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Travel the world in luxury with these credit cards.

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One of the keys to traveling the world for next to nothing is credit cards. Not only do credit card companies offer huge sign-up bonuses just for being approved for a card, but they also offer bonus points for spending. Every year I redeem these points for a handful of first class trips around the world.

But jumping into the world of travel credit cards can be overwhelming for a beginner. I figured I’d share what I consider to be some of the “must have” cards available now.


1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Sign-Up Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months

Annual Fee: $450

Why I Like It: The terrific sign up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points is among the highest of any credit card right now. The card is also great for everyday spend given that it offers triple points on dining and travel. Yes, there's a high annual fee, but the benefits that come with it makes it worth the fee. You get a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select for access to airport lounges, and a $100 Global Entry credit.


2. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 within three months

Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.

Why I Like It: Starpoints are the most valuable points, with the ability to transfer to many different airline and hotel partners. You also earn 2 stays/5 nights of credit toward elite status each year, plus automatic Gold status when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.


3. Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months

Annual Fee: $450

Why I Like It: You get Admirals Club membership, which itself is worth $550 a year. Cardholders also get priority boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, first checked bag free and concierge service.


4. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months

Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.

Why I Like It: Earn double points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.


5. Citi Prestige® Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months

Annual Fee: $450

Why I Like It: There are fantastic points transfer options, from Singapore Airlines to Air France to Etihad Guest. The card comes with a Priority Pass Select that allows unlimited visits and 2 free guests each time.


Advertiser Disclosure: dereklow.co is an independent, advertising-supported web site. The author has financial relationships with many of the cards mentioned here, and is compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. The author has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Advertiser partners include American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, Citibank, and U.S. Bank.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this site is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

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Derek is an adventure traveler and entrepreneur. He created the Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm (BRAD), a viral YouTube hit which actually has fewer views than 10 Cutest Cat Moments. He has been featured in TIME, Forbes, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, and TechCrunch. He knows how stupid writing a third-person bio of himself can be.

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