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Credit Card Applications » Questions » User Questions » Travel with Credit Cards » Which is the best credit card for travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95/year),...

Which is the best credit card for travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95/year), the Discover it Miles ($0/year), or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite ($89/year)? Cost is not an issue. Since the Sapphire card is good for British Airways is it also good for American Airlines? Also, is the 1:1 exchange rate under Chase lower than what you can exchange for a ticket with Discover? I don’t know if they use different conversion rates for free tickets. Thanks

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is good for travelers and those who also spend a lot on dining as it gives 2 points for travel and dining purchases. All other purchases earn only 1 point per dollar. The sign-up bonus is quite standard for travel cards – 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Where this card stands out is redemption options. Redemptions through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site have the best value – if you redeem for travel, your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece. If you decide to transfer your points, you will be able to do it at 1 to 1 value. American Airlines is not the Sapphire’s balance transfer partner, but there are other 7 partners including British Airways and United MileagePlus.

If your spendings are broader, the Sapphire card won’t perform at its fullest potential. You may want to earn more than 1 point in the general spending category. Both, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and the Discover it® Miles cards will let you earn 1.5 miles and 2 miles correspondingly and can be a better overall option. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers a fixed sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles which you will get after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days. The Discover it Miles does not have a fixed bonus offer but offers a mile-for-mile match, which means all miles you’ve earned first year will be doubled at the end of the year. Thus, if for example, you earn 30,000 miles, you get 60,000 miles. Both cards have equal redemption value for all airlines: 1 mile is 1 cent. One common good thing about these two credit cards is that if you redeem for travel, such expenses like taxes, surcharges, and fees, that are included into a travel transaction, they will be included in the overall redemption as well. However, redemptions may not go smoothly for both cards: thus, the Arrival Plus card will require you to have a minimum of 10,000 miles if you want to redeem for travel. With the Discover it Miles card, you can start redeeming as soon as you have at least one mile.  

All in all, we would recommend supplementing the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with either Barclaycard Arrival Plus card or the Discover it Miles card as both cards allow cash redemptions and can cover travel expenses that are not covered by the Sapphire card.

All credit cards terms, fees and rates mentioned in this article/post are actual on the posting date. See the current products’ Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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Match Mile For Mile: We’ll match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
For Excellent, Good Credit
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
For Excellent/Good Credit
Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
For Excellent, Good Credit

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