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What are some of your go-to travel cards?

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MT936
Established Contributor

What are some of your go-to travel cards?

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. 

Amex Blue Cash Everyday: $25,000 | Navy FCU Cash Rewards: $25,000 | Discover It: $20,500
Chase Freedom: $12,500 | Citi Double Cash: $10,000 | Bank of America Cash Rewards: $8,000

Message 1 of 45
44 REPLIES 44
wasCB14
Super Contributor

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

Keep in mind that new customers may not get the same temporary incentives (like credits and bonus categories) that existing customers have reported.

Personal spend: Amex Gold, Amex Schwab Plat., BofA PR+CCR(x2), Costco
Business use: Amex Bus. Plat., BBP, Lowes Amex AU, CFU AU
Perks: Delta Plat., United Explorer, IHG49, Hyatt, "Old SPG"
Mostly SD: Freedom Flex, Freedom, Arrival
Upgrade/Downgrade games: ED, BCE
SUB chasing: AA Platinum Select
Message 2 of 45
iced
Valued Contributor

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


@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.

Message 3 of 45
MT936
Established Contributor

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

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

Amex Blue Cash Everyday: $25,000 | Navy FCU Cash Rewards: $25,000 | Discover It: $20,500
Chase Freedom: $12,500 | Citi Double Cash: $10,000 | Bank of America Cash Rewards: $8,000

Message 4 of 45
recoveringfrombk7
Established Contributor

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

Right now we only fly once a year, but we travel a lot by car to campgrounds and attractions.  So once the NFCU Flagship SUB is back (hopefully next quarter) and I'm eligible to apply for my 3rd card with them, that will be my travel card until we start traveling more internationally/by air.











Desired BK recovery line up complete 7/12/2021. Planning to garden until 8/2023 and potentially try for AMEX.
Message 5 of 45
M_Smart007
Legendary Contributor

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


@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. 


Amex Corporate Platinum Card
Amex Hilton Honors Business Card
Amex Hilton Honors Aspire Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Marriott
HSBC Premier World Mastercard
NFCU Flagship
Delta Gold

 

Message 6 of 45
TSlop
Valued Contributor

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

My go to right now is the CSP. I like my CSP when traveling because of the primary rental car coverage. I also like both the Chase shopping portal and Chase offers for the extra cashback on other purchases that help keep me utilizing the card at 2x or greater. I've never used it for a 1x purchase.

 

My BoA PR though... it will eventually replace my CSP. When I hit the first level of preferred rewards, I'll probably put the CSP in the SD and only use it for the shopping portal/offers and when renting a car. At the first level of preferred rewards, the BoA PR will earn more (I don't use the Chase travel portal). Currently, my BoA is in the SD and only used for the incidental airline fees.... which I probably won't get to redeem this year since my business trip was cancelled and I don't have any leisure trips by plane planned.

 

Both cards are ones that I would recommend.

Message 7 of 45
Anonymous
Not applicable

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

Navy Flagship

Alaska Airlines Visa-we live in one of their hubs, so the benefits are worth the AF since we fly almost solely on Alaska. 

Message 8 of 45
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

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

@MT936 wrote:

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. 


IMO, the context question could be important (or not) depending on profile.  There are some excellent travel cards out there that can be useful by a variety of profiles.   For less frequent travelers, there are some great choices in the $0 to $250 AF range that might be more appropriate than a premium card in the $400 to $550 AF range.   Interesting that you mentioned one in the lower and two in the upper range. 

 

AMEX Platinum can be a great card for the right person, but consideration needs to be made if your spend and travel will offset enough of the high $550 AF.   It best fits those who fly often, who pay for a lot of airfare themselves, and who value the best card on the market for airport lounges.    Paying for airfare not only gets you the 5x MR points on those purchases but allows you to fully use the $200 airline fee credit as long as the bulk of your flights are on one primary airline since you have to designate in advance.  Bonus points if you stay at a lot of Hiltons or Marriotts since this card gives you automatic elite status.  More bonus points if you already use UBER regularly and can apply the $200 credits without generating additional spending.  This card was not a good fit for my profile but I appreciate what it has to offer those who can better use it.

 

AMEX Delta Gold (or any other airline or hotel specific card) would work well only if that is a brand you patron very often and perhaps have elite status.  But why the Gold instead of the Platinum or Reserve if you're considering this card?  Those would come closer to mirroring your other choices. 

 

I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and it fits me best, even with the same $550 AF as the AMEX Platinum.  It earns 3x UR points (3%) on travel (in general) and dining out, and I usually dine out often.  I like the flexibility of the travel definitions and the fact that it's not brand-specific to one airline or hotel.   A lot of my travel is not simply flight or airport-centered.  This card has a wide definition of travel that includes not only flights and hotels but also expenses such as rental cars, taxis and limos, cruises, parking and tolls, trains, buses, ferries, and campgrounds.  The first annual travel-related charges up to $300 are automatically credited to your account.  Getting the credits the last two years have been quick and easy.  There are additional credits for TSA Global Entry, DoorDash, and Lyft.  The Roadside Assistance is equivalent to a basic AAA plan since it not only coordinates support but also credits the first $50 per call up to 4x annually.  (Value about $55 AF in my area.)   Airport Priority Pass lounge access is included, one of the networks also offered by AMEX Platinum but AMEX has other networks and more locations.  Primary Rental Car coverage is included for no additional fee unlike some other cards including the Platinum, so if there is a claim your personal auto policy deductible or changes to your insurance rates will not be affected.   Not only that, but through Visa as a Visa Infinite product, the overall trip protections are some of the best-in-class.  (See my link below on a previous posting I made.)  Like AMEX, Chase has special offers (similar to one-time use electronic coupons) that can be redeemed through the app or website.  If you choose to redeem your UR points through the Chase UR portal, you get a 50% bonus so I effectively get at least 4.5% in UR point valuation on travel and dining-out.  Like AMEX, Chase has airline and hotel travel partners where points can be transferred for up to approximately 2 ccp value, similar to AMEX Platinum, although AMEX has more partners.  You also have the option of a lower-value cash redemption at 1ccp, but that is still above what you get on the standard AMEX Platinum at about 6/10 ccp.  I notice you already have the Freedom card, so you can transfer your earnings in UR points from Freedom to CSR where your 5% quarterly category becomes redeemable for 7.5% value in travel.  Same if you add the Freedom Unlimited, which turns it into a flat-rate unlimited 2.25% cash back card.  And same for the INK business cards.  My INK Cash has no AF.  I get 5% (redeemed for 7.5% UR) on my recurring home cellphone and internet-tv bills, as well as office supply stores up to $25K annually.  Combining cards to maximize UR point value is nicknamed the bi-fecta, tri-fecta or quad-fecta.   Even with the coronavirus, this card has still been quite useful to me and I plan to keep it for the long-haul.  (Disclaimer: Chase did automatically offer me a $100 credit due to coronavirus changes to travel and my AF coming due soon, but I had planned to keep it anyway.)

 

See link for more comparisons on travel protections:

https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/What-is-BoA-s-niche-market-for-the-Premium-Rewards-car...


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 9 of 45
notmyrealname23
Established Contributor

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


@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. 


I think @iced's point is well taken because their or my use patterns aren't going to be yours. Are you looking to churn travel cards? Long term keepers? Are you in a Delta hub, or can you pick and choose your carrier? Do you need free luggage as a major benefit for your card(s)?

 

I don't check luggage if I can avoid it, and I don't fancy most USA-based lounges (and the ones I do fancy are mostly ones you can't get into with a card), plus I rent cars/Uber/Lyft/stay in non-chain hotels enough that AMEX Green (3x travel/dining) makes way more sense for my needs then AMEX Platinum (5x just flights/AMEX travel but 1x in a lot of categories). In fact, my goal is eventually Green/Gold long term (Platinum will probably be an occasional churn through AMEX vanilla Platinum/Schwab/Morgan Stanley flavors).

Chase Sapphire Reserve/Preferred are interesting cards but they're probably something I'll get and churn at some point. It will take a long time to manage Chase 5/24 restrictions. I do note their Priority Pass option beats AMEX's by allowing for airport restaurant dining (something I actually would appreciate more than lounges).

I generally think SkyMiles is a fairly weak program (so I am not terribly interested in the AMEX Delta cards) and I have pretty good choices out of my location so I fly Delta, Alaska, Southwest and American domestically (with occasional United or Spirit), while enjoying burning mies on Star Alliance or Alaska Global Partners like Cathay Pacific.

I also grabbed the Hilton AMEX (no annual fee) as an entry into AMEX credit cards and as an interim way to get bonuses on groceries and gas, and as a no-fee option AND upgrade option.

First Tech FCU Choice Rewards World MC 35k | AMEX Hilton Aspire 17.5k | Chase Southwest Priority Visa 15.5k | AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant 15k | Bilt Rewards MC 14k | Capital One Venture X 13k | Fidelity VISA Signature 11.5k | Citi AA Platinum Select 11.9k | Charles Schwab AMEX Platinum NPSL | Amex Platinum (I know) NPSL | Amex Gold NPSL | Citi Premier 8.9k | Chase Fredom Unlimited 9k | SoFi MC World Elite 8k | Capital One SavorOne 7.5k | PayPal Synchrony MC 6.4k | Citi Custom Cash 6.9k | DiscoverIt Cashback 5k | Amazon/Synchrony 5k | Hotels.com 5k | AMEX Delta Gold 3k | Apple Card 3k | Target 800 | Ch 13 filed 12/13 discharged as paid 1/19
Message 10 of 45
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