Business Travel Credit Card Strategy to Maximize Your Travel Rewards – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

If you read parts 1 & 2 of this series on Maximizing Your Travel Rewards, so far you have a basic grasp of common terms and gotten your first card. You might have chosen the American Express but moving forward, we will assume that you chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

You have now applied for, been approved for, received, and started using your first credit card to Maximize you travel rewards on your business travel expenses. You are either close to meeting the minimum spending requirement to get the sign-up bonus and are wondering what card to sign up for next.

More than likely it should be a Chase card, but which one? That depends on your travel.

Which card Should you get next?

If you want to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points via sign-up bonuses for multiple cards within Chase’s 5/24 rule, your next card should should be a Chase travel card. Chase has travel cards that are co-branded with Southwest, United, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG. If any of those airlines or hotels is one you primarily use, that should be the next credit card that you get.

Some of the branded cards, such as Marriott and United, have multiple options to pick from. For example, for Marriott there is the Bonvoy Boundless and Bonvoy Bold. (information below is accurate as of 11/7/2019)

Marriott Card Comparison


Bonvoy Boundless Bonvoy Bold
Sign-up bonus 100,000 Marriott points 30,000 Marriott points
Spending bonus 6 points/dollar spent at Marriott properties 3 points/dollar spent at Marriott Properties
Annual Fee $95 $0

If you primarily stay at Marriott properties and travel a decent amount, the Boundless would likely provide enough points to offset the annual fee. So if there are multiple cards of the same brand to choose from, you have to decide which makes the most sense for you based on your travel.

What if my primary airline and hotel both have Chase cards?

Lucky you. If this is your case, one should be the second card that you get and the other should be the third. But, which one first? This will depend on what you want your next personal trip to be. If you are going somewhere that is cheap to get to but expensive to stay there like New York City, it may make more sense to get the hotel card and points first and then the airline card. Or if you are planning a trip somewhere that is expensive to get to but cheap to stay there, such as Cape Town, you might want to start with the airline card first and then the hotel card after.

What if I don’t use any of those brands?

Maybe you are someone who uses, for example, American Airlines and Hilton. Those brands don’t have cards through Chase. Hilton’s cards are through American Express and American’s cards are through Citi. If you get those cards right away, you will miss out on Chase Ultimate Reward points because the Citi or Amex card will count against the 5 total credit cards that you can apply for in 24 months with Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Instead, I recommend considering the Southwest cards. Reason being that Southwest has what is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of travel rewards in their Companion Pass. The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to take a companion for free on any flight that you book with Southwest for the remainder of the year that you meet the requirements and the entire following year. Basically buy one get one free airline tickets. To earn the Companion Pass, you have to earn 125,000 miles in one calendar year, but sign-up bonuses and spending bonuses count towards that total. So if you were to get 2 Southwest credit cards and get the sign-up bonuses, you would only need about 10,000 more miles.

If you don’t see yourself traveling on Southwest, a non-travel Chase card could help you rack up some more Ultimate Rewards points. More to come on that in Part 4.

Summary up to this point

If possible, following this strategy will help you maximize your travel rewards from your business travel spending.

Card 1: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Card 2: Chase Airline or Chase Hotel card for you primary brand. Or Southwest.

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