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30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Category Airline
Bonus Spending Req. $4,000
Annual Fee $69
Card Notes: IMPORTANT: This bonus comes with a Companion Pass good through 12/31/19. ACT QUICKLY because this offer is good through 2/11/19. "Southwest miles are easy to use and free to cancel if travel plans change. So, they're very flexible. Good bonus with this card that can also get you closer to a companion pass. You'll also get 3,000 bonus points each year when you renew the card each year." - Zac
30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Category Airline
Bonus Spending Req. $4,000
Annual Fee $149
Card Notes: IMPORTANT: This bonus comes with a Companion Pass good through 12/31/19. ACT QUICKLY because this offer is good through 2/11/19. "This card has the highest annual fee for a Southwest card, but frequent Southwest flyers will love it. It has a lot of extra benefits, plus the great signup bonus. It's also awesome when paired with the Southwest Business card for the companion pass. You earn 2 miles per $1 on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases. Despite the higher annual fee, you'll get 7,500 anniversary points, $75 Southwest annual travel credit, and 4 Priority boardings every year each year." - Zac
80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Category Business
Bonus Spending Req. $5,000
Annual Fee $95
Card Notes: Why We Like It “It’s hard to beat the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you’re looking for an all-around business card that has flexible redemption options AND can be combined with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The bonus is amazing, too. One of the best business cards with a great signup bonus and 3X categories, the Ink Business Preferred card is a great overall card for many businesses. The card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the following bonuses: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)." - Zac
30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Category Airline
Bonus Spending Req. $4,000
Annual Fee $99
Card Notes: IMPORTANT: This bonus comes with a Companion Pass good through 12/31/19. ACT QUICKLY because this offer is good through 2/11/19. "Southwest is one of the best airlines for free travel. Southwest offers free cancellation for reward flights, which makes it super easy to book and change as needed. Also, remember that Southwest offers free bags. This card has a good signup bonus for a big chunk of miles. For regular spending, you are probably better off using a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, and then transferring points to Southwest." - Zac
$500 after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus $500
Category Business
Bonus Spending Req. $3,000
Annual Fee $0
Card Notes: "Great signup bonus for a card with no annual fee. This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred! Like the Sapphire cards, this card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can earn 5X rewards (on first $25k spent) for phone, TV, internet, and office supply stores." - Zac
$500 after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus $500
Category Business
Bonus Spending Req. $3,000
Annual Fee $0
Card Notes: "This is a no-brainer, great business card from Chase. A great bonus with no annual fees. You can combine points with other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards. Like the name says, you earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. Note that unlike many Chase cards, this card does charge foreign transaction fees." - Zac
50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Category Travel Rewards
Bonus Spending Req. $4,000
Annual Fee $0, then $95
Card Notes: "This is an excellent all-around card. One of THE best cards for any type of traveler. The Chase travel portal and transfer partners make it very flexible. Transfer partners include Southwest, United, and Hyatt. The card offers 2 points per dollar for all travel & dining purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and primary rental car coverage." - Zac Read More: 6 Reasons Why We Love the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
70,000 American AAdvantage Miles Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 120 days
Bonus 70,000 American AAdvantage Miles Points
Category Business
Bonus Spending Req. $4,000
Annual Fee $0, then $99
Card Notes: "This card normally has a great signup bonus. It has some nice perks for frequent AA flyers. like first checked bag free, priority boarding, reduced mileage awards, and save 25% on inflight purchases. You can earn double miles on AA purchases, certain telecommunications merchants, car rental companies, and gas." - Zac
50,000 World of Hyatt Points Points after you spend $6,000 in the first 180 days
Bonus 50,000 World of Hyatt Points Points
Category Hotel
Bonus Spending Req. $6,000
Annual Fee $95
Card Notes: "One of the best hotel cards. Great signup bonus with an annual free night. Definitely worth paying the annual fee just for the free night. Hyatt is also one of my favorite hotel rewards programs. They have great customer service, too. Earn 2 points per dollar at restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, airlines, local transit, fitness clubs and gym memberships. Earn 4 points per dollar at Hyatt properties. Each year you receive a free category 1-4 night every year upon card renewal. The base bonus is 25,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. There is an additional 25,000 points if you spend $6k total in the first 6 months.' - Zac
60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
Bonus 60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Category Business
Bonus Spending Req. $3,000
Annual Fee $99
Card Notes: "This card has a great signup bonus for a big chunk of miles. It's also a must get if you are looking to get the Southwest Companion Pass. While it may make more sense to use a Chase Ink card for overall business spending (and utilize Southwest as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner), Southwest is one of the best airlines for free travel. Southwest offers free cancellation for reward flights, which makes it super easy to book and change as needed. Also, remember that Southwest offers free bags." - Zac

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How do you rank the cards in CardGenie Recommendations?

There are several factors that go into our rankings. It's important to know that we rank our cards with our average user in mind. So if you are an expert free traveler, you probably have your own system and don't need our recommendations anyway.

Here is the criteria we use:

  1. Value of points - Not all points and miles have the same value when it comes time to redeeming them. We take this seriously.

  2. Sign-up Bonuses - Travel Freely seeks to maximize sign-up bonuses, so if great sign-up bonus offers come out, those cards will move up in the rankings.

  3. Type of Card - We value airline cards higher than hotel cards because airfare never goes on sale (whereas hotel sites can get you almost 50% retail rates). So airfare is the highest value in free travel. So, if we see airlines and hotel cards as similarly great deals, the airline card will get the edge in the rankings.

  4. Bonus spending requirement- We rank cards lower that require major spending as part of sign-up bonus. For example: Some cards offer 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, but then they’ll offer an add’l 25,000 points if you spend $10-15k in additional spending over the course of the year. This is considered major spending to us and we do not factor that in for the normal free traveler. (We would recommend hitting the first bonus, and then moving on to another card that will get you more points with less spending.)

  5. Ease-of-use Intangibles - Factors such as customer service and redemption fees play a factor in our rankings. We don’t want you to spend hours on the phone with poorly trained, off-shore customer service when you have a question about your card. And ridiculous fees for redeeming free travel are also important to us. For example: Frontier - You might get a “free flight” on Frontier Airlines with 20,000 points. But, you have to spend a reward redemption fee, bag fee for carry-on or checked luggage, and a seat booking fee. You might spend $96 in fees for a $110 flight! Additionally, they have terrible customer service, which is outsourced to another country. Unless these factors change, you’ll never see Frontier cards (or those that fit this criteria) listed in any card recommendations.