Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards

You like to travel. You’re a consumer with everyday expenses, bills to pay, clients to treat, and hobbies to finance. Travel reward credit cards allow you to take care of those financial obligations while saving money on travel expenses. The rewards now go much further than earning points that eventually lead to discounted or free airline tickets. Some cards will give you access to exclusive travel lounges, and the sign-up bonuses get more competitive and lucrative by the year.

Whether you’re a business professional who spends more time in airports than at home or traveling the world is your personal pleasure, you’re passing up on good money if you don’t line your wallet with the best travel reward credit cards. This guide will introduce you to four cards that may make traveling less expensive and more rewarding.

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Capital One Venture Credit Card

Interest Rate: 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR

Annual Fee: $0 intro for the first year, $95 after that

If you want every dollar that you spend to count toward your travel rewards, Capital One has you covered. You earn two miles for every dollar spent on the card, and you can redeem your miles for tickets on any airline, stays at any hotel, trips with any cruise line, and even cab rides and other travel expenses. Everything that you buy every day counts, so you don’t have to worry about rewards that are limited to gas stations, restaurants, or particular brands.

If you’re a new Capital One cardholder, you can also benefit from the sign-on bonus. After spending your first $3,000 on the card within three months of opening the account, you receive 50,000 bonus miles. That translates into an extra $500 for your next big trip.

Don’t confuse this card with the VentureOne credit card, which is Capital One’s second travel rewards credit card. These cards have different terms, so you might want to compare before deciding which one is best for you.

Pros

  • Redeem points on any airline and at any hotel
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad
  • Simple system makes it easy to redeem points
  • Two points for every dollar spent

Cons

  • The 0% introductory APR rate is now offered on the VentureOne card only

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Interest Rate: 16.99% to 23.99% variable APR

Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that

Chase allows you to earn points for every dollar spent on the card, but there are more rules than you will find with the Capital One Venture card. You receive two points for every dollar spent on dining or travel, but all other purchases earn one point per dollar. You can spend your points on any airline, hotel chain, or cruise line, but you will get more value for your points if you book your travel arrangements through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. If you don’t want to book that way, you can redeem your points through many other rewards programs at a 1:1 points ratio.

If you’re a new Chase cardholder, you can benefit from a couple lucrative sign-on bonuses. You earn 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making your first purchase on the card within three months of opening the account. If you spend $4,000 in the first three months, you will earn an additional 50,000 bonus points. This translates into more than $600 toward a future trip if you redeem the points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad
  • No blackout dates or other restrictions when booking flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • At least one point earned on every dollar spent
  • Multiple sign-on bonuses
  • Metal card has a more luxurious look and feel

Cons

  • Must redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program to maximize savings
  • Lower rewards points than some competitors

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

Interest Rate: Introductory 0% APR the first year, 15.99% to 23.99% variable APR after that

Annual Fee: $0

Bank of America is putting it all on the line when it comes to enticing credit card users with excellent credit. The Travel Rewards card offers 1.5 points for every dollar spent with no loyalty shown to specific brands or certain types of transactions. If you spend a dollar, you earn 1.5 points. If you have a checking or savings account with this bank, your points are increased by 10 percent.

You can easily turn those points into statement credits, which allows you to redeem points by simply using your credit card to pay for travel arrangements. You don’t have to book those arrangements through a special program, which is a benefit over the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

If you spend $1,000 on the card within 90 days of opening the account, you will earn an online bonus of 20,000 points. That equals $200 toward your next trip.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 0% introductory APR
  • No foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad
  • Points never expire
  • Simple system for earning and redeeming points

Cons

  • If you don’t have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you miss out on some of the savings

American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Interest Rate: 16.74% to 25.74% variable APR

Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $95 after that

This is a co-branded credit card, so it comes with some extra perks when you fly with Delta Airlines. You’ll receive priority boarding on all Delta flights, your first bag is checked for free, you receive discounted access to the Delta Sky Club lounge, and you can upgrade your ticket to first class free of charge as long as seats are available. Add two miles for every dollar spent with Delta and one mile for every dollar spent outside of Delta, and it may turn you into a loyal Delta fan.

The sign-on bonus is also a benefit because the terms are easier to accomplish than those offered on some other cards. When you spend $1,000 on the card within three months of opening the account, you will receive 30,000 bonus miles. Make a purchase through Delta within the first three months, and you will receive an additional $50 statement credit.

Pros

  • Travel perks when you fly with Delta
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad
  • No annual fee the first year

Cons

  • If you don’t fly with Delta, there are more competitive rewards from other travel credit cards
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