I want to start this off by saying I hope everyone who is reading this is staying safe & is able to stay home!
It's a crazy time we're living in and life is starting to look a lot different for many of us. I haven't commuted to work in 15 weeks and have been thoroughly enjoying the extra time in my days. I've been using this time to laser focus on my goals and take action on a few things that always seem to get pushed to the bottom of my to-do list.
Most of my goals for 2020 were travel related, which is super awkward timing for me considering tourism in general is looking really different lately. Borders are closing, people are being urged to stay home, and the only thing we know is how much it feels like we don't know about the future. Eek...however, I do think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. While we don't know when it'll be safe for us (and the world) to pack a bag again, I do know that I want to be ready when it comes time. I've been diving into the world of travel hacking and putting strategies in place to help us travel once we're able to.
I won't spend too much time talking about travel hacking (or how I actually hate that term for it), but let me know if you're curious about learning more in the future! For now, all you need to know is that using credit cards is a key tenant of travel hacking and this is why I've decided to compile a list of my two favorite travel credit cards out there right now! I have both of these cards in my own wallet so feel free to reach out with any questions you have on them & happy signing up!
PS: I hope I don't have to call this out, but the strategies and deals behind these credit cards only work if you're able to be fully responsible for your credit. This means maintaining regular spending habits (even if you have a minimum to hit) and paying off your statements in full each month. Apply responsibly!)
Chase Sapphire Reserve - For serious travelers only, this card comes with the best travel rewards of any card on the market. There's a premium to pay for it (a $550 annual fee to be exact), but the value of the rewards is easily double that. The rewards are all travel based, including a $300 statement credit towards travel every year, reimbursement for TSA Pre-Check, and a free Priority Pass Membership, which will get you exclusive access to over 1,200 airport lounges across the world.
Get a 50,000 point sign on bonus when you spend $4k in the first 3 months
Get 15% off all Lyft rides with a complimentary Lyft Pink membership
$0 delivery fees on qualifying Door Dash orders for an entire year - yes to quarantine takeout! (They also reimburse you $120 per year for DoorDash orders, need I say more?)
Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards (perfect for travel planning)
Quarantine Perk: Chase is extending the time period to hit your minimum spend and offering adjusted points/reimbursement categories on critical quarantine items, like groceries.
Travel is on hold right now, meaning you may not be able to get your $300 travel reimbursement this year. If you don't plan on traveling towards the end of the year, consider holding off until you're more comfortable.
Hefty annual fee. The annual fee is 100% justified for those who will use all the benefits, and the travel perks are definitely a large part of that. If you're interested in the DoorDash perks alone, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers similar perks with a much lower annual fee.
United Explorer MileagePlus - An incredible sign on bonus for an understandable annual fee make this card a no brainer for anyone who flies United. Living in New Jersey, we have a huge United hub out of Newark and have tons of United options when flying. This card gets you extra points when booking United flights & offers 25% off all in-flight purchases on United flights. You also get 2 club passes each year to the United Lounge, which is no Priority Pass, but who doesn't want to sit in a lounge?
Get a 60,000 point sign on bonus when you spend $3k in the first 3 months
Get 2 points per $1 spent on United flights, restaurants, and hotel stays
$100 TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry reimbursement (for application or renewal)
Free first checked bag on United flights (SUCH a deal if you fly with a little extra luggage)
The best part of this card is the sign on bonus, don't sign up for this card unless you can get the 60,000 points by hitting the minimum spend (PS: this advice goes for all credit cards - don't let those sign on bonuses get away!)
You should hold off on this card if you're not near a United hub and don't have any re-occurring plans to fly United
**Keep in mind**
Word on the street is that banks are being more selective with credit card approvals since COVID-19 hit. Make sure you read all the approval conditions to make sure your credit is well above the suggested level to avoid getting turned down.