Summertime, and the livin’ is easy! Hey everyone – today marks the first day of summer!
Astronomy interlude – summer begins when the Sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator at 6:34 p.m. EDT this evening!
To celebrate, I would like to introduce to you the June version of AYP Top Cards! How can you celebrate the start of summer? Perhaps by giving your points and miles balances a push in the right direction!? – Apply for one or two of the sweet offers listed below and be on your way to vacationing for CHEAP using all of your credit card rewards!
What should you have your eyes set on this month!?
If you are new to the credit card game, it may be wise to warm up with the AYP Starter Guide before jumping straight in. Everyone else, it’s go time.
Note: Within this post I have included various referral links – some links are my own and some links are from friends of mine – and as a result either I or another will receive a referral bonus upon your application and approval. I receive no other commission so thank you in advance for your support of AYP by using these links!
Have a referral link yourself? Email me at email@example.com and I will mix your link into my posts to share the bonus points! Seriously! Send me your link and I will post it on the blog and offer it to others who ask!
(1) Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase) – If you are reading this, and you do not have the CSP, please consider an application as soon as possible! The CSP is the best card on the market and will provide you a solid rewards earning base, which can then be supplemented with additional card applications and bonuses. The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is at its highest in almost 5 years and 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. The current bonus has been available for some time now and I have not heard of any changes coming in the near future, but remember – offers can change at any point in time… If this card is not in your wallet then check out why you NEED the Chase Sapphire Preferred! The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually. Own a business? It might also be worth applying for the Chase Ink Business card for 60k points through this link (or 70k points if you apply in a Chase branch) – note the $5,000 minimum spending in 3 months!
(2) Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Visa (Chase) – Southwest is one of my favorite airlines (no frills, free bags, just right) and is the airline I travel with most frequently. The current sign-up bonus on the Premier Card is at an increased 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points – which equates to about $700-$800 in Southwest flights – upon spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Going for BOGO Southwest flights with the Companion Pass!? Those 50,000 points provide a nice Rapid Rewards boost and will come in mighty handy on your quest for 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year! Though the annual fee is $99 (not waived the first year), the card provides great upfront value, as well as a 6,000 Rapid Reward Point annual card member bonus (earned following payment of the 2nd year annual fee). Although we typically see this bonus a couple times a year, I suggest taking advantage of it now, just in case history stops repeating itself. Own a business? Go for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business card and for another 50k Rapid Rewards points to bring you even closer to the Companion Pass threshold!
(3) The Citi Prestige – When I started writing about “Top Cards” each month, I kept the Citi Prestige off my list due to a steep annual fee… Yet, each month I hold the card in my wallet, I find more and more value, causing the Citi Prestige to climb the list! This card will earn you 50,000 ThankYou Points upon $3,000 in spending in the first 3 months. Citi advertises that these points are worth up to $800 in flights on American Airlines, $665 in flights on any other airline, or $500 in gift cards. In addition to that great value, the points are flexible and can be transferred to Citi ThankYou transfer partners (including Singapore Airlines – consistently ranked as one of the top airlines in the world)! While the annual fee amounts to $450 per year (stay with me here), here are just a few of the benefits you earn as a cardholder that make the annual fee worth the investment:
- Annual $250 Air Travel Credit – can automatically be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades (that cuts the annual fee to $200 right there!)
- Lounge Access – Complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select
- Complimentary 4th Night Free at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive-night booking.
- Free Global Entry/TSA PreCheck – the card earns you a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. Once approved for Global Entry by the U.S. Government, you can bypass long lines and enjoy expedited entry into the U.S.
The card may not be for everyone, but for those of you that value lounge access and many other great perks, begin to consider the Citi Prestige…
(4 – tie) Chase Marriott Rewards (Chase) – Tied for 4th are a couple of great hotel credit cards, the first of which is the Marriott Rewards credit card! The current sign-up bonus for the Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card is an impressive 80,000 Marriott Rewards points (plus an additional 7,500 for adding an authorized user)! The total bonus amount of 87,500 is yours after meeting the $3,000 in minimum spend in 3 months! This offer is perfect for you if you are interested in boosting your points in the Marriott Rewards program. My favorite redemptions for Marriott Rewards Points (and all hotel points in general) are for high value hotels like JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton Brand Hotels! I feel really good about this offer (so good that I had my wife Mallory apply earlier this year) and think it is a great pick-up for those looking to quickly build a Marriott Rewards balance! There is an $85 annual fee (not waived the first year) – but this is more than offset by fact that you also receive an annual free night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel (like the AC Hotel Carlton Madrid) each year after your account anniversary. Own a business? Consider the limited time Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business card, offering up to 100k Marriott Rewards points upon spending $5,000 in 3 months.
(4 – tie) The Hyatt Credit Card (Chase) – The bonus on this card is too great to pass up – 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. These certificates can be worth BIG MONEY. Get the most bang for your buck by redeeming at top tier Hyatt properties – like my previous stay at The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome – which can between $600 and $1,200 per night… for a Standard Room! The card is not only great for the initial sign-up, as it provides ongoing value with 1 free night every year at any Category 1-4 property (like the Andaz Savannah) upon the card’s anniversary. That perk makes the card more than worth the $75 annual fee ($0 fee for the first year)!
(5) Delta Cards by American Express (Delta Gold & Delta Platinum) – Need Skymiles!? American Express is making it easy on you! Through July 6, the Delta Gold Card by American Express and the Delta Platinum Card by American Express are offering increased bonuses of 50,000 Skymiles + $50 and 60,000 Skymiles (and 10,000 MQMs) + $100, after $2,000 spending in the first 3 months on each! These offers are perfect if you are able to leverage Delta’s lower redemption rates – like I did with my 60,000 Skymiles redemption for two one-way tickets to Paris this past Valentine’s Day! In addition to the Skymiles and statement credit, as a cardholder you will enjoy free checked bags, no foreign transactions fees, and since this is an American Express credit card, you will gain access to the valuable Amex Offers program. The cards come with a $95 Annual Fee (waived the first year) for the Delta Gold and a $195 Annual Fee (NOT waived the first year) for the Delta Platinum. Are you a business owner? Check out the business versions on the Delta Gold and Delta Platinum as well!
(AND) Cards not [AS HIGH] on my list – Although the following card is one of my favorites, I have a funny feeling that the sign-up bonus will increase at some point before the Marriott acquisition, and would advise you to hold off if you can:
- Starwood Preferred American Express – Current bonus is at 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months as a cardholder. We saw this offer hit an all-time high of 35,000 Starpoints earlier this year and I think it is possible that the 35K bonus returns!
Can’t wait for the higher offer on the SPG Amex? Go ahead and give the application a go! While it would be nice to see 35,000 points again, 25,000 points is a solid offer on a card that can earn you a valuable flexible rewards currency going forward.
Sieze the points and miles opportunities! DO NOT let another month go by while you just sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else travel the world for [practically] free! The offers above will take you where you want to go, you just have to let them!
Keep in mind that all of the offers above are “public offers” and are available to all applicants. There are often higher, more select, offers out there (check your email and mailbox!) – so, if you are targeted for these higher offers, apply for your targeted offer rather than through the links above!
Did I miss one of you favorite current card offerings? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org