Cards that are “best for maximizers” are for those who aren’t afraid to carry a few different cards to pump up their rewards.
WHY IT WINS
For regular travelers who want the flexibility to use their rewards in a variety of ways—as money back against travel spending or as miles on individual travel programs—the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers the industry’s most generous sign-up bonus for a sub-$100 annual fee.
The rewards rate on travel spending is good, and if you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get a 20% discount on all travel purchases. That makes your signup bonus alone worth $625, just a bit more than the cost of a roundtrip cross-country flight. And your points may go even further if you transfer them to an airline or hotel program. (A New York–London roundtrip on British Airways, for instance, takes only 40,000 points.) The annual fee is waived the first year.
The one point you earn on everything but travel and dining is lower than the Barclaycard’s ongoing rate. And the APR is high, with no grace period, so you can’t finance trips.
Rewards: Two points per $1 spent on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in 90 days.
Annual fee: $0 in the first year, then $95
APR: 16.2% to 23.2%
Travel partners: British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton.