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History tells us that June can be a quiet month for credit card offers, but, thankfully, that’s not the case this year. Much to our delight, American Express has surprised us with the relaunch of the classic American Express® Green Card packed with more travel benefits than ever and an elevated, best-ever, two-part introductory bonus, which includes 60,000 points plus up to $200 back in statement credits. Meanwhile in the hotel world, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has upped the value of its welcome offer to a whopping 130,000 points, plus a Free Night Award, redeemable for a standard night award up to 150,000 points at Hilton properties worldwide. There are so many excellent and enticing offers currently—here are our six picks to consider right now and why.
1. American Express® Green Card
Best for: The American Express Green Card is best for those who want a solid travel credit card that earns points quickly but has a low annual fee.
Why now? Summer travel is here, and the American Express Green Card is offering the opportunity to earn its best-ever welcome bonus plus $200 in statement credits.
Welcome offer: Currently, the American Express Green Card is courting new cardholders with a two-part record breaker. First, earn 60,000 AmEx Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. Second, earn 20 percent back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
Annual fee: $150 (See rates and fees.)
Earn points: Earn three points per dollar spent on airfare, hotels, all other travel (including cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals), transit purchases (including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways), and restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the United States). Earn one point per dollar on everything else.
Credits: As part of the current welcome offer, earn up to $200 back in the form of statement credits with a 20 percent refund on eligible travel and transit purchases made in the first six months. In addition, anticipate two credits every year: one for a Clear® Plus membership and the other for LoungeBuddy, an app that allows you to purchase one-off entry into select airport lounges at 80 airports worldwide. For Clear, receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your Clear Plus membership. For LoungeBuddy, download the app and link your Amex Green to LoungeBuddy to receive up to $100 in statement credits annually for entrance payments.
Key perks: Once accrued, AmEx points are transferable to 17 airline partners—3 domestic and 14 international—and 3 hotel partners. A total of 20 transfer partners makes Membership Rewards the best loyalty program overall for transferable points (compared to Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points). Partners include Delta SkyMiles, Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue, and Marriott Bonvoy, transferable at a 1:1 ratio and Hilton Honors transferable at a ratio of two Hilton Honors points for every Membership Reward point.
2. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Best for: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is best for those who want extra perks at Hilton properties and airport lounge access, plus the chance to quickly earn and burn hotel points this summer (without paying a large annual fee).
Why now? The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is currently making credit card bonus history with its latest welcome offer. The card also has earnings multipliers in select key categories, making it easy to rack up points quickly through spending.
Welcome offer: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card offers up to an equivalent of 280,000 Hilton Bonus Points with its new welcome offer, broken down as follows: You’ll earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership, plus a Free Night Award, redeemable for a standard night award up to 150,000 points (terms apply).
Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees.)
Earn points: Earn 12 points per dollar at properties in the Hilton portfolio, 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and 3 points per dollar spent on everything else.
Credits: No credits
Key perks: Get 10 free lounge visits to 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges for every year enrolled in Priority Pass Select Membership through the Surpass card (enrollment required). No other personal credit card at this fee level offers such lounge access. Finally, you’ll score Hilton Honors Gold Status automatically with card membership. Benefits of Gold Status include the following at stays within the Hilton umbrella: space-available room upgrades, complimentary Wi-Fi, and daily on-property food and beverage credits. (The amount of that food and beverage credit varies by brand, but for luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria it runs an impressive $50 per room per day, assuming two guests per room.)
3. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Best for: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is best for those who want an excellent travel credit card that pays for itself through credits, benefits, lounge access, and a rewarding earnings structure while also offering flexibility in redeeming points.
Why now? Capital One is rolling out its own collection of airport lounges for cardholders and has launched its new Premier Collection, offering special perks at hundreds of hotels globally.
Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
Annual fee: $395
Earn points: Earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and five miles per dollar spent on flights booked through Capital One Travel. All other purchases earn two miles per dollar spent.
Credits: When booking through Capital One Travel, receive up to $300 in statement credits. Get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit once every four years (up to $100). Receive an annual 10,000 bonus miles after your account anniversary.
Key perks: Access Capital One Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and Plaza Premium lounges at airports. The card is also smart for those who plan to add cardholders to their accounts. Up to four can be added at no cost. Priority Pass lounge membership and access to Capital One and Plaza Premium airport lounges extends to each of these additional cardholders at no extra cost. As far as redemptions go, miles transfer to 16 airline and hotel partners.
4. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Best for: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is best for those who occasionally fly Southwest and want to earn points quickly for free flights.
Why now? The card’s current welcome offer is a great one. Also, despite a low annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card still packs in the points.
Welcome offer: With the current offer on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, earn 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening, plus a one-time 30 percent off promo code for travel on Southwest Airlines. Southwest Rapid Rewards points are loosely pegged to a dollar value—each point is worth between 1.3 to 1.45 cents when redeemed for the airline’s cheapest “Wanna Get Away” fares. That means that the current 60,000 Rapid Rewards points bonus is worth approximately $780–$870 on Southwest flights. Moreover, the 30 percent off promo code promises even more savings.
Annual fee: $69
Earn points: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest, its hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting purchases (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
Credits: With the current welcome offer, get a 30 percent off promo code for future travel.
Key perks: Get two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year; an account anniversary bonus of 3,000 points annually
5. The Platinum Card® from American Express
Best for: The Platinum Card from American Express is best for those who value luxury benefits on land and in the air, including the best in airport lounge access, and understand such benefits (plus a program that includes copious statement credits) far outweigh a hefty annual fee. The card is also best for those who plan to add cardholders to their accounts. Select benefits—specifically a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and that unbeatable lounge access—extend to every cardholder (which is not the case with most other cards).
Why now? A good introductory welcome offer, travel benefits aplenty, and excellent benefits for additional cardholders.
Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. (Terms apply.)
Annual fee: $695 (See rates and fees.)
Earn points: Earn five points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 per calendar year, and on prepaid hotel bookings made through American Express Travel. Earn one point per dollar on everything else.
Credits: Statement credits include up to $200 per calendar year on airline incidentals, up to $200 per calendar year on Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection bookings (minimum two-night stay) with American Express Travel, up to $200 annually for Uber/UberEats (given in Uber Cash), up to $100 annually at Saks Fifth Avenue, up to $240 annually on digital entertainment (applicable toward charges on Hulu, Disney+, SiriusXM, and the New York Times), up to $300 annually toward select Equinox gym memberships, a $155 Walmart+ Credit subject to auto-renewal (to cover the monthly membership cost of Walmart+), and up to $100 in statement credits once every 4 years toward the application fee for Global Entry, or up to $85 once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. Enrollment required for select benefits; terms apply.
Key perks: The best in airport lounge access (including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and more) plus Gold elite status in Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, which extends to both primary and additional cardholders; in terms of points spending, Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to 19 airlines and three hotel partners, including Delta, Hilton, and Air Canada Aeroplan.
6. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is best for those who want a top travel credit card that earns points quickly and comes with the industry’s leading travel protections.
Why now? Summer travel is around the corner, and Chase Sapphire Reserve carries the most thorough travel coverage of any credit card on the market, hands down.
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on new purchases within the first three months. You can cash those bonus points out for 1.50 cents apiece—a value equal to $900—on travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Annual fee: $550
Earn points: Earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards, five points per dollar spent on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards, three points per dollar on dining, including takeout and international restaurants, and three points per dollar on travel not booked through Chase—including airfare, hotels, trains, rideshares, and more. Earn one point per dollar on other purchases.
Credits: Earn $300 back each year in statement credits for travel purchases, effectively reducing the annual fee to $250. Also, receive up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck or Nexus credit every four years.
Key perks: Get Priority Pass Select Membership, allowing access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world in the Priority Pass network plus access to the current and upcoming Chase Sapphire Lounges by the Club (and the Sapphire Terrace). Moreover, Chase points are exceptionally versatile and can be transferred to 11 airlines and three hotel partners. Chase points can also be redeemed at 1.50 cents apiece for bookings through the Chase travel portal or with select categories, which change quarterly, under the “Pay Yourself Back” feature.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
Paul Rubio Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.