Recommended Credit Cards


Disclosure: Route to Retire has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Route to Retire and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.


If you’re looking for some good ideas on getting a credit card that focuses on providing various benefits, this should help you get started…

If you’re looking for some solid travel rewards cards though, here are my current recommendations to consider. All of these are cards that my wife, Lisa, and I have been using and enjoying or plan to apply for in the near future…

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

I’ve applied for and received this card as has my wife, Lisa. With an offer of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, it’s hard to go wrong. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards!

Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, and 2X points on all other travel, purchases, plus more.

Another interesting perk to this card is that you get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service.

The benefits of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance are great additions as well.

It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is fantastic for international travelers. The card was named a “Best Travel Credit Card” by Money® Magazine in 2016-2017.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95.

We like this one quite a bit and use these cards on a regular basis.

Learn more about this card here


Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

This card has an offer of 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards!

This card was named the “Best Travel Credit Card” by Money® Magazine in 2018.

It does have an annual fee of $550. That might sound steep, but you also get a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. You also receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.

It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is always good for international travelers. And even more fun is that you gain access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass™ after enrollment.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it includes the benefits of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance.

I found out that you can’t apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card if you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but they will let you upgrade if desired.

Learn more about this card here


Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

You’ll notice that when it comes to business cards, they tend to have higher travel reward offers. Currently, the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is offering 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

I opened this card for use by one on my side hustles and definitely had a smile on my face when that point bonus hit my statement. The card does have a $95 annual fee on it.

Learn more about this card here


Chase United℠ Explorer Card

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card

My wife, Lisa, and I had the old versions of this card years ago but closed them after we started traveling a little less. I’ll be honest, I really missed a lot of the perks of this one when we didn’t have it.

The card has a number of great benefits to offer:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United in-flight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per round-trip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  • Priority boarding privileges and two one-time passes to the United Club℠ each year on your anniversary

Recently, Lisa and I both had this card separately for consecutive years. We absolutely love spending our time in the lounge before our flights – especially when we’re early or a flight gets delayed.

Learn more about this card here


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Card

Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

You’ll also receive 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit each year (NICE!)
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • $149 annual fee

We’ve used this card as a starting point toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass in the past. The travel credit, upgrades, bonus points, and no foreign transaction fees make up for that annual fee easily for us.

Learn more about this card here


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

You’ll also receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year (NICE!)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee

Learn more about this card here


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card

Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Plus, you’ll also receive 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year (NICE!)
  • $69 annual fee

We used this card previously to start building up enough miles to work our way to the Southwest Companion Pass.

Learn more about this card here


Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

Here’s another business card with a nice offer.

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. You also receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.

  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year (NICE!)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee

We applied for this card for the Route to Retire business. Along with the Plus card, that helped us get to the Southwest Companion Pass (for the rest of the year plus the following year). It’s awesome to reach that coveted treasure!

Learn more about this card here


Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

I recently applied for and received this card. This is the first time I chose a higher-end credit card with a higher annual fee, but it was truly a no-brainer once I thought about it. The payback on this card makes it more than worth it!

Check out the huge list of benefits this card offers:

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of options.
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary.
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchasesyeah all other purchases!
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network.
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. You can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs.
  • It carries no foreign transaction fees.

It has an annual fee of $395. This annual fee might sound high, but the perks of this card make it a tremendous value. The payback from the initial bonus more than covers that cost. And then the $300 annual travel credit is just gravy!

The lounge access alone is awesome. Being able to bring both my wife and my daughter as guests into an unlimited number of lounges while traveling is fantastic!

If you’re looking for a great travel card, this has been one of my favorite picks!

Learn more about this card here


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

We applied for and received this card a while ago. Currently, you’ll earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

And you earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

The card also provides for up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit. Additionally, it carries no foreign transaction fees.

It has an annual fee of $95.

This is a great travel card, particularly if you’re not loyal to one brand of airline or hotel.

Learn more about this card here


Here are some other credit cards you might find worthwhile as well…

Other Travel Rewards Cards

Other Cash Back Cards

Other Small Business Cards


Depending on what your goals are, you should find that the rewards offered with these credit cards should fit your bill.

Any of these cards can save you some good money. If you’re already paying for your purchases with credit cards, why not take advantage of some of the great rewards out there?

I do receive a referral fee at no extra cost to you for applying for any of these cards so your click-throughs are truly appreciated.

Thanks for your support!

— Jim


Disclosure: Route to Retire has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Route to Retire and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


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