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Top 5 Travel Credit Cards To Get In 2017

What Are The Top Travel Credit Cards?

2016 is about to pass into the record books, and 2017 is about to commence. One of the major strategies I’ve been thinking about as I get ready to embark upon the new year is what the best travel credit cards that might help me achieve my goals in the near future would be. I’m already planning what cards I might like to apply for to maximize my travel benefits over the next few years. Here are 5 cards that I’m seriously considering having myself or my wifedoodle apply for in 2017.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

When Chase first announced its new Sapphire Reserve card in mid-2016, I must admit that it piqued my interest. 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points made up what I’ve been referring to as the “Mother of All Credit Card Bonuses” and puts the Reserve at the top of my  list of travel credit cards for 2017. Unfortunately, I ran afoul of the infamous 5/24 rule with Chase and was denied getting the Sapphire Reserve in a fail of epic proportions.

Fortunately, the wife got the card, and we set up a European itinerary of epic proportions.  While I’d like to start on the bonus ASAP, I’m waiting until around February to try my luck with another application so that I can maximize the travel reimbursement to offset the hefty $450 annual fee that comes with the card. I’ve already gotten this card as of 1/4. I learned that the 100,000 bonus was getting slashed in half on 1/11, so I risked the hard pull and got approved.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

I already have this card, so you might wonder why I’d want another. It’s not for me. My hope is to cancel my card when I (hopefully) get its more impressive brother, the Reserve. However, the 50,000 Ultimate Reward point signup bonus is nothing to sneeze at. For this reason, I’ll have the wife attempt to cash in on this card around the time that her Reserve card is up for a renewal of the annual fee. That way, we’ll earn more than 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points this year from the signup bonuses and minimum spends.

Keep in mind that this is all subject to approval in relation to the infamous 5/24 rule.  While the two Sapphire cards might not seem like the best credit card for travel miles, the ability to transfer them to airlines like United, Southwest, British, and Air France/KLM, among others, make them a great flexible option. They’re also two of the best credit cards for travel because they don’t carry any foreign transaction costs.

If you’d like to help support this site while signing up for a credit card, you can apply for the Sapphire Preferred with the 50,000 bonus after spending $4,000 in three months. This card has a $95 annual fee, and Chase waives it for the first year if you’re worried about having to pay out the $450 that the Sapphire Reserve requires.

This is the best offer that’s currently available publicly, but I’ll also earn 10,000 points for the first five approved referrals if you apply through the link above. You can go straight to Chase to get the same benefits, but I definitely appreciate any support you might choose to give.

3. CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card

Another of the travel credit cards I want to get this year is the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card. This card currently has a nice 50,000 mile bonus in return for spending $3,000 over three months. These miles are limited to the American Airlines AAdvantage program, and I’m looking to top these off as we go into 2018 as I have another family vacation that I’m hoping to take to Europe and perhaps a bit beyond.  Both the wife and I have recently had the personal version, so this is likely the only chance we’ll have to score a bonus in the near future because of tighter restrictions with Citi approvals (although there is also the new 40,000 bonus from Barclaycard and the AAdvantage Aviator Red card). H/T to Million Mile Secrets for this last little bit of info.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, arrived at via AAdvantage miles and Marriott Rewards points.
AAdvantage Miles and Marriott Rewards Points got me to Paris with my family to see the Eiffel Tower.

4. Starwood Preferred Guest (Personal Version)

I’ve already earned the bonus for this card, which was 35,000 StarPoints when I first picked it up. I transferred all of my points to American Airlines when there was a 20 percent bonus promotion going on, and it went along with 10,000 bonus miles because of the 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 transferred. Now, I’ll have to let my wife apply for this one. The reason? You can transfer all of the points from the bonus, currently at 25,000, to Marriott, which is my favorite hotel chain. They’ll transfer at a 1:3 rate, which means that the bonus plus the automatic spending would be worth at least 84,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Pair Starwood With Marriott

I’ve never done this before, but I’m thinking of attempting to get one of the vacation package deals with Marriott that give a week at a nice resort (hopefully in some tropical location in Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean) and some frequent flyer miles to get there in addition to the hotel stay. I would recommend going directly through the Starwood site to get this card. I could refer you, but I think that the flexibility of the points is better than the two nights you’d get from my referral, so I won’t even give it. If you’d like to build up some Marriott points, however, feel free to check out my link to that deal by clicking on the Twitter link like the example above. Again, I appreciate any support that you decide to give the site.

Also, if you’re not yet a member of the Marriott Rewards program, you can get 2,000 bonus points for each of your first five stays for a possible total of 10,000 bonus points by letting me refer you to the program. You should let me know you want referred in the comments of this blog (you have to give your email address to post a comment), and I’ll send the email.

Then you can also apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier card. You’ll get 80,000 points, which is the current standard offer, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll get 20,000 points for the referral. Again, I appreciate any support you feel free to give me.  I would also point out that there is the possibility for 5 points on the first $30,000 of spend in the first year with another link, but the 80,000 points for $3,000 in 90 days is easier to attain and you could earn even more signup bonuses from other programs during the same year.

A Room at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino in Oranjestat

You could use your points for a room like this one that I enjoyed at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino.

5. American Express Gold Card (Personal Version)

The last of the travel credit cards I’m looking at is the American Express Gold. This card does not come with a massively huge signup bonus at this time. It’s only 25,000 Membership Rewards points, but Amex waives the annual fee of $195 for the first year and the minimum spending level is $2,000 in three months to earn the bonus. This will pair quite nicely with my recent acquisition of my first business card, the Amex Blue for Business.

I’ve avoided Delta after having been pretty much locked into them because of geography for about three years in the fairly recent past. I also ignored them because of their reputation of having a loyalty currency derisively known as SkyPesos by those in the travel rewards community. However, I recently did a few searches and found quite a bit of low-level availability to Europe…in the summer even. This made me rethink the value of Membership Rewards, and since neither I, nor my wife, has had many Amex cards, I decided it might be time to start collecting them.

Other Options?

These are only five of the travel credit cards that I’m considering this year. There are others the I might get depending on what comes down the pipe. Perhaps Amex will offer another 70,000 bonus on the Delta cards, or the Alaska Airways cards will increase their bonuses to 50,000.

Maybe a card issuer will come out with a card that no one yet knows about that will have a bonus that even eclipses than the “Mother of All Credit Card Bonuses” of the Sapphire reserve. My goal is always to find the best credit card for travel miles at any given time. These five applications are not set in stone, but they are definitely on the radar. What cards might you want to get this year to help fund your travel goals? Be sure to let us know in the comments

Disclaimer: You can go into serious debt with travel credit cards. I recommend only using them if you can pay them off in full on a monthly basis. Otherwise, the interest charges eat up the travel or cashback rewards. Apply at your own risk.

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Passive Income is the Best Income

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This site is dedicated to getting people to think a bit outside the box and make some money whilst in their pajamas. Most people think that money only comes from going into an office (or a fast food joint or retail store) and putting in eight, ten, or sixteen hours sitting in a cubicle, or, if they’re lucky, a corner office with a view. This is definitely one of the ways that people make money. Some of them are quite successful in bringing in money this way. However, until the power of passive income is brought to bear, they will have to continue going into the office eight or more hours a day to continue to make more of the green stuff (or more colorful stuff if you happen to live outside the US).

While teens might be thinking of ways to make money this summer, or a working-class parent might be looking for ways to make more money all of the time, saving up money over the long-term can be a great way to start toward passive income. The difference between active and passive income can be summarized in this statement:

You work for active income. Passive income works for you. 

In other words, you have to actually go to work and do some task or create some item that people are willing to pay for in order to make money the old-fashioned and more common way of making active income. Passive income is that money that comes from having capital or knowledge invested in a money-making tool. This capital is probably going to have some work associated with it initially. Few people are born with silver spoons in their mouths, so they will have to do some work to make some money to start with.

This is where self-discipline comes in. I’ve already noted the power of a dollar on this site, but to summarize what I’ve pointed out before, saving a dollar a day from your teenage years to your normal retirement age of around 65 could net a nest egg of over $250,000. Saving four dollars a day over that time will net a cool million. Save even more, and we can really, really get into some pretty cool numbers or a retirement (or semi-retirement with only work you want to do) that could start decades before most people think you really should retire. 

How to Get Passive Income

Passive Income can really add up.
A $500 bill, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Savings Accounts

There are several ways to get passive income. One of which is the old-school savings account or certificate of deposit. However, there is a problem with this. The income that you get will actually decrease over time unless you add more money to your stash of cash because the interest that you will get in these days of near-zero fed funds rates will get eroded by inflation. Nonetheless, for every $1,000 that you’ve got in one of these instruments, you could theoretically make a dollar or two a years. Have a cool million? We’re talking about $10,000 or $20,000 in passive income. Some families live quite comfortably on this income every year.

Dividend Stocks

Some people really like dividend stocks. These stocks will pay a dividend from their earnings on a regular basis (usually quarterly).  In fact, one blogger formerly known as Dividend Mantra, now known as Mr. Free at 33 built up enough passive income to retire on his dividend payments alone within six years. The lower your expenses are, the quicker this goal can be achieved. For example, you’ll need much less passive income if you’ve got $20,000 in annual expenses vs. if you’ve got $50,000 in annual expenses. Mine are actually closer to the higher figure, but this can still be done if an income is higher and you can save quite a bit of money.

One of the cool things about this dividend stream is that it only went down a bit more than 20% in the last market crash in which the overall market went down more than 50%. This means that passive income from dividends can actually wind up being a better deal. Also, for those who are still building a nest egg, these dividends can go toward buying more shares that will increase the amount of dividends that a person can earn over time. Here’s a good post from Joshua Kennon on how reinvesting dividends on an initial $10,000 investment affected an investment in Coca-Cola stock over 50 years.

Appreciating Stocks

While dividends are technically regular stocks, not all stocks pay dividends, which are in effect cash payments to investors. Other stocks can still pay off because of price appreciation. When adding in dividends and price appreciation over time, the stock market has returned an average of 8 to 10% over the past century plus. That’s a pretty good track record.

Until recent years, Apple (which happens to be one of the best-performing stocks on the market) did not even provide a dividend. However, in the late 1990s, the stock was in the $4 range. Those who invested money at this point did not really miss the dividend. The stock’s price went up over $600 per share before splitting last year. A person who bought at the bottom, or even the middle, of this spike would have profited handsomely, even without a dividend. They would not have had to have worked an extra second to make that money, as Apple would have contributed to their income.

Bonds

Bonds are long-term debt instruments that have performed quite well over time. Governments like the national governments of the US, Canada, the UK, or even Paraguay frequently issue bonds to finance current spending levels. They promise to pay out a certain yield (basically a payment for allowing the government to borrow your money, much like a savings account for a bank).

State and local governments, as well as corporations, will also frequently issue bonds. Some of these bonds are taxable, but municipal bonds are free from federal income taxes. When thinking of tax ramifications, be sure to check with an accountant, financial planner, or an online tax calculator to see what will pay off best. The amount that a government or business pays in interest relates to their perceived stability. For example, the US currently has a very low interest on bonds payable, while Greece has been in danger of defaulting on its debt recently and has to pay a high premium.

Getting Others to Make Money for You

There are marketing systems in which individuals can get referral income in various ways. For example, Amazon provides an associate’s program in which web content providers earn a certain cut of any sales that their page or site generates. This starts out at a 4% payment, but goes up from there. Of course, like the other options, there is some work required at first, but over time, this can start to add up to a decent income for those who are motivated and successful. Much of this income can start to take on a passive nature and can then be invested to make even more passive income. Amazon Associates is just one of many options in this regard.

Rewards Credit Cards Offer Passive Income

Another way that it’s possible to make money pretty easily is through credit card rewards. This strategy is not for those who cannot pay off all of their bills every month. It’s good to have a bit stashed away in savings before attempting this. If you can do that, there are banks out there who are more than happy to compete for your business by offering bonuses for getting a credit card and then meeting a minimum spending requirement. I’ve focused more on travel rewards cards that allow me to travel for pennies on the dollar rather than cash-back cards, and here are five travel rewards cards that you might want to check out.

Rental Property

This, like most of the other forms of passive income, involves some risk. A renter could totally trash a house or trailer, the market could totally collapse and cut the value of the property, or a tsunami could come and completely inundate your investment. All investment involves risk. There is risk to my personal home. This is why I have insurance. After a rental property is paid off, though, everything over taxes, insurance, and upkeep can go into the column of passive income. Even if the property is only partly paid off, the rent that the tenant pays should pay off the debt. It’s probably not a great idea to leverage a huge sum of money for most people, as a market crash could lead to a foreclosure, but investing in real estate can pay off.

For example, if you own a house with no debt that is valued at $100,000, you could probably get anywhere from $500 per month and up in profit, depending upon the local market. Even if you still owe money, the renters would be in the process of paying it off for you, which is a form of passive income. If you’ve tired of dealing with renters, you could then sell the house for the $100,000 give or take and invest that in something else, so rental property can also be a good way to get passive income.

Try A Few Options For Yourself

These are just a few of the ways that people can make passive income on the money that they’ve already put to work. This money never goes to sleep, but continues to work all year round, making more passive income that adds to a snowballing amount over time. As I mentioned in the title of this article, passive income really is the best form of income. Having money work for you is much greater than having to continually work for more money. I’ve got a way to go in building up my nest egg, but as an old Chinese proverb states: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second best time to plant a tree is today. Passive income is definitely what I would call making money in pajamas.

DISCLAIMER: I am not, nor do I claim to be any sort of certified financial planner. This article is just intended for general informational/entertainment purposes. Before making any investments, you should contact a certified financial planner. Always remember, past returns are no guarantee of future successes. Additionally, this site includes affiliate links. Should you choose to sign up with one of these programs, I may be compensated. Thank you for any support you may choose to give.