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Top 10 Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers for July 2015

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The sign-up offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been increased to 50,000 points after $4,000 spent within the first three months. You can earn an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months as well.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Platinum Card from American Express, The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN, Wyndham Rewards Visa Card, Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

Loyalty programs are constantly changing, and so are the credit cards associated with them. In the world of frequent flyer miles and hotel points, sign-up bonuses rise and fall and benefits are added and subtracted, often with little or no notice. Offers that are available today could be gone tomorrow (or even later today!).

Because the cards you carry are key to the success of your award travel strategy, you have to stay up-to-date on the credit card marketplace in order to maximize your points and miles, and to take advantage of great new deals as they become available. Each month, I compile a list of the top travel rewards credit card offers currently available to help you do just that.

Many of the cards on this list remain consistent from month to month thanks to great benefits and fairly constant bonus opportunities, like those on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi ThankYou Premier card. However, the list does change, and the rankings shift along with the offers. For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express is offering 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (rather than the usual spending requirement of $5,000 in six months), and will come with new benefits like waived foreign transaction fees and free Boingo Wi-Fi starting August 11.

This is not a list of every offer on the market. For that I recommend checking out the TPG Top Deals page, where you can find a comprehensive roundup of the best deals currently available, as well as specific hotel and airline credit cards that might interest you. However, if you’re looking to apply for a credit card now, this list features the top options. Check back each month for updates and the latest, best offers out there.

According to myfico.com, these next two mistakes will impact almost two-thirds of your credit score!
Before you apply for new cards, check your credit score and read the posts below for advice and tips.

Before you get started, take a look at these posts for tips on checking your credit, applying for new cards and getting approved:

Here’s the short list of cards, but continue reading below for more details on each of them.

1. Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
3. Citi ThankYou Premier
4. Ink Plus Business Card from Chase
5. Platinum Card from American Express
6. Citi Prestige
7. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
8. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
9. Discover It Miles Card
10. Wyndham Rewards Visa

THE DETAILS

 The Citi Executive AAdvantage card offers many benefits beyond Admirals Club membership.
The Citi Executive AAdvantage card offers many benefits beyond Admirals Club membership.

1. Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
Current Bonus:
 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you spend $7,500 in the first three months.
Benefits: This card’s biggest benefit is probably Admirals Club access, which is why the annual fee is at the premium level. It also recently added Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement to its benefits suite, adding up to another $100 in value. Apart from that, cardholders earn 2x miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and can earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles for spending $40,000 in purchases each calendar year, which is a huge boon in my book. Cardholders also get priority boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, first checked bag free and concierge service. The card also comes with SmartChip technology.
Annual Fee: $450
Reasons to get it: The usual sign-up bonus on this card is 50,000 miles, and we haven’t seen an offer higher than that for about a year now, when Citi was offering limited-time bonuses of 75,000-100,000 miles. A lot of people seem to wonder whether to get the Citi Prestige or the Citi Executive AAdvantage card because the two cards offer some similar benefits. The short answer is that The Citi Executive AAdvantage card is still best for American Airlines loyalists who value elite status (or perks that mimic it), while Prestige offers a broader range of benefits, like the 4th Night Free hotel benefit and the $250 annual Air Travel CreditCheck out this post for a more in-depth answer to the question.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Current Bonus: 40,000 points
when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. You’ll earn another 5,000 bonus points when you add a second cardholder and make a purchase within the first three months.
Benefits: This card regularly makes my list of the top travel credit cards thanks to compelling benefits like earning 2x points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, primary auto rental insurance and the ability to transfer points to 11 transfer partners, including British Airways, Southwest, United, Hyatt and Marriott.
Annual Fee: $95
Reasons to get it: This is still a top travel credit card, though Chase made some changes to it in the last year. The sign-up bonus spending requirement increased from $3,000 to $4,000, and Chase eliminated the 7% annual points dividend. On the positive side, you can score an extra 5,000 points by adding a second cardholder. The card’s trip cancellation coverage was also bumped up to $10,000, and the Sapphire Preferred now offers primary rental car insurance instead of the usual secondary coverage. This card is always on my list of top travel credit cards thanks to great category bonuses on travel and dining, waived foreign transaction fees and the value of the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.

For more information on the card and the Ultimate Rewards program, see these posts:

3. Citi ThankYou Premier
Current Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Benefits: Earn 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel (including gas), and 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment. Citi ThankYou Rewards also now has 12 transfer partners, including Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Hilton HHonors. This card also features EMV chip technology, no foreign transaction fees and Citi Price Rewind.
Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Reasons to get it: There are plenty of reasons to consider the Citi ThankYou Premier, including the current sign-up bonus, which was simplified from the old convoluted formula that took a full year to earn. The greatest motivation might be those bonus spending categories, which Citi recently changed so that you earn 3x points on travel and 2x points on dining and entertainment. Citi also adjusted the travel category to include a broader range of expenses: In addition to airlines, hotels and travel agencies, you’ll now earn 3x ThankYou Points for spending on car rentals, gas, taxi/limousines, passenger railways, cruise lines and more. So if you spend a lot of money on travel and gas, that 3 points per dollar earning rate will come in handy, and the card still offers 2x points on dining and entertainment.

In general, Citi has dramatically improved its ThankYou Rewards program with all those new airline partners (with occasional transfer bonuses), and the annual fee on this card (which is waived for the first year) dropped from $125 to $95, making it an even more attractive option. In fact, I recently applied for this card myself.

For more information, check out these posts:

4. Ink Plus Business Card
Current Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
Benefits:
Earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, and on cell phone, land line, internet and cable TV services (on up to $50,000 in spending annually), and 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations and on hotel accommodations (again, on up to $50,000 in spending annually). No foreign transaction fees. Ability to transfer points to 11 travel partners, including United, British Airways, Southwest and Hyatt.
Annual Fee: $95
Reasons to get it: This business card comes loaded with benefits, including 5x and 2x category spending bonuses and the ability to earn points that you can transfer to any of Chase’s 11 travel partners. I list Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece in my most recent monthly valuations, so I value the sign-up bonus at $1,050.

For more information, see these posts:

The Amex Platinum Card has lost some benefits, but new amenities like a growing list of Centurion Lounges keep it on my list of top cards.
The Amex Platinum Card has lost some benefits, but new amenities like a growing list of Centurion Lounges keep it on my list of top cards.

5. Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum
Current Bonus: Targeted offer for 100,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months available (through the CardMatch tool seen on July 3, 2015) on the personal card. Otherwise, the current public offer is 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 in three months on the personal card, and 40,000 points after you spend $5,000 in three months on the business card.
Benefits: These cards also come with a host of valuable benefits, including a $200 annual airline rebate, access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges (as well as the Amex Centurion Lounges), and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate (see posts below for more info). The business version gives you access to all of Amex’s OPEN Savings perks and discounts, as well as Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes.
Annual Fee: $450
Reasons to get it: Though the annual fee on this card is among the highest on the market, it has several valuable perks that you can learn more about in the posts I’ve linked to below. If you can maximize benefits like the $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, Fine Hotels & Resorts perks and credits and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits, you can reap benefits far more valuable than the price of the annual fee. The Platinum card did lose some of its lounge benefits last year, but Amex is working to expand the network of Centurion Lounges throughout the US and beyond, including the recently added lounges in Miami and Seattle.

For more information, check out these posts:

6. Citi Prestige Card
Current Bonus: 40,000 ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Benefits: $250 air travel credit each year for things like airfare, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Admirals Club access and Priority Pass Select lounge membership. No foreign transaction fees. $100 Global Entry application fee waiver. Earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar on air travel and hotel purchases, 2 points on dining and entertainment and 1 point on everything else. Get your fourth night free at hotels with no black-out dates when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel via a personal travel adviser designated by MasterCard. Redeem your points for air travel at a rate of 1.33 cents apiece, or 1.6 cents apiece on American Airlines. Citi ThankYou Rewards also now has 12 transfer partners, including Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic and Hilton HHonors.
Annual Fee: $450
Reasons to get it: This card has a much higher annual fee than the Citi ThankYou Premier, but the Citi Prestige comes with a ton of additional, valuable benefits that can make it more than worthwhile. The annual $250 air travel credit equates to more than half of the annual fee, and Citi made several major improvements to the ThankYou program in general over the last year, including the addition of new transfer partners (and there may be more to come). This card also offers other great benefits such as lounge access, a Global Entry fee waiver, the fourth-night-free hotel benefit and free rounds of golf. For more information on the card and its benefits, check out these posts:

7. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Current Bonus: 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 ($5,000 for the business card) in purchases within the first three months
Benefits: Earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar on purchases at participating SPG hotels. Earn 2 stays/5 nights of credit toward elite status each year, automatic Gold status when you spend $30,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year. American Express also just added a slew of new benefits effective August 11, including no foreign transaction fees, complimentary unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi, complimentary premium in-room internet access and Sheraton Club access (on the business version only).
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
Reasons to get it: Apart from the great benefits this card offers on its own, the Starwood Preferred Guest program is unique in offers both great hotel redemptions and has over 30 airline transfer partners. You also earn a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 points at a time to airline partners, making this card a great option if you need to top up various accounts for the awards you want.

For more information, check out these posts:

The Citi Hilton Reserve card gives two free nights.
The Citi Hilton Reserve card’s sign-up bonus includes two free nights.

8. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
Current Bonus: Two weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 in four months. Each certificate is good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at most hotels and resorts within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio.
Benefits: Earn 10 HHonors points for every dollar spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, 5 points for every dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases and 3 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Receive automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status, and earn Diamond status with $40,000 in annual spending. No foreign transaction fees. SmartChip technology. Visa Signature benefits. Cardholders who spend $10,000 annually (starting on your annual fee date) get a free weekend night certificate on the account anniversary.
Annual Fee:
$95
Reasons to get it: The two free weekend nights and anniversary weekend night after spending $10,000, automatic Gold status and the ability to earn Diamond status all make this card a top choice for Hilton fans. The sign-up bonus alone can be worth thousands of dollars depending on where you redeem those weekend night certificates. To sweeten the deal, Citi sometimes offers a limited-time $100 statement credit for your first Hilton stay within three months of account opening, but that extra incentive isn’t available at the moment. If you’re not in a hurry to apply, you might hold out to see if that offer shows up again, but this is a great card even without it. Depending on how you redeem the anniversary night, it can more than make up for the $95 annual fee, which is why I’ve kept this card in my wallet for a few years now.

For more information, check out these posts:

9. Discover it Miles
Current Bonus:
None
Benefits: Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases, plus an exclusive offer for the first year that will double all your miles earned, giving you an overall rate of 3 miles per dollar. Among the card’s other benefits are up to $30 per year in reimbursements for in-flight Wi-Fi fees with an automatic statement credit, and a free FICO credit score on your monthly statements, mobile app and online.
Annual Fee: $0
Reasons to get it: I consider Discover’s cards more as cash-back cards rather than travel rewards credit cards. However, this offer from Discover (which was launched about two months ago) has got it back on my list it because of the 3 miles per dollar offered in the first year of card membership. You earn 1.5 miles per dollar on purchases, and Discover will double all the miles you’ve earned at the end of the year if you remain a cardholder in good standing. There’s no good reason not to, since this card doesn’t carry an annual fee. Miles are worth 1 cent apiece in cash back, and you can redeem in any amount toward travel purchases on your statement, or get cash as a direct deposit to your bank account. That means you’re effectively getting a 3% return on your spending, which surpasses competing cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

For more information on this new version of the Discover it card and this specific offer, check out these posts:

Both Wyndham Rewards credit cards are offering higher limited-time sign-up bonuses.
Both Wyndham Rewards credit cards are offering higher limited-time sign-up bonuses.

10. Wyndham Rewards Visa
Current Bonus:
Earn up to 45,000 bonus points. Earn 30,000 bonus points with your first purchase, and earn an additional 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
Benefits: Earn up to 5 additional points per dollar spent on qualified hotel stays, and earn 2 points per dollar spent everywhere else. Earn 15,000 bonus points on your account anniversary every year.
Annual Fee: $69
Reasons to get it: Thanks to Wyndham’s recent revaluation, the sign-up bonus alone is worth three free nights (with no blackout dates) at any of the chain’s 7,600+ hotel properties. Wyndham hotels can cost up to $300-$400 per night in some cases, so you can get tremendous value out of the sign-up bonus. Furthermore, you get 15,000 anniversary bonus points every year that you renew the card (enough for a one-night redemption), which pretty much negates that annual fee. Beyond hotel redemptions, Wyndham also lets you transfer your points to more than 15 airline partners (and Amtrak), including Alaska, American, Hawaiian, Southwest and United. The transfer ratios aren’t great, but it’s nice to have another option.

For more information, check out these posts:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A See Issuer's Terms Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit