As we progress towards the summer months and look to make those summer travel plans using our hard-earned points, I thought it would be beneficial to take a look at the top credit card offers out on the market to pad those award accounts. I generated this list by taking a look at the cards that offer high sign up bonuses in the highest caliber of reward programs.

1. Citi Prestige® Card – This card tends to scare people away with its hefty $450 annual fee, but after just opening the card myself, I’m seeing well over $1,000 in value.

Perks:

  • The card comes with $250 Air Travel Credit each year. That’s essentially $500, because you can close the card or downgrade it next year before the annual fee arises and redeem that travel credit a second time.
  • The card also offers complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay when you book with the Citi Prestige.
  • Additionally, earn 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open – Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.

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  • Free application for Global Entry – Receive $100 statement credit when you pay for the app with this card
  • Free access to American Airlines Admiral Club lounges and Priority Pass lounges
  • Also, enjoy 3 free rounds of golf per calendar year at participating courses
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels and earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels, as well as 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment.

2. British Airways Visa Signature® Card – British Avios award program is one of the best in the business. They offer great value for award tickets booked on domestic flights through American Airlines. Because BA uses a distance-based award chart, they charge the same amount of points to fly from Los Angeles to Hawaii as they do for a flight from Los Angeles to New York. American Airlines, on the other hand, considers Hawaii to be its own region and charges 20,000 additional points roundtrip for the exact same flight than British Airways will charge you. Read more about it here: How I Booked A Last Minute $4,000 Vacation With Points.

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  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend $10,000 on purchases for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios
  • Plus earn another 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend a total of $20,000 on purchases within your first year for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years
  • In addition to the bonus Avios, you will also get 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad
  • This card carries a $95 annual fee

So if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year, you’ll have enough points for close to 5 roundtrip tickets between the West Coast and Hawaii! Note: This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – What started as a game changing card in the award travel industry, the Chase Sapphire Preferred still remains a staple as one of the top cards to have in your wallet. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program allows you to transfer your points to many airline and hotel programs at a 1:1 rate.

Perks:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad

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  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. Some of their partners include:
    • United Airlines
    • Southwest Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Hyatt Hotels
    • Marriott Hotels
    • and More!
  • Travel and shop with confidence with premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection & more
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Note: This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

4. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Southwest Airlines remains a fan favorite with free checked bags and free flights changes. But the best value that Southwest Airlines offers is their Companion Pass. By “earning” 110,000 points in a calendar year, you’ll receive a Companion Pass where you can add a designated family member or friend to all of your flights and they travel free! You can use this 50,00 point sign up offer after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 2 months towards this milestone.

southwest card

Perks:

  • Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary every year
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad

5. The Hyatt Credit Card – This card has what is easily my favorite sign up bonus over any other credit card in the market. After spending just $1,000 in 3 months, you’ll earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt property in the world. I’ve redeemed this free nights for stays at The Park Hyatt Tokyo and Park Hyatt New York – both exquisite hotels that can cost up to $1,000 per night!

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Perks:

  • Get 2 free nights at Hyatt properties worldwide — in any Category after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Plus, 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 property
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent at all Hyatt properties and 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and at car rental agencies
  • Get 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your card during the first 3 months as a cardmember – Free nights start at just 5,000 points
  • Receive automatic Platinum status in the Hyatt Gold Passport Award Program and enjoy exclusive benefits as long as you’re a cardmember. This includes a 15% point bonus on eligible spend, complimentary in-room Internet, 72-hour room guarantee, expedited check-in and a preferred reservation line.
  • No foreign transaction fees on international purchase
  • 0 introductory annual fee for the first year ($75 thereafter)

Note: This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

6. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® – The Arrival card is a little different than the award credit cards mentioned above in the sense that you can redeem your Arrival points for a statement credit on any travel expenses you make. For example, if you book a car rental for $200, you can use 20,000 points to receive a $200 statement credit. Or, you can use 2,500 points to get $25 back on your next checked bag fee. You get the idea…

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Perks:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24% or 20.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
  • Annual fee waived the first year and $89 after

7. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card – The Marriott card isn’t normally one of the top cards I recommend, but it’s currently boasting a 80,000 point sign up bonus. Most of the good Marriott hotels cost about 40,000-50,000 points per night, so the sign up bonus can give you about 2 free nights at a good hotel. Free nights at their partner, The Ritz-Carlton, retail at 70,000 points per night.

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Perks:

  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at 4,000 Marriott locations, 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better. Plus, Earn 1 Elite Credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases
  • $85 Annual Fee

8. IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card – The IHG Card is the gift that keeps on giving. With a 70,000 point sign up bonus, plus automatic platinum elite status in the IHG program, plus a free night each year you hold the card at no cost the first year and only $49 after…this card is a no brainer!

ihg card

Perks:

  • Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy a free night each year of card membership at over 4,900 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

What card are you going to get?!

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