Compare The Best Rewards Credit Cards 2020

Tens of millions of Americans miss out on extraordinary opportunities to get valuable benefits by putting their spend on credit cards that work for them.

Those who enjoy travel should consider opening a travel rewards card that can earn hotel points, such as the World of Hyatt card or airline miles, such as the United Club Infiniti card. Some of favorite cards, however, earn transferable points that can be transferred to an airline or hotel program or redeemed for cash credits later. These cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the American Express Platinum card.

You can compare all of the best travel rewards cards here.

Many Americans who don’t aspire to travel or who want immediate cash back will prefer to use cash back cards. You can learn more about cash back cards here where we compare the best cash back cards including the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card.

Small business owners and some non-small business owners should consider small business cards here. Some small business cards offer - such as the Chase Ink Business Cash card and the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express offer such compelling value that they should be considered by those who may not have a business but are trying to segregate business expenses (although the may not offer the same purchase protection as personal cards).

BestCashCow examines the value of each loyalty program here.

As you try to decide which card is best for your practices and interest, we have developed this handy tool below that enables you to explore which cards may be most valuable to you based on your estimated annual spend and your objectives. Please have a look.

Estimate Annual Category Spend to Find Maximum Rewards
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
Advertiser Disclosure


4 Exciting New Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers in May 2018

Editor's Note: The offers referred to in this article below have all expired.   To view the most current travel rewards and cash back credit card offers, please visit BestCashCow.com's credit card section.

May has already seen four exciting new travel rewards credit card offerings.   These are worth taking a look at for anyone who enjoys free travel and/or wants to maximize the value of their credit card spend.

  1. Chase’s New Marriott Rewards Credit Card

This new Chase card is offered in preparation for the full 3-to-1 integration of the Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest programs (following Marriott’s 2016 acquisition of the latter).  While the card is inferior to the 1 SPG points per dollar Amex card (3 Marriott points per dollar) that has been a staple of a good travel rewards credit card program, it is better than prior offerings by Chase for Marriott.  It has also been reported that following the full integration later this year, Amex will be allowed to maintain its SPG accounts, but will devalue its program to earn only 2 Marriott points per dollar spent.  Therefore, if you aim to rack up Marriott points, this will be your best bet.

Here are the details of the offer.   Get 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months of card membership.   Earn 2 points per dollar on all spend, 6 points per dollar at Starwood and Marriott programs.

The card also gives a free night award (up to a 35,000 Marriott point value) when you renew each year.   It carries a $95 annual fee (not waived the first year) and has no foreign exchange fees.

Some existing Chase Marriott card members will receive an offer to upgrade to this card.

I don’t have much to say about this card.   I was always a fan of the Starwood Preferred Guest program and held the Amex card for many years.  The 100,000 bonus Marriott points that this card offers (= 33,333 SPG) are slightly better than the sign up offer than most people got when they first got the Amex SPG card, but 2 Marriott points aren’t as good as the 3 that SPG was giving you all of these years.  With so many other cards offering more for your spend, this will be compelling for very few.

See the 20 best credit cards for spend.   Or, use our card maximizer tool to find the best card for your spend profile.

  1. Chase’s Freedom Unlimited Card Offering 3x On All Spend for your First Year

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card ordinarily offers 1.50x on all spend.   Since I can find redemption values of Chase points as high or higher than 2.40 cents a piece, I love racking up these points with this card.   But the card is essentially designed as a cash-back card and in order to get those types of values, you also need to have a Chase Sapphire card which will enable transfers to Hyatt, United, Singapore Krisflyer or British Airways and use it in conjunction with that card.   This strategy is fully explained here

For a limited time, Chase is offering new cardholders 3x on all spend in their first year.  If you can get 2.4 cents out of the points like I can, that is a return of over 7 cents per dollar spent on everything over your first year.   You’ll also get 15,000 Chase points for spending $500 in your first 3 months and the card has no annual fee.   This seems like a deal worth taking a look at.

And, the next two cards are small business cards, except you really don’t need to have a business to take advantage of these offers (learn more).

  1. Chase to Unveil New Ink Business Unlimited Card on May 20

This new card also offers 1.50x on all spend and has no annual fee and is therefore akin to the Freedom Unlimited card, described above.   However, the card gives a 50,000 Chase points sign-up bonus with your spend of $3,000 in the first 3 months.  Also like the Freedom Unlimited card, this is intended primarily as a cash back card and it isn’t available to existing Chase Ink card holders (although they can request a product change to it).    While the sign-up bonus isn’t as good as the Ink Business Preferred Card (that card offers 80,000 Chase points with a $5,000 spend), it doesn't have an annual fee.  It will also be preferable for those who have small business expense that ordinarily doesn’t qualify for one of the Ink Preferred’s spend categories (and therefore usually earn only 1 point per dollar on that card).   Unlike the Ink Preferred, you’ll need to have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred in order to get your points to one of the valuable travel partners (Hyatt, United, Singapore).

  1. Barclays Raises AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard Sign-Up Bonus to 50,000 American Points

Barclays has been somewhat limited in terms of how and when they can promote their American Airlines products, but they did recently unveil a business card, and now they have raised the sign-up bonus for the card to 50,000 American AAdvantage points.  You’ll need only to make a single purchase on the card in your first 3 months in order to get the sign-up bonus.  The card carries a $95 fee that is not waived during the first year.

See all top 10 travel rewards business cards,  Or, use our card maximizer tool to find the best card for your spend profile.

Editorial Disclosure: 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.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.

Hyatt Paris Madeline is Not a Bad Way to Use Your Chase Points in Paris

On my most recent trip to Paris, I stayed at both of the Park Hyatt Vendôme and Hyatt Paris Madeline.  I think that Hyatt points now represent the best value for hotel point redemptions in Paris, and perhaps in all of Europe.

I am a big fan of the Park Hyatt Vendôme.  This is where you want to stay in Paris.  The hotel is simply outstanding and elegant is a way that virtually no other hotel in the Hyatt family matches.   As a Hyatt category 7 hotel, you can stay there with 30,000 Hyatt points per night and Chase Thank You points transfer at a 1-to-1 ratio.   There are many ways to quickly rack up Chase points by pursuing a strategy involving two or more of their credit card products.  By redeeming these points at a hotel like the Park Hyatt Vendôme, where the paid rates start at $1200 a night, you can easily achieve greater than 4 cents in value per point by staying at the Vendôme.

But, the Park Hyatt is not always available for points, and when it isn’t, the Hyatt Paris Madeline is also a super sweet hotel offering a great place to redeem your Chase and Hyatt points.

Whereas rack rates are much lower than the Park Hyatt (around $400 a night) the Hyatt Paris Madeline is very elegant with a very pleasant lobby and more contemporary décor than the Park Hyatt.   The location on Boulevard Malshebes is not as prime, but it is close to Madeline and the Place de la Concorde.  It is a category 6 Hyatt, and at 25,000 points, you won’t be maximizing your value per point as you are with Park Hyatt, but you will still be achieving more than a penny and a half per point, and staying at a hotel that is very much nicer than most other luxury hotels in Paris.    

I have previously advocated using Starwood and even Radisson and Intercontinental points in Paris.   With the Marriott acquisition, I’d now prefer to hold my Starwood points for 7 night Point and Mile redemptions in Hawaii (Paris, though great, isn’t worthy of a 7 night stay).   Radisson has disposed of the nicest hotels in its Paris portfolio and killed their loyalty program over the last few years.   The Crowne Plaza at Place de la Republique, a once Holiday Inn, is a perfectly nice and inexpensive Intercontinental hotel, but not a great point value.   While it may be a reasonable place to stay for cash, it simply isn’t in the same category as the Hyatts.  

What both the Park Hyatt and the Hyatt Paris Madeline have done exceptionally well is keeping out the less than desireable ultra-wealthy that overwhelms a lot of the high end Paris and London hotels these days.   The Park Hyatt Vendôme does this through small male sculptures all over the place, and the Hyatt Paris Madeline does it through simply being understated.  The Churchill in London, also a Hyatt hotel, in juxtaposition to both Paris hotels, is a little more exotic and over the top.

See the best cards for racking up hotel and airline rewards points here.

Editorial Disclosure: 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.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.

Why You Should Focus on Travel Rewards Credit Cards

At BestCashCow, we get asked a lot why we focus our credit card section so heavily on travel rewards cards, and less so on cash-back cards (and not at all on no-interest cards, etc).

We believe that travel rewards cards are exciting and enable people to make vacation travel more accessible.  They are also aspirational, making a higher class of service or nicer hotel rooms more within reach.  In 2017 alone, I have traveled to Europe for work multiple times in first class when I might otherwise have been in coach.  I have also taken my daughter on vacations in New Mexico and Hawaii, again flying in first class and staying in the nicest Starwood and Hyatt hotels.

It is our view that there is tremendous value to be achieved by people of all generations by focusing their spend on those cards that are most valuable to them and their needs.  Within this framework, BestCashCow’s tables can guide you to the best cards for your needs without needing to spend hours trying to leaf through information that is designed for people obsessed with abusing the system that is found on some of the leading travel card blogs.

Importantly, there are three ways to win with travel rewards cards.

First is the sign-up bonus.  While BestCashCow does not encourage flipping or abusing the credit card system, sign-up bonuses are simple and easy ways to get started in an airline’s program, a hotel’s program or a bank’s transferrable point program.  BestCashcow makes it easy to find and compare the best sign-up bonuses here.

Second is the reward for ongoing spend.  Here is where travel rewards credit cards can really sing.  Anyone who has even been a member of a loyalty program knows that it is easy to redeem miles for much than one cent (we list our values of hotel points here and our value of airline points here). Where things really become interesting is that there are multiple cards that on their face reward more than one point per dollar of spend.  For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards, for example, give 2x or 3x, respectively, in certain travel and dining categories.   A Chase Ink Cash card gives you 5x on telecom and office supply store spend, up to a $25,000 maximum each year.  A Chase Ink Preferred card gives you 3x on internet ad spends up to a $150,000 maximum each year.  A Chase Freedom Unlimited card gives you 1 1/2x spend on all else.  These cards all deliver Chase Ultimate Rewards points which – through many of these cards – can be transferred to United, Hyatt, British Airways or Singapore Airlines where they are easily worth over 2 cents a piece (we provide further detail on the strategy around Chase here).  With the best cash back card delivering only 2 cents per dollar, we think finding a strategy involving one or more travel rewards cards from our list of the best cards for spend yields more value.

Third is the benefit for having the card.  Most Delta Amex cards give you a free checked bag, as do most Chase United cards and those American Airlines cards issued by Citibank and Barclays.   Citibank and Barclays cards also give you 10% of your American Airlines miles redeemed each year (up to 10,000 miles each year).  The Chase Hyatt card gives you a free category 1-4 night each year on renewal.  The biggest benefits, of course, come from the highest end cards.  We find the Amex Platinum card compelling enough to cover its $550 annual fee with its $200 airline credit, Uber credits, lounge access at Centurion, Delta, and Priority Pass, and access to great benefits at Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts.  The Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Citi Prestige cards, likewise, are cards with $450 annual fees with their own sets of benefits that many will find compelling.

When you consider all of the opportunities in the above, we think travel and rewards cards are your best bets.

Editorial Disclosure: 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.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.