Credit Cards We Like

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One question we get asked is:

“What is the best credit card?”

First and foremost, read our page on credit reporting agencies and how credit scores work.

After that, you have to weigh dozens of different considerations:

  • What banks do you already have? How many cards have you taken out in the last 24 months? Do you only want one card, or would you consider multiple?
  • Do you prefer cashback or miles & points? Are you risk tolerant or risk averse? Do you prefer fool-proof plans or ones that involve options?
  • Do you need to book a trip ASAP, or do you have time to be strategic? Are you trying to travel for free or in style? Domestic or international? Quick flight or red-eye? Bringing kids?
  • Are you loyal to a specific travel brand? Do you live near an airline’s hub airport? Is there some fancy hotel at your dream destination that caught your eye?
  • Are you okay with annual fees if you still come out ahead?

Also, some cards work great in combination with others. Here are some combos that we like:

  • Amex: Platinum card, Gold card, and Everyday (or Everyday Preferred) for TONS of Amex points.
  • Amex: Several Hilton cards for stacking free nights at Hilton brand hotels.
  • BofA: Premium Rewards (or Travel Rewards) card plus Preferred Rewards program for 2.625% cashback everywhere
  • Chase: Sapphire Reserve/Preferred card plus the Freedom Unlimited for TONS of Chase points.
  • Chase: Several Marriott cards for stacking free nights at Marriott brand hotels.
  • Chase: Sapphire Reserve (or Preferred) card plus the Hyatt card for stacking free nights at Hyatt brand hotels.
  • Citi: Prestige card, Premier card, and AT&T Access More card for TONS of Citi points.
  • Plenty of other combinations too depending on your needs!
CardBankImageElevator PitchFee
EverydayAmex
Amex Everyday
1.5x points on all purchases. 20% bonus points with 20+ transactions per statement.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings.
Keep your Amex Points from Expiring.

Free!
Travel Rewards
BofA
BofA Travel Rewards
20,000 point signup bonus, up to 2.625% with Preferred Rewards program.
Free!
FreedomChase
Chase Freedom
5x points (or 5% cashback) on quarterly rotating categories. Pairs well with Chase Sapphire cards.
Don’t use for international transactions.

Free!
Freedom UnlimitedChase
Chase Freedom Unlimited
1.5x points on all spending.
Pairs well with Chase Sapphire cards.
Don’t use for international transactions.

Free!
Double Cash
Citi
Citi Double Cash
2% cash back on all spend, access to Citi Price Rewind.
Product change to Citi Dividend rotating 5% cashback card.

Free!
IT
Discover
Discover IT
10% cashback on rotating categories in the first year.
Free!
IT Miles
Discover
Discover IT Miles
3% cashback on all spending for the first year.
Free!
Cash+
US Bank
US Bank Cash+
5% cashback on categories you choose.
Become a US Bank customer so you can apply for the Altitude Reserve!
Free!

CardBankImageElevator PitchFee
Alaska AirlinesBofA
Alaska Airlines
30,000 miles and taxes-only companion certificate signup bonus, free checked bag. Taxes+$99 companion certificate every card anniversary.$75
Gold Card??????Amex
Amex Gold Card
25,000 point signup bonus, $100 airline fee credit, 3x flights, 2x restaurants, gas, and groceries.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings.
$195(free first year)
Premium RewardsBofA
BofA Premium Rewards
25,000 point signup bonus, $100 airline fee credit, 3x flights, 2x restaurants, gas, and groceries.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings.
$95
Premier CitiIcon50,000 points signup bonus, 3x on points on gas and other travel, 2x on restaurants and entertainment, access to Citi Price Rewind.$95(free first year)
Sapphire PreferredChase
Chase Sapphire Preferred
50,000 points signup bonus, rental car primary collision damage waiver, 2x points on restaurants and travel.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings or use points at 1.5 cents per point for cash bookings.

$95 (free first year)
Hilton AscendAmex
Hilton Ascend
100,000 point signup bonus, Hilton Gold status, Priority Pass lounge access, 12x Hilton properties, 6x restaurants, groceries, and gas.
Free weekend night at any property when you spend $15,000 in a year.
$95
Hyatt CardChase
Chase Hyatt
60,000 point signup bonus worth over $900, Hyatt Discoverist status, 4x Hyatt properties, 2x restaurants, commuting, flights, fitness clubs.
Ability to earn elite nights through credit card spend.
Free night at Category 1-4 property every card anniversary.
$95
JetBlue PlusBarclays
JetBlue Plus
40,000 point signup bonus, 50% off inflight purchases, free checked bag, 6x JetBlue purchases, 2x restaurants and groceries. 5000 point bonus every card anniversary.$99
Starwood Preferred GuestAmex
Starwood Preferred Guest
25,000 points signup bonus, 2x Starwood properties.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings and receive 25% bonus miles.
$95(free first year)
CardBankImageElevator PitchFee
Platinum Card
Amex
Amex Platinum Card
60,000 point signup bonus, $200 airline fee credit per calendar year, $200 Uber credit, Centurion lounge access, Delta lounge access when flying Delta, Priority Pass lounge access, Hilton Gold status, Marriott Gold status, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, concierge dining reservations, $100 Global Entry credit, 5x flights.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings.

$550
Sapphire Reserve
Chase
Chase Sapphire Reserve
50,000 point signup bonus, $300 travel credit, rental car primary collision damage waiver, Priority Pass lounge access, and 3x points on restaurants and travel.
Transfer to Hyatt or airline partners for award bookings, or use points at 1.5 cents per point for cash bookings.

$450
Prestige
Citi
Citi Prestige
50,000 point signup bonus, $250 travel credit per calendar year, 4th hotel night free, Priority Pass lounge access, 5x points on flights and restaurants, 3x on hotels and cruises, access to Citi Price Rewind.
Transfer to airline partners for award bookings.

$495
Hilton Aspire
Amex
Hilton Aspire
100k point bonus (worth $500), $250 airline fee credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, Hilton Diamond status, Priority Pass lounge access, 14x Hilton properties, 7x restaurants and flights.
Free weekend night at any property every card anniversary.

$450

Ritz-Carlton
Chase
Ritz-Carlton Rewards
Two free nights at Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carltons signup bonus, $300 airline fee credit, $100 off companion on round-trip flights, Priority Pass lounge access, Global Entry, 5x Marriott properties.
$450
Altitude Reserve US Bank
US Bank Altitude Reserve
50,000 point signup bonus (worth $750), $325 travel credit per year, rental car primary collision damage waiver, Global Entry, 4.5x travel and mobile wallet purchases including Apple Pay.
Exclusive to current US Bank customers.
$400