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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

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Many Americans fly several times a year, whether it be for work, pleasure, or simply to see family and friends. In recent years, nearly 50% of Americans have reported flying domestically or internationally within the previous calendar year. If you are like the average American, collecting rewards points by applying for the best travel rewards credit card is a good idea. Collecting frequent flyer miles has become a popular hobby, and many of these savvy travelers utilize travel rewards credit cards to help fund their vacations. Here is what you need to know about travel reward credit cards, including a list of some of the best travel credit cards.

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

A travel credit card helps you earn rewards that you can use toward travel, such as airfare, rental cars, and hotel stays. Many cards also offer additional travel perks, including free checked baggage, priority boarding, and buddy passes. Some cards are branded by specific airlines or hotel chains, while others are offered by a financial institution and offer more flexible travel rewards. Generally, airline and hotel credit cards are designed to enhance your travel experience by providing benefits such as points and miles that can be redeemed for travel bookings and upgrades.

Credit Card Points vs. Frequent Flyer Miles

Most airline-issued credit cards award points or miles that can only be redeemed for travel with that specific airline. For instance, the JetBlue Plus Card offers miles that can be redeemed for flights on JetBlue or partner airlines. There are often various ways to redeem airline miles, but you are limited to the rules stipulated by the airline.

On the other hand, travel rewards credit cards issued by a financial institution can be used with any participating airline, hotel chain, or travel provider. In addition, these cards typically offer a fixed number of points per purchase, known as fixed value-per-mile cards. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card awards points can be redeemed with one of their 13 travel partners.

Here are some of the features of the best travel rewards credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the most in-demand travel rewards cards. The card comes with some excellent sign-on bonuses and offers three points on all dining and travel-related purchases. While the card does come with a $95 annual fee, it’s possible to offset this fee with rewards in the first six months of card ownership. Members can redeem points directly through Chase or transfer the points to miles with participating travel partners. In addition, the points can be used with any of Chase’s 13 travel partners. This card generally requires excellent FICO® credit for approval.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another card that offers flat-rate bonus points that are not tied to a specific airline or hotel chain. The Venture Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles, when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership, which can be used to purchase up to $1,700 worth of travel. In addition, members earn two miles on every purchase, including supermarkets, gas stations, dining, and more. Rewards are flexible because they can be used for hotel or airline purchases booked with Capital One Travel or transferred to several Capital One travel partners. Applicants need at minimum a good FICO® credit score to gain account approval.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

This card is similar to the Chase Preferred Card, in that it is one of the most popular travel rewards cards out there. Members earn 50,000 rewards bonus points if they spend $4,000 on any purchase in the first 90 days of card membership, which can be redeemed for $ $750 in travel rewards. Rotating categories allow your points to be worth 50% more when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases. One unique benefit is the $300 annual travel credit, which pays the member back for any eligible travel-related purchases made during the calendar year. Gas station and supermarket purchases also count towards the credit. Some of the other travel perks include access to more than 1,300 VIP Priority Pass™ Select airport lounges, lost luggage benefits, and credits for enrolling in specific traveler programs such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

World of Hyatt® Visa Card

While the World of Hyatt Credit Card is considered a niche card by some, it offers some excellent benefits if you regularly stay in Hyatt hotels. The card offers 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of opening the account. Members can earn another 30,000 within the first six months of card membership by making $15,000 in purchases on the card. All users receive one complimentary hotel night in any Hyatt hotel or resort each year, which is bumped up to two free nights if you spend over $15,000 in that calendar year. Further, members earn two points for every $1 spent on dining, gym memberships, airfare, or local transit. Applicants need an excellent FICO® credit score for approval.

Discover it® Miles

The Discover it Miles card is a popular travel rewards card offered by Discover. Also, it is the best option for consumers looking for the best travel credit card with no annual fee. Unlike most travel credit cards, the Discover it Card does not charge a yearly fee for membership. Discover is one of the few credit card lenders that matches the miles users earn after their first calendar year of membership. Further, cardmembers earn 1.5 miles for every $1 purchase. Miles can be redeemed as a credit to offset a monthly bill or be turned into cash to purchase travel from many partners, including airlines, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, and rideshare providers. Miles never expire, and there are no travel blackout dates. Applicants need a good  to excellent FICO® credit score for approval.


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