- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
- American Express Hilton Honors
- Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
- American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum
- Chase United Gateway Mileage Plus
Here we will discuss the best airline and hotel rewards cards. In the world of travel rewards and points, there are two types of cards, generally speaking. There are cards that earn transferable points, like the American Express Platinum, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The points these cards earn can be transferred out to any number of airline and hotel partners. These cards are incredibly useful for the everyday traveler, but if you are a hardcore brand loyalist, there are some better options out there for you.
This brings us to the second type of travel rewards card, the Co-Branded Card. Co-Branded Cards allow you to earn points specific to one airline or hotel (ie. Hilton, American Airlines, etc.). They often have high point earning rates, and come with benefits that brand loyalists may find useful, like status, free nights, and much more. If you are a brand loyalist, or simply want to plan a trip using a certain hotel/airline, you should certainly have a Co-Branded Card in your wallet! Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite Co-Branded Cards out there right now!
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is a great card for anyone who loves American Airlines or just flies out of one of their hubs frequently. When you sign up for the card, you can earn up to 50,000 reasons why you should love AA. On top of that, you’ll earn 2 points for every dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, and American Airlines! For everything else, you’ll earn just one point per dollar. This card comes with a $99 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, but it also brings a ton of benefits along with it. Here are just some of the benefits of the card:
Free Checked Bag
Your first checked bag will be free on domestic flights with American Airlines. Traveling with friends? No problem! As long as they’re on the same reservation as you, you can extend this benefit to up to 4 travel companions! If you fly basic economy, this card is a must-have.
If you’re tired of boarding last and having to fight for space in the overhead bin, this card is for you. Preferred boarding allows you to be one of the first ones on the plane. This means you can get situated before everyone else comes aboard!
American Airlines Discounts
When paying for food and beverages on an American Airlines flight with this card, you’ll save 25%. On top of that, if you spend $20,000 on the card in a year, you’ll receive a $125 flight discount!
As you can see, it pays to be an American Airlines loyalist. If you fly AA enough, the money you save on baggage alone can pay for this card, and put money back into your pocket.
American Express Hilton Honors
If you love staying in Hilton hotels, then you’ll probably love the American Express Hilton Honors card. It’s a free card with a signup bonus of up to 100,000 points and a $100 statement credit right now. It comes with a plethora of benefits designed for the Hilton loyalist in mind. We’ve listed some of the best benefits below:
While point earning is something that should seem normal for a travel card, the amount of points this card earns is far from normal! Aside from the generous signup bonus, you will earn 7 points per dollar spent directly with Hilton, 5 points for every dollar spent on groceries, dining, and gas, and lastly, you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar spent in any other category!
If you spend $20,000 or more per calendar year on this card, you will earn complimentary Silver status! Silver status gets you in on some great stuff, like free access to onsite fitness centers, and complimentary bottles of water for your stay!
While there are plenty of options for Hilton cards out there, this is by far the best one for the traveler on a budget. With no annual fee and colossal point-earning, this card is hard to beat!
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
When it comes to hotel cards, it’s hard to beat the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card by Chase. This $95 annual fee card comes with a 75,000 point signup bonus, and some pretty generous point earning! With this card, you will earn 6 points for every dollar spent directly at Marriott, and 2 points for every dollar spent elsewhere. Additionally, as long as you keep the card active, your points will never expire. However, we’re just scratching the surface of its benefits. Here are some of the more exciting benefits this card has to offer:
Elite Night Credits
As long as you are a cardholder, you will receive 15 Elite Night Credits per year! Elite Night Credits help you on your way to earning status at Marriott. These Credits essentially make it easier to earn status by decreasing the requirement for each tier of status by 15. This means you get Silver Status just by having the card, plus you only have to stay for 10 nights to qualify for Gold Status (as opposed to 25)!
If you want a little more than your free Silver Elite Status, this card gives you a pathway to Gold Status without having to stay any nights! If you spend $35,000 on this card per card member year, you will earn Gold Status. Gold Status will get you 25% bonus points on your stays, enhanced room upgrades, and more!
As a cardholder, you’ll have access to free premium WiFi during all of your Marriott stays. However, the most exciting freebie this card has to offer is the free certificate night offered each year! Every year, when you renew your card, you’ll get a certificate for a free night, good for any property that costs 35,000 points or less per night!
As you can see, there are countless reasons to get this card if you’re a Marriott Loyalist. The free night certificate alone can be worth more than the annual fee that you pay!
American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum
Delta Lovers rejoice! If you’re a Delta Loyalist looking for a card with some great perks, look no further! The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card by American Express is a card with a signup bonus of 40,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (miles that go toward status). It offers cardholders 3 miles for every dollar spent on Delta flights or Delta Vacations, 2 miles for every dollar spent at restaurants, and 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else. Although these earning rates are great, they don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the benefits this card provides. We’ve listed some of its greatest benefits below:
Free Checked Bags
Love booking basic economy, but hate paying for a checked bag? The Skymiles Platinum has you covered. When you pay for your first checked bag with this card, it’s completely free for you and anyone else booked on your itinerary!
Annual Companion Certificate
Each year, upon renewal of your card, you’ll receive a free round trip companion certificate, usable on domestic, main cabin flights. This means that you can enjoy your travels with a friend for free!
Complimentary Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
The Skymiles Platinum Card gives cardholders a statement credit when they use their card to pay for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Both of these programs will cut down your wait time at the airport, so you can have a more relaxing travel experience!
At the end of the day, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is a great card for any Delta loyalist
Chase United Gateway Mileage Plus
The Chase United Gateway Mileage Plus card is the perfect card for budget travelers based in a United hub. The United Gateway card is a no annual fee card with a generous point earning categories. With the card, you will earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at United, gas stations, local transit, and commuting. All other purchases will earn 1 mile per dollar spent. However, this card has much more to offer than generous point earning. We’ve listed some of our favorite benefits below:
Expanded Award Availability
As a United cardholder, you gain access to expanded award availability. This comes in very handy if you’re trying to book very specific and limited award flights. For instance, this may come in handy when trying to book a flight for a Bora Bora getaway from SFO (San Francisco) to PPT (Pape’ete, French Polynesia)!
If you like to enjoy an extra snack or beverage while on your flight, then this is the card for you! The United Gateway offers 25% back on all United inflight purchases, like food, drinks, and WiFi!
All in all, this makes a great rewards card for those just starting out in the award travel scene. A card with no annual fee coupled with a great point earning makes a fantastic choice!