What’s in My Wallet

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Why I have it: This is the best fixed-value (2x miles on all purchases) rewards card on the market for everyday general spending. The miles earned are not actual ‘miles’ used to book award travel, instead you redeem the miles for a statement credit. This offers great flexibility to use the miles for any sort of travel expense. You also never have to worry about award space or fees. Plus I get a 10% rebate on travel redemptions, making this essentially a 2.2% cash back card.


Bonus: 40,000 miles (up to $440) after $3,000 in the first 90 days
Annual fee: No annual fee first year (then $89)
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Book the travel you want — airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

Why I have it: Taking into account the AA and US Airways merger this card was a great way to earn some miles that will most likely be converted into my AAdvantage account. In the meantime, US Airways Dividend can be booked on any Star Alliance partner and the award chart is competitive. The card also gives me the perk of a 5,000 discount off award bookings.

Bonus: 40,000 miles after first purchase
Annual fee: $89
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • New! Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card


Bonus: Two weekend nights after spending $2,500 in 4 months
Annual fee: $95 annual fee
  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card

Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card

(I have both the personal and business version)

Why I have it: This was one of my favorite cards this year, so much so that I have both the personal and business version. Not only was the 85,000 point offer too good to pass up, I was really looking forward to staying at some of the top-tier Club Carlson Radisson Blu properties in Europe. The Bonus Award Nights (2-for-1) when you book stays of two nights or more makes this card one of the most valuable hotel cards available. The card also earns me 10 points for every $1 spent at Club Carlson hotels 5 points for all other purchase, which is unheard of among other hotel cards. Not to mention the card automatically gives me Gold Elite status.


Bonus: 85,000 points after spending $2,500 in 3 months
Annual fee: $75 annual fee
  • Up to 85,000 Bonus Gold Points – receive 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card
  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • Bonus Award Nights – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free. Exclusively for cardmembers!
  • Your upgrade is automatic – Your Club Carlson membership will be upgraded to Gold Elite Status after you activate and use your card
  • Already reached Gold or Concierge Elite status? You will receive 15 qualifying nights toward obtaining or maintaining Concierge Elite status after you activate and use your new card.

Chase Freedom®

Why I have it: The Chase Freedom card will most likely always be one of the cards in my wallet. I like the card because it earns 5x on rotating categories every quarter and does not have a annual fee. The benefits of this card make it a no brainer to keep the card year-after-year.


IHG® Rewards Club Select Visa® (or this Flyertalk post with an 80k offer)

Why I have it: This card is one of the most underrated travel rewards credit cards out there. It gets little press, but packs a big punch. I received 80k bonus points after spending $1,000 and the card gives me automatic Platinum Elite status which includes complimentary room upgrades during my stays an IHG hotels. For international travel the card is great because there are tons of IHG hotels and there is no foreign transaction fee. The $49 annual fee after the first year is easily justifiable with the annual free night certificate that you can redeem at any hotel, including any InterContinental hotels around the world. The free night is worth way more than the $49 annual fee if you stay at a InterContinental hotel with it.






Bonus: 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months
Annual fee: No annual fee first year (then $49)

Amex Hilton Credit Card






Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $750 in 3 months
Annual fee: No annual fee
  • 50,000 points after spending $750 within 3 months
  • Free Hilton Silver elite status every year
  • Gold elite status after spending $20,000 in a calendar year
  • No annual fee
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 7 Hilton points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels, 5 points per $1 at  restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations & 3 points per $1 for everything else
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4 thoughts on “What’s in My Wallet”

    • No blackout dates, but most programs have a limited number of award nights per date. So if you’re looking to book during a heavy travel time it helps to book far in advance to get reward night availability.

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