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The 10 Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

Looking for a travel rewards card that comes with serious perks? Check out these cards that offer award flights, free hotel nights, and more.
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Whether you're planning a short getaway or an entire family vacation, various travel rewards credit cards provide a wealth of perks and benefits that can enhance any travel itinerary. These perks include amenities that can make traveling more comfortable, and can also be worth valuable cash back, award flights, and free hotel nights.

No matter your plans, there's a travel credit card available to add value to your trip. If you travel for work or plan a road trip in the future, consider taking one or more of the 10 best credit cards for travel along for the ride.


Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Bonuses: Sign-up bonus worth $625 in travel rewards; double points on travel-related purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card consistently ranks as one of the best travel credit cards available, if not the very best. For starters, the sign-up bonus is worth $625 in travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards if you make $4,000 in purchases within your first three months. You also earn double points on nearly every travel-related expense out there, from fast food, airfare, and hotels, to taxis and toll fees, and one point for all other purchases. And, you get a 20% discount if you redeem your points for travel with Chase.


American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

Bonuses: Bonus worth as many as 12 free nights; earn up to five points for each dollar spent at SPG hotels.

The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is not just one of the most popular travel credit cards, but is consistently one of the most valuable hotel cards. New cardholders and Starwood Hotel fans can earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints if they spend $3,000 within the first three months, up to five points for each dollar spent at SPG hotels, and one point for all other purchases.

Category 1 property hotel nights are available for as few as 2,000 points, so you'll be able to rack up free nights quickly and easily. Plus, American Express allows you to transfer Starpoints to frequent flyer programs such as United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles, and if you transfer 20,000 points, you receive a bonus of 5,000 points.


Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard credit card

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Bonuses: 20,000 bonus miles at sign-up worth $200; no annual fee.

Barclaycard credit cards are often overlooked when it comes to recognizing the best credit cards for travel. However, the Arrival World MasterCard's benefits and rewards program stand out above many other travel rewards cards on the market. You can receive a bonus of 20,000 miles (worth $200 in travel) if you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days, and you earn double miles on travel and dining — which covers a broad range of travel purchases — and one point for purchases in other categories. If you redeem your points for travel statement credit, you can receive 5% of your points back.


Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Bonuses: Additional flight perks; 25,000 points bonus; 6,000 points each anniversary year.

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is one of the best travel cards, as well as one of the best airline rewards credit cards. New cardholders can earn a bonus of 25,000 points, which can be enough to cover a couple Wanna Get Away tickets. Furthermore, you earn double points on Southwest Airlines purchases and one point for all other purchases, plus 6,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary.

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card also awards Tier Qualifying Points for reaching A-List statuses, resulting in flight benefits such as free in-flight Wi-Fi, priority check-in and boarding, and points bonuses on Southwest flights.


Capital One Venture Rewards credit card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses: Double miles for every dollar on all purchases; bonus worth $400 in travel.

The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card is one of the most simple and straightforward travel cards available. You earn double miles for every purchase you make with the card regardless of the category. It offers new cardholders a bonus of 40,000 miles if you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months, worth $400 in travel if you use Capital One's Purchase Eraser feature. The card also comes with features such as concierge service and travel upgrades and savings through its Visa Signature benefits.


BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses: $200 statement credit towards travel purchases; 10% to 75% customer loyalty point bonus.

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card awards 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all purchases, which you can redeem as statement credits toward any number of travel purchases, from baggage fees to hotels and vacation packages. New cardholders can earn a bonus of 20,000 points, which is the equivalent of a $200 statement credit towards travel, if you spend at least $1,000 within 90 days. Plus, Bank of America customers receive an additional 10% bonus to their points if they have an active Bank of America savings or checking account, and up to a 75% bonus if they are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client.


Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard credit card

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard

Bonuses: Flight perks with American Airlines; bonus worth at least one round-trip award flight.

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard offers a wealth of travel-related perks, from free checked bags and Group 1 Boarding to a 25% discount on in-flight purchases. The rewards program provides double miles on American Airlines purchases and one mile for other purchases, which you can redeem for award flights, upgrades, and car and hotel awards.

Also available is a bonus opportunity, which is (for a limited time) 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend $3,000 with your card within the first three months. This bonus can be worth the airfare for at least one round-trip domestic MileSAAver flight. Furthermore, cardholders get 10% of their redeemed miles back.


U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature credit card

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card

Bonuses: Earn points on travel and daily purchases; travel perks; multiple bonus opportunities.

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card awards double points for the category you spend the most on during each billing cycle — among the categories gas, groceries, or airlines — and for most cell phone expenses. It awards one point for all other purchases. The card also comes with a $25 airline allowance for each award travel ticket, which you can use for expenses such as baggage fees or in-flight purchases. You can redeem your points for not just travel, but also for gift cards, statement credits, or merchandise.

New cardholders can earn a bonus of 20,000 points for spending $3,500 within the first four months, which can be worth a $400 airline ticket. Furthermore, each year you spend at least $24,000 with your card, you receive a bonus of 3,500 points.


Discover it Miles credit card

Discover it Miles Credit Card

Bonuses: In-flight Wi-Fi credit up to $30; double the miles you earn your first year.

The Discover it Miles credit card awards 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases, which you can then redeem to credit your travel purchases — airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, vacation packages, etc. — made within the past 180 days. You also have the option to redeem as an electronic deposit. The Discover it Miles card also includes a credit of up to $30 for in-flight Wi-Fi. As extra bonuses, Discover currently doubles all the miles you earn at the end of your first year, and provides your FICO credit score for free.


Chase Marriott Rewards Premier credit card

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Bonuses: 50,000-point sign-up bonus; Elite status credits for hotel perks.

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier is another of the highest-rated hotel credit cards available. You earn five points for each dollar spent at Marriott properties and two points for each dollar spent on restaurants, car rentals, and airline tickets purchased from the airline, and one point for all other purchases. You can redeem points for reward nights at Marriott properties as well as at Ritz-Carlton properties, starting at 30,000 points for the latter.

The Marriott Rewards Premier card also offers a bonus of 50,000 points if you spend $2,000 with your card within the first three months, and 5,000 additional points if you add an authorized user. You also have an opportunity to earn credits toward Elite status each year after your account anniversary date and for every $3,000 in purchases, for extra hotel perks such as free Internet, room upgrades, and point bonuses.

Readers, what perks do you look for in travel rewards credit cards? Which card do you think has the best benefits? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Christina Majaski is a freelance writer and mom of daughter Chloe and dog Monty in Central Minnesota. She has covered social media, personal finance, law, business, and travel for various online and print publications since 2003. You can read her work online at Wise Bread, Digital Trends, PayScale, and many others.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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4 comments
1brady
I am looking for a credit card to give my sister. I want to arable to load it (no fee) from my computer. Is there such an animal?
dtrudea
The southwest card is tops. Excellent card if u frequently fly southwest that is. Tip.. Wait till southwest gives u 50k initial bonus points instead of the usual 25K. They offer this quite a bit. There is a $99 annual fee but that's what the 6000 anniversary points covers so you are not out of pocket. It's almost like they give you the card for free. One last thing it's very easy to earn a flight they never have blackout dates. For the last couple years they give everybody free Wi-Fi on all flights.
skyguide
I had the Marriott card. Sure, they give points BUT it took MANY more points for a room redemption than other hotel groups. They promise, but fail to deliver any value. I dumped the card.
ypsi-slim
What about the Chase IHG card? I think this is the best for the value minded traveler. New cards get up to 65,000 points and waive the annual fee for the first year. This can give you instant platinum status. Subsequent years have a $45 annual fee but you get an unrestricted free room. IHG's points and cash system nust be booked online but you can frequently find rooms for $40 or $70 with 5,000 or 10,000 points. You are rebated back 10% off any points you pruchase, plus Platinum members get 500 points for each stay, and free upgrades when available.
What say? Plus you earn 5 points per dollar for IHG purchases and 2 points per dollar for food and gas.
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