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Best Credit Cards for People in Long-Distance Relationships

April 16, 2015
Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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With Marriott combining the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programs, this page is out of date. See our details pages for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for updated offers on these cards.

Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but maintaining a relationship from afar doesn’t come cheap. Happily, the Nerds have some credit card suggestions to offset common costs that come with sustaining a far-flung romance. Here are a few:

Best if you’re flying to see your sweetie: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent choice for significant others who frequently fly to see each other. With it, you’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining out, and 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Generally, points are worth one cent apiece, but if you redeem them for travel through Chase’s booking tool, the value of each goes up by 25%.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll also have the option to transfer your points to participating frequent traveler programs at a 1:1 ratio. If you can’t get a good deal on a flight to see your honey through Ultimate Rewards, you can try moving your points over to a frequent flyer program and book an award seat, instead. This type of flexibility is key to frequent flyers, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card delivers.

If your significant other lives overseas, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card won’t let you down. It charges no foreign transaction fees and comes chip-enabled, so using it on your trips abroad will be convenient and inexpensive.

To get you on the way to your next rendezvous, you’ll Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It charges an $95, but the Nerds think that most long-distance lovers will get enough use out of the card’s rewards to justify this cost.

Best if you lovebirds like meeting somewhere halfway: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

When it’s easier to meet your sweetie at a convenient halfway point, you’ll constantly be looking for nice places to stay overnight. Enter the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, which will earn you up to 5 Starpoints per dollar on purchases at participating SPG hotels, 2 Starpoints per dollar at Marriott Rewards properties, and 1 Starpoint per dollar on all other purchases. The Nerds value Starpoints at 2.3 cents apiece when redeemed for hotel stays, so this card definitely provides a good deal.

To kick off your card membership, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers a sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. Since award night redemptions start at just 2,000 Starpoints for a weekend stay, this card’s bonus could be enough to get you a few free stays.

What’s more, Starpoints can also be used to book flights, or transferred to participating frequent traveler programs (among other redemption options). Again, this flexibility will make it easier to get to your sweetie as often as you can.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express charges an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. But there are no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a reasonable choice for international use, even though American Express may not be widely accepted abroad.

The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes that’s geographically inconvenient. But with one of the cards above, you’ll be on your way to a reunion with your long-distance partner in no time flat.

›› MORE: NerdWallet’s Best Travel Credit Cards

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.