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For the past 18 years we have been traveling around the world with kids in tow. All the while trying to find a way to avoid paying for flights and using miles to get us to our destination with little amount of money coming out of pocket.
In fact, I would say of the easily more than 100 flights we have taken as a family we have paid for only a handful of those flights. Plus, we use credit cards for some awesome hotel stays and perks as well. So, let’s break down how we do it and which are the best credit cards for families.
#5 – Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – Our favorite Hotel Rewards Card
Most hotel rewards credit cards are not worth it in my opinion since the end of Starwood’s program. However, the Hilton Aspire card is great for a few reasons. Now, this card does have a hefty annual fee but we will explain why it is worth it. (See Offer Benefits & Terms)
- Instant Diamond Status – This will get you upgrades at every Hilton you stay in, plus complimentary breakfast. We stayed at the Hilton Tokyo and the breakfast cost $40 per person. With 7 of us, that saved $280 per day. Diamond Status also gets you rooms at places that may look like they are booked, but Hilton sets aside a few rooms for Diamond members. We have used this on several occasions when booking a room for the 49ers games.
- Free Weekend Night – Each year you earn a free weekend night at any Hilton resort in the world, we used ours at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch beach resort which was $850 per night. You can get an additional night if you spend 60k or more per year.
- $250 Airline Fee Credit
- $250 Hotel Credit – You get $250 spending towards Hilton hotels to use throughout the year.
- 14x points per dollar spent at Hilton – You earn 14x points for each dollar spent at Hilton. This is a fast way to rack up points.
All information about the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express has been collected independently by Global Munchkins. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is no longer available through globalmunchkins.com.
Welcome Bonus Offer
Receive 150,000 Hilton Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. This can get you 1 night at the premium resorts and several nights at Hilton’s traditional hotels.
#4 – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (Our Favorite Airline Credit Card)
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is great as it has one of the best points programs on the market. You can find yourself flying to Hawaii for as little as 5,600 points (other airlines can be close to 30k).
Earn a Southwest Companion Pass –
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is great for a few reasons, but the big prize is the companion pass. For those who don’t know a Southwest Companion pass gets you unlimited free flights for up to two years. for the person of your choosing. So, whenever you fly, your companion flies for free. (They do have to pay the taxes which is usually just a few bucks)
With the Chase Southwest credit card, every dollar you spend on the Chase Southwest credit card earns you one mile + a mile towards the companion pass. Now, there are two ways to earn a companion pass. Either fly 100 times in one year (not happening here) or earn 135,000 miles.
The Chase Southwest Airlines Credit Card has several bonus sign-up offers (which you can combine) to get you to that 135,000 miles super quick.
Additional Benefits of Southwest Premier Credit Card:
- 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases.
- 2 points per $1 spent on local transit, commuting (including rideshare), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 6,000 anniversary points each year.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
- Inflight WiFi Credits (25% back in the form of a statement credit.)
- Earn tier qualifying points towards A-List status.
For more information check out all the different Southwest Credit Card options here.
#3 Platinum Card from American Express – Best Overall Card but Big Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express definitely has the most benefits of any card as the American Express Membership Rewards Program is by far one of the best rewards programs out there.
The one big drawback to this card is its hefty $695 Annual Fee (See Rates and Fees). Now, you definitely can earn that money back and then some relatively quickly. Here is how.
Amex Platinum Benefits Include: (See Offer Benefits & Terms)
- up to $200 Uber Cash – Get up to a $15 monthly credit and a $20 bonus in December on Uber & Uber Eats
- up to $200 Hotel Credit when you book Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. (Minimum two-night stay required)
- up to $240 Digital Entertainment Credit Given in Statement Credits – You receive up to $20 credit to use for certain streaming platforms, including Hulu, Netflix, Disney + and More (Enrollment required)
- up to $200 Airline Fee Credit – Can be used for seat assignment fees, baggage fees or any onboard purchase.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit towards the monthly subscription. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
- $189CLEAR® Credit – CLEAR® is similar to TSA precheck allowing you to skip the long security lines
- Cell Phone Protection – you can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month’s wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account
- Enjoy Free Airport Lounge Access at American Express Global Lounge Collection
- 5X Points on Flights & Prepaid Hotels booked at Amextravel.com (5x points on up to $500,000 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel)
- Amex Purchase Protection
All in all, this is over $2,500 in credits you can use each year + 5x points on travel bookings plus Amex always has a welcome offer. (see terms)
American Express Bonus Welcome Offer
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
#2 – Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card – Best Premium Card
We have used Capital One Rewards for amazing vacations. It was so good it got us flights for the 7 of us to Japan! A new powerhouse credit card recently emerged from Capital One, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
The Capital One Venture X card has claimed its place as the best of Capital One cards. This is a simple rewards card, and that is really its strength. The fee is $395.
- You earn 2 miles for every dollar spent without limit.
- 5x flights in Capital One Travel Portal
- up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel
- 10k bonus miles after each anniversary
- 10x on Turo through 5/16/23
- Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
- Receive up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee – TSA Pre✓ is amazing, (you can check out my review on why we love it here)
- Complimentary Cell Phone Insurance
- Hertz President’s Circle Status – this is an amazing benefit.
- 10x hotels and rentals cars in Capital One Travel Portal
- No fee for up to 4 authorized users
- The downside is the travel partners are not as strong as some of the other cards you will see on this list.
Current Capital One Bonus Offer
#1 CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED- Best Bang for the Buck Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best bang for the buck credit card in our opinion. For a low annual fee of $95, you get all of the following benefits.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards® is one of the best rewards platforms out there with a ridiculous number of travel partners including United, Southwest, JetBlue, Emirates, Hyatt, Marriott & more. There are 13 Ultimate Rewards partners to whom you can transfer points.
- Earn 5x on all travel purchases when purchasing through Chase travel portal
- Takeout & dining out 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
- 3-fold increase in online grocery shopping (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- Travel Credit of $50 per year on hotel stays booked through the Chase Travel Ultimate Rewards program
- Anniversary Bonus of 10% Every year that you keep the card, you’ll earn 10 percent more points on your total spending. In the event that you spend $10,000 in a calendar year, you’ll receive 1,000 bonus points.
- If you redeem your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card at 1.25 in the Chase Travel Portal, you’ll still get all of the benefits you’ve come to expect from the card.
- For 1.25 cents per point, redeem at the Chase Travel Center
- Complimentary Twelve-month subscription to Door Dash and DashPass
- There are no fees associated with foreign transactions.
- A comprehensive package of travel and purchase protection
CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED® Bonus Offer
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently has a nice bonus offer with 75,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
There are a ton of tricks to using points and we are going to try to cover them more often. In the mean time, if you have a question about using these cards to maximize points, leave them in the comments or shoot us a DM on our Instagram!
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