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There are four credit cards in my wallet that I like the most for purchases. That’s out of a couple of dozen cards total. I want to earn miles as quickly as possible. I also want to jumpstart my elite status and have access to the best airport lounges.
So these are the four cards I’m playing with most right now.
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Why it’s worth it: The best initial bonus out there of 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening; earns 3x on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to $150k spend in these categories each calendar year).
How I use it: It’s a great ‘Chase hub’. It’s just a $95 annual fee card, points transfer to a variety of airline and hotel programs, and you can move points from no annual fee Chase cards to this one and then move them onto airline and hotel points. That way you can take those no annual fee cards that earn fast, and make the points from those cards more valuable.
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
Why it’s worth it: In addition to the card’s initial bonus you get a free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel and earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
How I use it: for the 5 elite qualifying nights just for having the card and 2 more elite nights for each $5000 spend. It’s a no brainer for $15,000 spend since you earn points from the spend and a second free night. However I spend more because I value the benefits from status and want to make it easier to earn — especially confirmed suite upgrades at time of booking.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
Why it’s worth it: Earns 5 points per dollar on airfare, and provides tons of benefits — airfare discounts with the International Airline Program; Hilton and Marriott elite status; and it’s the single best card for airport lounge access. You’ve got American Express’ own Centurion lounges, Delta lounges when flying Delta, a Priority Pass card with unlimited visits and two complimentary guests, plus access to Escape, Airspace, and Plaza Premium lounges.
How I use it: I use the $200 in annual Uber credits and I use the $200 airline credit. Historically I’ve used it with American Airlines (purchasing gift cards, no longer works). And I use the card for lounge access. While its Priority Pass no longer includes airport restaurant credits, the card has a more extensive lounge network than any other. It gets you into Delta lounges when flying Delta, American Express’ own Centurion lounges, plus Plaza Premium, Escape, and Aspire lounges. No one else matches that.
Why it’s worth it: Earns 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on the first $25,000 spent annually at U.S. supermarkets (plus 3 points per dollar on airfare).
How I use it: Precisely to earn rapidly in bonus categories. I make a point of never earning just one mile per dollar, and this is my go-to card for restaurants and grocery stores.