Delta Reserve, 2x Delta Platinum, Delta Platinum Business, and a Marriott card in the household.  If you counted up $3795 of annual fees paid to Amex, you missed the $175 AU fee on Platinum!

 

I also have the Chase trifecta (Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited), Citi Premier, US Bank Altitude Reserve, BOA Premium Rewards and Travel Rewards, and FNBO China Airlines Gold card.  Chase Ritz-Carlton, BOA Air France/KLM, and BOA Virgin Atlantic cards are in my plans.

 

All of that works for me, but as mentioned several times, what works for you is likely drastically different.

Message 18 of 45
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

 ... I am heavily invested in Amex with Business Platinum, Platinum, Gold, 2x Delta Reserve, 2x Delta Platinum, Delta Platinum Business, and a Marriott card in the household.  If you counted up $3795 of annual fees paid to Amex, you missed the $175 AU fee on Platinum!  ...  All of that works for me, but as mentioned several times, what works for you is likely drastically different.


Ouch!  Double Ouch, even!!  Smiley Surprised

Definitely would not work for me but glad it does for some! 

But my business travel is not paid out-of-pocket so completely different scenario.

Enjoy all those points, K! Smiley Happy


Business Cards


Length of Credit > 40 years; Total Credit Limits >$850K
Top Lender TCL - Chase 156.4 - BofA 99.7 - AMEX 95.0 - CITI 94.5 - NFCU 80.0
AoOA > 30 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Aug 2023)
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 19 of 45
imaximous
Valued Contributor

Re: What are some of your go-to travel cards?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

<not trolling I swear>Since I live in a Delta hub (BOS) with lots of other SkyTeam airlines operating here, SkyMiles is hands-down the best frequent flyer program</not trolling>, and I stay exclusively in Marriott properties, I am heavily invested in Amex with Business Platinum, Platinum, Gold, 2x Delta Reserve, 2x Delta Platinum, Delta Platinum Business, and a Marriott card in the household.  If you counted up $3795 of annual fees paid to Amex, you missed the $175 AU fee on Platinum!

 

I also have the Chase trifecta (Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited), Citi Premier, US Bank Altitude Reserve, BOA Premium Rewards and Travel Rewards, and FNBO China Airlines Gold card.  Chase Ritz-Carlton, BOA Air France/KLM, and BOA Virgin Atlantic cards are in my plans.

 

All of that works for me, but as mentioned several times, what works for you is likely drastically different.


@K-in-Boston Curious as to how you're planning to use Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic credit cards. 

 

I'd been thinking about the Virgin Atlantic card a few months ago when they had an elevated SUB, but ended up not pulling the trigger because I wasn't too convinced that I'd be using it after getting the SUB. 

Message 20 of 45
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