By using your credit card to pay for flights and other traveling expenses, you stand to earn credit rewards, priority boarding, membership benefits at luxury hotels and airline lounges, free flights, and even cash back. However, there are many travel credit cards on the market, so which one is right for you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit card offers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Named the “Best Travel Credit Card” by MONEY Magazine in 2016/2017, the Chase Sapphire card offers newcomers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of opening an account. If you choose to redeem these points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you get $625 worth of value for travel; if not, you still stand to earn $500 worth of credit.
Furthermore, 2 bonus points are earned per $ spent on travel and dining worldwide and 1 point per $ on all other purchases. No fees are charged for international transactions and holders are guaranteed primary insurance on car rentals. Coupled with a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year, it is easy to see why this is the preferred card for both newbies and travel veterans.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card – The Best Travel Credit Card Offers
One of few travel cards that does not charge an annual fee, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card also charges 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. There is a 25,000-point bonus for all new users that spend $1,000 within their first 90 days and the points are worth $250 for travel purchases. However, customers of Bank of America may earn more bonuses (depending on the size of their accounts). Holders also earn 1.5 points (unlimited) per $ for all purchases.
This card offers significantly less sign-up bonus points compared to others in the market. However, this is offset, to some extent, by its zero annual fees. Also, it offers lots of other benefits to BofA customers that have sizable sums of money in their accounts.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
This card charges a steep annual fee of $550 but in return, it offers unrivaled luxury and lots of extra perks. New users stand to earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within their first 3 months, and no fees are charged for international transactions. Furthermore, cardholders enjoy 5 bonus points for every $ spent on flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel, and 1 point per $ for other purchases; these points may be redeemed at Amex’s airline and hotel partners. Additional perks include $200 free airline credit every year, $200 Uber credit annually, and refunds every 5 years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.
Cardholders also get free access to luxury lounges in partnership with American Express—e.g. Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and Priority Pass Lounges—along with Gold elite status at Starwood Hotels or Hilton.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Credit Card – The Best Travel Credit Card Offers
For $95 per year (waived for the first year), Citi offers cardholders 60,000 sign-up bonus points when they spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account. These points amount to $750 when redeemed using Citi’s travel portal and they may be transferred to the bank’s airline partners.
What makes the ThankYou card an attractive option is how easy it is to rack up reward points. Users get 3 points per $ spent on travel (they define this category more broadly than most, including gas purchases); and 2 points per $ on entertainment and dining.
Before deciding on which travel credit card to sign up for, you need to consider your travel habits. For example, if you travel using a particular airline—say Delta or United—more often, it may be smarter to get their airline credit card than a general-purpose card with lots of rewards that you may end up not redeeming.