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💳 The best card for starters (and experts)

Would you believe that it's the same card for both? Plus, United attempts to time travel, and a new type of airship takes flight in California.

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 52 seconds

✈️ Virgin Atlantic is adding a seventh daily flight between London and New York and an extra daily flight to Boston for summer 2024, featuring lie-flat seats on select planes. Read more about it here.

Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop. If you’re not reading our newsletter every morning, we have a really good New Year’s resolution for you… 😏

Here’s what we’ve got on the docket today:

💳 The best card for starters (and experts)

It’s the new year. That means it’s time to start planning your travels for the year and racking up the points you need to do it.

In case you weren’t aware, we have a page on our website listing our favorite credit cards, which we update every month.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement in the credit card world lately, so instead I thought I’d address a common question about credit cards:

One of the first questions people have when they start dabbling with points and miles is…

“What’s the best card for beginners?”

OR

“What’s the single BEST travel card?”

I’ve been trained by the blogosphere to respond with things like, “Well, it all depends on your travel habits and spending patterns, and different cards work well for different people.”

But that’s (sort of) bullsh*t.

The fact is, I can answer BOTH of those questions with the same card. This card, to be specific.

Here’s why:

1. It earns the most valuable points currency

This card earns what we call UR Points (you can read more about them here), one of the most valuable and flexible points currencies out there.

Not only can you use points to book travel in the bank’s dedicated travel portal, but you can also transfer them to a ton of different airline and hotel programs, sometimes even with a bonus.

The current list of transfer partners is below:

This list shows all 11 of the CSP's airline transfer partners, and its three hotel transfer partners.

These are all of this bank’s transfer partners

Even if you don’t like flying with those airlines, these points are still valuable.

For example, you can transfer points to Aeroplan and use those points to book flights on Emirates, Lufthansa, Ethiopian, ANA, and dozens of other airlines.

Or you could transfer points to World of Hyatt to book amazing hotels for as little as 3,500 points per night - even luxurious ones, like this place in Bali that I’ll be staying at next month:

This is a sample booking for hotel Alila in Bali

Even if you want to book obscure airlines or independent hotels, you can redeem your points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point right in the bank’s travel portal.

For example, I’m currently in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Even in this random corner of the globe, you can book hotels in the portal for just over 5,000 points per night, which is a steal.

Sample booking for Hotel Nine in Mongolia

This is a great example of how even in parts of the world where there are no chain hotels or major airlines, you can STILL use your points to book travel.

But that’s just the beginning…

2. You can earn LOTS of points VERY quickly

Despite having a low annual fee, this card has really solid earning rates for most everyday purchases like dining, online groceries, streaming, and travel.

In fact, if you book travel through the bank’s portal and pay for it with your card, you’ll earn 5X points… 🤯

For example, if you book this hotel in downtown San Diego, you’d earn almost 1,000 UR Points per night ($190 × 5X points per dollar).

Sample booking for Westgate Hotel in San Diego

And in addition to the normal everyday spending, you’ll also earn a FAT welcome offer when you first sign up for the card. 

The bonus amount fluctuates, but click this link to see the current one.

3. Low annual fee and decent perks

Considering the valuable points, great welcome offer, and excellent earning rates, you’d think this card should have a hefty annual fee.

Well, you’re wrong. It doesn’t.

In fact, the annual fee is less than $100, which is why we recommend this card to points veterans and newbies alike.

But it gets even better…

You see, the card also comes with an annual hotel credit that effectively cuts that annual fee in half.

You could book a night at this hotel in Tokyo and pretty much get it for free because of the credit…

Sampe booking for a hotel in Tokyo

After taxes, you’d only have to pay $5 after the annual credit

So here’s the bottom line:

This card has a great welcome offer, a low annual fee, valuable points, a long list of ways to use those points, and even an annual hotel credit.

Every single member of the Daily Drop team holds this card and doesn’t plan on letting it go.

So whether you’re new to the game or you’ve been around for a while, everyone should have this card in their wallet. 👇

🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

🌎 Where in the World Wednesday: Milan, Italy

To start the year off, FareDrop is whisking us away (on a super cheap flight) to the land of pasta, espresso, and fashion…

That’s right, folks. We’re headed to Milan, Italy! 🇮🇹

An example of FareDrop flights that shows a highlighte flight to Milan, Italy for $435 from Miami

And just in case you’re new around here and don’t know, FareDrop is the brainchild of Kara and Nate—curated for eager travelers hoping to score the best flight deal of their life.

In short, the app does all the work for you, day and night, sourcing the best flight fares for your next trip based on your own custom criteria.

So why not let FareDrop determine your next destination, eh? It could actually, literally, save you hundreds of dollars.

But let’s get back to the city of fast-talking and fast-walking Italians.

It’s true—the Italians are fashionable people, and Milano is their Mecca. In fact, as someone who dresses fairly well (in my opinion, lolz), I’ve still never felt less fashionable in my life than when strolling the streets of Milan 🙃

But the city is far more than just that—it holds perhaps one of Italy’s (and Europe’s) most iconic landmarks… the imposing, Gotchic-style Duomo di Milano.

A photo of the Milan cathedral at sunrise

And trust me, you’ll want to reserve your spot to climb the darn thing. Seriously, do it.

Its facade from the ground is one thing, but scrambling around its jagged roof? Otherworldly 😮

But perhaps you fancy art and culture? Milan is like, “Bro, I got that too.”

It’s stuffed full of museums and art galleries, but perhaps my favorite is seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural, The Last Supper, in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

Google it. You know the one.

I could go on and on, but this is a five-minute newsletter, remember? 😉

So I’d say if you want the chance to score a cheap flight to an incredible city like Milan (or to thousands of other destinations around the globe), then consider checking out FareDrop and all it has to offer!

Did you know that Daily Drop has a YouTube channel? Check out our latest video for some visual travel hacking tips on finding award seats in seconds rather than having to search for hours. 👇

A screenshot of our recent YouTube video about SeatSpy

That’s all for today, friends. I hope today helped those of you looking for a solid card to rack up points and book travel in 2024.

But for now, I need to go to sleep and start recovering from this jet lag…

Take care and I’ll see you again bright and early ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

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