If You Always Have to Have The Best, Then You Probably Have These Credit Cards

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I’ve been stepping up our coverage of credit card miles hacking, and have had readers ask me, what is the best starter card for credit card miles? The card I started with was the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and I would say it is the best card for 80% of readers.

But for those of you who follow the 80/20 rule like I do, I want to know what’s the absolute best travel card.

For me, since I run a business, my Amex Platinum is my go-to. I earn 50% bonus points when I charge over $5,000 on a single transaction, $200 airline travel credit, plus the 5X on airfare and hotels really makes this a huge point-earner for me.

If I didn’t run a business, my goto travel card would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for the fact that it gets 3x points on dining and travel, plus a $300 annual travel credit which I can apply to Uber.

CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE

  • Get 50,000 bonus points after spending.
  • Up to $100 towards Global Entry or TSA Pre Check, access to 900+ airport lounges
  • Enjoy 3x points on travel and dining worldwide
  • $300 travel credit (which can be used for any travel purchase, including Uber)
  • 50% rebate when points redeemed for travel on Chase Travel
  • Annual fee is $450

Best Point Redemption: Transfer 100,000 points to Hyatt for four nights in a Category 6 property. You can use your Ultimate Rewards points to stay in the amazing Andaz Tokyo, which we stayed in and absolutely loved back in 2016.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Transfer Partners

Chase Transfer Partners (Airline)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1:1Almost Instant
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1:1Almost Instant
Korean Air SKYPASS1:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AirFrance / KLM1:1Almost Instant

CHASE HOTEL TRANSFER PARTNERS

Chase Transfer Partner (Hotel)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Marriott Rewards1:12 days
Hyatt Gold Passport1:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1:11 day
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards1:12 days

CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED

  • 50,000 bonus points on signup
  • Get 2x points on travel and dining worldwide
  • Annual fee is $95 and the first year is waived

Best Point Redemption: For just 120,000 miles you can fly in Singapore Suite class for free with points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Transfer Partners

Chase Transfer Partners (Airline)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1:1Almost Instant
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1:1Almost Instant
Korean Air SKYPASS1:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AirFrance / KLM1:1Almost Instant

CHASE HOTEL TRANSFER PARTNERS

Chase Transfer Partner (Hotel)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Marriott Rewards1:12 days
Hyatt Gold Passport1:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1:11 day
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards1:12 days

BARCLAYCARD ARRIVAL PLUS WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD

  • Earn 50,000 mile worth $500 after spending $3,000 during the first 90 days.
  • Gain 2x points on all purchases.
  • Comes with 24/7 complimentary concierge services.
  • Annual fee is just $89.

Best Point Redemption: Cut the lines in availing transfers. Members will simply check on their website for booking with a 1:1 ratio.

CHASE INK BUSINESS PREFERRED CARD

  • Receive 5x points at office supply stores, internet spend, and cable TV
  • Receive 25% points rebate when booking travel through Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • Get 80,000 points after $5,000 purchase for the first 3 months
  • Annual fee is just $95

Best Point Redemption: Fly Business Class from the US to Europe for 50,000 miles by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United.com.

Chase Ink Preferred Transfer Partners

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Chase Transfer Partners (Airline)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1:1Almost Instant
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1:1Almost Instant
Korean Air SKYPASS1:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AirFrance / KLM1:1Almost Instant

Chase Hotel Transfer Partners

Chase Transfer Partner (Hotel)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Marriott Rewards1:12 days
Hyatt Gold Passport1:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1:11 day
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards1:12 days

AMERICAN EXPRESS BUSINESS PLATINUM CARD

  • Earn up to 75,000 points on sign up
  • Access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide with Priority Pass
  • Get 5x points on airfare
  • 35% points rebate when redeemed on AmexTravel.com
  • Annual fee is $450

Best Point Redemption: Transfer points to Singapore Air and fly Economy Class from New York/Houston to Singapore for 40,000 miles.

Amex Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
AeroMexico1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1:1Almost Instant
ANA1:12-3 days
British Airways1.25:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific*1:11 day to 1 week
Delta Air Lines1:1Almost Instant
EL AL50:1Almost Instant
Emirates1:1 Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM 1:1 Almost Instant
Hawaiian 1:1 Almost Instant
Iberia1.25:11-3 days
JetBlue1.25:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines 1:11-2 days
Virgin America 1:0.5Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic 2:11-2 days
Etihad Airways 1:1Almost Instant

AMERICAN EXPRESS BUSINESS GOLD CARD

  • Up to 75,000 Sign Up Bonus
  • 3x points earning in select categories
  • Bonus categories include: airfare, advertising, gas stations, shipping, computer hardware
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit
  • Annual fee is $175

Best Point Redemption: Transfer points to Singapore Air and fly Domestic US Business Class for 40,000 miles.

Amex Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
AeroMexico1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1:1Almost Instant
ANA1:12-3 days
British Airways1.25:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1:11 day to 1 week
Delta Air Lines1:1Almost Instant
EL AL50:1Almost Instant
Emirates1:1 Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM 1:1 Almost Instant
Hawaiian 1:1 Almost Instant
Iberia1.25:11-3 days
JetBlue1.25:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines 1:11-2 days
Virgin America 1:0.5Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic 2:11-2 days
Etihad Airways 1:1Almost Instant

AMERICAN EXPRESS STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST CREDIT CARD

  • Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints® once you spend $3,000 for the first 3 months
  • Get 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 points to a partner program
  • Free insurance for rental car loss and damage
  • Annual fee is $95, waived on your first year.

Best Point Redemption: Use 130,000 SPG points for 5 nights at the St. Regis Maldives.

Amex Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
AeroMexico1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1:1Almost Instant
ANA1:12-3 days
British Airways1.25:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1:11 day to 1 week
Delta Air Lines1:1Almost Instant
EL AL50:1Almost Instant
Emirates1:1 Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM 1:1 Almost Instant
Hawaiian 1:1 Almost Instant
Iberia1.25:11-3 days
JetBlue1.25:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines 1:11-2 days
Virgin America 1:0.5Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic 2:11-2 days
Etihad Airways 1:1Almost Instant

CITI PRESTIGE CARD

  • Get 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months
  • 3x points on air, travel, and hotels purchases
  • $250 Air Travel Credit
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • Annual fee is $450

Best Point Redemption: Transfer 25,000 miles to AAdvantage for a saver business class seat from NYC to LAX!

Citi Transfer Partner (Airline)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Cathay Pacific Airways1:124 hours
Etihad Airways**1:16 days
EVA Air1:12 days
Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue1:12 days
Garuda Indonesia1:12 days
Malaysia Airlines1:1N/A
Qantas Airways1:12 days
Qatar Airways1:12 days
Singapore Airlines1:12 days
Thai Airways1:14 days
Virgin America1:0.52 days
Virgin Atlantic Airways1:12 days
JetBlue TrueBlue1:0.82 days

BANK OF AMERICA TRAVEL REWARDS CARD

  • Get 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Earn up to 2.625 points per dollar when combined with Platinum Honors rewards
  • No annual fee

Best Point Redemption: You can use your points on any hotel or plane ticket you wish, without any blackout dates or restrictions.

Click here to sign up for any of these credit cards and claim the signup bonus!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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