Stefan’s Travel Rewards Card Recommendations

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I’ve partnered with Upgraded Points because the site has the most detailed, user-friendly online miles and points guides that they keep regularly updated. I frequently advise on content and contribute to improve and update articles for beginner to advanced audiences.

I write the blog Rapid Travel Chai, founded the Facebook group Every Passport Stamp, and speak on travel and frequent flyer programs at conferences and events around the world.

My Travel

Stefan on Tristan da Cunha
Reaching remote Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic on the final call by the Royal Mail Ship St Helena

I travel America and the world for business and pleasure. I got into rewards credit cards to achieve my goal of traveling to every country in the world – I’ve been to 190 and have 3 to go.

I am decades ahead of where I thought I would be before I learned the value of miles and points.

Miles and points mean that when my wife wants to celebrate her birthday in Hong Kong, a bit of nostalgia from when we were living in Asia and dating, we can do it in style. Or I can bring my family in for my father’s 70th birthday celebration this year during peak summer travel season.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The most valuable credit cards for me have flexible rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards that have both airline & hotel transfer partners, and solid points for cash travel awards.

My Ultimate Rewards points go to:

  • Star Alliance carrier flights for my country collecting, booked with United MileagePlus
  • Business class flights for my wife on Korean Air (her favorite airline)
  • Romantic stays at Hyatts

I pool points earned from my personal and business Chase cards, maximizing category bonuses such as:

  • 3x travel on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred
  • 5x category bonuses of the Chase Freedom and Ink Business Cash
  • 1.5x everywhere ease of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Unlimited

Recommended Chase Personal Cards

CHASE PERSONAL CARDBENEFITS & INFO
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 50,000 bonus points
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Earn $150 bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases & balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74%-25.49%.
  • Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Chase Business Cards

CHASE BUSINESS CARDBENEFITS & INFO
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Earn $500 bonus cash-back
  • Earn 5% cash back in select business categories
  • Earn 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 (combined) spent at gas stations and restaurants each year
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99%-20.99%
  • $0 Annual Fee
Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points
  • That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories.
  • Annual Fee: $95
Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Card

New! Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
  • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99%-20.99%.
  • $0 Annual Fee

American Express Membership Rewards

The American Express Membership Rewards program is also great value for me:

  • Delta is my primary airline and there are hidden gems with Delta SkyMiles when you know where to look
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is useful for awards on Delta that can be much cheaper than Delta charges
  • ANA Mileage Club is an underrated Star Alliance program
  • Air Canada Aeroplan works great for Star Alliance, too, on airlines where surcharges are not added
  • British Airways Executive Club is great for short-distance flights on Oneworld airlines and Alaska Airlines
  • Choice Privileges are a sleeper value for stays in Europe with breakfasts often included

To get started with Membership Rewards, the EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred cards are versatile cards for daily purchases, especially groceries.

AMEX CARDBENEFITS & INFO
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x).
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0

Delta Elite Status

I love Delta Diamond Medallion status and the Medallion Qualification Mile (MQM) Boosts of the American Express Delta Platinum and American Express Delta Reserve get me closer to soon reaching 2 million lifetime miles!

I prefer the business versions of these cards because monthly spend does not show on credit reports. I frequently spend a lot on these cards and would not want my reported credit utilization to increase.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card in your first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • SPECIAL OFFER: Earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Also, earn 5 miles per dollar on eligible purchases with your new Card during the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to 35,000 bonus miles. Special offer expires 7/31/18.
  • Annual Fee: $195. Terms Apply.

New from Hilton

The refreshed lineup of Hilton cards is worth a look, especially the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card for giving Hilton Honors Gold status and their earning potential.

A ‘No Brainer’ Card for Businesses

For business owners, the American Express Blue Business℠ Plus earns 2x points everyone up to $50,000 per year and has no annual fee, yet can transfer to all Membership Rewards partners. An incredible value!

For those who prefer cash back, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card is a great small business option with 5x at office supply and 3x at a category of your choice.

Always on the Lookout for More Rewards and More Travel

Smart investment of time to maximize rewards on personal and business spend can pay off in ‘once in a lifetime’ trips again and again!

Stefan Red Crab Migration Christmas Island
The red crab migration on Christmas Island, Australia, booked with Delta SkyMiles on Virgin Australia