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 Friday, July 4. Happy Independence Day!
In this edition:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Ink Plus
- Lufthansa Premier Miles & More
- U.S. Airways Mastercard
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
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 $3,000 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.
Chase Ink Plus. A great companion to the Sapphire Preferred.
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.
Lufthansa Premier Miles & More. You’ll get 20,000 miles for your first purchase, and can earn another 30,000 miles when you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
Why it’s good: Lufthansa miles are especially useful for redemption on Lufthansa itself, which is difficult with miles from other Star Alliance carriers. The signup bonus for this card can get you a one-way flight to anywhere in Europe from anywhere in North America… in Business Class.
U.S. Airways Mastercard. U.S. Airways is disappearing and becoming part of the new American Airlines. Miles earned in the U.S. Airways program will magically become AA miles at some point in the next few months.
Why it’s good: It’s essentially 40,000 miles for $89. I’d buy miles at that rate any day of the week.
Citi Hilton Reserve. This card comes with automatic Gold status, which gives you free breakfast, free internet, and upgraded rooms when staying anywhere in the global Hilton network.
Why it’s good: Hilton points have taken a bit hit over the past couple of years, but this card can still get you a two free weekend nights at any Hilton worldwide. Tip: use them well. I used mine at the Conrad Hong Kong last year, when rates were more than $350/night.
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.