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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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 offers 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 increased 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.
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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 data 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?
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.
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