What Are The 5 Credit Cards You Actually Want Right Now?

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With most of us not traveling these last couple of months, and all the uncertainty that the world has brought, stretching rewards and refocusing makes all the sense in the world. And where we can get the most value possible, for the things we need at this moment, while also preparing us to get the most value when things return back to normal? Even better.

There are (5) rewards credit cards that are especially keyed into this unique moment, based on unique features or special limited time offers they’re making – including one 100,000 mile initial bonus offer that ends Monday.

  1. Huge offer ends Monday: United Club℠ Infinite Card offers 100,000 bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases in the first three months from account opening (offer ends 5/18/2020). This card will offer 4 miles per dollar on United purchases (making it superior for United purchases; 2 miles per dollar on dining and on non-United travel; 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases.

    Like the older club card this comes with United Club membership; first and second checked bag free; priority check-in and boarding; Hertz car rental status. However they’ve added up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and a 25% discount on inflight purchases. It has an annual fee of $525.

  2. Biggest Offer Ever, Limited Window For Extra Time To Complete Spending: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is offering 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. [Offer expired]

    The card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99). You can get this even if you have the personal card, and even if you have one of the AAdvantage cards from Barclays. And through the end of the year spend on the card counts towards million miler status.

    qantas a380 first class seat
    I Flew Qantas First Class Using AAdvantage Miles Last Year With My Wife and Daughter

  3. Top Notch Card With Limited Time Huge Grocery Spend Bonus Plus New Food Delivery Benefits: Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers an initial bonus to earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    Ongoing spend will earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

    The card’s $550 annual fee can make sense with the card’s $300 annual travel credit providing reimbursement for travel purchases charged to the card each account anniversary year. You also receive up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® and one year complimentary Lyft Pink membership ($199 value).

    Especially useful right now the card comes with a complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21; $60 DoorDash statement credit in 2020 and again in 2021. It currently earns 5x on grocery purchases, up to $1500 per month – whether you’re buying in-store, picking up, or having delivery from eligible grocery stores and grocery delivery services.

    You can take your points and transfer them to a variety of airlines and hotel programs, or use your points at 1.5 cents apiece towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

  4. Limited Window Earn Elite Status Faster: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is fantastic for anyone who likes Hyatt. It makes earning elite status easier, and spending is rewarding — for Hyatt stays, for bonus categories, and because of the additional free night after $15,000 in spend each cardmember year.

    The initial offer is to earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points – 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

    If you apply by June 30 and are approved you’ll receive 10 elite qualifying nights. Plus through June 30 the card earns 3 elite nights (so one additional elite nights) for every $5000 spend.

    You’ll receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort and earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.

    park hyatt sydney opera deluxe room
    Park Hyatt Sydney Opera Deluxe Room is akin to a Junior Suite

  5. Best Cash Back, And Option To Convert To Airline Miles Later: Citi® Double Cash Card This is one of the absolute strongest cash back cards. It has a $0 annual fee and earns 2% back on purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases. There’s no caps on the cash back you earn, and the full rebate applies regardless of spending category.

    Cash back versus travel rewards can make sense now, but the great thing here is you can basically change your mind later. Because 2% cash is 2 ThankYou Rewards points, which if you get a premium Citi card (like Premier or Prestige) later you can then move the points over to that card and from there transfer to airline miles. It’s the best of both worlds.

What else makes more sense than ever before, for right now?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Shocked that you didn’t include the Amex Hilton Aspire. Apply now, you get

    – 150,000 Hilton Points (conservative value of $675)
    – A free night at any Hilton hotel (no weekend restriction) over the next two years (conservative value of $300, probably closer to $500 in reality)
    – Hilton diamond status
    – 12x points on supermarkets through July
    – A $250 restaurant credit through July

  2. Definitely agree with @Anthony above. Also, does anyone know if the Citi AAdvantage with the $450 AF is going to do anything to offset the AF like AMEX is doing with Hilton and Bonvoy?

  3. Wow, this list is crap… and telling.

    United Club’s AF is hard to swallow when there’s little opportunity to actually go to a United Club, AA miles are arguably more valuable, and earning AA miles comes with a lower AF and lower spend requirement. But I guess Barclays doesn’t pay well.

    I agree on the Citi AA, especially when you’re ineligible for the Barclays cards (70k/$4k isn’t great, but in 6 months, it’s OK).

    The CSR and UA Club’s grocery bonuses are short-term, limited to $1.5k, and not that much better than what you’re either already earning on the EDP or Gold, or could be earning on the Aspire or Surpass (where they’re uncapped and run through July 31).

    And the DC is worse than the BBP.

    Three of the cards that are actually useful right now are the Aspire (12X on groceries, credit usable for restaurants, FNC now not limited to weekends), Biz Plat (increased Dell credit, shipping and wireless credits), and CS Plat (streaming and wireless credits, 1.25cpp cashout). All come with 6-month MSRs. Then a Premier in August, when it starts earning 3X at supermarkets – right after the Hilton cards’ extra supermarket earn goes away.

  4. I really have to question 2 of your picks.

    CSR? $550 annual fee, $250 after the travel credit, in exchange for only 2 months of 5x points on groceries. That is not going to add up for many people.

    Hyatt? That is a kind of niche product anyways, but I am appalled at you touting the free night for $15,ooo in spending, considering the outrageous games Chase has been playing to keep from awarding that free night.

    As someone who holds both cards, but is now reconsidering whether to keep them, I’d really suggest people hold off on new Chase applications when you consider the plummeting level of customer service Chase has been giving lately.

    OTOH, thumbs up on DC. it is an obvious winner.

  5. I wish someone would just tell me what is going on with the CSR. Every blogger crapped on the card directly or passively until the AF went up. Now the “here’s why you should apply for the preferred card instead” articles are nowhere to be found.

    Tiffany and Ben wouldn’t fess up. Any intel Gary?

  6. George- Agree 100%. Most of these cards have high AFs for benefits that you can’t use right now. These may be cards with high signup bonuses but not cards you “want” or “need” right now, much less should even keep right now.

    As many of Gary’s readers no doubt already have these cars the better question is “Which cards should I dump right now” (due to high AFs) or “Which cards should I use right now” for groceries, amazon, non-bonus spend etc. Of course those lists won’t pay for the blog though click-thru links.

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