Get Free Travel and Upgrades Fast With These Top Rewards Cards

A woman thinking about how to use the frequent flyer miles and bonus points from her airline rewards card
Photo by Karramba Production / Shutterstock.com

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We know the feeling: You need to hit the highway, jump on a train, take to the air, get out of town! Most of us have been homebound during the spread of COVID-19, and many of us will continue to be for a while. If you’re a traveler, you probably have itchy feet. But even if you can’t set out right now, you can make progress toward free flights and upgrades for your eventual getaway by using a good rewards card for your day-to-day purchases.

To decide which one makes the most sense for you, focus on what you need to spend in the initial three months in order to land a big mileage bonus. You don’t want to carry a balance on your card — that’s expensive and counterproductive — so choose one that offers the bonus at a level of spending that makes sense for your lifestyle and that you can comfortably pay off each month. Consider these two top cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase

Why we like it: If you use plastic a lot (and, again, pay it off every month) this is an absolutely amazing travel rewards card. This card rewards you with 80,000 bonus points if you use it for $4,000 worth of purchases in the first three months. You can redeem rewards points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program or other leading travel rewards programs.

Highlights:

  • The 80,000 bonus points you earn for spending $4,000 in the first three months of having the card is worth over $750 in travel when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards means no blackout dates or travel restrictions. If there’s a seat available on a flight, you can book it with your points.
  • Bonus points can also be redeemed on a 1-to-1 basis with other leading loyalty rewards programs.
  • You’ll also get 2 bonus points for every $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide, plus 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Note: This card has a $95 annual fee.

Click here for more details and to compare this with other card offers.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The Citi AAdvantage card from American Airlines is an airline rewards card
Citi

Why we like it: When you spend just $2,500 within the first three months on this card, you rack up 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles. Plus, you get extra reward miles and perks like free checked luggage when you fly American, with one of the largest networks in the world.

More highlights:

  • Earn double miles for each dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations.
  • Earn double miles on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • Get priority boarding when flying American Airlines, and get the first checked bag free for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee for the first 12 months, then $99 per year.
Click here for more details and to compare this with other card offers.

Whatever you need in a credit card — whether it’s reward points, cash back or a low interest rate — you can find it with our credit card search tool.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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