Best Credit Card for Travel Miles - Wander Pig

Best Credit Card for Travel Miles

Using a travel rewards card to book your next trip not only lets you travel this time, but, you also earn travel miles that can be redeemed for award travel in the future. That’s why it’s so important to choose the best credit card for travel miles. The next time you get the itch for travel, you need to add one of these cards to your wallet.

This article will make two separate recommendations based on your travel habits. Both credit cards earn bonus points on every travel purchase, unlike co-branded credit cards that only earn bonus miles for purchases on a specific airline. While you might miss out on additional perks like priority boarding and free checked bags, the flexibility can be well worth it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best For: Flexible Travel Redemption Options with a Low Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) is a must-have if you want to earn bonus points on every travel purchase. It doesn’t matter what airline you fly, the hotel you sleep at, or rental car agency you visit, you will earn two points on every travel and dining purchase for $1 spent. And, you will earn one point per $1 on all remaining purchases.

And, as a new cardholder, you have the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points by spending $4,000 within the first three months. These 50,000 points are worth up to $625 in award travel or you can transfer them to your favorite airline or hotel program. By adding an authorized user, Chase will also give you an additional 5,000 rewards points that are worth an additional $62 in award travel.

See here how the CSP compares to the Cap One Venture credit card. 

Redeeming Sapphire Preferred Points

The Sapphire Preferred gives you two different redemption options for your Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Option A: Redeem Points on Chase for 1.25 Cents Each

Your first redemption option is redeeming your points for award travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Doing so makes each point worth 1.25 cents each. Most other travel credit card points are only worth 1.00 cent each, so your points are automatically worth 25% more with the Sapphire Preferred.

Points can be redeemed for any type of award travel from plane tickets, hotel nights, cruises, guided tours, and rental cars. Because of the 25% redemption bonus, a $400 ticket will only require 32,000 points instead of 40,000 points with your standard rewards credit card.

Chase also gives you the option of paying with points and cash when you don’t want to exhaust your entire points balance.

Option B: Transfer Your Miles to an Airline or Hotel Credit Card

Your second redemption option is transferring your rewards points to one of the following Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners:

  • British Airways Avios
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Korean Air SkyPass
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • Marriott Rewards
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Points can be transferred in 1,000-point increments to these travel partners. Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points is a better option when you want to redeem your points for partner flights or supplement your existing points balance.

Additional Sapphire Preferred Card Benefits

The Sapphire Preferred also provides you primary rental car collision and damage waiver protection. This is one of the few credit cards that offer primary coverage and will pay for the damages stemming from a car accident or theft to your rental car.

The Sapphire Preferred also offers trip interruption and cancellation insurance that will reimburse you up to $10,000 in non-refundable travel purchases when your travel plans get disrupted or altered.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Fees

How much does this flexibility cost? The annual fee is $95 and it’s waived for the first year.

There are no fees for adding additional users and there are zero foreign transaction fees.

Platinum Card from American Express

Best For: Premium Travel Benefits and High Purchase Rewards for Airline and Hotel Purchases

The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best premium credit cards for travel miles since you can transfer Membership Reward points out to many airline partners. The Amex Platinum has the highest purchase rewards on airline and hotel purchases for any flexible travel credit card. You will earn five points per dollar on airline and hotel purchases.

New cardholders will also earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. This welcome offer is worth $600 in award travel.

Redeeming Amex Platinum Points

The best value for redeeming your Membership Rewards points is for award plane tickets. Points can be redeemed for one cent ($0.01) each. This is lower than the Sapphire Preferred, but, since you can earn double the points on airline and hotel purchases, it’s possible to acquire points much quicker to offset the lower redemption rate.

Here are the 1:1 Amex travel transfer partners:

  • AeroMexico
  • Aeroplan
  • AirFrance-KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways Avios
  • Delta Sky Miles
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Plus
  • Jet Blue (250 Amex Points=200 JetBlue Points)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges Hotels
  • Hilton Honors

There is some overlap with the Chase travel partners, but, there are a few unique partners including Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Etihad, and Hawaiian.

Additional Amex Platinum Benefits

If you want a credit card that supports a premium lifestyle, you will enjoy the following card benefits:

  • $250 air travel credit
  • $200 in Uber credits
  • Complimentary membership to The Centurion, International American Express, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Club airport lounge networks
  • Upgraded Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program status
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck Application Fee Reimbursement
  • Free Boingo wifi hotspot access

These benefits are in addition to earning five points per $1 on all airline and hotel purchases and one point per dollar on all remaining purchases.

Amex Platinum Fees

The Platinum Card from American Express costs $550 each year. Additional cards cost $175 a year.

Neither of these fees are waived for the first year.

You will not pay any foreign transaction fees.

Summary on the Best Travel Credit Card for Miles

What is the best credit card for travel miles? It depends on your travel habits. Adding either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Platinum Card from American Express to your wallet will help you earn the most points on each purchase. And, you will be able to travel for free much sooner.

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