Do you find yourself traveling often, perhaps for work or pleasure?
A travel rewards credit card is a great way to earn extra perks or get a little back for your trips. Traveling can be expensive and a travel rewards card can go a long way to earning something back for your spending.
Do you like benefits such as:
- Earning free nights at hotels;
- Earning free flights;
- Not paying foreign transaction fees;
- Earning free car rentals;
- and more?
The cards below offer a variety of these benefits as well as others.
These are the best travel rewards credit cards that I’ve found (if you know of others, please let me know so I can add them!). Look through each of the cards and see which benefits mean the most to you.
Make sure you are actually going to use the benefits!
If you aren’t taking advantage of what a particular card offers then you are wasting the usefulness of a travel rewards credit card. Some of these have annual fees, so you need to make sure you are making up for that fee in the card’s use (yes, I’d prefer there were no fees, but these cards will quickly pay for themselves if you are using the benefits).
Finding the best credit card to fit your particular traveling needs is a great way to maximize your credit card and your spending.
Take a look at the list below and find the best travel rewards credit card with benefits to match your travel habits.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
First off you earn points towards Starwood hotels for free nights (free nights start at 2,000 points) and upgrades in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. There are over 1,100 hotels in over 100 countries worldwide to choose from.
But the benefits aren’t only for the hotels.
You can redeem your Starpoints for airline travel as well, mostly on a one-to-one point basis (you can redeem at over 350 airlines). The hotels and airlines offered have no blackout dates.
Bonus: Currently, you can earn up to 25,000 Starpoints – 10,000 after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first six months of card membership (that’s enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 Hotel or 6 free nights at a category 2 hotel!).
Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines.
You can earn up to 5 points for every dollar spent at Starwood Preferred Guest® hotels and resorts – 2 points for every dollar spent at the hotel or resort and 2 for being a member. If you reach Gold or Platinum member status you earn an additional point. For regular spending you get one point per dollar. The first year there is an intro annual fee of $0, and is $65 after the first year. Terms and restrictions apply.
You can see that if you do a lot of traveling, this can become a card with a lot of great benefits. It was the 2011 SmarterTravel® Award for “Best Travel Rewards Card” .
This Blue Sky card may have one of the easiest-to-understand rewards programs on this list.
You earn 1 point for virtually every dollar you spend (on eligible purchases of course).
Enjoy a welcome bonus of 7,500 points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership (that’s good for a $100 statement credit).
There is no annual fee, a 0% APR on purchases for up to 12 months (after the intro period the APR is a variable rate, currently 17.24%-22.24%), and your travel rewards have no restrictions or blackout dates.
Your points are redeemable for flights on any airline, stays at any hotel, and car rentals with any company. You will also get American Express’ protection from fraudulent charges and extensions on manufacturer’s warranties on eligible purchases.
And don’t forget Amex’ 24/7 Global Assist® Hotline, which provides emergency assistance worldwide.
The Blue Sky card was rated “Best Airline Credit Card” by Card Ratings Consumer’s Choice Awards in 2010.
There’s also no annual membership fee for this card. Terms and restrictions apply.
This travel rewards card from Bank of America offers up 1.5 points for every dollar spent on purchases. They are currently offering a 10,000 point bonus on their card if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days. This is enough for a $100 statement credit on your next travel purchase. Their point redemption is easy – purchase your travel with the card then call or go online to redeem your points for statement credit.
Also enjoy no foreign transactions fees, $0 liability on fraudulent purchases, 24-hour travel and emergency service, and more. All with no annual fee.
The card offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles. After that, 14.99%-22.99% variable APR applies.
The prestigious card gives you access to airport lounges around the world (over 600 of them) when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select.
If you travel out of the country, the Platinum Card has no foreign transaction fees.
When you enroll and select an airline you get up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits to cover incidental fees (like baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and drinks, and more) with your airline, annually.
You can earn 25K Membership Rewards® points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months of being a member (already good for one domestic round-trip Coach-Class airline ticket). You also have the privilege of the 24/7 Platinum Card® Concierge to help you from gift buying to reservations.
There are no blackout dates or restrictions on points redeemed for air and travel and you can earn double points when you book online.
The Platinum Card is a charge card so there is no pre-set spending limit and no interest charges when your balance is paid in full. The annual fee is $450 and can be well worth it if you take advantage of all of the card’s benefits.
There are plenty more benefits that I don’t have room to write about. Terms and restrictions apply.
With the American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card you can earn 25K Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of having your card (this can earn you one domestic round-trip Coach-Class airline ticket).
Get another 15K points if you spend $30,000 within one calendar year.
You can pile on the points with this card. Earn triple points on airfare booked with airlines, double points on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, double points at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and single points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply so make sure to check the fine print.
When you book two consecutive hotel nights through American Express Travel you can receive $75 back at checkout (restrictions may apply).
By using Pay with Points at American Express Travel you can fly ANY airline, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE without blackout dates or seat restrictions. You also get the backing of Amex’ Global Assist® Hotline should you have an emergency when you are 100+ miles from home.
There’s also roadside assistance and you get Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance when you use your card to rent a card. The card also gives you their Baggage Insurance Plan* with coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged bags that are checked or carried on with tickets you purchased on your card. The Baggage Insurance Plan, Extended Warranty*, and Return Protection* are underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
This first year the annual fee is an introductory fee of $0 ($175 after). Terms & restrictions apply.
Right off the bat you can earn 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months (that’s $500 towards travel rewards).
When you book airfare through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards(SM) site you use 20% fewer points. When you use your card outside of the United States there are no foreign transaction fees. When you use your card to book airfare and hotels through Ultimate Rewards(SM) your get 2X the points (oh, and when you call to book you get an actual person, not a prompt).
You’ll earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining while all other purchases are one point for every dollar spent. At the end of the year you get a 7% points bonus/dividend for all points earned the previous year. You can transfer the points you’ve earned to participating frequent travel programs at a 1:1 value (a very nice feature if you use different travel programs).
The first year’s annual fee is waived ($95). There are also no blackout dates or restrictions when airfare or hotel is booked through Ultimate Rewards(SM).
See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review for more details.
Remember - In order to truly get the most from a travel rewards card you should not be carrying high-APR debt. Once you start paying interest on credit card debt you quickly eat into any credit card travel rewards you may be earning.
If you are looking for a specific airline miles card check out The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards.
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“This content is not provided by Bank of America. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, however this site may be compensated by Bank of America.”