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Travel Rewards Credit Cards

4.9 4.9 - 99 reviews for top rated card

There are three types of travel rewards credit cards commonly available: those offering points redeemable only with particular hotel chains, those with miles tied to particular airlines, and those offering generic points or miles that can be redeemed for most types of travel expenses. With that being said, one of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is becoming too hung up on colorful marketing copy, even if that means applying for a card tied to a hotel or airline that would be very difficult to ultimately redeem with. Instead, we recommend on applying for a travel rewards card that…show more

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until February 2016
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 11.9% - 19.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Miles
    • Initial Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Earn Rate 1.25 miles / $1
    • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases until February 2016; 11.9%-19.9% variable APR after that
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker—see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
    • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen.
    • 24-hour travel & emergency assistance gives you a replacement card and cash advance.
    • Auto rental insurance -- use your card to rent a car and you're covered for collision, damage, and loss.
    • Image Card -- personalize your card with an image of your choice.

    Citi Simplicity® Card


    citi simplicity credit card
    • 0% Purchases 18 months
    • 0% Transfers 18 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards None

    Citi® Double Cash Card


    citi double cash card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus None
    • Earn Rate 1% - 2% cash back
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    • No Annual Fee

    Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card


    capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until November 2015
    • 0% Transfers until November 20153% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1.5% cash back
    • 0% intro APR on purchases until November 2015; 12.9%-22.9% variable APR after that
    • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until November 2015, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
    • Capital One® Credit Tracker — the free way to easily monitor your monthly credit score anytime, anywhere
    • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

    Chase Slate®


    chase slate
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 monthsNo Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards None

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


    american express blue
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99%-21.99%
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1% - 3% cash back
    • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

    Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card


    capital one platinum prestige credit card
    • 0% Purchases until May 2016
    • 0% Transfers until May 20163% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 10.9% - 18.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards None

    Chase Freedom®


    chase freedom credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 13.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1% - 5% cash back
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
    • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open

    Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®


    barclaycard credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 24.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Points
    • Initial Bonus None
    • Earn Rate 1 - 2 points/$1
    • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
    • No annual fee.
    • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score.

    U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card


    us bank platinum credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 9.99% - 20.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards None

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    EXPERT’S ANSWERS

    Do I have to be a frequent traveler to get a travel rewards credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOWell, it depends on your motivation in opening a credit card with travel rewards. If you simply wish to take advantage of an offer with an attractive initial bonus (e.g. a free flight or free hotel), then by no means do you need to be a frequent traveler. Everyone takes vacations, after all. However, you should be a frequent traveler if you plan on using a travel credit card on an ongoing basis because not only do you want your rewards credit cards to match your biggest expenses, but you also need to be in a position to minimize the threat of rewards devaluation, which is only possible via frequent redemption. A frequent traveler is someone who compiles at least 30,000 air miles or 20 hotel nights a year.

    What type of travel rewards credit card should I get?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOObviously, if you’re just after an initial bonus, get whichever card offers the most free stuff that you can use. As explained above, only frequent travelers should use travel reward cards on an ongoing basis. So, assuming you are a frequent traveler, the type of card you get depends on your brand loyalty. If you always use the same airline or hotel, get the card affiliated with that company. If you use different accommodations, get the most lucrative generic travel credit card. Finally, if you do not travel that often, your best bet is a cash back credit card, since cash back is the most straightforward rewards currency and you can obviously use it for any type of purchase, including travel.

    How do I compare travel rewards programs?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThe following are some important terms to watch out for when comparing travel rewards programs, as each impacts the usability and ultimate value of any such program:
    1. Rewards Value: Travel rewards are not only fragmented between points and miles, but also within each of these main rewards currencies. For example, one card might offer Hilton points, while another might have Capital One No Hassle Miles, and still another might provide American Airline AAdvantage miles. Given that this can make comparison difficult, it’s a good idea to reference your spending in past months in order to see how lucrative a given travel rewards card will be in dollar figures. In other words, determine how many points or miles you can expect to compile in, say, a month and what you can redeem them for. The price of this good or service is therefore the card’s monthly cash value, which you can, of course, compare to that of other cards. When doing your comparison, look out for any earning tiers -- which dictate the rate at which you earn points/miles, depending on how much you have spent in a certain period of time -- or earning caps -- which limit the rewards you can earn, typically in a month, quarter or year. Both obviously can affect how lucrative a particular travel reward credit card offer will be.
    2. Initial Bonus: The number of points/miles that certain travel rewards credit cards provide in return for new customers signing up and spending a certain amount within the first few months may exceed the rewards one could ordinarily earn during an entire year of card use. Gravitating toward such cards is therefore advisable. Just make sure you’ll be able to meet any spending requirements that may exist.
    3. Redemption Limitations: While rewards that do not expire are becoming increasingly popular as different credit card companies jockey for the business of the best consumers, if expiration is part of a particular travel rewards program, it will likely be tied to the passage of time or account inactivity. Similarly, things like blackout dates and limited room/seat availability are now less in evidence, but it’s worth double-checking to verify that your rewards will be practically beneficial and not just good on paper.
    4. Status points: In addition to points and miles redeemable for free stuff, certain hotel-affiliated and airline-affiliated credit cards also give you status points, which help you move up the loyalty ladder and get additional benefits. The inclusion of status points is a key factor for many brand-loyal travelers, especially when one airline or hotel chain offers multiple credit cards.

    What other travel-related benefits can I get from a credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOWhile free flights and hotel stays are travel rewards cards’ most-talked-about benefits, you’ll usually get a few other perks as well. While the specifics depend on your card, the following are some of the most common ancillary benefits:
    1. Car rental collision damage insurance
    2. Roadside dispatch
    3. Emergency card replacement
    Other benefits that you can expect to receive with certain cards include:
    1. Free upgrades
    2. Priority check-in
    3. Free checked baggage
    4. Airport lounge access
    5. 24/7 concierge service
    6. Travel accident insurance
    7. Free companion tickets

    Can I have more than one travel rewards credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOEven if you have the best travel rewards credit card for your lifestyle, there will inevitably be other rewards cards that you can use strategically to maximize the free money you bring in. There are two ways to supplement your travel rewards: 1) via lucrative initial bonuses; 2) by opening a couple of different cards, each providing the best possible rewards on one of your biggest expenses (e.g. airfare, hotel stays, groceries). For example, if you stay at Marriott hotels regularly for business, spend a lot on groceries, and wish to fly your family to your in-laws’ house this summer, having a Marriott credit card, a card like the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express (3% cash back at supermarkets), and an airline miles card offering a free flight for signing up will be extremely beneficial. Using multiple cards that excel in certain areas in order to garner the best possible overall terms is called the Island Approach to credit card use.

    What exchange rate do I get when I travel abroad?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorWhen using a travel reward card abroad, your purchases are automatically converted into U.S. dollars using your card network’s exchange rate. This is a good thing because Visa and MasterCard (the world’s most widely-accepted card networks) offer exchange rates that are roughly 8% lower than the cash exchange services at banks and around 15% lower than the services offered at airport kiosks, according to our Currency Exchange Study. On top of the exchange rate, a lot of travel credit cards charge fees for purchases processed abroad. If you plan on traveling outside the country, you should therefore focus your travel credit card search on the no foreign transaction fee credit cards section.

    -- Questions --

    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Ask a question or help others find the best travel rewards credit cards by sharing some tips.

     
    Feb 20, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Matthew Dobeck--

    Feb 20, 2015
    I have the Disney Visa Rewards card by Chase. There is no "fee" to have this card. At first the benefits don't seem that impressive, as you do not get theme park or resort discounts, but you do get an overall 10% discount on anything Disney, at the stores and at the theme parks and resort restaurants. We all know that any help counts when it comes to Disney! The best benefit is the exclusive meet and greet with characters at Epcot. It's nice to be able to go to something "exclusive" with Disney, especially when it's crowded.
    Jan 8, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Albin Viju--

    Jan 8, 2015
    I have a Delta SkyMiles card. I have applied this card because me and my wife are the frequent flyers in Delta Airlines. I will earn points for each of my travel. I can redeem the points while booking the next trip. Also each time when I make a reservation and book a Delta flight with my card, the first bag I check in will be free.
    Nov 30, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Ivan Kuznetsov--

    Nov 30, 2014
    I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You get 2 points per dollar you spend on travel which is nice. By travel, it doesn’t have to be just flights. It could also include hotels, car rentals and parking as well. The only downside is the annual fee but it is waived in the first year.
    Jun 23, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Brutus Smith--

    Jun 23, 2014
    I really enjoy using my Citi ThankYou Preferred Card. It gives 2 ThankYou points for dining and entertainment purchases. I'm single and can't cook, so I eat out almost everyday. This is the perfect card for me. What I like most about this card is the options they give you at redemption time. I can redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, and travel rewards. I just wish they also gave bonus points, but it seems like mostly the cards that offer only travel gives bonus points. I prefer to have the redemption variety.
    Feb 25, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Erika Shira--

    Feb 25, 2014
    I have a Delta SkyMiles card. Back when more online billpay services would allow you to use a credit card without any fee, I would pay my utilities and car loan using it and would rack up tons of miles, then pay it off every month. I paid my graduate school tuition with it and then paid off the card using the tuition reimbursement check. I got several free airline tickets this way. Now that it's hard to pay bills using a credit card though, I think most of us wouldn't have enough purchases to earn miles very fast, except maybe for people who own small businesses. Most of the rewards cards have a high interest rate, so they don't make a lot of sense except for people who are going to pay them off every month.
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