Looking for a travel rewards credit card with either a great travel rewards program, great signup bonuses, or maybe both?
These are the best travel credit cards currently available.
Best Sign Up Bonus with Most Flexibility:
You’ll find a great selection of travel credit cards below, but if you don’t want to be stuck to one specific airline or hotel rewards program then the following card is for you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card has one of the largest point bonuses available of all travel credit cards. You’ll get 40,000 bonus points when you spend just $3,000 in the first 3 months. Those points are worth $400 in cash that you can use to fund a trip. If you decide to take a trip and pay with your points you’ll save 20% on the cost, so those 40,000 points become worth $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. You will earn 2 points for every dollar spent on your typical travel and dining categories. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. There is a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
(Don’t want to pay the annual fee? Consider the regular Chase Sapphire Credit Card. You’ll still get 10,000 bonus points.)
Best Flight Sign Up Bonuses:
Airline flight miles or point bonuses are a little bit more tricky because the airline has to fly out of a nearby airport for the points to be valuable to you. (Alternatively, you could transfer the points to an eligible program you can use.)
Taking that into account, there are 3 phenomenal cards we wanted to highlight:
United MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card
For starters, you can earn up to 40,000 bonus miles with the United MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card. You get 25,000 points after you first use the card, 5,000 for first use and when you add an authorized user within the first 2 months, and 10,000 points each year when you spend $25,000 or more during the calendar year.
Additionally, you’ll get perks like:
- Checking your first bag for free
- Priority boarding privileges
- Double miles on United purchases (1 mile per dollar spent otherwise)
- Two passes to United Club every year
(If you fly a ton and need more perks, consider the United MileagePlus Club Card.)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card
We’ve reviewed Chase’s Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card in the past. (Read our review.) Even if you take my Southwest Airlines bias away (I love Southwest!), this is a great travel credit card. Why?
You get 25,000 points after your first use of the card. Those points can be converted into two roundtrip “Wanna Get Away?” tickets anywhere Southwest flies. (There’s no catch; “Wanna Get Away?” is Southwest’s nonrefundable tickets. If you need to cancel you can use the value of the ticket on a future flight.)
You’ll also earn 2 points for every dollar spent through Southwest and 1 point everywhere else. You get access to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program which just compounds how quickly you can earn your next free flight. There is an annual fee of $69, but on the anniversary date Southwest gives you enough points to buy a $50 “Wanna Get Away?” fare so your overall cost for the annual fee is just $19.
British Airways Visa Signature
How many points can an airline possibly give away? If you open a Chase British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card, you can get as many as 100,000 Avios points for use with British Airways.
Read that again: 100,000 points.
That’s enough points for two people to fly from JFK in New York City to London’s Heathrow Airport and back again. Two free roundtrip tickets to London? Sign me up.
We reviewed this card recently (read our review here) and found it to be a pretty good card. That 100,000 point bonus includes 50,000 given to you just for being approved for the card, then there are two 25,000 point bonuses for hitting spending limits of $10,000 twice in the first year. Even if you don’t end up spending $20,000 on the card in the first year, you still walk away with 50,000 points.
Best Hotel Sign Up Bonuses:
If you’re looking for elite status and free nights at your favorite hotel chains, look no further:
With the Citi Hilton HHonors Credit Card you get 40,000 bonus points after spending just $1,000 on the card in the first four months of membership. That’s enough points to stay 3 nights in a Category 2 hotel (or 1 night in a Category 6). As you might expect you get rewarded more for spending money at the hotel chain. With Hilton HHonors you’ll receive 6 points for every dollar spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.
But the rewards don’t stop there, which is what makes this such a great card. You also get:
- 3 points for your spending at grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies
- 2 points for all other spending
The rewards program for non-hotel spending is very similar to American Express’ Blue Cash credit card — and AMEX won’t give you 40,000 bonus points!
Marriott Rewards Premiere
Maybe you prefer to stay at Marriott locations. If so, the Marriott Preferred Credit Card is your best option by far. You’ll get 50,000 bonus points that can be redeemed for free nights with Marriott, automatic elite status, plus a free night’s stay at any Category 1 through 4 hotel.
You earn 5 points for every dollar spent at Marriott locations, 2 points for eligible dining, airline, and rental car charges, plus 1 point for all other spending. There is an $85 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
(You can get 30,000 bonus points plus 2 free nights with the Marriott Rewards Credit Card. It has a $45 fee instead.)
Other Great Travel Rewards Credit Cards:
All of the above credit cards offer amazing benefits that almost every person can use. The following cards are good cards for the average person; for your specific situation, they might be great as well.
Disney Premiere Visa
Planning a trip to Disney? You’ll be glad you got this card. The Disney Premiere Visa is a rewards credit card that stands well on its own: you get 2% rewards for spending at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations. (Other spending earns 1% rewards.)
But the Disney perks are, well, magical. Your kids will be ecstatic when they get to have a Character Meet ‘N’ Greet at the private Cardmember location. You’ll be ecstatic because you get 0% APR for 6 months anytime you book select Disney vacations and put it on the credit card.
If you enjoy staying at Hyatt hotels, the Chase Hyatt Credit Card is a good card to have. You’ll get a minimum of 2 nights free after your first purchase. (You can get higher levels of rewards like 2 nights free + 2 suite upgrades or 2 nights in a suite dependent upon your Hyatt status when you open the card). You’ll also get one free night credited to you on the anniversary of your card membership. This helps offset the $75 annual fee. You’ll also earn 3 points for every dollar spent at Hyatt properties and 1 point for spending everywhere else.
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