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Free flights and free hotel rooms are possible when you travel hack. What is the best card for travel hacking? That’s what Megan wants to know.
Megan emailed me asking,
“We want to get started travel hacking but don’t want to get a lot of credit cards. Is there a best card for travel hacking? We want a card that gives us free flights and hotel rooms. Which would you recommend?
Using a travel rewards credit card is an easy way to get free travel.
I’ve been using miles and points since 1994 and our family has taken amazing vacations. We’ve traveled for free to places like Hawaii and Australia several times thanks to travel hacking credit cards.
But is there one best card travel card? Yep.
What Is the Best Card for Travel Hacking
Most travel hackers have several travel rewards cards. When you start travel hacking, getting a lot of cards might not be the best solution. At least until you’ve gotten the hang of travel hacking and have a system to organize your cards & miles and points.
It’s easier to begin with one card that offers flexible reward points. Points that you can use for free airfare and hotels. That can be transferred to several different airlines and hotels so you aren’t locked into one hotel or one airline.
Several travel rewards cards earn flexible transferrable currency. Of those, there’s one that is the best travel rewards card.
With so many travel rewards cards is there one best card for travel hacking?
Is there a best credit card for travel miles and travel points?
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers and the first card you should get. Here’s why.
Pro-tip: If you already have this card, here are our picks for the best travel rewards credit cards and the top travel rewards cards that earn points and cash with a welcome bonus.
Big Signup Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a big signup bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. This is worth $750 of travel when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Here are a few creative ways to meet the minimum spending requirements.
Pro-tip: If you have another Sapphire card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can’t get the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Transfer Points to 13 Partners
You can transfer points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt and United.
Transferring points gives you more options for free travel. And can provide tremendous value.
The welcome offer of 60,000 points can get several thousands of dollars of free travel.
You get the best value when you use the points for flights and hotel rooms with partners.
With 60,000 points you spend two nights at the Park Hyatt New York over New Year’s Eve or 12 nights at the Hyatt Place Phuket in Thailand.
Or you could use the signup bonus to book three one-way tickets to the Caribbean.
Pro-tip: Points transfer instantly on a 1:1 basis. Transferred points are nonrefundable. Meaning once you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to an airline or hotel, you can’t transfer them back.
2X Points on Travel and Dining
You earn 2X points on travel and dining when you pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Whether you eat at nice restaurants, get coffee at Starbucks, grab fast food, rent a car, or pay for a hotel room, you’ll get 2X points for every dollar spent.
Pro-tip: Places that use Square might not earn 2X points. Because it has to do with the non-traditional credit card processing systems
1X Point on All Purchases
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred you earn 1X point on all purchases.
When you use your card everywhere travel rewards points add up quick.
Pro-tip: You can scale and earn unlimited miles and points without spending a lot of money.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
You can use your Chase Sapphire Preferred when traveling internationally because there are no foreign transaction fees.
Pro-tip: When using your card overseas, avoid dynamic currency conversion by paying in that country’s currency.
Travel and Purchase Protection
Another perk of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is travel and purchase protection.
You get free trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver protection, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and emergency assistance.
Pro-tip: Purchases are covered up to 120 days against damage or theft and you get a three year extended warranty.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for travel hacking. If you’re new to earning miles and points you should get this card first.
Because you get a large signup bonus, earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1X point on everything else, and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Other travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer more benefits like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck credit but have a higher annual fee. The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is only $95 a year.
Why do you think the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best travel credit card?
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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.