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, December 9. If getting every card from this post, you’d earn 165,000 points or miles and $250 in cash. Happy travels!
In this edition:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
- U.S. Airways Mastercard
- Chase Ink Plus
- Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard
Chase Sapphire Preferred. Our longstanding, overall “best card” recommendation. The card offers a 40,000 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 40,000 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.
SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express. With no annual fee and a 3% rebate on the category of your choice, you can essentially get paid for shopping at your favorite merchants.
I usually value miles or points more than money, but in this case there’s an interesting signup bonus: as a limited time offer (if you apply before February 24, 2015) you’ll get a $250 statement credit after spending $5,000 on the card within the first six months of card membership.
Chase Ink Plus. A great companion to the Sapphire Preferred. I wrote about this card more than once a few weeks ago because it had a brief mega-bonus of 70,000 points. That offer is gone, but the 50,000 point offer is still on—and for that one, there’s no annual fee the first year.
Why it’s good: You’ll earn a 5x point bonus on all spending at office supply stores and telecommunications (including your cell phone bill and internet connection). Points earned with the Ink Plus can also be combined with those you earn from Sapphire, and foreign transaction fees are also waived.
U.S. Airways Mastercard. U.S. Airways is disappearing and becoming part of the new American Airlines. However, miles earned in the U.S. Airways program will magically become AA miles at some point in the next year.
Why it’s good: It’s essentially 40,000 miles for $89. I’d buy miles at that rate any day of the week.
Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. The new card offers 35,000 miles with a $1,000 spend in 90 days and a 50% off companion fare for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and the continental U.S. You’ll also get a bonus $100 companion discount every year you have the card, and 5,000 additional miles every year that you spend $10,000 or more.
Why it’s good: well, you’ll get enough miles for a ticket to Hawaii. As winter approaches, it’s hard to top that!
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. Join the list below and get regular updates!
Disclosure: Our partner site, CardsforTravel.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.