What’s In My Wallet

One way I save money on travel and get to fly in style (business and first-class) is by leveraging credit cards as tools. But comparing dozens of credit cards can be overwhelming. Which ones are in my wallet? Here are the credit cards I personally use–and why I think they’re worth keeping year after year (even with the annual fees). If you are interested in one of the cards below, applying through the links below would be a way to support me and the site. I appreciate the consideration!

Chase Freedom Credit Card

Chase Freedom

“Best no annual-fee card where you can still earn a lot of points”

Bonus: Earn 15,000 points after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening–valued at $150 in cash back
Annual Fee: None
Why It’s Worth it:

  • No annual fee, which makes it a great starter card
  • The 5% rotating categories can fast-track your points
  • Points can be combined with premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

“The best all-around travel card”

Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening— that’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Why It’s Worth it:

NOTE: You can’t hold both this card AND the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at the same time. You have to choose one and apply for the other after 48 months.

  • Transfer points to 13 airline or hotel partners, including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott
  • 0% foreign transaction fees–a must if you travel overseas
  • The points are 25% more valuable when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Primary car rental coverage, up to the car’s value

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

“The travel card for premium benefits, like lounge access, TSA Precheck and Global Entry”

Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening— that’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Annual Fee: $450
Why It’s Worth it:

NOTE: You can’t hold both this card AND the Chase Sapphire Preferred card at the same time. You have to choose one and apply for the other after 48 months.

  • $300 travel credit
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit
  • Free airport lounge access with Priority Pass
  • Transfer points to 13 airline or hotel partners, including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott
  • 0% foreign transaction fees–a must if you travel overseas
  • The points are 50% more valuable when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Primary car rental coverage, up to $75,000

Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express

Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express (Personal or Business)

“Most flexible and most valuable points”

Bonus: Earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Why It’s Worth it:

  • The best Return Protection policies–useful for buying clothes on Final Sale
  • One free night award every year after your account anniversary, valid for hotels that cost 35,000 points or less–valuable for expensive destinations like Hawaii, Paris, NYC
  • Transfer points to a whopping 45 airline partners, including American Airlines and Alaska Airlines (both great for trips to Asia)
  • Redeem points for stays at not just Starwood hotels, but Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties, too

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

“Best for hotel stays”

Bonus: Earn 3 free award nights after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening
Annual Fee: $95
Why It’s Worth it:

  • One free award night every year after your account anniversary, valid at a hotel that costs 35,000 points or less–valuable for expensive destinations like Hawaii, Paris, NYC. This should cover the annual fee you pay.
  • Redeem nights for stays at not just Marriott hotels, but Starwood and Ritz-Carlton properties, too