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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve

I compile a list of the top travel rewards credit card offers available each month. Many of the cards on my list remain consistent from month to month thanks to great benefits and consistent bonus opportunities, like those available with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Citi Prestige.

However, the rankings do shift as new offers appear and others vanish. Among the major changes in recent months was the launch of Chase’s new premium travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has had points and miles enthusiasts buzzing thanks to a 100,000-point sign-up bonus and top-shelf benefits such as an annual $300 travel credit, phenomenal bonus spending categories of travel and dining, and more. It’s a new salvo in the battle of the premium credit cards. This month’s list also includes new entries for the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express, both of which are offering increased sign-up bonuses.

Though this list has the best offers of the moment, you can always find a comprehensive roundup of the best deals currently available, as well as specific hotel and airline credit cards that might interest you, on the Hot Deals page. However, if you’re thinking of applying for a credit card now, this list features my top choices at the moment. Check back each month for updates and the latest and best offers out there.

Credit Factors to Consider

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, you can peruse these posts for advice on checking your credit score, applying for new cards and getting approved.

THE SHORT LIST

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

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
3. The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
4. Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
5. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
6. Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
7. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
8. Citi Prestige
9. Platinum Card from American Express
10. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

THE DETAILS

Here’s an in-depth look at each of the cards listed above, including their benefits and reasons to apply now.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

chase sapphire reserve mta subway featured

Current Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 3 points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. $300 annual travel credit. Priority Pass Select lounge access. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. No foreign transaction fees. Primary auto rental insurance. Trip cancellation coverage. Redeem points through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1.5 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $450

Reasons to get it: Though the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has a high annual fee of $450 in line with other premium travel rewards cards, it offers some top-of-class perks that make it well worth that amount. The sign-up bonus is worth an outstanding $2,100 based on my latest valuations, and the 3x points you earn on travel and dining equal a return on spending of 6.3% compared to 4.2% for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. And while the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal isn’t usually the best way to use your points, you can still reap significant value from your points when you do redeem them that way (1.5 cents per point vs. 1.25 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred).

That’s before we’ve even gotten to the very generous $300 annual travel credit, which applies to a huge range of travel purchases, from airfare to parking fees, and beats the other premium cards’ similar benefit. The travel credit effectively brings the annual fee down to $150, and you also get a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While several other cards offer lounge access through Priority Pass Select, this perk is still nice to have — especially if you don’t have lounge access through another card. Overall, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an extremely lucrative travel rewards card — it’s now my go-to card for earning valuable points for all my travel and dining purchases.

For more detailed information on this phenomenal new card, check out our recent posts on it:

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

 The Chase Sapphire Preferred always earns a place on this list thanks to a higher sign-up bonus and its great benefits and points-earning potential.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred stills earns a high spot on this list thanks to its sign-up bonus, great benefits and points-earning potential.

Current Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You’ll earn another 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months.

Benefits: This card regularly ranks high on my list of top travel credit cards thanks to the fact that it earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. It waives foreign transaction fees, provides primary auto rental insurance, trip cancellation coverage and gives cardholders the ability to transfer points to 11 travel partners, including British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, Southwest and United among others.

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95.

Reasons to get it: While Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t quite as compelling as it once was, following the launch of Chase Sapphire Reserve, it’s still a fantastic choice if you aren’t sure you want to take on the Reserve card’s $450 annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred allows you to earn 2 points per dollar at restaurants and on a range of travel purchases, with no limit. You can transfer your points to the Ultimate Rewards program’s 11 great travel partners or redeem Ultimate Rewards points directly for airfare at a rate of 1.25 cents apiece, giving you more flexibility.

You can now transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue as well.
You can now transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Air France/KLM Flying Blue as well.

Chase has been restricting some new credit card applications depending on how many cards you have (generally, Chase might turn you down if you’ve applied for more than five credit cards within a 24-month period), so you might want to apply for this one first (or at least after the Sapphire Reserve) if you plan on getting a few Chase credit cards. For more about the card and its benefits, check out this post on 5 reasons to get the Sapphire Preferred now, and these 5 things to do when you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred to help you maximize this card’s outstanding benefits.

Beyond that, you can read these posts for more information on the card and the Ultimate Rewards program:

3. The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN

The Amex Business Platinum may be aimed at businesses, but you can still take advantage of the perks and sign-up bonus as an individual!
The Business Platinum now offers 1.5x points on purchases over $5,000, and a 50% rebate on airfare redemptions.

Current Bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 on all qualifying purchases within the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 2 points per dollar on eligible purchases when you book through American Express Travel. Earn 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. $200 annual airline rebate. Access to Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass lounges and Centurion Lounge locations. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate. Transfer Membership Rewards to 20 airline and hotel partners.

Annual fee: $450

Reason to get it: Amex has made some significant improvements to its lineup of Platinum cards, and while the Business Platinum doesn’t offer 5x points on airfare like the personal Amex Platinum, it now earns you 1.5x points on all purchases of $5,000 or more. Additionally, you’ll now receive a 50% points rebate when you redeem for air travel with the same carrier you’ve selected for your annual airline fee credit, or when you book business- or first-class airfare through Amex Travel. One area where the premium Platinum cards have always lagged behind the competition is earning rates, so it’s great to see that Amex is taking steps to improve its flagship card by offering new bonus categories and an opportunity to earn points back when you redeem for airline awards. I value the 50,000 Membership Rewards points you’ll get from the current sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months at $950, and if you’re able to spend $15,000 in the first three months, you’d get a total of 100,000 points — worth $1,900. On top of that, the Business Platinum still comes with Centurion Lounge access, a $200 airline fee credit, complimentary Hilton and SPG Gold status and more.

4. Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is currently fielding a higher sign-up bonus.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is currently fielding a higher sign-up bonus.

Current Bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on the card within the first three months of cardmembership.

Benefits: Earn 3 points per dollar on a category of your choice from a list of 5 categories that include: airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases at gas stations, US purchases for shipping, US computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. Earn 2 points per dollar on the 4 remaining categories and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. The 3x and 2x apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, then you earn 1 point per dollar thereafter. The card waives foreign transaction fees.

Annual fee: $0 the first year, then $175 thereafter.

Reasons to get it: Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. The Business Gold Rewards Card’s sign-up bonus usually hovers around 40,000 points, so this offer is a 25% premium over that, and the best public offer we’ve seen in quite a while. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.9 cents apiece, so the sign-up bonus is worth about $950 by my estimation. But the card’s real value lies in the potential to maximize those bonus spending categories. The points you can earn by spending up to that $100,000 cap can represent tremendous value. Not only that, but Membership Rewards points are extremely versatile thanks to the program’s robust roster of transfer partners. The card also unlocks access to Amex’s OPEN program, which includes perks like discounts or bonus points at FedEx and Hertz, among other outlets.

5. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

Use your free nights at a property like the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton.
Use your free nights at a property like the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton.

Current Bonus: Three complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton Hotel after spending $5,000 in the first three months your account is open.

Benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar at Ritz-Carlton and Marriott properties; 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies and restaurants; and 1 point per dollar on everything else. $300 annual travel credit. Complimentary $100 credit for qualifying dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of two nights or longer. Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Automatic Gold elite status during your first account year. Upgrade to the Ritz-Carlton Club Level three times per year on paid stays of up to seven nights. $100 Global Entry application fee credit.

Annual fee: $450

Reasons to get it: Thanks to a great sign-up bonus and its additional perks, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is one of the strongest premium travel rewards cards on the market. With the sign-up bonus, you can earn three complimentary nights at Tier 1-4 (out of 5) hotels, which represents most of the brand’s portfolio. So if you can maximize the three free nights at expensive hotels, it can be well worth it. In addition to a better sign-up bonus, the card now offers a Global Entry application fee reimbursement that is separate from the $300 annual travel credit, and you also get Priority Pass Select lounge membership, which can come in handy if you don’t have lounge access through another card. The annual fee did increase from $395 to $450, but if you can maximum the additional free night and new benefits, it could be well worth it.

For more information on Ritz-Carlton, see these posts:

6. Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

delta - featured
Amex is offering higher limited-time sign-up bonuses on several of its Delta co-branded cards this month.

Current Bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 in purchases within your first three months, and get a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on your new card within your first three months. This is a limited-time offer available only until November 9, 2016.

Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. If you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles, and if you spend $50,000 in a calendar year, you’ll earn another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. Cardholders also get priority boarding, a free checked bag and 20% off in-flight purchases. Cardholders receive a companion certificate for a round-trip domestic economy flight each year upon card renewal.

Annual fee: $195

Reasons to get it: This limited-time offer has a few interesting features. First, the sign-up bonus, at 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs, is literally double the normal bonus on this card, though you have to spend significantly more in order to earn it ($5,000 compared to the usual $1,000). Though the card’s annual fee isn’t waived, you can also offset it by taking advantage of that one-time $100 Delta rebate. This card’s other defining feature is the ability to earn Medallion-Qualifying Miles through spending, which could help folks who put large purchases on it over the threshold to achieve a higher tier of elite status.

7. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

Put those two free nights to use at an expensive Category 5 property like the W Istanbul. Photo courtesy of Starwood.
Put those two free nights to use at an expensive Category 5 property like the W Istanbul. Photo courtesy of Starwood.

Current Bonus: Earn two free nights at Category 1-5 Starwood properties after spending $3,000 or $5,000 in the first three months on the personal and business card, respectively. Offer available through October 19, 2016.

Benefits: Earn 2 Starpoints per dollar on purchases at participating Starwood hotels, in addition to what you’d normally earn through SPG. Earn 2 stays/5 nights of credit toward elite status each year, plus automatic Gold status when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year. American Express added new benefits to both cards last year, including no foreign transaction fees, complimentary unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at once and complimentary premium in-room internet access. The business version offers OPEN program perks as well as free access to Sheraton Clubs when you book rates that are eligible to earn Starpoints.

Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.

Reasons to get them: These cards normally offer sign-up bonuses of 25,000 points (with the occasional offer of 30,000-35,000), but this is the first time we’ve seen a sign-up offer of free nights at specific tiers of hotels. It might just be a sign of things to come as the Marriott-Starwood takeover proceeds. Whether this is the right offer for you really depends on how and where you plan to redeem these free nights. Category 1 hotels only require 2,000-3,000 points per night so you’d be better off with the regular bonus offer. But Category 5 properties require 12,000-16,000 points per night, so this offer might better fit your needs if you plan to redeem them at the higher end of the spectrum. Do the math and think about which bonus offer might be best for you. And think about applying sooner rather than later, because with the merger well underway now, there’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around.

For more information, check out these posts:

8. Citi Prestige Card

Citi Prestige Featured
The Citi Prestige is much lower on the list this month due to the loss of key benefits.

Current Bonus: 40,000 ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar on air travel and hotel purchases, 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Get a $250 air travel credit each year for things like airfare, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Priority Pass Select lounge access. No foreign transaction fees. $100 Global Entry application fee waiver. Get your 4th night free at hotels with no blackout dates when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel via a personal travel advisor 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 (until July 23, 2017). Citi ThankYou Rewards now has 13 transfer partners, including Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Hilton HHonors, among others.

Annual Fee: $450

Reasons to get it: This card continues to rank, but lower down on my list because Citi announced a slew of negative changes in July. These include the loss of Admirals Club access and lower redemption rates for airline tickets that will go into effect July 23, 2017. Citi lowered the sign-up bonus to 40,000 points while raising the spending requirement to $4,000. Not only that, but there are nuanced changes to the 4th Night Free benefit including the fact that it will now be calculated based on the average nightly rate, not just the fourth night of a stay, and taxes will no longer be included. The annual three rounds of golf benefit is also being eliminated.

With all those changes, plus the introduction of the new Chase Sapphire Reserve with its 100,000-point bonus and similar benefits, you might wonder why the card still makes my list, but there are several major reasons. Namely, the $250 annual air travel credit, the Global Entry fee waiver, the fact that lounge access will continue in its current form for another year or so, that extremely valuable 4th Night Free benefit and the bonus earning categories, not to mention ThankYou Rewards’ 13 travel transfer partners. So while this is still a really strong credit card, you now have to weigh the reduced benefits against its hefty $450 annual fee.

For more information on the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Rewards, check out these posts:

9. Platinum Card from American Express

Great benefits, including a growing list of Centurion Lounge locations keep the Amex Platinum on my list of top cards.
Great benefits, including a growing list of Centurion Lounge locations keep the Amex Platinum on my list of top cards.

Current Bonus: 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. There are targeted offers through the CardMatch Tool, where you might be eligible for special bonuses like 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, which we last saw in May.

Benefits: This card offers no shortage of valuable benefits, including a $200 annual airline rebate, access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges (plus the Amex Centurion Lounges) and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate. You can also transfer the Membership Rewards points you earn with this card to 20 airline and hotel partners. Plus, Amex recently added a 5x bonus category for airfare purchased directly from the airline, giving you the opportunity to earn a 9.5% return on this spending.

Annual Fee: $450

Reasons to get it: Despite having one of the highest annual fees on the market, the Platinum Card continues to make my list thanks to several distinctive benefits. Its most valuable perks include a $200 annual airline rebateaccess to Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass lounges. It also confers free Hilton Gold status and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status (and, therefore, Marriott Rewards Gold status). Cardholders can book hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and receive value-added perks like on-property credits, and they also get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits.

For more information, check out these posts:

10. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

Put all those Hilton free night certificates to use at a property like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem.
Put those Hilton free night certificates to use at a property like the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem.

Current Bonus: Two weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 in the first 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. 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: This card’s sign-up bonus of two free nights can be worth as much as 190,000 points if you redeem them at top-tier properties like the Conrad Maldives. This card also confers automatic Gold status and the ability to earn Diamond status through spending. Elite status seems like less of a benefit since Hilton announced it would be offering status matches through March 2017, so even with new stay requirements, there might be a glut of new elites. Another great benefit: If you spend $10,000 annually, you get another free weekend night certificate, which can far outweigh the card’s $95 annual fee depending on where you redeem it.

For more information, check out these posts:

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.