Travel rewards cards can help you save money for a big trip or just earn rewards on common travel-related expenses, including gasoline, airline travel, hotel stays, and sometimes even tolls and parking fees. There are two broad types of travel rewards cards: branded travel rewards cards associated with airlines or hotels and general travel cards. The right type of travel credit card will depend on your typical spending. Here are 5 of the best credit cards for travel rewards to help you find the best card to match your travel-related spending.
Capital One Venture Rewards
Want a no-nonsense travel rewards card without a confusing rewards program? The Capital One Venture Rewards card earns a flat 2 miles per $1 on all spending. Miles can be redeemed for statement credits against eligible travel expenses, including hotel stays, rental cars, airline tickets, and more. You can shop around for the best prices on travel without worrying about brand. The card also has no foreign transaction fee to save money while traveling abroad.
The Capital One Venture Rewards card has a $59 annual fee (waived the first year), but it also has signup bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within 3 months. That’s worth $400 in statement credits.
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card is one of the most popular branded credit cards for a reason: a high rewards rate, earning free Starwood stays, and the ability to transfer points to popular airline loyalty programs. With the Starwood Preferred Guest card, you earn up to 5 Starpoints per $1 at SPG locations plus 2 points at Marriott Rewards properties and 1 Starpoint on all other spending. Redeem your points for hotel stays or transfer them to over two dozen loyalty programs. You can also earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best all-around travel rewards cards that doesn’t lock you in with any hotel or airline brand. It also has one of the best signup bonuses in the industry: get 50,000 bonus points (worth $500) when you spend $4,000 during the first 3 months.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other spending. You can earn a 25% bonus when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which means the $500 signup bonus becomes $625! You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to popular hotel and airline loyalty programs like Hyatt Gold Passport, United MileagePlus, and Marriott Rewards.
While the card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), it’s well worth the cost to frequent travelers, especially if you fly and want to get the best price on tickets by booking through third-party discount sites.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card is definitely unique but worth considering if you have a Bank of America account. This card earns a flat 1.5 points per $1 on all spending, which is a good rewards rate considering it has no annual fee. You can even earn a bonus of 10-75% when you redeem points if you have a Bank of America, Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch account, depending on your account balance.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards points can be redeemed as statement credits against eligible travel expenses up to 12 months after the transaction posts to your account. It also has a $200 signup bonus after spending at least $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Mastercard
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is a good choice if you don’t charge a great deal of money but want a good rewards rate. The card earns 2% back on dining and travel and 1% back on everything else with no annual fee. You can redeem cash back for travel statement credits with a 5% dividend when you redeem.
The card also has Chip & Pin technology that’s used throughout Europe for easier international travel. When you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, you can earn 20,000 bonus points worth at least $200.