Maximizing Travel Perks with Two Power Credit Cards

I told myself I wasn’t going to apply for anymore credit cards, dammit! Well, technically, an AMEX is not a credit card. It’s a charge card. Okay, I guess it’s okay, then.
— Me

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Platinum American Express.  My Dynamic Duo


With one quick Google search, you are able to find hundreds of articles about which credit cards are best for frequent travelers.  It’s all dependent on what your personal preferences are.  I’ve done quite a bit of research on this, as I am always floating in the sky heading to somewhere random.  I’ve resolved that the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Platinum American Express are the cards for me!

First, before we get into the perks of these cards and why I chose them, let’s first discuss why using credit cards instead of debit cards, is beneficial, especially for jet-setters and aspiring jet-setters.

  1. Using a credit card instead of a debit card, for all purchases, and then paying that credit card off every month helps build a stronger credit history.  Using a debit card does not impact your credit at all.  The key phrase here is, “and then paying that credit card off every month.”  Don’t carry a balance. Also, try not to spend more than half of your credit limit on a card.
  2. There is increased security measures for most credit cards.  Too often have I dealt with my debit card being compromised and me finding out about it after the fact.
  3. If you have a card that accumulates travel points when making purchases, you have an added benefit.  Often, travel points are worth more than opting for cash back.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Now, onto why I chose the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.  For one, the card is sexy!  It’s a metal card, covered in a sapphire blue lining.  It doesn’t look or feel like the typical credit card, because the 16-digit number is actually located on the back of the card, and there's a bit of weight to it.

  • You earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining (including fast food restaurants and coffee shops), and when you use your card to pay for airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, train tickets, taxis and more.  You earn 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases.
  • You can transfer your points to frequent traveler programs, or use them to book travel directly from the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.
  • 24/7 direct access to customer service representatives.  That’s right, folks!  There’s no, “Press 1 for blah blah blah” prompts.  You are talking to an actual human being.
  • No foreign transaction fees, when abroad.
  • A full list of card benefits can be found here

I literally use this card for everything, including monthly bills.  So, it was easy for me to spend the $4,000 in purchases within the first three months, in order to secure the 50,000 points sign-on bonus!  This card is often hailed as one of the best travel cards, by the travel benefits guru himself, The Points Guy!  There’s a $95 yearly fee, and it’s waived the first year.  Trust me, the benefits of this card more than make up for the yearly fee.
If you think you’d benefit from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, APPLY HERE.

Platinum American Express

The second card I have is the Platinum American Express.  This comes with a hefty $450 yearly fee, which was a turnoff for first.  But, then I thought about how much I travel, and the perks that would make up for the $450 fee.  First of all, the sign-up bonus is 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months (this is $1,000 less than the Chase deal, by the way).  Note:  I actually caught a special that offered 100,000 points, which is why I jumped on it so fast.  This deal was a targeted promotion, however, and it doesn’t happen often.  If you come across this deal, however, get it!

Here are the reasons I think the card is worth it:

  • Complimentary access to over 900 airport lounges, including The Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass lounges and Airspace Lounges.  Free food and DRANKS before a flight or during a layover?  Yes, please!
  • Airline fee credit of $200 each year.  You can either use this for things like baggage fees, or just purchase airline gift cards. 
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi at all airports and on flights with Boingo.  I need this, as I am always purchasing Wi-Fi on flights because…boredom.
  • Free credit for TSA Pre✓ and Global Entry
  • Automatic elite Gold Status with Starwood Preferred Hotels and Hilton HHonors
  • No foreign transaction fees, when abroad.
  • 24/7 Platinum Concierge service.
  • A full list of card benefits can be found here.

So, the Platinum AMEX is a great card to keep in your wallet; not only because of the perks, but also because, well, it’s pretty baller.  I will most likely only use this card for the first three months to meet the minimum spending limit for the 100,000 points, and then I will just enjoy the benefits and perks whilst I’m airport hopping!

 Am I balling?  Nope! But I like this gif!

Am I balling?  Nope! But I like this gif!

Again, there are many travel credit cards out there that you can choose from.  These two are just my power couple.   Fellow travel nerds and credit card connoisseurs, there’s no need to debate me on which cards are “better.”  Debate your mother.  I stand by my recommendations, especially for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited about being a Platinum American Express card owner.

Go on!  Get yours, and step your travel game up! 
*whispers* But, like I said…pay the card(s) off each month.  Leave those “minimum payment” days in the past...