If you want to start enjoying the benefits of one of the few hobbies in the world that will allow you to travel the world, this post is for you. The best card for starting out is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Unfortunately, its 100,000 point sign up bonus was short lived—Chase lost millions on it. The sign up bonus is now 50,000 points (worth at least $625), if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. The points you earn with this card can be transferred 1:1 to loyalty programs at major airlines (United, Southwest, British, Korean, Virgin, etc.) and major hotel chains (Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, etc.). If you don’t have time to check award availability, each point is worth 1.5 cents if you purchase travel (flights, hotels, cars) through Chase’s travel portal.
The card has a high fee ($450), but it is worth it. You get a $300 travel credit, which can be used for just about any travel expense (it’s automatically credited to your account as soon as Chase notices an applicable expense), Global Entry, universal lounge access via the Priority Pass system, and 3x the points for dining and travel. Here’s a great article from one of my favorite blogs that explains all of the benefits: http://thepointsguy.com/2016/08/all-about-chase-sapphire-reserve-perks/