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By Matt Kepnes, founder NomadicMatt.com
Hey there! Looking for an awesome card to help you travel cheaper, better and longer? These are my go-to cards when it comes to collecting points and miles. Whether you’re looking for free flights, discounts, or free hotel stays, these cards have you covered. They offer lucrative signup/welcome bonuses, awesome perks, and are great for everyday purchases. They are a must for any traveler, so if you’re serious about free travel, get these cards — and I’ve partnered with my friends at CardRatings to bring them to you! – Nomadic Matt (Read more about Nomadic Matt below)
For folks new to the credit card rewards landscape, this card offers plenty of bang for your buck without a lot of strategy required. Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are transferable to a number of popular hotel and airline loyalty programs, which could allow you to receive significantly more value than the standard $.01 each. Even if you don't choose to transfer your points, when you redeem through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, points with this card are worth 50% more; that means your 50,000 bonus points are worth $750 when redeemed for travel.
For the exceptionally brand-loyal, branded credit cards offer perks and features that you will no doubt appreciate. However, if you find yourself shopping around for the cheapest price and best times rather than going for an airline-specific ticket no matter what, a general travel rewards credit card could be a better, more beneficial card for you. If you plan to frequently fly with one specific airline though, it's probably worth having a co-branded credit card. Not only do they provide extra perks for members, but they also come with all the benefits standard on other cards such as $0 liability for unauthorized charges which is especially important while traveling.
Like with airline credit cards, hotel credit cards can be a good fit for the truly brand-loyal, but since general travel rewards cards offer options that allow you to transfer rewards to loyalty programs or redeem rewards with flexibility for any hotel, depending on what type of traveler you are, a co-branded card might not always be right for you. If you are loyal to Hilton or Marriott though, it's tough to beat these cards. A Hilton Honors credit card is the easiest way to boost your points balance; the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card automatically provides you with gold elite status which provides you with a plethora of perks, including an 80% bonus on base points earned with the card. Same with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card— this card gets you automatic elite silver silver status, and puts you on a path to gold status.
Get to know Nomadic Matt: Matthew Kepnes runs the award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt. He took his first trip to Costa Rica in 2004 and fell in love with the freedom and possibility travel had to offer. After a trip to Thailand in 2005, Matt decided to quit his job, finish his MBA and head off into the world.
His original trip was supposed to last a year.
His writings and advice have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Lifehacker, Budget Travel, BBC, Time, Wall Street Journal, and countless other publications. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the handle @nomadicmatt.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card: See Rates and Fees; The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: See Rates and Fees; Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: See Rates and Fees; American Express® Gold Card: See Rates and Fees; The Platinum Card® from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: See Rates and Fees; Hilton Honors American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: See Rates and Fees; American Express® Business Gold Card: See Rates and Fees