Even though I write plenty about credit card rewards over at Frugal Travel Guy, I like to write about it on my home turf from time to time. I guess it’s partly because I get so many personal emails and questions from people wondering which rewards they should pursue and which deals are H-O-T.
To be honest, it can sometimes be hard to answer those questions. After all, we all have different travel goals and the best option for one person isn’t always the same for someone else. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to give a rundown of the cards we’ve signed up for over the past six months and why.
Whether you want to travel abroad, sail the Mediterranean Sea with Royal Holiday, or simply earn a few free flights, the following strategies might help:
The US Airways Premier MasterCard
I ain’t gonna lie. The main reason we signed up for this card is because of my belief that U.S. Airways miles will become American Airlines miles after the two airlines finish merging over the next year. As I’ve written before, I absolutely love American Airlines miles for overseas travel. In fact, we booked two round-trip flights to Europe for this fall for only 80,000 AA miles total during the off-peak season. The retail value of our two flights was over $2,400, and we paid a mere $197 in taxes and fees.
Anyway, we both signed up for the U.S. Airways Premier World MasterCard because it’s likely that the bonus miles we earn will be transferable to our AA accounts sometime in the near future. We currently have around 200,000 AA miles to burn, but I’m a greedy bitch. I always want more. The deal is this: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase on the card.
Boom. That’s it.
You can buy a pack of gum, pay your cable bill, or treat yourself to a single-serve sundae at Pinkbery. It doesn’t matter. The only caveat is that the $89 annual fee is not waived. So basically you’re paying $89 for what will likely turn into 40,000 American Airlines miles. If you want to sign up with my affiliate link, you can do so here.
IHG Rewards Select Credit Card
If you want to read explicit details of why I signed up for this card, you can read the long explanation in this post: How We’re Going to Jamaica for FREE Next Year. However, I’ll give you the short answer here. Basically, the IHG Rewards Select Credit Card allows you to earn points that are redeemable for several all-inclusive resorts. We signed up for the 80K offer, which means that we have earned a little over 165,000 IHG points. That’s almost enough for five free nights at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay Jamaica. SQQQUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE….. I cannot wait.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
The SPG card is one of my absolute favorite hotel rewards cards, for obvious reasons. Another fun fact: The current offer on this card is 30,000 bonus points for a limited time. The deal is this: Earn 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 20,000 starpoints after spending $5,000 within 6 months. That might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. You’ve got six months, people! We already had the personal version of this card, so we signed up for the business version this time. Yes, you read that right. You can do both.
I don’t have an affiliate link for this card, but I have a referral link for the business version. Basically, I get 5,000 bonus starpoints if you sign up through my referral link. Wanna show a blogger some love? Sound off in the comments if you want me to email you my referral link.
Capital One Venture Card
This is kind’ve a sad subject for me, but I thought I would report about it anyway. Capital One recently upped the signup bonus on their Venture card to 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within three months. Greg and I both signed up for the card, but I was declined.
I guess they saw my 40 million inquiries and zero balances and realized that I probably wouldn’t be a profitable customer. But Greg has just as much open credit as I do, so I don’t get it. The only thing that makes sense is that maybe Greg got approved since he has a real J-O-B and I got denied because of my self-employed status. Or maybe they don’t like me.
Anyway, this card allows you to redeem your miles for travel credit, much like the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard (affiliate link). So, 40,000 miles turns into $400 in travel credit for airfare, hotel stays, train rides, whatever. I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through Greg on this one.
Want to read more about my adventures pursuing credit card rewards? Check these awesome posts out:
How to Win the Credit Card Rewards Game- my interview in Time Magazine
Is The Starwood Preferred AMEX The King of Hotel Loyalty Cards?- my recent post at VOSA
Money Advice Not Everyone Agrees On: Using Credit Card Rewards- my interview in Lifehacker
Which cards have you signed up for lately? Why?