What Credit Card Should I Get To Start With?

What Credit Card Should I Get To Start With?


So, you’ve thought enough about travel rewards and you’re ready to get in the game. Congratulations, I’m so excited for the journey your about to embark upon. You’re probably asking yourself… what credit card should I get? That was my first question, and it’s usually everyone’s.

Of course, there are sometimes unique circumstances that would sway my recommendation to one card or another; but I’ve found that 9 times out of 10, I recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you look at similar travel blogs, it’s usually in the top 3 recommendations; there’s a reason for that – actually several.Chase Deal

  • A great sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5,000 additional points just for signing up an authorized user
  • Double points on travel and dining purchases
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
  • Flexibility with a 1:1 point transfer to many of the top travel partners

Bonus Points

First, let’s talk about the serious points you can rack up in a relatively short amount of time. Chase currently offers 50,000 bonus points upon spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That’s about $1,000 higher than most offers, but still completely doable. If you have any concerns about being able to meet the spending, check out this post. If you’re still worried, you may want to hold off until you know you have a large purchase that could boost your spending. I always recommend holding off if you’re not confident that you can meet the spending, because once the bonus period has passed, there’s no chance of getting those points. So always make sure you have a solid plan to complete the spending in the allotted time before applying.

Okay; off my soap box. Back to points. Another way to initially rack up a bunch of points is to add an authorized user to your account at setup. This is typically done as you apply for the card. Before you hit submit, you’ll see a field that asks if you would like to add an authorized user to your account. Whoever’s name you put in this field will also receive a card and will be able to spend on your account. Keep in mind that you are financially responsible for all the spending done by this person. If you have a travel buddy (mine is my wife, Kendra), add this person as your authorized user. By doing so, you will get an extra 5,000 if that person makes just one purchase, of any amount, in the first 3 months – easy points.

So now you’ve spent $4,000 in 3 months and added an authorized user, so Chase has given you 55,000 Ultimate Rewards Points; but by the time you get done with the required spending, your point balance will be more than that. Remember that as your working on the sign-up bonus, you’re also accruing points just by spending. Chase will give you 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, as well as 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. So, you’ll have a minimum of 59,000 points when all is said and done on your sign-up offer. And as icing on the cake, if your travel buddy signs up for the card as well (and adds you as the authorized user), you now have 118,000 points between the two of you.

What could I do with 118,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points?

  • Book two round trip tickets between mainland USA to Hawaii on United Airlines – 90,000 points
  • Book two round trip tickets between LAX and New York LaGuardia – 95,000 points
  • Book five nights at the Grand Hyatt Singapore – 100,000 points
  • Book three nights at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Hawaii – 90,000 points

As you can see there’s quite a bit you can do with 118,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. Check out this post to learn more.

Annual Fee – Waived for The First Year

Another reason this card is great for beginners is that the $95 annual fee is waived during the first year. There are cards that do not waive the annual fee for the first year, and they are still worth your time; however, I find that you’re better to go with a card that waives it’s first-year fee when starting out. The reason for this is mostly mental. You are signing up for cards so that you can travel for free, and if the first consequence of doing so is to pay a $95 fee, it kind of takes the winds out of your sails. As I said, many cards that don’t waive the fee are still good, but let’s get you in the game and get some quick wins under your belt before we worry tackling those.

Of course, a year from now, you’re going to be coming up on your sign-up anniversary asking if you should pay the $95 to keep the card for another year. There are several reasons for and against keeping the card, and we’ll go over all of that in another post.


Flexibility of Chase Ultimate Reward Points (Click Here for More Detailed Info on This Whole Section)

The flexibility of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points is one of their best features. Though I tell people to think about their travel goals before they sign up for a card, plans can always change. With most point programs, you can usually figure out how to get pretty much where ever you want, but the flexibility of Chase points makes it so much easier.

Ultimate Reward Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to many travel partners. What this means is that if you transfer 1,000 Ultimate Reward Points to United Airlines’ rewards program, MileagePlus, that you will now have 1,000 MileagePlus points to use with United Airlines. This may seem obvious, but what you may not realize is that other bank points programs have a penalty when transferring. Some have a 4:3 ratio. If that were the case with Chase, you would only have 750 MileagePlus points in the example above. So, whenever you see a 1:1 transfer ratio, that’s a really good thing.


Chase’s travel partners include:

  • Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Air France KLM
    • Korean Air
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Southwest Airlines
    • United Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels
    • IHG
    • Marriott
    • Ritz Carlton
    • Hyatt

Not only can Chase points be transferred to these travel partners at a 1:1 ratio, but you can also use Chase points to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and excursions directly through the chase portal.


I recommend starting this hobby with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Between being able to accrue points quickly (with its generous sign-up bonus, authorized user bonus, and regular spending), its $0 annual fee introductory rate, and the flexibility of Chase Ultimate Reward Points, this card stands out as the card of choice for beginners.  What do you all think? If there is another card that you would recommend for first-timers, please feel free to explain in the comments.

8 Replies to “What Credit Card Should I Get To Start With?”

  1. Great article on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card! I did not know about all of the amazing benefits that came with this card.

    I will definitely be signing up for this one! I have had a car loan through Chase, and I must say that I have zero complaints with this company in anyway.

    I can not wait to see if they handle the credit card customers in the same manner.

    1. Thanks for the comment Brendon. I’m excited for you to get the card. Please feel free to let me know how it goes.

  2. I’ve hard of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card before, but I never really knew about its features. It’s amazing that you can get that many bonus points with it and there is no annual fee for a year. I’ve got to different Chase cards already, but after reading this, I’m seriously considering getting the sapphire preferred card. Thanks for posting this review.

    1. No problem Brian, and thank you for the comment.

      I hope you enjoy the benefits of the card, and are able to use it for a nice getaway. Please feel free to let me know how it goes.

  3. hello there
    I didn’t know such a thing exist ,It’s amazing that you can get that many bonus points with it and there is no annual fee for a year,I will definitely be signing up for this one!I can not wait to see if they handle the credit card customers in the same manner.
    Thank you for the review

    1. Thanks for the comment Mohammad.

      I’m excited for you to get the card and enjoy it’s many benefits. I hope you get to go on a nice trip with it. I’d love to hear your experience with it.

  4. Hey Dustin! It really looks like you know what you are talking about and it shows through out all of your page content. And this is so important for readers looking for valuable information in the internet. Which credit card to start with for earning air miles is a great topic and one that, for the novice traveler, would even seem a bit of a mystery. But in a few paragraphs, you are able to remove the veil and explain in a very friendly, clear way which credit card we shold begin with and, most importantly, the reasons behind our selection. You also use a fair amount of pictures showing beautiful exotic places, and that is essential for any travel brochure, blog, etc. It’s so important to use emotion when promoting travel services of any kind. Very nice job!

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