How does $625 worth of free airfare sound?

How about getting $100 for free after spending $500?

Or an automatic 2% rebate on every dollar you spend?

You can get all of this and more, for free, by signing up for credit cards!

Credit cards are one of the most misunderstood financial tools. With proper use, you can enjoy tons of free perks, bonuses, interest-free financing for a month, and earn cash back — all while staying out of debt and sticking it to the man!

I route all of my spending through credit cards to maximize rewards. In doing this, I get 2% cash back every time I spend money. It’s not a lot, but it’s money I’m already spending and it can add up (just like those free drinks in Vegas!). With this added value, in addition to a variety of benefits including primary rental car insurance, price protection, the ability to instantly freeze accounts (you never know how wild your night may get in Vegas), and zero fraud liability, there’s no reason not to use a credit card and add value to your spending.

Credit card companies offer these deals to encourage you to spend beyond your means. However, if you pay your cards off in full each month, you can reap the rewards and enjoy all of these benefits without paying a cent of interest.

Viva Las Value Recommended Cards

I use and recommend two different credit cards: the Citi Double Cash and Chase Sapphire Preferred. I have been using these cards for the past three years, and have redeemed over $2,000 of rewards with zero issues. I’ve been very satisfied with each of them, and would apply again with zero hesitation.

If you apply through the links below, I will receive a referral bonus and you will also get a bonus; a true win-win, which we’re all about here at Viva Las Value!

Note: The referral deals are almost always the same as their advertised bonus, but if you can find a better deal that gives you more rewards, take advantage of the better deal and let me know so I can update my listings — I want the best value for my readers!

 

Citi Double Cash (DC)

The Citi Double Cash is a $0 annual fee cashback card that gives you 1% on purchases and 1% on payments, for a total of 2% cashback. My favorite feature is Citi Price Rewind, which gives you a statement credit if you (or their free search) find a cheaper price within 90 days of your purchase. I have personally used this to save $250 on a pair of skis, $40 on bike accessories, and to buy something in store (for the cheaper Amazon price) when I didn’t want to wait for shipping. I often use this to support local businesses (and benefit from their customer service) without losing out on the deals that can be had online.

Citi Double Cash at a glance…

  • TL;DR: A jack-of-all-trades 2% cashback card with no annual fee.
  • Rewards: 2% cashback on any purchase
  • Use: General spending (that is not maximized with other cards)
  • Sign Up Bonus: $100 cashback bonus (after spending $500 in first three months)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Redemption: Choice of check, deposit, or statement credit in any amount over $25
  • Perks: All of the following perks are free and are included with your Citi Double Cash card:

Citi Price Rewind (automatically searches for lower prices within 90 days and gives you a statement credit. You can also manually submit a request if you find a cheaper price.)

Virtual Account Numbers (generates a one-time use account number that is useful for purchasing from online vendors or to avoid recurring payments)

Zero fraud liability and instant freeze of account (useful if your card is lost/stolen, and guarantees that your vacation won’t be spent waiting on hold with your bank).

Free monthly FICO score (monitor your Equifax credit score each month)

If you decide to apply for the Citi Double Cash, please email me so that I can send you a referral link that will net each of us an extra $100 after you’re approved and spend $500.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a travel card that gives you double points on travel and dining (including bars). Unlike the Double Cash, the Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points that can be transferred 1:1 to Southwest, redeemed for travel at a rate of 1.25¢ per point, or redeemed for statement credits or direct deposit.

If you can swing the spending requirement of $4,000 for the sign up bonus, you’ll have $625 worth of points to play with, which can easily cover a couple of flights or hotels. I transfer my points to my Southwest Rapid Rewards account, where I am able to use them to get flights from OMA/MCI to LAS at an incredible value. There are lots of guides on how to maximize UR points, but they hold their value well.

In addition to the sign up bonus, the CSP offers a variety of benefits and coverages that are useful to travelers, including primary rental car insurance (which is almost unheard of among credit cards). While you can cancel the card before the annual fee hits (since it’s waived the first year — so you could sign up, use the bonus, and cancel without paying anything), if you rent a car frequently, this benefit more than offsets the annual fee.

Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), the CSP is made out of metal, and has a satisfying heft that makes you feel badass whenever you hand it to the bartender.

Chase Sapphire Preferred at a glance…

  • TL;DR: The massive sign up bonus and travel benefits make for a great value on this travel and dining card.
  • Rewards: 2x UR points on travel and dining, 1x UR points on all other purchases
  • Use: Travel, restaurants, bars
  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 UR points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year
  • Redemption: 25% redemption bonus on travel, 1:1 point transfer to travel partners, or cashback/statement credit
  • Perks: All of the following perks are free and are included with your Chase Sapphire Preferred:

1:1 Point Transfer (transfer UR points to travel partners, including Southwest, United, and Marriott at a rate of 1:1)

25% Redemption Bonus for Travel (enjoy a value of 1.25 cents per UR point when booking travel through Chase’s online portal)

Primary Rental Car Insurance (when paid fully with your CSP, the card provides primary coverage for rental cars up to the actual cash value of the vehicle in cases of theft or collision)

Extended Warranty Protection (extends the manufacturer’s warranty an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less)

Trip Delay Reimbursement (if you are delayed over 12 hours or require an overnight display, you’re covered for up to $500 of reimbursement)

No Foreign Transaction Fees (save 1.5%-4% when spending abroad by paying 0% in foreign transaction fees)

Zero fraud liability and instant freeze of account (useful if your card is lost/stolen, and guarantees that your vacation won’t be spent waiting on hold with your bank).

If you decide to apply for the Chase Sapphire preferred, please use this link and I’ll receive 10,000 UR points and you’ll receive 50,000 UR points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after approval.

Leave a Comment

Close Menu