MAY 2020

Disclosure: Extra Pack of Peanuts has partnered with CardRatings & for our coverage of credit card products. Extra Pack of Peanuts, CardRatings & may receive a commission from card issuers. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.


Perks: You’ll earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months and you’ll get 2x points in the travel and dining categories. The annual fee is a reasonable $95/year.

Trav’s Take: The best card out there for beginners and anyone who is going to travel 3x/year or less. This was the card I used, every day, for years (until Chase came out with the Sapphire Reserve) and I absolutely loved it. This is one of the highest bonuses we’ve ever seen for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so I’d recommend hopping on this offer ASAP if you haven’t already.

If you’re going to travel more than 3x/year, I’d recommend the Sapphire Reserve below.


Perks:  You’ll earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.  Plus, you’ll get a $300 travel credit each calendar year (which helps offset the $550 annual fee), 3x points on travel and dining and Priority Pass lounge access.

Trav’s Take: My favorite card, hands down, and the one I use for almost all of my personal spending. If you are going to travel more than 3x/year, the perks of this card make it well worth it. Highly, highly recommended.

If you are going to travel 3x or less per year, then you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, listed above.


Perks: Earn 100,000 (!!) points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months plus earn 3x points on travel, online advertising, shipping, and cable/wireless (for the first $150k each year).

Trav’s Take: An absolutely awesome signup bonus for the best business card out there. If you’re able to get a business credit card, this is the one to get — and I’d jump on it now while the bonus is this high!

4. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Perks: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, the annual fee is $95; waived for the first year and you earn 2x on all purchases.

Trav’s Take: While Capital One miles aren’t as valuable as Chase points because they can’t be transferred to partners, this is a good card because the miles are easy to use, the signup bonus is worth $500, and you get 2x on all purchases. Definitely a good card to add to the stable after you have a few Chase cards.

5. The Platinum Card from American Express

Perks: Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus get Global Lounge Collection access (which gives access to the Amex Centurion Lounges among others). You’ll also receive $200 incidental fee credit with an airline of your choosing each year.

Trav’s Take: The annual fee of $550 is high, but if you make sure to use your $200 airline credit and lounge access, this card is worth it, especially with the increased welcome offer.


Perks: You’ll earn 40,000 after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months, which is a nice chunk towards getting the Companion Pass, the best airline perk out there. You’ll also get $75 Southwest travel credit each year & 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary which helps with the $149 annual fee.

Trav’s Take: This is a great card to get if you are looking to travel to Southwest destinations (mainly domestic US and the Caribbean). You’ll need 125,000 miles to get the Companion Pass, and so 40k is a great start towards doing that.


Perks: Earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Earn 9,000 points on your cardmember anniversary and earn 3 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases (including their hotel & car rental partners) & 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.  This card has crazy perks so definitely check this one out.

Trav’s Take: If you’re planning to travel where Southwest flies (and it keeps expanding…yah!) then this card is a no-brainer as long as you can get a business credit card. If you can get the Companion Pass, even better!


Perks: Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months plus an additional 25,000 after spending $6,000 total in the first 6 months. Also, you’ll get a free night at any category 1-4 Hyatt as an anniversary bonus. Plus, the card is now equipped with contactless technology.

Trav’s Take: Since the absolute best Hyatt properties are 30k/night, the sign-up bonus will earn you a night at any Hyatt in the world (or a lot more nights at lower-end Hyatts), but you are also well on your way to another free night. For that reason, I consider this a tiny bit better than any other hotel card out there. And since you get a free night at any category 1-4 Hyatt, this card is a no-brainer.

9. United℠ Explorer Card

Perks: Earn 60,000 bonus miless after spending only $3,000 within the first 3 months plus you get priority boarding perks, first bag checked for free (if you use the card to purchase the ticket), and you get 2 United Club access passes each year on your anniversary. The annual fee is $95 and is waived the first year and you can get $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit when you use the card to purchase.

Trav’s Take: This card is a good one if you use United often or are near one of their hub airports. The perks are great with a low annual fee and you can get 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases and 25% back on all United inflight purchases so if you are a United fan these can add up quickly.


Perks: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $20,000 within your first-year of account opening. Every calendar year you spend $30,000 on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

Trav’s Take: This card is a bit of specialty card and hard to rank. If you know the best ways to use British Airways points and can hit the spend minimums to get all the bonuses, this card is HIGHLY recommended and should be one of the first cards you get. If not, then only get this card after some of the ones ahead of it on the list.



Perks: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of account opening. Receive a free night each time you redeem points for a 4 + night stay. Earn 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. No foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.

Trav’s Take: This is the newest offering from IHG and is a great starter card for anyone with its low minimum spend and no annual fee. You still get the Fourth Reward Night Free offer as well so if you are looking for a beginner hotel card then this is the one.

Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. Extra Pack of Peanuts has partnered with CardRatings & for our coverage of credit card products. Extra Pack of Peanuts , CardRatings, & may receive a commission form card issuers.

Pin It on Pinterest