Check out our list of the latest travel credit card offers, including bonus offers. Whether it's flights, nights or points, we've made it easy to compare. If you're a frequent flyer or road warrior, an airline or travel card will help you earn perks faster. The following cards from our partners offer travel rewards. Find the one suits you best and apply online .
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Updated: May 16, 2017
|Card||Welcome Bonus||Bonus Requirement||Rewards Rate|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||40,000 Miles||Spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||20,000 Miles||Spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||50,000 Bonus Points||Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide|
|Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card||30,000 Bonus Miles and a companion fare from $121 ($99, plus taxes and fees from $22)||Make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days||Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America & 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases|
|BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card||20,000 Online Bonus Points||Make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days||Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases|
|Discover it® Miles||Matches all rewards new cardmembers have earned at the end of their first year||Automatic||Unlimited 1.5x rewards on every purchase, every day|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®||50,000 Bonus Miles||Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days||Earn 2X miles on all purchases|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®||60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® Bonus Miles||Make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM||$150 Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash back|
Travel cards offer a twofold bonus. First, you can use them to maximize the returns on your travel spending. Second, they can offer special access to travel rewards, such as free nights in swanky hotels, access to exclusive airport lounges and more. Those who work around the world or who travel for pleasure often should strongly consider these reward programs. Here’s what you need to know to find the best one:
Travel rewards cards offer rewards as a points system, where the points have a certain cash value applicable toward travel spending. Sometimes, these cards refer to points as miles. They are pretty much the same thing.
You earn points per dollar spent on the credit card. The most common earnings rate is 1 points per dollar spent. Some cards offer a 2:1 points-per-dollar ration for certain spending categories, while others will offer a flat 2:1 points-per-dollar ratio on all purchases. Take stock of how much you spend, on average, for categories like restaurants, gas and yes, even airfare. You can use these numbers to figure out how to earn the most miles for your lifestyle.
Some cards will increase the rewards rate if you redeem them through their travel purchase portal. This is important to consider if you don’t mind the extra work.
Besides the general rewards plan, you should closely examine the sign-up bonus when deciding on a travel rewards card. You will have to meet a minimum spend requirement in the first few months, so know your budget going in, to ensure you can meet the goal.
Airline-specific cards can offer unique perks, such as free checked bags, priority boarding or lounge access. If you have a loyalty to a certain airline, the right rewards rate combined with these perks may make them a superior deal compared to more general travel cards.
Those looking for a general travel rewards card can find opportunities to transfer points or miles to brand-specific rewards programs. These programs can be airline programs or hotel programs. This allows you to strike a balance between finding the best deal and investing in a few regular brands for rewards.
If this sounds like the right move for you, pay attention to the exchange rates. Points and miles will transfer at different rates. A 1:1 transfer rate is favorable, but you may find certain transfer rates as good as 3:1.
print and fees
Certain offers come with blackout dates where you can’t apply your points to reservations for certain flights or nights in a hotel. They’re usually reserved for heavily trafficked times, like holidays or days near major events. Again, having a plan comes in handy. Do you require fuss-free redemptions? Or do you travel enough during off-peak times that blackout dates won’t bother you? Then, choose accordingly.
Also, pay attention to expiration dates. Certain programs will take away miles if you don’t use them by a certain day. Other offers allow you to keep your miles as long as your account is active. These are usually the best option, but if you are a frequent traveler, the expiration date may not affect you.
Some cards may require you to book through an airline’s website in order to apply your points to the cost of your flight. Other cards don’t. These will be most beneficial for those who bargain-hunt and are willing to fly multiple airlines to get the best deal.
Finally, some travel cards will offer a certain reimbursement amount if your trip is delayed.
You’ll often find fees associated with travel rewards cards, more so than most other credit cards. There are a few ways to mitigate that cost. Cards specific to a hotel or airline may offset the annual fee cost with certain perks, like one free night’s stay or free flight every year you keep your account open. These perks pay for the fee and then some. Other cards will waive the fee for the first year.
Want more information?
Below are a variety of frequently asked questions and answers regarding travel rewards and programs. You can also read our detailed reviews of travel credit cards once you have narrowed your choices down to a few cards. The reviews can help you confirm which offer fits your needs. If you’re honing in on a card for a specific airline or hotel, we have reviews for those, too.
Airline miles were originally designed for airline loyalty programs in which you got credit in the way of "miles" for your spending on a card. Today, miles cards sometimes are not attached to a specific airline, such as Discover it Miles, or a card may have partnerships with a variety of airlines, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
A travel credit card can reward you for travel behavior, such as eating at restaurants or staying at hotels. Some are loyalty cards in which you benefit from using specific hotel or airline brands. Others, such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, have an open-ended reward and redemption system that allows you to redeem for all manner of travel expenses.
Frequent flyer credit cards reward you more for airline-related expenses including baggage checks, tickets, and food and drink. The higher end cards might also gain you access to such benefits as brand-specific airport lounges. The more you use the card on airline expenses, the more you benefit with miles that can be redeemed for flights.
Cards vary widely when it comes to using your airline miles. Some cards offer a portal that allows you to redeem for qualified packages, flights, hotels and condos, and more, such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. The Arrival Plus allows you to redeem on any qualifying travel expense through a card portal that tracks how many points you need to redeem an item and how much more time you have to redeem for each item, Others limit how you use the miles to specific brands. For example, the American Express Delta cards' miles can be specifically used for Delta flights and other Delta expenses.
Many travel cards offer a signup bonus in which you spend a certain amount on your card within a certain period of time, usually 3 months or 90 days, in exchange for a one-time bulk of miles or points. Some cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, also give you points for behaviors such as signing up your first authorized user within a certain amount of time. You typically have to be a new cardholder.
Miles redemptions for a flight vary widely, and it depends on the type of ticket you want (ie. First class) and when and where you travel, but for example, on an Oct. 28, 2016, Delta flight from LAX to JFK (main cabin), it would have run you 25,000 miles.
Using a travel card to save money only works if you use your card for purchases you plan to make anyway and if you pay your card bill in full and on time each month. That way, you avoid late fees and interest fees. You also want to make sure that your planned spending will put your miles or points above the annual fee. So, if you have an annual fee of $95, and the redemption is at $0.01 for every mile, you want to make sure you plan to earn at least 9,500 miles or points in a year.
4 things to consider before getting a travel credit card:
9 strategies to maximize travel rewards:
Here are 7 things to look for in a travel rewards credit card:
While a frequent flyer mile is often worth $0.01, it can be more or less, depending on the program. For example, according to our valuation system, the Discover it Miles valuation is $.01 for every mile, while the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is valued at $0.0126. That means if you have accumulated 30,000 miles with your Discover it Miles card, those miles are worth $300. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and you want to redeem them in the Ultimate Rewards portal, you will get the equivalent to $378 when you redeem. [CreditCards.com's valuation system: A reward value is determined by calculating the cost per reward unit (point or mile) for obtaining a good or service.]
When redeeming airline miles, sometimes it's as simple as going into a portal after the purchase and clicking a button. In other cases, such as the American Express Delta cards, you log into your Delta account to purchase your tickets. Before choosing a card, make sure you are clear about the steps and decide if you can live with those steps.
Frequent flyer miles often expire. Some, such as Delta, don't. Others require your account to remain active, although that can be as simple as earning a single mile before the expiration date. Make sure you read the fine print so you aren't scrambling to use your miles.
Usually you can't transfer airline miles to hotel points, but there are exceptions. The question is really: Should you do it? The answer to that is typically no, because the transfer ratios are rarely favorable. It's best to choose your card carefully and make sure you will use it well.
You might be able to transfer miles to another person, but it may not be to your advantage financially because you may be charged a fee for the transfer. Instead, book an award seat for someone else by entering their name instead of yours in the portal. Just keep in mind that in the case of international flights, some airlines require to see the card that was used and even the cardholder at flight time, or the ticket isn't honored.
Typically, you can't transfer miles directly between airline loyalty programs, although you may be able to earn and redeem miles for flights on partner airlines.
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