Travel Credit Cards to Pay Attention To Right Now: Summer 2015 Edition

Our two new Citi cards can help us get to our Alaska cruise vacation next spring.

Our two new Citi cards can help us get to our Alaska cruise vacation next spring.

Over here at Unintended Domesticity HQ, we’re in the middle of a new round of credit card churning – the goal being three cards in about as many months, and quite the haul of benefits as a result.

We started with the Citi Prestige Mastercard.  The Prestige card comes with a hefty fee – $450 – but under the current offer, you get 50,000 Citi Thank You Points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having the card.  You also get a preferred transfer rate with American Airlines, making those points worth $800 on AA or $625 on any other airline.

That already makes the card valuable, but the rewards go further. You also get $250 per calendar year in travel reimbursements – and note that I said calendar year, not cardholder year.  So before the fee hits next summer, you can get up to $500 reimbursed via statement credits, including flights, baggage fees, booking fees, fuel surcharges, etc.

And it just keeps going: you get a travel statement to cover Global Entry ($100 value), Admirals Club Access (up to $500 value), Priority Pass select Access (up to $399 value), and a 4th night free benefit for nearly any hotel booked through the Citi travel portal.  So all in all, you get at least $1,225 in value, and more if you use your points on American, book hotels through their portal, and/or visit airport lounges regularly.

Once we’d completed spending on that card, however, we also went ahead and got the Citi Thank You Premier.  Compared with the pricey Prestige, the Premier has just a $95 fee, and even better, it’s waived for the first year.

This card also gives you 50,000 Citi Thank You points for $3,000 in spending in the first three months – and since we get the bumped up American exchange rate with the Preferred card – that means this card is ALSO worth up to $800 in travel on American (or $625 in travel if you don’t have the Preferred card).

There aren’t a ton of other perks on this card, BUT you do get 3x points on gas stations for the life of the card, making it a good all-around card to add to your travel arsenal.

Finally, once we’ve completed the spending on the Premier, we’ll get the hubby a new hotel credit card, and cancel his Southwest Preferred Visa that we got at the start of the year. We’ll do these transactions at roughly the same time, minimizing any risk to our credit scores, because our % of available credit will remain about the same.

We’re not sure just yet which hotel card we’ll go for – the primary candidates are either the Starwood American Express or Hyatt Visa – because we’ll wait and see what hot deals are being offered whenever we’re actually ready to apply.  Yet whatever we go with, we’ll have enough points to take our next big trip with both flights and hotels covered.

What cards are you working towards right now?  Share in the comments.

Header photo credit: Flickr user akgypsy37 under a Creative Commons license.

Whitney