A List of Credit Card Airline Transfer Partners

flying

It’s time for yet another list, this time focused on credit cards that permit transfers to airline frequent flyer accounts.

Put simply, these cards allow you to convert your credit card points to airline miles and then book flights, all without flying prior to booking an award flight.

However, you do need to join the frequent flyer program beforehand in order to transfer your points.

Typically, you gather frequent flyer miles by flying throughout the year (or years), but it often takes a lot of flights to earn enough miles to actually make a redemption.

However, credit card companies have made it a lot easier to redeem award flights by offering 1:1 point transfers (or even higher than 1:1).  This, coupled with their massive sign-up bonuses, makes a business class or first class award ticket a reality for most.

What’s nice about these cards is the fact that you don’t have to use your points for miles, but you have the option.  Compare that to airline co-branded cards where you’re often stuck with one airline (or its partners).

Now that we’ve explained some of the background, let’s see which credit cards actually offer this valuable benefit.

American Express Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
American Express EveryDay Card $0
American Express EveryDay Preferred Card $95
American Express Green Card $95
American Express Gold Card $175
American Express Premier Rewards Gold $195
American Express Platinum $550

There are a variety of credit cards from American Express that allow points transfers to airlines, including some that don’t even charge an annual fee such as the EveryDay Card. Of course, you might be better off going for a card that offers a higher sign-up bonus and waives the annual fee the first year.

American Express Airline Transfer Partners

AeroMexico British Airways Hawaiian Airlines Virgin Atlantic
Air Canada Delta Iberia
Alitalia El Al Israel Airlines JetBlue
All Nippon Airways Emirates Singapore (KrisFlyer)
Asia Miles Etihad Virgin America

The downside to Amex airline transfers is the fee of $0.0006 per point for conversions into a U.S. frequent flyer program (maximum fee of $99).  You can get around this by converting to foreign airlines instead, some of which may have domestic partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners

This Amex-issued card (and its business version) are in a category of their own because they have a ton of transfer partners.  And by a ton, we mean 35 at last count.

Air Berlin Asiana Airlines GOL Qatar Airways
Air Canada British Airways Hainan Airlines Saudi Arabian
Air China Cathay Pacific Hawaiian Airlines Singapore (KrisFlyer)
Air France China Southern Iberia Southwest
Air New Zealand China Eastern Japan Airlines Sri Lankan
Alaska Air Delta Jet Airways Thai Airways
Alitalia El Al Israel Airlines KLM United
All Nippon Airways Emirates LATAM Virgin Atlantic
American Airlines Etihad Lufthansa

While there is a $95 annual fee, it’s waived the first year.  And you get a 5,000-mile bonus for each 20,000 miles you transfer to airline partners.

The downside is that the sign-up bonus on these cards is usually fairly limited, though a 35,000-point bonus is currently available through April.

The $5,000 minimum spend plus the 35,000 Starpoints equates to 50,000 airline miles if you take advantage of said transfer bonus.

Chase Credit Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
Chase Ink Bold $95
Chase Ink Plus $95
Chase Ink Preferred $95
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450

There are only three Chase credit cards currently available for new sign-ups that allow transfers to airline partners.  That includes Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve.  The rest are legacy offerings that will likely be phased out over time.

Note that the Ultimate Rewards you earn via Chase Ink Cash or Chase Freedom/Freedom Unlimited can be moved to one of the cards above and then onto airline transfer partners.  This is one way to acquire more points, despite the lack of a direct transfer option.

Chase Airline Transfer Partners

Air France KLM Singapore (KrisFlyer) United
British Airways Korean Air Southwest Virgin Atlantic

As you can see, Chase doesn’t have a ton of airline transfer partners, but you can take advantage of alliances.  For example, you can use United miles to book flights on Aer Lingus or transfer Ultimate Rewards to British Airways, then onto Iberia and book American Airlines flights.  There are many possibilities so don’t be discouraged!

Citi Credit Cards That Offer Airline Transfers

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee
Citi Chairman $500
Citi ThankYou Premier $95
Citi Prestige $450

Like Chase, Citi only has a few credit cards that allow points transfers, but it’s better than nothing.  Prior to a few years ago this wasn’t an option at all…your cheapest option is the Citi ThankYou Premier and it’s $95 annual fee, waived during year one.

Citi Airline Transfer Partners

Air France Garuda Indonesia Qantas Virgin America
Asia Miles JetBlue Qatar Airways  Virgin Atlantic
Etihad KLM Singapore (KrisFlyer)
Eva Air Malaysia Airlines Thai Airways

So, there you have it.  The three card issuers above offer a variety of ways to gather a lot of frequent flyer miles in no time at all, even if you’ve never flown before.

However, there are some pitfalls involved with airline points transfers, including lags in transfer time and system glitches that incorrectly display seat availability.

Before you attempt to book an award ticket with credit card points, do your homework to determine the best airline transfer partners and their associated rules.

After all, point transfers are a one-way deal, so once you’ve converted them there’s no going back!

(photo: W&J)

Credit Cards That Waive the Annual Fee the First Year

wave

A very common trick/tactic (whatever you want to call it) in the credit card churning world is to open a card that waives the annual fee the first year and then cancel it before the annual fee is eventually charged.

In short, you get the perks of said credit card for 365 days (maybe a little less) without having to pay the typical annual fee.

Usually these cards offer something special, seeing that they charge you a membership fee to jam the thing in your wallet, so it can be a worthwhile strategy to maximize your point-earning or your cash back. Or your free hotel stays.

Of course, you may not want to anger the credit card gods, aka the card issuers, by doing this all the time, or simply opening and closing cards right after you get the sign-up bonus or whatever else they’re offering.

Credit card issuers aren’t stupid – if they see you exploiting their rewards program they might tell you to take a hike, for good. If you stick around, they may also try to lure you back in with anniversary bonuses, like a free hotel stay every year, or X amount of bonus points if you spend Y in one year.

Credit Cards That Waive the Annual Fee the First Year

Card Issuer Card Name Annual Fee Notes
Amex Morgan Stanley Platinum $450 Must maintain Reserved client status
Amex Ameriprise Platinum $450 Must be Ameriprise client
Amex Premier Rewards Gold $195
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest $95
Amex Starwood Biz $95
Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles $95
Amex Green $95
Amex Gold $160
Amex Biz Gold $175
Amex Plum $250
Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles Biz $95
Amex Green Biz $95
Bank of America Spirit Airlines MC $59
Barclaycard Arrival Plus $89 Churnable
Capital One Venture Rewards $59
Capital One Spark Cash Biz $59
Capital One Spark Miles Biz $59
Chase Ink Preferred $95 Might be waived in-branch
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 Great bonus
Chase IHG Rewards $49 Maybe keep for free anniversary night
Chase United Mileage Plus Club $450 Targeted offer
Chase United Explorer Biz $95
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select $95
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Biz $95
Citi AAdvantage Gold $50
Citi ThankYou Premier $95
PNC Bank Premier Traveler Visa $85
Santander Bank Bravo Credit Card $49 Have to apply in branch
TD Bank Aeroplan Visa $95
TD Bank First Class Visa $89
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Visa $49
US Bank FlexPerks Business Edge Travel $55
US Bank AeroMexico Visa Signature $80
US Bank AeroMexico Visa $45
US Bank AeroMexico Visa Secured $25
US Bank LANPASS Visa $45
US Bank LANPASS Visa Secured $25
Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex $45
Wells Fargo Propel World Amex $175 Have to apply in branch

 

*No matter what card you apply for, whether listed above or not, you should always do a quick web search to determine if there’s a special offer where the annual fee is waived. Sometimes card issuers will waive the annual fee for a limited time, so it doesn’t hurt to double-check before you apply. However, if the deal is better with the fee, it might just make sense to pay it…

Are Credit Cards with Annual Fees Worth It?

In a nutshell, heck yes! You just have to be mindful about how you’re going to recoup that fee. If you have no use for the points or the perks offered by the card, you’re throwing away money.

But if you can clearly benefit from the card, despite the annual fee, it can be a great move.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a $450 annual fee, steep by any measure. But, they offer a $300 travel credit each year, which covers anything from airline tickets to hotels to Uber. If you use any of those things, you’ve already knocked the annual fee down to a  much more reasonable $150.

Factor in the opening bonus (it was 100k, now 50k) and you’ll get at least another $1,000 or $500 in year one, assuming you meet the minimum spending requirement to unlock that sign-up bonus.

If we look at just year one, you’d come up at least $350 ahead, or $850 ahead if you got the 100k bonus. This is assuming you maximize the $300 travel credit, which isn’t hard to do given how flexible it is.

In reality, you can get a lot more value out of the card if you don’t just cash in your points for well, cash. If you transfer the points to airline partners, you could get thousands of dollars in value out of those points.

The same goes for other premium cards such as Amex Platinum, which incidentally just raised their annual fee to a staggering $550. But again, once you factor in annual credits, sign-up bonuses, free lounge access, and more, you start to see the value of paying the annual fee.

This isn’t to say that you have to keep the card year after year and continue to pay the annual fee. It might just make sense for a year, after which point you can cancel the card to avoid another annual fee. That’s for you to decide, but paying an annual fee, at least in year one, can be quite rewarding.

How to Get Your Annual Fee Waived

Even if the credit card issuer doesn’t waive the annual fee, there are ways to get it waived on a case-by-case basis simply by asking.

Just give them a call and tell them to transfer you to the retention department, kind of like what you have to do with your cable TV provider every other month.

Then give them a reason why you want the fee waived, such as:

  • I plan to cancel the card
  • I don’t use the card
  • The fee is just too expensive for me
  • I’ve always paid on time and use the card a lot
  • Ahh come on!
  • I’m active duty military

If those all fail, you can also inquire about downgrading the card to an annual fee-free counterpart, assuming you want to keep that line of credit open (for the sake of your credit score and credit history).

Pro tip: If you’re military, you might be able to get the annual fee waived. It doesn’t hurt to phone up your card issuer and ask, especially if the annual fee is pricey!

(photo: Nan Palermo)

A List of Credit Cards That Offer Free Hotel Stays

lux hotel

People open credit cards for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s for 0% APR or to stockpile airline miles, other times it’s simply to get a cash rebate on purchases. Another great benefit is to get free hotel stays.

There are a handful of co-branded hotel credit cards that offer free nights at hotels, handy if you’ve already got the airline miles (and the airline tickets), but need some place to stay. And don’t want to pay for it.

Let’s take a look at the many hotel credit cards you can apply for to determine which offers the best value, based on sign-up bonus, annual fee, and so forth.

In general, hotel credit cards are mostly good for the sign-up bonus, aka the free nights. Beyond that, there are probably better ways to earn points via general purpose rewards credit cards, which can then be transferred to hotel loyalty programs.

However, some do offer an anniversary night for free, which is a compelling reason to keep the card in your wallet year after year, assuming you’ve got somewhere to go.

Also note that some of these cards allow you to earn free hotel stays while avoiding an annual fee, at least for the first year. And the minimum spending requirements are also quite manageable.

If you’re savvy, you might be able to score free hotel stays everywhere you go, even if you take a trip for a week or longer. Combine free nights offers from multiple cards (and with your travel partner) to maximize these benefits.

For example, if you apply for 2-3 of these cards and your spouse does too, you could wind up with nearly two weeks of free nights all over the world!

Pro tip: Use hotel points for lower-tier hotel redemptions in developing countries and other sweet spots, and free night certificates at the most expensive hotels worldwide to maximize your value.

Hotel Credit Card Comparison

Card Issuer Card Name Free Nights Min Spend Hotel Chain Annual Fee
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest 35k points (varies by category, 1-10+ free nights) $3k in 3 months, addt. $2k in first 6 months Aloft, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Westin, W Hotel, Sheraton, Marriott $95 ($0 the first year)
Amex SPG Biz 35k points (varies by category, 1-10+ free nights) $5k in 3 months, addt. $3k in first 6 months Aloft, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Westin, W Hotel, Sheraton, Marriott $95 ($0 the first year)
Amex Hilton HHonors Card 50k points (1-10 free nights) $750 in 3 months Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Waldorf Astoria, etc. $0
Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass 75k points (1-15 free nights) $3k in 3 months Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Waldorf Astoria, etc. $75
Barclaycard Choice Privileges Visa 32k points (up to 4 free nights) $1k in 90 days Comfort Inn & Suites, Clarion, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn $0
Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee 15k points (1 free night) First purchase Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Wyndham, etc. $0
Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa with Annual Fee 30k points (2 free nights), 6k points on anniversary each year First purchase, addt. 15k after $1k in 90 days Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Wyndham, etc. $75
Chase Hyatt Credit Card 2 free nights for $2k spend, 1 free night each anniversary $2k in 3 months Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, etc. $75 (sometimes waived 1st year)
Chase IHG Rewards Club Select 60k points (1-12 free nights), 1 free anniversary night $1k in 3 months Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc. $49 ($0 first year)
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier 80k points worth 2-10 nights, 1 free night each anniversary $3k in 3 months Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, etc. $85
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Biz 80k points worth 2-10 nights, 1 free night each anniversary $3k in 3 months Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, etc. $99
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards 2 comp nights in Tier 1-4 (sometimes 3 free nights!) $4k in 3 months Ritz-Carlton $450 ($300 travel credit)
Citi HHonors Visa Signature 75k points (1-15 free nights) $2k in 3 months Hilton brands worldwide $0
Citi HHonors Reserve 2 free weekend nights, free anniversary night when you spend $10k $2,500 in 4 months Hilton brands worldwide $95
First Bankcard Best Western Rewards MasterCard 16k points (one night) First purchase Best Western, GLō, Vīb $0
First Bankcard Best Western Rewards Premier MasterCard 50k points (up to 4 free nights) $1k first 3 billing cycles Best Western, GLō, Vīb $59 ($0 first year)
US Bank Club Carlson Rewards Visa 30k points (up to 3 free nights) $1k in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $0
US Bank Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature 60k points (up to 6 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 10k when spend $1,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $50
US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature 85k points (up to 9 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 35k when spend $2,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $75
US Bank Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa 85k points (up to 9 free nights) 50k after first purchase, 35k when spend $2,500 in 90 days Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, Quorvus Collection $60

American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) personal and business cards are easily the most popular hotel credit cards out there, and definitely the most popular hotel card offerings from American Express. The reason being that Starpoints can be used for hotel stays in Starwood brands and Marriott brands or transferred to tons of frequent flyer programs. You also get a 5k bonus for every 20k Starpoints you transfer to airlines, making them a very valuable currency. If you use the points for hotel stays, you can get 10+ nights if you stay in low category hotels. Conversely, the top-tier hotels can sap your entire points balance.

The HHonors cards are a lot less exciting, but still offer free hotel stays thanks to their healthy sign-up bonuses. It’s just that the point bonuses may limit you to staying in lower-tier properties. Still, redemptions start at 5,000 points…

Chase

The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase is a great hotel rewards card in that you get two free nights at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide for simply spending $2k in three months. That’s pretty easy and you can redeem at places like the Park Hyatt in Paris, where rooms often run $800+ per night. In other words, nearly $2,000 in value here. You also get a free night in a category 1-4 room each anniversary year.

There’s also the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card that comes with 80,000 bonus points when you spend $3k in the first three months. That’ll get you 2 free nights in category 8 resorts, such as the Wailea Beach Resort in Maui, or 5 nights in a category 4. There are some decent cat 4 hotels such as JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur or the one in Mexico City. Note that you get a 5th night free when booking 4 award nights in a row.

Chase also has a Ritz-Carlton card that gives you two free nights in a category 1-4 property, including popular destinations like NYC, Maui, DC, San Francisco, and Barcelona. The downside is the $450 annual fee, offset by a $300 annual travel credit. This card also provides complimentary airport lounge access.

Lastly, there’s the IHG card, which comes with a free anniversary night that can be used anywhere in the world with no category limits, including the InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa and the InterContinental London Park Lane. Not too shabby!

Citi

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card offers two free weekend nights at Hilton properties worldwide, including some spectacular ones in Tahiti, the Maldives, and Thailand, to name a few. What’s nice about this offer is you can get a ton of value out of the free nights as opposed to just earning X amount of points, similar to the Chase Hyatt card.

Meanwhile, the fee-free Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature only affords you 75k points, which limits where you can stay for free. For example, the top tier costs 95,000 points, so you can get 190k points out of the Reserve card versus just 75k in this one.

Everything Else

There are also hotel credit cards for budget brands like Best Western and Club Carlson (Radisson), or the Wyndham Rewards Visa from Barclaycard that offer lots of free nights. These can come in handy for business travel, family travel, and so on. Not luxurious by any means, but free nonetheless. And some even offer no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees!

Keep in mind that there are other credit cards, such as the Virgin Atlantic Card, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and many others that allow point transfers to hotels as well. Or the Barclaycard Arrival for independent hotels. So there are roundabout ways to rack up free hotel stays without an explicit hotel rewards credit card. And sometimes it’s a much better deal!

(photo: Roderick Eime)

Credit Cards That Offer Free Airport Lounge Access

airline lounge

The latest in our series of “list” posts has to do with airports. And more specifically, airport lounges, which provide a calm oasis away from the chaos of the airport.

It’s been said that once you go airport lounge, you never go back…if you’ve ever been in one, you know why.

Okay, maybe they’re just semi-private rooms with free booze and Wi-Fi, so they’re not quite life changing, but they can make traveling just that little bit easier, and save you money on overpriced airport food and drink.

Granted going gaga over finger sandwiches and a free beer or glass of wine might seem a little silly.

The good news is many premium credit cards offer free airport lounge access to their cardholders in exchange for a typically pricey annual fee. Whether that’s really “free” is a question for another day. But if they waive the annual fee the first year, then yes, it’s free…at least for 365 days.

Let’s take a look at the credit cards that afford free airport lounge access.

For the record, even if you don’t get lounge access via your credit card, you can often get it if/when flying in business class or better on most airlines in their affiliated lounges for free. Be sure to check individual carrier rules so you know where you stand prior to your trip.

Get Free Airport Lounge Access with These Credit Cards (or Discounted Fees)

Card Issuer Card Name Lounge Program Annual Fee
Amex Platinum

Platinum Biz

Mercedes Platinum

Ameriprise Platinum

Schwab Platinum

Delta Sky Club

Intl Amex lounges

Airspace

Centurion Lounge

Priority Pass Select

$450 ($475 for the Mercedes version)
Amex Centurion (Black) Same as above $2,500
Amex Delta Reserve Delta Sky Club $450
Amex Platinum Delta *Reduced Delta Sky Club $195
Amex Gold Delta *Reduced Delta Sky Club $95
Amex HHonors Surpass *Priority Pass Select – visits cost $27 $75
Barclaycard Gold Card Priority Pass Select $995
Barclaycard Black Card Priority Pass Select $495
Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass Select $450
Chase Ritz Carlton Priority Pass Select $450
Chase United Club United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges $450
Chase United MileagePlus *2 United Club passes annually $95
Citi AA Executive Admirals Club access $450
Citi Prestige Priority Pass Select $450
City National Crystal Infinite Priority Pass Select $400
Diners Club Premier Diners Club Lounges $95
Diners Club Elite Diners Club Lounges $300
Merrill Lynch Accolades Amex Lounge Club $295
Merrill Lynch Plus Visa Signature *Delta Sky Club $0
PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Amex *Lounge Club – first two visits free $0
U.S. Bank Executive Platinum $1200 toward travel annually including airport lounges ?

American Express

Perhaps the leader in the airport lounge space, American Express offers its members access to a variety of airport lounges for free. With their Platinum Card (several varieties such as Ameriprise, Mercedes, Schwab, etc.), you get access to their own Centurion lounge network and their International American Express lounges. You simply need to present your Platinum Card and a same-day boarding pass to enter.

Additionally, you can access Delta Sky Club if/when flying Delta the same day, or an Airspace Lounge even if you’re not flying (but booze ain’t free). For Priority Pass Select, you have to enroll first and present your Priority Pass Select Card and same-day boarding pass to enter a lounge in their network.

If you have the Delta Reserve card from American Express you get complimentary Delta Sky Club access. If you have the Platinum or Gold Delta you receive discounted Sky Club access ($29 per person), which can be used for same-day ticketed air travel on any airline. Just note that payment must be made with a Gold or Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card in person. It’s normally $59 per visit.

There’s also the Hilton HHonors Surpass card from Amex, which provides free Priority Pass Select Membership (normally $99 per year), but still charges $27 per visit. So free membership, but not free visits. It’s better than nothing, right?

It may also be possible to buy day passes (à la carte access) to certain airport lounges with the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card and get reimbursed via the annual $100 airline fee credit.

Barclaycard

You can get free airport lounge access via the metal cards from Barclaycard, but the annual fees are kind of outrageous. Starting at $495 and lacking the other perks you’d normally want at that price point.

Chase

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers complimentary airport lounge access via Priority Pass Select, and like Amex, you have to sign up for it after you receive your credit card.

They won’t tell you to do it, you’ve got to be proactive and sign up. And then you need to present the PP card upon entering one of their 900 airport lounges. The Priority Pass network of lounges is pretty vast and the lounges are generally good quality.

You can also snag free lounge access via the Ritz-Carlton card, though the $300 annual travel credit on CSR makes it the more attractive choice.

You can also get the United Club card from Chase to access United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges. It’s pretty pricey though at $450 and often doesn’t have a very good sign-up bonus.

Citi

The Citi Prestige card also comes with Priority Pass Select membership, and up until June 20th, 2017, it has access to the American Airlines Admirals Club if you’re flying American or US Airways. Decent card with a decent sign-up bonus.

If you do want Admirals Club access for free, you can go with the Citi AA Executive World Elite MasterCard. It has a nice little 50k sign-up bonus to sweeten the deal.

Diners Club

The two Diners Club consumer credit cards provide free lounge access to over 700 airport lounges worldwide in the Diners Club Lounges network. Many tend to overlap those found in the Priority Pass network.

Merrill Lynch

The Merrill + Visa Signature card has a weird perk in that you can gain a complimentary one-year Delta Sky Club Executive Membership if you spend $50,000 or more per year with the card. The alternative is a $200 travel credit if you spend that much, your choice.

A more straightforward airport lounge benefit comes via the Merrill Accolades card, which offers complimentary Lounge Club membership. Well, kind of, your first 10 visits per year are free…

U.S. Bank

There’s a lesser known credit card out there – the U.S. Bank Executive Platinum Card, which has a strange travel-related benefit. It offers a $1,200 annual credit for travel costs, such as baggage fees, in-flight internet, airline lounge access, etc. We just don’t know the annual fee on this sucker. It’s also only apparently available to senior corporate executives…

Know of another credit card that offers complimentary airport lounge access? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

(photo: hojusaram)

A Long List of Credit Cards That Don’t Charge Foreign Transaction Fees

Europe

Credit cards offer a number of perks to their cardholders, from mega sign-up bonuses to 0% APR to free lounge access to annual travel credits. Additionally, some don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Let’s focus on that last benefit so you can quickly determine which credit card to use while traveling abroad to avoid any unwelcome fees on your many non-cash purchases.

Credit card issuers generally charge 3% of the transaction if/when traveling outside the USA, meaning $30 per $1,000 in spending. With so many cards waiving these fees, you might as well carry the right card the next time you leave America.

Below we have grouped credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees by issuer – we also note whether they charge an annual fee or not. This is helpful if you want a card for the long-haul, one that you don’t have to pay for to keep in your wallet year after year.

Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

Issuer Card Name Annual Fee Where Accepted
Amex Platinum $450 Hit or miss
Amex Biz Platinum $450 Hit or miss
Amex Centurion $2,500 Hit or miss
Amex Gold $160 Hit or miss
Amex Biz Gold $175 Hit or miss
Amex Premier Gold $195 Hit or miss
Amex SPG $95 Hit or miss
Amex SPG Biz $95 Hit or miss
Amex Gold Delta $95 Hit or miss
Amex Gold Delta Biz $95 Hit or miss
Amex Platinum Delta $195 Hit or miss
Amex Plat Delta Biz $195 Hit or miss
Amex Delta Reserve $450 Hit or miss
Amex Plum Card $250 Hit or miss
BofA AAA Member Rewards $0 Anywhere Visa
BofA Alaska Signature $75 Anywhere Visa
BofA Alaska Biz $75 Anywhere Visa
BofA Travel Rewards $0 Anywhere Visa
BofA Travel Rewards Biz $0 Anywhere Visa
BofA Merrill + Visa $0 Anywhere Visa
BofA Merrill Biz $0 Anywhere Visa
BofA Virgin Atlantic $90 Anywhere MC
BankUnited Bonus Rewards Plus $50 Anywhere Visa
BankUnited Travel Rewards Amex $95 Hit or miss
Barclaycard Arrival Plus $89 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Arrival Regular $0 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard AA Aviator Red $95 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Ring $0 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Carnival $0 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Hawaiian $89 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Holland America $0 Anywhere Visa
Barclaycard JetBlue $0 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Lufthansa $89 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Priceline Rewards $0 Anywhere Visa
Barclaycard Princess Cruises $0 Anywhere Visa
Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards $0 Anywhere Visa
Barclaycard Gold Card $995 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Black Card $495 Anywhere MC
Barclaycard Titanium Card $195 Anywhere MC
BBVA Select Card $125 Anywhere Visa
BMO Harris Premium Rewards MC $79 Anywhere MC
Capital One ALL CARDS Various Anywhere MC/Visa
Chase British Airways $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase Fairmont $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase IHG $49 Anywhere MC
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 Anywhere Visa
Chase Hyatt $75 Anywhere Visa
Chase Ink Plus $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase Ink Preferred $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase United MileagePlus $95 Anywhere Visa
Chase United Club $450 Anywhere Visa
Chase Marriott $85 Anywhere Visa
Chase Marriott Biz $99 Anywhere Visa
Chase Ritz Carlton $450 Anywhere Visa
Chase Amazon Rewards $0 Anywhere Visa
Chase Amazon Prime $0 Anywhere Visa
Chase Southwest Prem Biz $99 Anywhere Visa
Chase United Explorer Biz $95 Anywhere Visa
Citi AA Plat Select $95 Anywhere MC
Citi AA Exec $450 Anywhere MC
Citi AA Biz $95 Anywhere MC
Citi ThankYou Prem $95 Anywhere MC
Citi Prestige $450 Anywhere MC
Citi Expedia Voyager $95 Anywhere MC
Citi HHonors Reserve $95 Anywhere Visa
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MC $0 Anywhere MC
City National Crystal Infinite $400 Anywhere Visa
Comerica Visa Bonus Rewards Plus $50 Anywhere Visa
Comerica Travel Rewards Amex $95 Hit or miss
Discover ALL CARDS $0 Anywhere Discover/Diners Club
Fifth Third Bank Trio Card $0 Anywhere MC
HSBC Premier World MC $0 Anywhere MC
HSBC Advance MC $0 Anywhere MC
HSBC Platinum MC Rewards $0 Anywhere MC
HSBC Platinum MC $0 Anywhere MC
Huntington Voice Card $0 Anywhere MC
M&T Bank Visa Signature $0 Anywhere Visa
PenFed ALL CARDS $0 Anywhere VISA/Amex
SunTrust Cash Rewards $0 Anywhere MC/Amex
TD Bank TD Cash $0 Anywhere VISA
TD Bank TD First Class $89 Anywhere VISA
USAA ALL CARDS Mostly $0 Anywhere VISA/Amex
US Bank FlexPerks Gold Amex $85 Hit or miss
US Bank FlexPerks Travel $49 Anywhere Visa
US Bank SkyPass Visa Signature $80 Anywhere Visa
Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex $45 Hit or miss
Wells Fargo Propel World Amex $175 Hit or miss

*Credit cards issued by Visa and MasterCard enjoy the best acceptance, whereas those issued by American Express and Discover may not be accepted by as many foreign merchants (or even domestic ones!), hence why we wrote “hit or miss” for Amex cards. Discover seems to be the worst for acceptance outside the U.S.

acceptance chart

Also watch out for merchants that allow you to pay for things in U.S. dollars while traveling abroad. You can get hit with a costly foreign currency conversion fee, which is separate from foreign transaction fees!

American Express

While many American Express cards do not charge foreign transaction fees, none offer this perk while charging no annual fee. So you’ll pay for the privilege no matter what. Well, unless the first year’s annual fee is waived

Additionally, many retailers outside the United States (and inside the U.S. for that matter) don’t actually accept American Express. Think the smaller restaurants, hotels, etc., those that aren’t high-end or big-name world brands.

If your Amex doesn’t waive the foreign transaction fees, expect to pay 2.7% of the transaction, which is slightly lower than the industry standard 3%.

Keep in mind that there are a variety of Amex Platinum cards other than those listed such as ones issued by Ameriprise, Charles Schwab, Mercedes Benz, Morgan Stanley, etc. that waive the fees.

Bank of America

Bank of America offers a couple credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. And there are two Merrill Lynch cards that don’t charge the fees either. Also, their Business Preferred World MasterCard charge card only charges 2% as opposed to the typical 3%.

Barclaycard

Barclaycard has a good variety of credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, including their popular Arrival Plus card. Additionally, they have quite a few cards that don’t charge forex or annual fees, so you can keep the card long term. All are Visa or MasterCard too.

Capital One

Perhaps the trailblazer of this credit card perk was Capital One, which doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of its credit cards. Even better is that their cards are either Visa or MasterCard, which tend to enjoy the best acceptance rate of any credit card worldwide. They also have many no annual fee options such as Quicksilver, VentureOne Rewards, and their Platinum Card.

Chase

Many Chase credit cards waive the foreign transaction fees, but they often come with annual fees. The two exceptions are the Amazon credit cards from Chase, which both don’t charge annual fees or foreign transaction fees.

Citi

Citi has a handful of credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, but none of them carry no annual fee. So you’ll be paying for the privilege unless the fee is waived during year one. The good news is they’re Visa and MasterCard issued cards.

Discover

The great thing about Discover is they don’t charge foreign transaction fees. The bad news is they aren’t accepted everywhere, notably France, and certainly not as widely as Visa and MasterCard. However, things do seem to be getting better in terms of acceptance rate globally. If you see a Discover or Diners Club International logo, the merchant should take the card.

HSBC

This multinational bank rightly waives foreign transaction fees on many of their credit cards, and you can get a $0 annual fee on many of them as well. Just note that some of the cards require a banking relationship to waive the annual fee.

PenFed

This credit union doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees on its credit cards, which come in both Visa and American Express varieties. The Visa ones are likely preferred for international travel to ensure acceptance.

USAA

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) removed foreign transaction fees from all of its credit cards. But they offer both Visa and American Express cards, the latter of which might not accepted by merchants in all foreign countries you visit.

(photo: Charles Clegg)

The Highest Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses Ever Offered

highest

It’s no secret people like lists. We also like lists. And so we decided to make a big old list of the very best (largest, highest) credit card sign-up bonuses to ever be offered.

That means you’ll see some bonuses that are no longer available, or only available to certain individuals because they’re targeted.

However, our aim in creating this list, which will be maintained over time, is to help you understand the deal in context. Is it something you shouldn’t pass up? Has it been better? Is it likely to improve in the future?

While nothing is ever definite in the credit card game, we at least have something to go on…it might also help you get matched for a particular bonus, assuming the card issuer is feeling particularly warm and fuzzy that day.

It’ll also make shopping for a credit card easier because you can quickly reference the best deal ever and then seek it out to ensure you don’t pass up a better offer. For the record, this is easy to do because credit card issuers often present varying offers to different people, or through different channels. And usually shove the inferior ones down your throat.

So knowing what’s the best out there means you can search for it, ideally find it, or if not, demand it from your card issuer (or wait for it to come back again).

Anyway, enough rambling, let’s talk about the best damn credit card sign-up bonuses in history.

For reference, best is the highest it’s ever been, good is something you probably shouldn’t pass up because it likely won’t get much better (or it’s a targeted offer you’ll never receive), and average is just the no frills, standard bonus you can pretty much always get.

Highest Ever Sign-Up Bonuses by Card Issuer

Card Issuer Card Name Best Bonus Good Bonus Avg. Bonus
Amex Biz Platinum 250k points 100k points 50k points
Amex Platinum 150k points 100k points 50k points
Amex Premier Gold 75k points 50k points 25k points
Amex Biz Gold 75k points 50k points 50k points
Amex Gold 25k points 25k points 0 points
Amex Green 25k points 25k points 0 points
Amex SPG/SPG Biz 35k points 30k points 25k points
Amex EveryDay Card 35k points 25k points 10k points
Amex EveryDay Pref 50k points 30k points 15k points
Amex Blue Cash Every $500 $250 $100
Amex Blue Cash Pref $250 $250 $150
Amex Delta Platinum 70k miles 60k miles 35k miles
Amex Delta Gold 70k miles 50k miles 30k miles
Bank of America Cash Rewards $200 $200 $100
Bank of America Cash Biz MC $500 $200 $200
Bank of America Travel Rewards 20k points 20k points 10k points
Barclaycard Arrival Plus 50k miles 40k miles 40k miles
Barclaycard CashForward $200 $200 $100
Barclaycard Hawaiian 50k miles 50k miles 35k miles
Capital One Quicksilver $200 $100 $100
Capital One Venture 100k miles 50k miles 40k miles
Chase Ink Cash $500 $300 $200
Chase Ink Preferred 100k points 80k points 80k points
Chase Sapphire Pref 70k points 60k points 50k points
Chase Sapphire Rez 100k points 100k points 50k points
Chase Freedom $300 $200 $150
Chase Freedom Unl $300 $300 $150
Chase Southwest Plus 50k points 50k points 25k points
Chase Southwest Prem 50k points 50k points 25k points
Chase Southwest Biz 70k points 60k points 50k points
Chase Marriott Biz 100k points 80k points 70k points
Chase Marriott 100k points 80k points 50k points
Chase United Biz 70k points 50k points 30k points
Chase United Club 75k points AF waived AF waived
Chase British Airways 100k Avios 50k Avios 50k Avios
Citi AA Exec 100k AA points 50k AA points 50k AA points
Citi AA Plat Biz 50k AA points 50k AA points 30k AA points
Citi AA Plat 50k AA points 50k AA points 30k AA points
Citi AA Gold 50k AA points 50k AA points 25k AA points
Citi Prestige 100k TYP 60k TYP 40k TYP
Citi ThankYou Prem 60k TYP 50k TYP 30k TYP
Citi ThankYou Pref 40k TYP 30k TYP 15k TYP
City National Crystal Infinite 100k points 70k points 50k points
Discover it Card $150 $100 $100
Discover it Chrome $100 $50 $50
Discover it Miles 2X miles 1st year 2X miles 1st year 2X miles 1st year
Merrill Lynch Plus Visa 50k points 50k points 50k points
Wells Fargo Propel World 40k points 40k points 40k points
Wells Fargo Propel 365 20k points 20k points 20k points

*Keep in mind that the highest ever offer doesn’t mean it’s the best offer. There are varying spending requirements for the points/miles/cash back shown. You should also consider the annual fees, which may or may not be waived during year one, along with any statement credits offered.

American Express

Amex Business Platinum (250,000 Membership Rewards points) – the caveat with this offer is that you only receive 50,000 MR points after spending $5,000 in the first six months, but an additional 20k points each time you spend $5,000 or more in a single transaction, up to 10x. There’s also a 150k offer that requires $20k in total spending, which is more straightforward.

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Amex Platinum (150,000 Membership Rewards points) – Some folks have received a sign-up bonus of 10X on all spending the first year up to 150k points on the personal version of Amex Platinum. That translates to $15k spending for 150k points, which is pretty good. The highest public offer we’ve seen was a 100k sign-up bonus for spending just $3k, which apparently only lasted several hours…you may also be targeted if you’re lucky!

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Amex Green Card (25,000 Membership Rewards points) – This is the weakest of the Amex cards, but often it’s offered with no sign-up bonus. So getting 25k for spending $1k ain’t bad.

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Amex Premier Rewards Gold (75,000 Membership Rewards points) – This targeted offer apparently only required $1,000 in spending during the first three months, which is pretty phenomenal. And the $175 annual fee was waived!

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Amex Business Gold (75,000 Membership Rewards points) – The spending requirement was as low as $5,000 in the first three months, but also as high as $10,000. And the annual fee was waived. Not a bad deal.

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Amex Gold/Green (25,000 Membership Rewards points) – The best we’ve seen on both these cards is 25,000 MR points, which isn’t much, but also doesn’t require much spending (typically $1,000) and the annual fee is often waived. Additionally, Amex often offers zero sign-up bonus…

Amex Starwood Preferred Guest (35,000 Starpoints) – This is the current and highest ever SPG offer that requires just $3,000 in spending (or $5k for the business version), up from the more typical 25k offer.

Amex EveryDay Preferred (50,000 Membership Rewards points) – There’s a targeted offer of 50k points for spending just $2k in three months, which is pretty fantastic. A typical good offer is 30k, with 15k being the basic public offer.

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Amex EveryDay Card (35,000 Membership Rewards points) – A targeted offer went as high as 35k MR points for an easy $1k in spend. The best public offer is/was 25k for spending $2k in three months, with a 15k offer sometimes available above the typical 10k offer.

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Amex Blue Cash Everyday ($500) – The $500 offer was supposedly the highest bonus ever extended to customers, and required $3,000 in purchases in 3 months. There is currently a $300 sign-up bonus, but it’s misleading because it’s just up to that amount based on spending in the restaurant category at 10% back. The typical sign-up offer is just $100, though $250 has been offered as well.

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Amex Blue Cash Preferred ($250) – The highest offer was $250 for spending just $1k in 3 months, which is strangely lower than the fee-free version of this card, so take that other one with a grain of salt. The typical offer is just $150 for spending $1k.

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Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (70,000 SkyMiles) – The highest offer was 70k SkyMiles for spending just $2k in 3 months, which is double the 35k public offer currently available. Sometimes there’s also a 60k offer, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (70,000 SkyMiles) – The best offer was apparently 70k SkyMiles and a $100 statement credit for spending (probably) a mere $2k in 3 months. The standard deal is 30k SkyMiles for $1k in spend, but 50k + a $50 statement credit and 60k deals pop up now and again, and may be accessed via dummy bookings on Delta.com.

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Bank of America

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card ($200) – The best offer was $200 after spending just $500 in the first 90 days, double the typical $100 sign-up bonus.

Bank of America Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard ($500) – The highest offer is/was $500 in cash for spending a quite high $5,000 in the first 60 days, more than double the standard $200 statement credit sign-up bonus for just $500 in spending.

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BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card (20,000 points) – The highest offer is 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, double the typical 10,000-point sign-up bonus.

Barclaycard

Barclaycard Arrival Plus (50,000 miles) – You can still get your hands on this best-ever offer of 50k points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Use the points to offset $500 in travel purchases…instead of the typical 40k offer.

Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard ($200) – There is a targeted $200 offer after spending $500 in 3 months. This is double the public $100 offer for the same spending.

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Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard (50,000 Hawaiian miles) – There is a 50k mile offer available after spending $1,000 in 90 days that you can get by flying Hawaiian or by doing a dummy booking on their website. This is 15k more than the 35k public offer for the same spending.

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Capital One

Capital One Quicksilver ($200) – The best offer to date is $200 for spending $1,000, but it’s targeted. The typical offer is $100 for spending $500 in the first three months.

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Capital One Venture Rewards (100,000 miles) – There was an odd sign-up bonus back in 2012 where they agreed to double what you spent on a competing travel credit card the previous year. The best normal sign-up bonus was 50k, and is now 40k for spending $3k in 3 months.

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Chase

Chase Ink Cash ($500 or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) – This is available March 12th, 2017 and is the highest bonus ever offered on the card. You get $500 or 50k UR points once you spend $3,000 in 3 months, up from the standard $200 or $300 typically offered.

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Chase Ink Preferred (100,000 Ultimate Rewards points) – This is a rumored, yet-to-be-released highest sign-up bonus ever. It’s currently publicly available at 80k after spending $5k in 3 months. Apparently this will be targeted.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred (70,000 Ultimate Rewards points) – An in-branch offer that required $4,000 in spend during first three months for 70k UR points was the highest ever offered on this card. And no annual fee the first year to boot!

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Chase Sapphire Reserve (100,000 Ultimate Rewards points) – This was the original offer tied to the card, which Chase has since slashed in half to 50k unless you apply in-branch by early March 2017. The spending requirement has always been $4,000 in the first three months with a $450 annual fee.

Chase Freedom ($300) – The highest bonus ever was $300, or 30k UR points, for spending just $500 in 3 months. That’s double the typical $150 bonus.

Southwest Plus Credit Card (50,000 points) – The best and consistently available offer on this card is 50k points for $2k spend in 3 months. A much lower 25k offer is sometimes the best available, meaning you should probably wait to apply if that’s the case.

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Southwest Premier Business (70,000 points) – The best ever offer was 70k points for $3k spend in 3 months, but that was extremely targeted. A slightly lower 60k offer is better than the usual 50k offer that floats around.

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Southwest Premier Personal (50,000 points) – The personal version topped out at 50k points for $2k spend in 3 months to the best of our knowledge, but can be as low as 10k with a $200 statement credit. Or simply 25k.

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United MileagePlus Club (75,000 United miles) – The highest ever offer for this rather expensive card is/was 75k for $3k in spending. It’s targeted and you can see if you’re eligible by logging into your United account and/or getting a mailer. The usual sign-up bonus is simply a waived $450 annual fee.

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United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card (70,000 United miles) – The highest ever offer for this business card (and non-biz version) is/was 70,000 United MileagePlus miles for spending $3k in 3 months. You might be able to get it if you log-in to your United.com account and check for offers. Typically it’s just 50k, or as low as 30k at its worst.

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Marriott Rewards Premier Business (100,000 Marriott Rewards points) – The highest ever offer was 100,000 Marriott Rewards points for spending $5k in three months. It’s typically half that, though there is an 80k offer out there as well.

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Marriott Rewards Credit Card (100,000 Marriott Rewards points) – The highest ever offer is/was 100,000 Marriott Rewards points for spending $5k in three months. It’s typically between 50k and 80k. Don’t fall for the 150k offer that requires a massive $30k in spending.

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British Airways Visa Signature Card (100,000 Avios) – The best offer ever was 100,000 Avios for spending we believe just $3k in three months. They later offered the same bonus for $20k in spending. The typical deal is 50k Avios for $3k in spend.

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Citi

Citi ThankYou Premier (60,000 ThankYou Points) – The highest offer was 60k TYP for $3,500 in spending in 3 months, but has since been halved to 30k. Boo.

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Citi ThankYou Preferred (40,000 ThankYou Points) – The highest offer ever was 40k TYP for $6,000 in spending in the 12 months, but you’re more likely to see the 15k-point offer for $1k spend in 3 months.

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Citi Prestige (100,000 ThankYou Points) – The highest offer ever was 100k TYP, which was targeted, but has since been downgraded to just 40k. But be on the lookout for an improved offer, as 60k has also been offered in the past.

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Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard (100,000 AA miles) – The highest sign-up bonus on this card was 100,000 AA miles for spending $10k in three months. A more typical offer is 50k miles for spending $5,000 over the same period. Just watch out for the $450 annual fee…

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CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard (50,000 AA miles) – The best sign-up bonus on this card is/was 50,000 AA miles for spending $3k in three months. The average offer is 30k miles for spending the same amount over the same period.

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Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard (50,000 AA miles) – This card also has/had a best-ever sign-up bonus of 50,000 AA miles for spending $3k in three months. The average offer is 30k miles for spending the same amount over the same period. The sweetest offer came with 2 Admirals Club Passes to boot!

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Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard (50,000 AA miles) – This perhaps lesser-known Citi AA card has/had a targeted sign-up bonus of 50,000 AA miles for spending $3k in three months for 40k miles and another 10k miles if/when you spent/spend a total of $5k in first 12 months . The average offer is 25k miles for spending a very reasonable $750 in 3 months.

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City National

City National Crystal Infinite (100,000 points) – This in-branch offer, which has since been halved, was available in 2015 and required just $5,000 in spending during the first 90 days. Those points could be redeemed for $1,000 gift card too…

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Discover

Discover it ($150) – Best offer ever was $150 cash back for spending $750 in first 3 months. Today, you’re looking at $100 at best. At one point, there was a rather bogus deal that required $1,500 in monthly spending for five months to snag $200…awful.

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Discover it Chrome ($100 Amazon gift card) – This limited time offer in 2014 provided a $100 Amazon gift card simply for making a purchase within three months. Today, it’s $50 via referral.

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Discover it Miles (Double miles first year) – There is no-sign up per se, but they do give you an effective cash back rate of 3% the first year.

Merrill Lynch

Merrill + Visa Signature Credit Card (50,000 Merrill Points) – This card affords 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days, which is the current and highest offer.

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex (20,000 points) – The highest bonus on this card is/was 20,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Wells Fargo Propel World Amex (40,000 points) – The highest ever bonus is/was 40k points for spending $3k in 3 months, but it is now only available via branch. Not sure if it’s coming back to the internet…

(photo: Susanne Nilsson)

An Ongoing List of Ways to Meet Credit Card Minimum Spend

minimum spend

We all know credit card issuers offer some amazing credit card sign-up bonuses. But there’s always a catch – you have to spend a ton of money in a short period of time to get said bonus.

Generally, the best bonuses require you to spend $1,000 or more in the first three months from the date you are approved for the card in question. For some people, this is an easy feat, one they can do in their sleep, literally.

For others, it’s next to impossible because of limited capital, a small credit line, and so forth.

A common spending requirement at the moment is to spend $4,000 in 3 months to earn the mega-bonus on the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It sounds like a tough task, but we’ll show you some simple ways to get it done with time to spare.

Before you get started, remember this. The most effective way to meet minimum spend is to throw every single purchase you make on one card until the requirement is met. Then you can go back to earning your point multiples in different categories as you see fit.

Here is a list of the many, many ways you can meet minimum spend to earn that tasty bonus, again and again.

More Than 40 Ways to Meet Minimum Spend

1. Pay your health insurance premiums with a credit card
2. Pay medical bills with a credit card
3. Pay your car insurance premium with a credit card
4. Pay your wireless bill in advance (hint: many months in advance)
5. Pay any other bill you know you’ll continue to pay in advance (cable, utilities, insurance, etc.)
6. Pay your taxes with a credit card (IRS approved!)
7. Pay your estimated taxes with a credit card
8. Pay your rent/mortgage with a credit card through a service like Plastiq (fees apply)
9. Buy gift cards (Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, Grocery store cards, etc. things you will 100% use, eventually)
10. Buy prepaid cards like PayPal My Cash cards, Visa and Amex gift cards, etc.
11. Buy airline tickets, hotel reservations, other vacation expenditures months in advance
12. Align a new credit card application with a large purchase, such as new household appliances, TV, computer, A/C unit, washer/dryer, etc.
13. Buy something for a trusted family member or friend and have them send you the money for it (make sure they actually pay you back!!)
14. Put all your monthly bills on your new credit card
15. Pay other people’s bills with a credit card (again, a very, very trusted person and have them reimburse you with cash)
16. Buy/lease a car and throw the down payment on plastic
17. Pay your car payment with a credit card (Mercedes allows this with a fee)
18. Pay your car registration with a credit card
19. Open a bank account that allows initial funding from a credit card
20. Contribute to a 529 account with GiftToCollege.com
21. Pay for tuition with a credit card
22. Pay your student loans with a credit card
23. Put all your wedding expenses on the new card if getting married
24. Put all honeymoon expenses on the new card
25. Buy an engagement ring with a credit card
26. Set all your Uber, Lyft, etc. accounts to your new credit card
27. Prepay for monthly services annually upfront (12-month discount)
28. Prepay for business services such as domain names, monthly subscriptions, web hosting, etc.
29. Buy inventory, furniture, office supplies, etc. for your business
30. Buy products and resell them online for a small profit (or loss)
31. Apply for a new card before the holidays and buy all gifts with it
32. Apply for a new card before having a child and buy all furniture, car seats, strollers, accessories with the card
33. Apply for a new card after you buy a new home/condo (lots of expenses will come up, trust us)
34. Apply for a new card after you rent a new apartment (gotta furnish it)
35. Fund Kiva loans with a credit card and give back to small businesses worldwide
36. Add an authorized user or two to help chip away at the minimum spend
37. Get an expensive haircut (you deserve it)
38. Get your dog a haircut (he/she looks terrible)
39. Buy new clothes
40. Buy yourself a massage
41. Buy your significant other some flowers
42. Eat out (cover the entire bill and have people Venmo you their share)
43. Go out for drinks (cover bill have everyone Venmo you)
44. Book a hotel/vacation/etc. and have everyone pay you back with cash
45. Do anything where you pay with your credit card and everyone pays you back with cash
46. Pay dental bills (should be enough to cover the entire spend with those insane prices!)

That’s all we can think of at the moment. If you have other bright ideas we haven’t touched upon, please feel free to add them in the comment section. We’re all ears.

By the way, there are other, more unsavory methods out there to meet minimum spend, which we won’t mention because it’s best to keep things above board and stay out of trouble. You never want to bite the hand that feeds…

Also, be careful when using services like PayPal, Bluebird, and Serve, to name a few. They’ve been known to shut down users for engaging in manufactured spending, so sometimes it’s just more trouble than it’s worth, especially if you care about losing said account(s).

Oh, and when buying stuff online to meet your spend, use a rebate portal like CashbackMonitor.com to earn even more points/rewards/cash back in the process.

Remember, when meeting minimum spend, be sure you can actually pay off the entire balance in full every month, otherwise you lose. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Pay it all off, earn your rewards, and move on.

If you can’t pay it all off, don’t even bother. It’s not worth paying finance charges in exchange for credit card points, unless you’re truly nuts. Go with a 0% APR credit card instead since that’s probably what you need.

Pro tip: It’s actually not that expensive to “pay” to meet your minimum spend. Some payment processors charge as little as 2% (or less) of the transaction amount, so if you needed to spend $4,000, that’d only be $80. Sometimes it’s better to pay the fee than go on a mindless shopping spree like Brewster’s Millions.

A Dynamic List of the Longest 0% APR Credit Cards Currently Available

zero

Credit cards offer a variety of benefits. Sometimes you might be interested in the best sign-up bonus, while other times you might seek out the lowest interest rate possible to offset some large purchases.

Clearly the lowest interest rate available is zero, and credit card issuers are more than happy to offer you this rate on a temporary basis, typically for the first 12 or 18 months as a new cardmember. Then it shoots up to the standard rate, which is always markedly higher.

It’s important to note that these 0% introductory APR periods can range from as little as six months to 24 months or longer, so it’s prudent to check out all available offers to maximize the opportunity.

Note that this list is dynamic and will change as availability changes. Credit card offers certainly come and go frequently so be sure to perform a thorough search both here and elsewhere to ensure you don’t miss a better offer.

We will do our best to keep this list updated frequently so that the very best (and longest) 0% APR offers can always be found here.

Also, note that credit card issuers may distinguish 0% APR between purchases and balance transfers. Some offer 0% APR for both transactions, while others may limit it to just one of the two, such as a 0% APR balance transfer.

Depending on what you need, that will be specified below for your convenience.

The Longest 0% APR Credit Cards

Santander Bank Sphere Card – 0% APR on balance transfers for 24 months, 0% APR on purchases for 12 months

Citi Diamond Preferred Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 months

Citi Simplicity Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 21 months

Discover it Card – 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months, 0% APR on purchases for 6 months (NEW!)

BankAmericard Credit Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months

Citi Double Cash Card – 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, no intro APR for purchases

Chase Slate – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (no balance transfer fee!)

BB&T Bright Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Chase Freedom – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

PNC Core Visa – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Wells Fargo Propel Amex – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard – 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months, no intro APR on purchases

Upromise MasterCard – 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months, no intro APR on purchases

Discover it Chrome – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 14 months

NHL Discover it Card – 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 14 months

Discover it Miles – 0% APR on purchases for 14 months, no intro APR on balance transfers

These are the standouts (based on length of intro APR) among the 0% APR credit cards you can currently apply for.

*None of these credit cards charge an annual fee, which is another plus.

However, all of them charge a balance transfer fee except for the Chase Slate card, so if you’re looking for a no fee balance transfer, Slate is probably your card of choice.

Note that there are countless other credit card offers that come with 0% APR for 12 months or less, so they are not listed above. In short, they aren’t noteworthy so they aren’t included in the “best of” list above.

Most card issuers offer 0% APR for 12 months by default, so it will never be listed here unless it comes with some other special bonus or a lack of a balance transfer fee.

As previously mentioned, be sure to check the terms of each card carefully as they can and will change over time. Additionally, be sure to differentiate between purchase APR and balance transfer APR. Sometimes it’s the same and sometimes it’s not.

Pro tip: Don’t use the same credit card to transfer a balance and to make new purchases. It could get messy if the APRs are different. Generally, it’s best to reserve one credit card for balance transfers and another for new purchases to keep them separate and more easy to track.