Frugal Travel Guy’s 10 Credit Card Picks For December 2017

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The following is the December 2017 edition of what we consider the Top 10 credit card products available at the moment. The list is based on a combination of factors, including current welcome bonus offers, daily earning potential, transfer partners and bonus categories, along with the ability to redeem.

The number in parenthesis to the right of each card’s name is last month’s ranking for each card.

 

1 – Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (1)

Pros:

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don’t expire as long as your account is open.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Ultimate Rewards points earned transfer on a 1:1 ratio to Chase partners British Airways Executive Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean Air SKYPASS, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Rewards and IHG Rewards Club.

Cons

  • $5,000 minimum spend requirement to get the welcome bonus.
  • Annual fee of $95 that is not waived the first year.
  • As this is a business card, you must have a business to apply for this card.

 

2 – The Platinum Card from American Express (6)

Pros:

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months
  • New! Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More. Terms Apply.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • $200 annual Uber credit

Cons

  • High spending requirement
  • $550 annual fee not waived

 

3 – Chase Sapphire Reserve (5)

Pros:

  • Welcome bonus offer of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 spent in the first three months of account opening.
  • Earns 3X points per $1 on travel and dining.
  • $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every five years.
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 50 percent off when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel, providing an effective value of 1.5 cents/point.
  • Ultimate Rewards points earned transfer on a 1:1 ratio to Chase partners British Airways Executive Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean Air SKYPASS, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Rewards and IHG Rewards Club.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance.
  • Priority Pass Select

Cons

  • $4,000 minimum spend requirement to get the welcome bonus.
  • Annual fee of $450 that is not waived the first year.

 

4 – The Business Platinum Card from American Express (2)

Pros:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards points on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more.
  • Use Membership Rewards Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 50% of the points back.
  • Receive 50% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • Access to American Express Centurion Lounges
  • No preset spending limit
  • Starwood Gold Elite Status
  • $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees (once every four years)
  • Preferred Gogo and Boingo Internet access.
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $450 annual fee not waived
  • High spending requirement.
  • American Express once-per-lifetime sign-up bonus limitation.

 

5 – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (7)

Pros:

  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines®
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases.
  • Receive 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary.

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Limited international flight options offered by Southwest.

 

6 – Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express (8)

Pros

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earns 2X Starpoints per $1 spent on the card for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards program.
  • Provides two stays and five nights elite credit each year toward SPG Gold and Platinum Elite status.
  • Starpoints earned can be transferred mostly on a 1:1 ratio to SPG’s transfer partners, which include many of the world’s top airlines.
  • For every 20,000 Starpoints that you transfer to one of SPG’s airline partners, you get an additional 5,000 points or miles bonus, which makes this one of the best cards to use for purchases that do not earn additional bonus points.
  • Earn SPG Gold status after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.
  • Provides complimentary unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi and access to Sheraton Club Lounge when staying at Sheraton hotel.
  • Eligible for Amex OPEN Savings benefit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year).
  • No bonus categories outside of Starwood hotel stays.

 

7 – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (9)

Pros

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earns 2X Starpoints per $1 spent on the card for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards program.
  • Provides two stays and five nights elite credit each year toward SPG Gold and Platinum Elite status.
  • Starpoints earned can be transferred mostly on a 1:1 ratio to SPG’s transfer partners, which include many of the world’s top airlines.
  • For every 20,000 Starpoints that you transfer to one of SPG’s airline partners, you get an additional 5,000 points or miles bonus, which makes this one of the best cards to use for purchases that do not earn bonus points.
  • Provides complimentary unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year).
  • No bonus categories outside of Starwood hotel stays.

 

8 – The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (N/A)

Pros

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points – Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175 Terms and limitations apply.

Cons

  • $175 annual fee (waived the first year)

 

9 – Marriott Premier Rewards Credit Card (N/A)

Pros:

  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date
  • 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants.
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better. All for an $85 Annual Fee

Cons

  • $85 annual fee not waived
  • Marriott has high redemption rates for top-tier awards (40,000 – 45,000 points)

 

10 – IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card (10)

Pros

  • 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year at over 5,200 hotels worldwide
  • 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Automatic 10% points rebate on redemptions
  • $49 annual fee (one of the lowest of any rewards credit card)

Cons

  • Free nights at top-tier IHG hotels can be pricey at upwards of 60,000 points per night

 

Removed from last month’s rankings:

 

Added to this month’s rankings:

 

What are you applying for this month?

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