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I got an email from friend and reader Brandon who wanted some advice about the best credit cards to signup for to help get his family of 7 from Portland to New York City.  You remember Brandon from our county roadtrip to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Manitoba, North Dakota and Ontario a few months ago. 

(SEE ALSO: Roadtrip rule #1 – if you see a giant animal statue on the side of the road… )

a man standing in front of a statue of a bull

Me and Babe the Blue Ox in Brainerd, Minnesota

Brandon is already doing several things right – namely, he has a destination in mind before just signing up for credit cards, and he is leaving himself plenty of flexibility (looking at this as a potential 2019 trip).  Brandon is currently at 4/24 (so would need to sign up for a Chase card first if he wanted one at all) and his wife is at 1/24.

Best airline credit cards to get for a NYC trip

No matter which airline Brandon and his family fly, they are going to need somewhere around ~200K airline miles to fly the 7 of them roundtrip.  This is likely going to take a variety of credit card signups for both Brandon and his wife #largefamilyproblems.

Flying out of Portland, my first thought would be Alaska Airlines.  They have a (mini?) hub in Portland, and fly directly to both Newark and JFK.  Using Alaska miles you could also fly on American Airlines (but not Delta anymore).  The Alaska card is also (for now) fairly churnable, meaning that Brandon and his wife could both sign up for Alaska cards every 90 days or so (though it’s not clear if this is still working for people or if it will work going forward)

a plane taking off from a runway

You can ALSO get a stopover using Alaska miles even on a one-way, so something like this would be a valid itinerary with Alaska miles

  • PDX-NYC (stopover) – Washington (destination) – 12,500 miles per person
  • WAS-PDX (stopover) – LAX (or anywhere) – destination – 12,500 miles per person

That would be visiting 2 cities on this 2019 trip, then taking a “stopover” in their home city of Portland before tacking on a free one-way to anywhere in the continental US as a future trip.

(SEE ALSO: Layover, Stopover, Open Jaw: What are they and what’s the difference)

Another option would be if Brandon and his wife both applied for the increased signups on the American Express Delta cards.  Those are both currently at 60,000 Delta Skymiles, which, with the spending to meet the signup bonus would give him 125,000 Skymiles – likely enough for 9 one way tickets (of course he only needs 7, so the other 2 could be for a different trip)

It’s certainly possible to use one type of miles (Alaska) to go one way and a different type of miles (Delta) to return to Portland.  Brandon could also get a card that gives transferable points like one that gives American Express Membership Rewards or SPG points (that transfer to airlines)

(SEE ALSO: Top credit card offers)

(SEE ALSO: Three SPG transfer partner you do NOT want to use)

Best hotel and other credit cards to get to go to New York

For hotels, my recommendation would be to get points / free nights in a variety of hotels.  Depending on the stay and how many rooms Brandon and his family require, cards that offer free nights might be a good option

(SEE ALSO: Why you should get 2 IHG cards at the same time)

a building with many windows

Hotels like Marriott Residence Inn, Hilton Homewood Suites, IHG Staybridge Suites or other hotels that give free dinner would be extra attractive, since 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners is a big cost savings!

I believe Brandon already signed his wife up for one of the American Express Hilton cards with their all-time bonuses of 80,000 or 100,000 points (expiring 5/31/2017)

Another option would be to sign up for something like the Capital One(R) Venture(R) Rewards Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card – something that would give “cash” points to offset things like rental car charges, subway fare, or other incidentals that can’t be covered by hotel miles and points.

Readers – any other thoughts?

Now it’s time to turn it over to you faithful readers.  Any other suggestions for Brandon and his family?

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