We like to travel…..a lot. And having travel credit cards not only gives us perks while traveling but those credit cards also help save us money. There are so many myths surrounding credit cards and credit, but you should not be scared of credit cards. Credit cards offer incredible perks. But the key to having travel credit cards is being responsible. And paying off the balance in full each month.
You could be earning points and miles when paying your car insurance, phone bill and even groceries. So our advice: quit being scared of credit cards. Apply for a travel credit card and starting earning points or miles for FREE travel!
With that being said, here are some of our favorite travel credit cards for 2018.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the first travel credit cards we added to our wallet. With the Preferred card, you’ll get 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s worth at least $625 when redeeming the points through the Chase Ultimate Reward Portal. Those 50,000 points can be worth much more when you transfer them to Chase Travel Partners like Hyatt Hotels.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has bonus categories which means that you’ll get two points per dollar on all travel purchases and at restaurants. All other purchases receive one point per dollar on all other purchases. We value Ultimate Reward Points to be worth about two cents each. That means you’ll at least get at least two percent back for travel on your purchases.
This card does have an annual fee of $95 but the sign-up bonus alone is worth about a $1,000 if you transfer the points to partners or at least $625 towards airfare or hotels when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, so that $95 is well worth it!
Hilton Hotels (which include Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Curio Collection, Hilton Garden Inn, etc.) is our preferred hotel chain. We love staying at full-service Hilton hotels like Conrad Hotels and Hilton Hotels. But there is definitely something to be said about the boutique and often historical hotels that fall under the Curio Collection. And the great thing about Hilton is you can almost always find a Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton wherever your travel might take you.
So of course we keep the American Express Hilton Ascend Card in our wallet. You’ll get 75,000 Hilton Honors Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with the Ascend Card within the first 3 months and an additional 25,000 Hilton Bonus Points after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. That’s a total of 100,000 Hilton Honors Points which is worth at least $500 based on our valuations of Hilton Points (and can be worth much more).
One of the best things about the Ascend Card are the bonus categories. You’ll get six points per dollar when you buy groceries, eat at restaurants or get gas for your car. We use this card exclusively for grocery and gas purchases! All other purchases get 1 point per dollar!.
This card has an annual fee of $95, but the perks along with the bonus categories make the annual fee well worth it. This card offers even more perks like automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status which gets you room upgrades, late check-out and free breakfast at most Hilton Hotels. The free breakfast alone can be worth hundreds of dollars per year.
And the updated 2018 Hilton Ascend card now has NO foreign transaction fees!
Plus starting in 2018, earn a Free Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Ascend card in a calendar year.
We exclusively fly Delta Airlines. Why? Delta is reliable, they offer a good on-board experience and they fly almost everywhere. Yes, there are airlines like Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit that offer cheaper fares. But they also are known for mechanical issues and poor customer service.
So we fly Delta. And we almost always have a positive experience. That’s why both of us carry the American Express Delta Credit Cards (platinum and gold). With the Delta Gold Card, you can earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases within your first 6 months. Delta Miles are valued at 1.2 cents per mile, so that means the sign-up bonus is worth well over $600.
The Delta Gold Card comes with one free checked bag and priority boarding. Those benefits extend to everyone on your reservation. You’ll also get 20% off all food and beverage purchases in-flight on Delta. Plus the Gold Card earns two miles per dollar on all Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has an annual fee of $95, but that fee is waived for the first year.
Hyatt Credit Card by Chase
When we can’t stay at Hilton hotels, our back-up hotel chain is typically Hyatt. We love staying at Park Hyatt Hotels and Andaz Hotels and Resorts (like the Andaz Scottsdale Resort).
Hyatt Points remain some of the most valuable hotel points and we value them at almost 3 cents per dollar. The Hyatt Credit Card offers 40,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases with the card in the first 3 months after you open your account. You’ll also get 3 Bonus Points per dollar spent at all Hyatt hotels and resorts with the Hyatt Credit Card. Plus you’ll get 2 Bonus Points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies.
They Hyatt Credit Card does have an annual fee of $75. But the card comes with an annual free night certificate. You can use that certificate each year on your card member anniversary at any Hyatt Category 1-4 hotel. We’ve used that free night certificate each year at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. Since the Grand Hyatt in Seattle is typically a 300 dollar a night hotel, it easily makes up for that annual fee of $75.
The Starwood American Express Card comes with a 25,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. is card earns you 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood and Marriott properties and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. While that’s not the most outstanding earning rate, Starpoints are the most valuable hotel points, worth well over two cents a piece, so this card could be a could option for non-bonus category spending. There’s a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, and this card waives foreign transaction fees. Starwood has some amazing properties including St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels & Resorts and of course Starwood properties are now part of the Marriott umbrella.