Update: This post contains outdated offers and should only be used for reference. Click the following link for the most up-to-date offers on my favorite travel hacking cards. -cg
Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. About 250,000 of them come through actual travel, and the rest come through travel hacking: the art of seeing the world on a budget.
One of the easiest ways to earn a lot of miles all at once is through credit card signup bonuses. This post contains the best current card offers as of Tuesday, May 5th. If getting every card from this post, you’d earn 215,000 points or miles. Happy travels!
In this edition:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- **Bonus! Chase Ink Cash® ($300 Cash Back)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Our longstanding, overall “best card” recommendation. The card offers a 60,000 point signup bonus, no foreign transaction fees, double points on all dining and travel expenses, and has the annual fee waived for year one. You’ll get the 60,000 bonus points after spending only $4,000 in three months.
Why it’s good: It’s the gold standard! Or maybe it’s the Sapphire standard… but it’s definitely a standard of some kind.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Why it’s good: Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening—and a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide throughout the IHG network.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Why it’s good: You’ll get up to a 25,000 points signup bonus – 10,000 points after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Card membership. The annual fee of $65 is waived the first year, and in our opinion, the benefits far outweigh the cost if you keep it.
We especially like the additional bonus of 5,000 miles added to every transfer of 20,000 points to one of Starwood’s many global airline partners (20,000 SPG points = 25,000 miles). This means that the bonus on this card is actually equivalent to 36,000 miles and could be transferred for a domestic return ticket redemption, or even a one-way Economy Class ticket as far as Asia on some airlines!
Learn more or get the card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Why it’s good: You’ll get 50,000 Avios miles with a low $2,000 minimum spend in 3 months—and the card now features no annual fee during the first year. With this quick initial bonus, this card is worth adding to your wallet.
While British Airways redemptions aren’t always a great value due to high taxes, they are great for redemptions for low mileage awards on AA in the US, and can also be redeemed across the One World Alliance on some great international carriers like Cathay Pacific.
Like all the great cards in the Chase family, there are no international transaction fees.
Bonus! Chase Ink Cash® Card
Why it’s good: A cash-back card created for especially for businesses (although anyone can apply), the Ink Cash offers a $200 now $300 back in cash after you spend your first $3,000 in the first 3 months.
We don’t always recommend this card, but it’s good for an extra $100 during the limited-time offer. No annual fee!
A few questions and attempted answers are below.
Does this really work?
Yes. I’ve been receiving regular signup bonuses for more than five years. Many of our readers have also had great success.
Is this bad for airlines and banks?
No. They are happy to have new customers, especially those who are responsible and trustworthy.
Isn’t it bad for your credit to apply for so many cards?
Not unless you don’t pay your card balances. Be diligent and you can earn signup bonuses to travel for nearly free for a long time to come.
Learn more about travel hacking in the archives, or sign up for our 12-lesson “Almost Free Travel” course below!
Disclosure: Our partner site, cardsratings.com, pays us a referral bonus for some of these cards. We always provide the links to the best possible bonus that we’re aware of, and you’re always welcome to apply directly from the card issuers if you prefer.