Skip to Content

What Is the Best Card for Travel Hacking?

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, Las Vegas, 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

Woman lies on the beach with yellow hat and blue towel

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 start 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?

Yes.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 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. These are the best balance transfer credit cards with 0% Intro APR.

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. Or $600 cash back!

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® Card, 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 Regency West Hanoi in Vietnam.

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.

5X Points on Travel

You earn 5X points on travel booked through the Chase travel portal and paid for with your Chase Sapphire Preferred. For travel booked directly with the airline, hotel, car rental company, etc. you’ll earn 2X points.

Pro-tip: Each year you get a $50 hotel credit on rooms booked on the Chase portal.

3X Points on Dining

You earn 3X points on dining when paying with your card.

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.

Places that use Square might not earn 2X points. Because it has to do with the non-traditional credit card processing systems.

Pro-tip: Be sure to register your card so you can also earn miles at restaurants.

If you don’t want to go out but don’t feel like cooking, you’ll pay no delivery fees on orders over $12 during your first year with DashPass. You have to activate this offer by December 31, 2021.

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

sunrise at Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Photo courtesy of Chris Karidis via Unsplash

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.

Conclusion

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?

Comment, tweet, or share this post.

Pin this post

Get the best credit card signup bonuses.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.

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.


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.  
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of 3% cash back = an extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases your first year.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 6.5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal , 4.5% cash back at drugstores and restaurants, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you can use your points to travel for free.
 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Marysa

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

It is nice to have some ideas for saving and earning while spending. Thanks for sharing your tips. It doesn't make sense not to take advantage of this!

Lynndee

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

I have been wanting to try one of these travel cards and enjoy the benefits. Thanks for the tips!

Catalina

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

I love travelling a lot. I should start thinking to choose one of these cards!

Richelle Milar

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

These are all really great tips! Thanks for sharing this with us! I dont know any credit cards that can use for traveling

Terri Steffes

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

I am loving our Disney card. Have you checked it out? It is a Chase card, that allows you to save points to use as cash at Disney World.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.