Greg’s Top Picks: January 2021

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In a past Frequent Miler on the Air episode, Nick and I discussed an amazing Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 5 free nights offer (now expired).  By some measures, this was one of the best credit card offers we’ve ever seen. But we agreed that we wouldn’t recommend it to most people.  It was a great credit card offer for those who knew they would be traveling within the next year, but terrible for everyone else.  We also discussed the likelihood that other great offers would appear.  For example, we argued that we’d likely soon see improved offers for the Bonvoy Brilliant and World of Hyatt cards.  In both cases, time proved us right.

Top Credit Card Offers

Our Best Credit Card Offers page always shows the best offers sorted by estimated first year value.  This is a great non-biased way to compare credit card offers, but it misses  nuances like those described above.  That’s why I introduced this monthly series where I list my favorite credit card offers, but with a dash of analysis.  With each offer, I point out who should care about it and who shouldn’t.  I also include a “Wait for better” section with the cards that I think may soon have better offers.

Greg’s Top Picks: Best of the Best

Amex Platinum: 10X AND 100K, or 125K

Card Offer
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100K points + 10x US Gas Stations and US Supermarkets
100K after $5K spend in first 6 months plus 10x on eligible purchases at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15K in purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$550 Annual Fee

These offers are astoundingly good! There are multiple versions of the offer.  The two most exciting are:

Who should get it: Pretty much anyone who hasn’t been the primary cardholder of the  Amex Platinum card in the past 7 years should at least consider one of these offers in my opinion.  This is especially good for those who will spend a lot at US gas stations and supermarkets in the first 6 months.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Platinum card will add to your 5/24 count (but this one is worth it anyway).

Timing your application: Get it soon so that you can maximize the $30 per month Paypal rebate valid through June 2021 (details here).  Plus, we don’t know when this one will end so make sure to sign up while it’s still available.

See also:

Ink Business Cash: 75K + great 5X categories

Card Offer and Details
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
75K points
75K after $7.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

See: How to sign up for Chase Ink cards

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other

Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

This fee-free card belongs in every point collector’s wallet.  It offers 5X for office supplies and 5X for phone service, cable TV, and internet (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5X categories annually).  Many families would do well to setup their phone, TV, and internet bills to autopay from the Ink Business Cash card in order to earn 5X rewards without any effort whatsoever.  Those willing to do a little bit of work will find that stores like Staples and Office Depot sell lots of gift cards in-store; and Staples.com sells them online.  In both cases, you’ll earn 5X buying gift cards so that you can ultimately buy what you really want.

The 75K offer does require $7,500 spend, but imagine if you spent all of that within 5X categories… you would earn 37,500 points to add to the 75K for a total of 112,500!

Who should get it: Anyone with a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred) in the household should consider getting the Chase Ink Business Cash.  The Ink Cash makes it easy to earn points quickly and the premium cards (especially the Sapphire Reserve) make your points more valuable.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Don’t apply if you don’t have a business or if you’re over 5/24.

Timing your application: Sign up soon as we don’t know how long this will last. The usual offer is 50K.

See also: Chase Ink Business Cash Complete Guide

Ink Business Unlimited: 75K + 1.5X everywhere

Card Offer and Details
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
75K points
75K after $7.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

See: How to sign up for Chase Ink cards

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus for a fee-free card. Good option for earning 1.5X everywhere. Good companion card to Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Other

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

This isn’t as much of a “must have” card as the Ink Cash, but the welcome bonus is similarly awesome.  It is possible to get both cards even if you have only one business.

Who should get it: Anyone with a business who can qualify for this offer should consider it.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Don’t apply if you don’t have a business or if you’re over 5/24.

Timing your application: Sign up soon as we don’t know how long this will last. The usual offer is 50K.

See also: Chase Ink Business Unlimited Complete Guide

Amex Gold Card: 60K + $250 + last chance $100 airline fee credit

Card Offer and Details
American Express® Gold Card
60K Points + up to $250 in statement credits
60K after $4K spend in first 6 months plus 20% back as a statement credit on restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $250 back. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$250 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card offers an awesome return on US supermarket and worldwide dining spend, putting it at or near the top-of-class in both categories. The addition of Boxed.com makes it easy to get full value from the card's $10/month dining & entertainment credits.


Card Type: Amex Pay Over Time Card

Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Up to $100 a year in statement credits for baggage fees and more with one qualifying airline (available through 12/31/21) ⚬ Up to $10 in statement credits monthly with participating dining partners (Boxed.com, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse) ⚬ Up tp $10 in statement credits monthly with Uber or Uber Eats beginning in early 2021 ⚬ Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21) ⚬ $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges on stays of 2 nights or longer, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc

The Amex Gold Card has been a favorite of ours since it debuted with its 4X dining and grocery categories (see above for details), but until recently the best offer for this card topped out at 45K points.  Obviously 60K points is much better.  And now, the ability to earn $250 back at restaurants (where you’ll also earn 4X) is better still!  Consider that you’ll likely use this card at restaurants and food delivery services anyway (for 4X rewards), so you should be able to earn the full $250 rebate through regular dining spend over the next 12 months.

Amex recently announced that they were adding new perks to the Gold card: $10 per month Uber / Uber Eats credit plus 12 months complementary Uber Eats Pass Membership (the latter is also available to Amex Platinum and Green cardholders).  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that 2021 is the last year that they’ll rebate up to $100 per year in airline incidental fees.

Who should get it: The 60K offer is a great one and the $250 restaurant rebate makes the deal really awesome.  As long as you haven’t had this card or the old Premier Rewards Gold card in the past 7 years, you should qualify for this one.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Gold card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

Timing your application:  My guess is that this offer will stick around for a while so, if I’m right, there is no reason to hurry.

See also: Amex Membership Rewards Points Complete Guide.

JetBlue: 100K Offers

Card Offer
Barclays JetBlue Plus Mastercard
100K Miles
100K: 50K after $1K spend in 90 days, plus 50K more after a total of $6K spend in 12 months

$99 Annual Fee

JetBlue Business Card
100K Miles
100K: 50K after $1K spend in 90 days, plus 50K more after a total of $6K spend in 12 months

$99 Annual Fee

We’ve never before seen offers anywhere close to this good for JetBlue cards.

Who should get it: If you’re interested in flying JetBlue, either offer is a great way to rack up a small fortune in points towards future flights.  Ironically, it’s a good offer for earning Amtrak points too (see: Transfer JetBlue to Amtrak for up to 1.45 cents per point value).

Who shouldn’t get it:  If you’re trying to get or stay under 5/24 so that you can apply for Chase cards, then skip the JetBlue Plus offer and look only at the business card offer.

Timing your application: I don’t know how long these offers will last so if you’re interested I recommend going for it soon.

Greg’s Top Picks: More great credit card offers

Hyatt: 50K + Easy Path to Top Tier Status

Card Offer and Details
Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
Up to 50K points
25,000 points after $3K spend in 3 months + 25,000 points after $6K total spend in 6 months.

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: 60K: 40K after $3K in 3 months + 20K after $6K total in 6 months (Expired 1/9/19)

FM Mini Review: Great card for signup bonus and annual free night. Might be worth using regularly for additional free night and as a path to status.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants / cafes / coffee shops, airlines, local transit, fitness clubs and gym memberships ⚬ 4X Hyatt

Big spend bonus: One free Cat 1-4 night certificate after $15K spend in your cardmember year. ⚬ Get 2 elite qualifying night credits every time you spend $5K in purchases

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Free category 1-4 night every year upon renewal ⚬ Additional free category 1-4 night after $15K spend in cardmember year ⚬ Discoverist elite status ⚬ 5 elite qualifying nights

The World of Hyatt card is listed as a top pick not because the welcome bonus is especially great but rather because it enhances a fantastic short-term opportunity to earn top-tier Hyatt elite status for two years.  This card offers 5 qualifying nights each year towards elite status plus 2 elite nights for each $5K spend.  The card also offers a free category 1-4 night after $15K calendar year spend.  If you sign up and spend $15K on the card, you’ll earn the full welcome bonus plus a total of 11 elite qualifying nights (5 from having the card and 6 from spend).  Since Hyatt has lowered the requirements for Globalist status to 30 elite nights this year, that means that you’ll be only 19 elite nights away from top tier status.  Throw in 10 nights worth of stays with check-out before March 1 in order to get double elite nights (if you registered for the Bonus Journeys promo) and you’ll earn Globalist status!

See these posts for details:

Who should get it: Anyone who is under 5/24 and is interested in pursuing Hyatt top-tier elite status in 2021 should consider this card.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you’re not interested in staying at Hyatt hotels then you should pass.  If you’re not interested in Hyatt elite status, but you would value the card’s annual free night, then you should consider this card but there’s no hurry to get it.

Timing your application: Hurry only if you want the elite nights from the credit card to count towards status early this year.

See also: World of Hyatt Complete Guide.

Sapphire Preferred: 60K

Card Offer and Details
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
60K Points
60K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: 80K after $4K Spend (Expired 11/9/20)

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus. Solid option to pair with fee-free Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Freedom cards, Ink Business Cash, and Ink Business Unlimited in order to unlock ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining ⚬ 5X Lyft (through March 2022)

Noteworthy perks: Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Free DashPass for at least 1 year (activate by 12/31/21)

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

The Sapphire Preferred card’s 60K offer is consistently one of the best consumer card offers available.

Who should get it: If it’s been more than 48 months since you last received a welcome bonus for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card and if you’re under 5/24, then this is a great choice.  If you currently have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have to first product change it to a Freedom card then wait a day or two before signing up for this one.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you’re close to going over 5/24 and have your heart set on other Chase cards (see: “Must have” Chase cards), then you may want to skip this one.  Also if you love the Sapphire Reserve card’s features and don’t want to go without that card for a year (you have to wait a year before upgrading the Sapphire Preferred), then skip the Sapphire Preferred.

Timing your application: Sign up before going over 5/24.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Wyndham Business Card: 45K points + Diamond

Card Offer and Details
Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent earning rate at gas stations and Wyndham hotels. Diamond status plus 15K annual bonus makes this card a keeper.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Other

Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: 15,000 points each anniversary year ⚬ Diamond status ⚬ 10% discount on free night awards ⚬ Cardmember discount on paid stays ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

See also: Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

It’s not just the 45K welcome bonus that excites me about this new Wyndham card, but rather a combination of cool things:

  • 15K annual point bonus: The annual point bonus alone is worth the card’s $95 annual fee.
  • Wyndham Diamond status: With this status you can get suite upgrades (including on free nights), welcome amenity, and ability to gift Gold status to others.  Even better, Wyndham Diamond status freely matches to Caesar’s Diamond which offers perks like waived resort fees, free $100 Celebration dinner (read Nick’s Celebration Dinner trip report here), and much more.
  • Strong earnings for gas station purchases (8X), Wyndham hotels (8X), and utilities (5X)
  • Won’t add to your 5/24 Count: Business cards from most issuers (including Barclays) do not show as accounts on your personal credit reports and therefore do not add to your Chase 5/24 count.

Who should get it: I think this one makes sense for pretty much anyone who is eligible to apply for business cards.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who doesn’t foresee any good use for Wyndham points should stay away.  Wyndham points expire 4 years after they’re earned.

Timing your application: The 45K offer is probably temporary. My bet is that the offer will drop down to 30K at some point in the future, but I don’t know when.  If it’s important to you to get the 45K bonus then sign up soon.

See also: New Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

Southwest: 80K offers

Card Offer
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Up to 80K Points
Up to 80K Points: 50K after $2K spend in the first 3 months + 30K after $10K total purchases in the first 9 months

$99 Annual Fee

All three Chase Southwest consumer cards are now offering best-ever 80,000 point welcome bonuses.  And if you want to earn a Southwest Companion pass, this can be a good time to go for it.  Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, Southwest offers a Companion Pass which is good for an unlimited number of flights (award flights or paid flights) for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next. And it just so happens that points earned from Southwest credit cards, including the welcome bonus, count towards the Companion Pass.  Signing up for one of these cards can get you well on your way towards earning that pass.  That said, if you don’t expect to be flying much in 2021, it would make sense to wait until the end of 2021 to sign up for an offer like this one.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who should get it: If you fly Southwest a lot and expect to do so in 2021, then this is a great opportunity.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you don’t think you’ll be flying much in 2021, then you should wait until the end of the year before signing up for an offer like this.  If you aren’t interested in flying Southwest, in general, then don’t do this.

Timing your application: The best time to sign up for offers like these is December or January so that all bonus points post early in the calendar year.  This way, it’s possible to earn a Companion Pass that is good for almost two full years: the rest of the year in which it is earned plus all of the following year.

See also: Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Complete Guide

Southwest Performance Business: 2-Year Companion Pass w/ $25K spend

Card Offer and Details
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Up to 100K points
Up to 100K points: 70K after $5K spend in first 3 months + 30K points after a total of $25K spend in first 6 months

$199 Annual Fee


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Southwest ⚬ 2x on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 9000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, Southwest offers a Companion Pass which is good for an unlimited number of flights (award flights or paid flights) for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next. And it just so happens that points earned from Southwest credit cards, including the welcome bonus, count towards the Companion Pass. The way to maximize this deal is to earn the welcome bonus early in 2021 so that you’ll have a Companion Pass for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

Who should get it: This is ideal for anyone who can easily spend $25K quickly and who often travels in pairs on Southwest, or wants to do so.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you don’t think you’ll be flying much in 2021, then you should wait a year before doing this. If you aren’t interested in flying Southwest, in general, then don’t do this. If you can’t easily spend $25K quickly, then definitely don’t do this.

Timing your application: The best time to sign up for offers like these is December or January so that all bonus points post early in the calendar year.  This way, it’s possible to earn a Companion Pass that is good for almost two full years: the rest of the year in which it is earned plus all of the following year.

See also: Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Complete Guide

On the fence

Virgin Atlantic: 65K

Card Offer and Details
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Virgin Atlantic ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: Companion award ticket with $25K annual spend ⚬ 7,500 bonus points with $15K cardmember year spend + an additional 7,500 points with $25K cardmember year spend ⚬ 25 tier points towards elite status per $2,500 spend (max 50 tier points per month).

See also: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status

Bank of America advertises this as an 80K offer, but they’re counting 15K from big spend that you can get every year. To me, that shouldn’t be advertised as part of the welcome bonus.  Still, this is a solid offer that comes and goes over time.  Plus, this is a solid card to keep long term.  See: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status.

I moved this card to the “on the fence” category after learning about Virgin Atlantic’s devaluation of Delta awards.

Who should get it: This is a good choice for anyone interested in accumulating Virgin Atlantic miles.  Note that Virgin Atlantic miles are especially valuable for booking very short-distance Delta non-stop, Air France premium economy, and ANA first class.

Who shouldn’t get it: This card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

See also: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles and How to book Air France & KLM with Virgin Atlantic Miles.

Wait for better

Hilton Aspire

Card Offer

This is a tough one.  I almost put this card in the top list.  This card already has a great offer.  Plus, the free nights earned from this card prior to the end of 2021 will be valid at least until the end of 2022 and for any day of the week, not just weekends (see this post for details).

On the other hand, I still think it is likely that we’ll see a sweeter offer come out soon for this card.

Sapphire Reserve

Card Offer

Personally, I think the Sapphire Reserve is a great travel card.  If you’re a frequent traveler, you should at least consider obtaining this card.  That said, the welcome bonus for the Sapphire Preferred card is better.  If you don’t need the Sapphire Reserve’s perks right away, a better play may be to sign up for the cheaper Sapphire Preferred and then upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve a year later.

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