I read a statistic somewhere that a large percentage of US citizens still use their debit card as the main form of payment for day to day spending. This, if you’re an aspiring traveler, is a HUGE mistake causing you to miss out on free cash back and travel awards every year. I have not paid for a flight in the past three years, and I don’t plan to unless the airlines change their award programs. This will probably happen at some point but for now travel credit cards can give back big in travel rewards points.
Travel Pro Tip: Download the Mint app onto your phone. This depressing, yet informative app connects to your bank account and credit cards to show exactly how much you’ve spent, in what areas and gives balances. This is a great way to keep an eye on your spending habits while still being able to take advantage of points via award credit cards.
- American Express Platinum: Are you a Delta Flyer? Do you use Uber every month? Then this card is the right one for you. Don’t let the $550 annual fee scare you away. You get $500 of that back through the Airline Fee & Global Entry Reimbursement as well as the $200 per year Uber credits. On top of that, right now, you’ll get 60,000 bonus miles which is enough for at least two round trip tickets to Europe or Asia.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred: Are you a United Flyer? Then Chase is probably right for you. Similar to the AMEX Platinum, the $450 annual fee for the Reserve deters many from applying, but the real cost is closer to $100 per year with the $300 travel credit and $100 TSA Precheck reimbursement. Not to mention they come with travel insurance any time you use your Chase card to book travel. The preferred is a $95 annual fee and both will earn you 50,000 bonus miles at sign up.
- CITI Thank-You Premier: Do you love JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas or Ethad? Get the Citi Card. 3x points on travel and gas, 2x on dining, and with 50,000 bonus miles to start, you’ll be well on your way toward a flight to London on Virgin Atlantic.