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Travel Rewards Credit Cards

5.0 5.0 - 95 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. Regardless of the exact bucket they fit into, most of the travel rewards cards listed below also provide some form of travel insurance and some may be classified as no foreign transaction fee credit cards, meaning they do not charge the 2-3% fees for purchases processed internationally that Card Hub has determined are part of…show more

    Chase Freedom® - $200 Bonus


    chase freedom credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Fee
    • Regular Rate 13.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $200
    • Earn Rate 1% - 5% cash back
    • For a limited time, earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
    • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between October 1 – December 31, 2014 at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
    • You’ll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and Amazon.com. It’s free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
    • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


    blue cash credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99%-21.99%
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $50 + 1yr of Amazon Prime
    • Earn Rate 1% - 3% cash back
    • Get one year of Amazon Prime plus $50 back after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
    • You will receive $50 back in the form of a statement credit.
    • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
    • Earn Cash Back: 3% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • Terms and restrictions apply.

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until December 2015
    • 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 one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
    • Travel when you want—no blackout dates.
    • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn

    Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card


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

    Citi® Double Cash Card


    citi cashreturns mastercard
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) 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
    • The only card that earns you cash back TWICE on every purchase with:
    • 1% cash back when you buy
    • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
    • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories

    Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card


    capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until September 2015
    • 0% Transfers until September 20153% 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
    • One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
    • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards.
    • Cash back doesn't expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn

    Chase Slate®


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

    Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®


    barclaycard arrival world mastercard credit card with no annual fee
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers 12 months3% Fee
    • Regular Rate 14.99% - 18.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Miles
    • Initial Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Earn Rate 1 - 2 miles/$1
    • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
    • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
    • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
    • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits

    Citi Simplicity® Card


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

    Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit


    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
    • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else.
    • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
    • No blackout date, no redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up.
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    We work hard to present you with the most accurate credit card information, however, this information does not originate from us and thus, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information.

    Before you apply for a credit card we recommend that you review and verify the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card company's web site. Please let us know if you find any differences.

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    Ask our Experts
    EXPERT’S ANSWERS

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

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEO Well, 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 CEO Obviously, 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 CEO The 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 CEO While 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 CEO Even 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 Editor When 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.
    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Help others find the best travel rewards credit cards by sharing what your deciding factor was when choosing your card (customer service, interest rate, fees, convenience, rewards, etc.)

     
    June 23, 2014
    Photo of Brutus S.
    By:
    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.
    February 25, 2014
    Photo of Erika S.
    By:
    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 more