18 May AYP List of Top Credit Cards for May 2016!
A new month means a new AYP List of Top Credit Cards! I have a good feeling about May… especially since my wife’s last round of applications was in February (including the Chase Marriott Rewards) – meaning my personal 3-month wait rule (to allow credit scores to strengthen) is over and it is time to apply for another round! What do you have your eyes set on this month!?
If you are new to the credit card game, it may be wise to warm up with the AYP Starter Guide before jumping straight in. Everyone else, it’s go time.
Note: Within this post I have included various referral links – some links are my own and some links are from friends of mine – and as a result either I or another will receive a referral bonus upon your application and approval. I receive no other commission so thank you in advance for your support of AYP by using these links!
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- Chase Sapphire Preferred (Chase)– Still on top this month is my old favorite, the CSP! There have been some months where the CSP misses the #1 ranking, but those have been few and far between. Other cards come and go, but me and the CSP, we stick together through thick and thin. The current offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is at its highest in almost 5 years and will earn you 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user. The current bonus has been available for some time now and I have not heard of any changes coming in the near future, but remember – anything can change at any point in time… If this card is not in your wallet then check out why you NEED the Chase Sapphire Preferred! The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $95 annually.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Visa (Chase) – Southwest is one of my favorite airlines (no frills, free bags, just right) and is the airline I travel with most frequently. The current sign-up bonus on the Premier Card is at an increased 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points – which equates to about $700-$800 in Southwest flights – upon spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Though the annual fee is $99 (not waived the first year), the card provides great upfront value, as well as a 6,000 Rapid Reward Point annual card member bonus (earned following payment of the 2nd year annual fee). Although we typically see this bonus a couple times a year, I suggest taking advantage of it now, just in case history stops repeating itself.
- Chase Marriott Rewards (Chase) – Holding it’s own on the list this month (and already in my wallet) is the Marriott Rewards credit card! The current sign-up bonus for the Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card is an impressive 80,000 Marriott Rewards points (plus an additional 7,500 for adding an authorized user)! The total bonus amount of 87,500 is yours after meeting the $3,000 in minimum spend in 3 months! This offer is perfect for you if you are interested in boosting your points in the Marriott Rewards program. My favorite redemptions for Marriott Rewards Points (and all hotel points in general) are for high value hotels like JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton Brand Hotels! There is an $85 annual fee (not waived the first year) – but this is more than offset by fact that you also receive an annual free night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel (like the AC Hotel Carlton Madrid) each year after your account anniversary.
- The Hyatt Credit Card (Chase) –Still a solid choice is the Hyatt credit card – remaining on the list due to the very lucrative sign-up bonus of 2 Free Night Certificates (for stays at any Hyatt worldwide) after spending $1,000 in 3 months from account opening, with an additional 5,000 bonus points awarded after adding an authorized user. Certificates can be redeemed at top tier Hyatt properties – like my previous stay at The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome – which can cost between $639 – $1,217 per night (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room). In addition to the sign-up bonus, cardholders will receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 property (like the Andaz Savannah)– which makes the card more than worth the $75 annual fee ($0 fee for the first year). Keep in mind that for everyday spending (outside of meeting the minimum spend of $1,000), Hyatt is a transfer partner of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and it is much easier to accumulate Hyatt Gold Passport points by spending on the CSP card and transferring to your Hyatt loyalty account, rather than the spending on the Hyatt Card. So after you meet that minimum spend, consider another card for everyday spending. The card comes with $0 fee the first year, then $75 annually.
- The Citi Prestige – After appearing as an extra bonus card in last month’s line-up, the Citi Prestige has cracked my top 5. While the offer has not changed since April, I have found myself taking advantage of the long list of perks – including the very generous airline lounge access! This card will earn you 50,000 ThankYou Points upon $3,000 in spending in the first 3 months. Citi advertises that these points are worth up to $800 in flights on American Airlines, $665 in flights on any other airline, or $500 in gift cards. In addition to that great value, the points are flexible and can be transferred to Citi ThankYou transfer partners (including Singapore Airlines – consistently ranked as one of the top airlines in the world)! While the annual fee amounts to $450 per year (stay with me here), here are just a few of the benefits you earn as a cardholder that make the annual fee worth the investment:
- Annual $250 Air Travel Credit – can automatically be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades (that cuts the annual fee to $200 right there!)
- Lounge Access – Complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Clublounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select
- Complimentary 4th Night Free at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive-night booking.
- Free Global Entry/TSA PreCheck – the card earns you a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. Once approved for Global Entry by the U.S. Government, you can bypass long lines and enjoy expedited entry into the U.S
The card may not be for everyone, but for those of you that value lounge access and many other great perks, begin to consider the Citi Prestige…
- Cards (still) not on my list – Although the following cards are some of my favorites, they have been on my DO NOT APPLY list for some time now due to the lower sign-up bonuses (reduced from limited time promotional offers), giving you reason to delay any applications until the promotional offers reappear:
- Delta Gold American Express – Current bonus is at 30,000 miles, so hold out for the 50,000 mile offers (hopefully in the months to come). My wife was actually targeted for a 60,000 mile offer, and if you were as well then that is definitely worth an application! Those 60,000 miles can get you and a friend to a beautiful destination – like Paris!
- Premier Rewards Gold American Express – Current bonus is 25,000 Membership Points, check here for the chance at a targeted offer for 50,000 Membership Points and be on the lookout for snail-mail targeted offers, otherwise it is probably best to hold off on that application for now.
- Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express – Coming off a previous 100,000 point high, the current public offer is back down to 75,000 HHonors points. If you have your heart set on a Hilton Co-branded credit card, then take a look at the Citi Hilton Reserve – offering 2 Free Weekend Nights at ANY Hilton Property after spending $2,500 in 4 months! More good news, the Reserve will also get you Hilton Gold Status (just like the Surpass does)!
Update! The 100,000 HHonors point sign-up is back for the Hilton Surpass by American Express through June 30 – meaning it is good enough to jump off my “Do Not Apply” list and into your wallet!
Keep in mind that all of the offers above are “public offers” and are available to all applicants. There are often higher, more select, offers out there – so, if you are targeted for these higher offers, then apply for the targeted offer rather than through the links above! Also, always keep your eyes out for limited-time “flash” credit card deals like the 100,000 point bonus for the American Express Platinum Card that appeared last week and is now unavailable.
Did I miss one of you favorite current card offerings? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!