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
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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 throughout the spread of COVID-19, and there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.

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, rooms 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 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 top cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Why we like it: Like its cousin the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this card offers amazing bang for your buck on travel rewards and currently has a compelling introductory offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, worth $1,250 toward travel. Combined with all the other high reward points opportunities, this card more than pays for itself.

What to know:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase
  • Get 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Get a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit.
  • Get a 10% anniversary points boost each year.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services and online grocery purchases.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on other travel.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Complimentary DashPass delivery subscription.
  • Get trip cancellation insurance if your trip is canceled due to sickness or severe weather conditions.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Why we like it: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card offers a sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 within the first three months, a great value among hotel rewards cards.

What to know:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Chase
  • Get 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Earn up to 17 points per $1 spent at more than 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on everything else.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Note: This card guarantees free in-room Wi-Fi at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, a free night’s stay per year valued at up to 35,000 points, and other travel benefits.

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