It is Friday… it just feels good to say, right? And on this wonderful Friday I would like to present to you the AYP List of Top Credit Cards for February 2016! While this is not a comprehensive list of all the deals out there, these are all cards/offers that are currently on my radar for potential applications, or are already in my wallet. If you are new to credit cards (check out the AYP Starter Guide) then my advice to you would be to start slow with your application strategy with 1 to 2 credit card applications at first, and grow from there.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase)–This card is a favorite among travelers and with the increased current sign-up bonus the CSP tops the list for February. The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred will earn you 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user. If this card is not in your wallet then check out my post here on why you NEED the Chase Sapphire Preferred! The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (American Express) – UPDATE – The bonus is now 35,000 Starpoints through 3/30/2016 – check out my post here! In my opinion, the points earned form this card are the most valuable reward currency out there! Starpoints can be redeemed directly at SPG Hotels (W, Westin, Le Meridien and St Regis, & Sheraton, among others) or can be transferred to over 30 airline partners – SPG will even tack on an extra 5,000 miles when you make a transfer of 20,000 to an airline partner! While the current sign-up bonus is a
conservative 25,00035,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, the real value lies in the redemption of Starpoints for luxury hotel stays or transferring points to airline miles at a bonus.The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.
- AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard (Citi) – Although American Airlines is changing up their award chart a bit (see a breakdown of changes here), I have always been able to get great value out of AAvantage miles by redeeming with American Airlines and their OneWorld partners. The current sign-up bonus is 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Once you are a cardholder, you may be able to take advantage of some current Citi Checking account bonuses for even more AAAdvantage miles. The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.
- The Hyatt Credit Card (Chase) –The Hyatt credit card offers a very lucrative sign-up bonus of 2 Free Night Certificates (for stays at any Hyatt worldwide) after spending$1,000 in 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user. Certificates can be redeemed at top tier Hyatt properties including The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome – which can cost $639 – $1,217 per night (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room). In addition to the sign-up bonus, cardholders will receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 property – which makes the card more than worth the $75 annual fee ($0 fee for the first year). Keep I mind that for everyday spending (outside of meeting the minimum spend of $1,000), Hyatt is a transfer partner of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which means that it is much easier to accumulate Hyatt Gold Passport points by spending on the CSP and transferring to Hyatt, rather than the spending on the Hyatt Card. The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $75 annually.
- Hilton Reserve (Citi) – Similar to the Hyatt Card above, the Citi Hilton Card offers some free night certificates, which are perfect for high value luxury hotel redemptions (I have a stay booked at the Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand where I will be redeeming my certificates!) that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of points. The current offer is 2 Free Night Certificates (for stays at any Hilton Property worldwide) after $2,500 spending in 4 months from account opening. Another perk of being a cardholder is the automatic Gold Status at Hilton – which can mean extra bonus points for paid stays, upgraded rooms and free internet, among other things. The card comes with $95 fee annually.
- Cards not on my list – although the following cards are some of my favorites, the sign-up bonuses are at low levels (reduced from limited time promotional offers), and should give you reason to delay any applications until the promotional offers reappear:
- Delta Gold American Express – Current bonus at 30,000 miles, so hold out for the 50,000 mile offers (hopefully in the months to come).
- Citi ThankYou Premier – Current bonus is
40,000 ThankYou Points, just recently reduced from 50,000 ThankYou Points(UPDATE: The bonus is back to 50,000 so this card is back up for you to consider!).
- Premier Rewards Gold American Express – Current bonus is 25,000 Membership Points, check here for targeted offer for 50,000 Membership Points, otherwise probably best to hold off.
Bonus: One other thing to look out for in the coming months (most likely in March) will be the new Jet Blue Barclays Credit Card (formerly affiliated with American Express). I am not sure of the sign-up bonus yet, but here is a breakdown of some of the card perks to look forward to.
All of the offers above are “public offers” and are available to all applicants. There have been rumblins’ of targeted offers for the AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, Citi ThankYou Premier and Premier Rewards Gold American Express and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer cards – so if you are targeted for these or others then go for the targeted offer rather thank the links above!
As always, if you have any questions/comments or would like more information on the cards above (or any other credit cards) than leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.