Guide to First World Problems: The Best Credit Card

Today's topic is credit card selection, one of my favorite first world problems.

Since I enjoy overly intense levels of research on an array of topics, I figured I might save you the trouble of looking up the pros and cons of which credit card is better for 20-somethings who want to travel for free and live the good life.  Below is my favorite battle-tested rewards-based credit card.  Generally rewards cards get you far better value than cash back cards, which is why I'm only covering that type of card here.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP)   

This beauty is unusual for a credit card because it's constructed entirely of metal.  While that's pretty intriguing by itself, that's not why you should get this card.

This card has way too many benefits, but the primary ones are about how you can get points:

  • 2x points on any travel (flights/hotels/taxis/trains/rentals)
  • 2x points on eating out at restaurants (normal restaurants/fast food/cafes)
  • 1x points on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees (aka go H.A.M. abroad)
  • 7% Annual Points Dividend (take 7% of all the points you earned in the year and add it to your total points already earned)
  • 40,000 bonus points when you first receive the card

That's how you can earn points, but what can you do with these points?

Essentially you can do a 1:1 point transfer with several partner programs, where each point on your CSP equals one point in a partner's rewards program.  The partners include British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Amtrak Guest Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, Priority Club Rewards, Marriot Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

Since you get 40k bonus points when you sign up and (at least on United) can book roundtrip award flights for as low as 25,000 points, this means you can already get at least one roundtrip flight booked from the start.  If you begin to move your spending strictly to the CSP, the amount of points (with the help of the bonus categories mentioned above) can add up quickly and you may often find yourself with a free roundtrip flight or two.

So why doesn't everyone get this card?  Mostly because people haven't heard of it, but also because there is an annual fee of $95.  However, the annual fee doesn't kick in for the first year, only after that.  So you can definitely try before you buy (and get free flights out of it too)!

Chase Sapphire Card Application