24 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

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Travel rewards credit cards fall into several broad categories. First, airline rewards credit cards are designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships. When purchasing airfare, in-flight incidentals, and possibly other travel-related items, cardholders earn points at accelerated rates. Once enough points are racked up, they can be redeemed for free or discounted flights, free or reduced baggage fees, and other goodies. Some airline rewards cards offer additional perks and benefits, such as airport lounge access, discounts with hotel partners, and bonus miles for reaching certain travel milestones.

Hotel credit cards focus their rewards firepower on hotel stays and related expenses. Many major hotel brands and brand families offer at least a handful of credit cards that reward cardholders for room, food, and incidental purchases (such as spa treatments) at properties they own. Many hotel rewards credit cards also accumulate points for everyday outlays, such as regular restaurant meals, gasoline, and supermarket purchases. Cardholders can redeem their points for free or discounted nights and other hotel expenses.

Lately, growing numbers of cash back credit cards have jumped into the travel rewards game. General-purpose cards often offer accelerated cash back earnings on gasoline, airfare, and restaurant purchases – all critical, and sometimes costly, expenses for frequent travelers. Cash back rewards can be redeemed for merchandise and gift cards purchased online, airfare and hotel stays purchased directly through providers, and actual cash or statement credits.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you likely stand to benefit from all of these card types. And if you own your own business, you can count on many consumer travel credit cards having small business credit card counterparts – often with additional features and benefits for small business owners. Whether you’re an individual or business customer, many come with attractive promotions and sign-up bonuses that can be hard for deal-seeking applicants to resist.

Here’s a look at today’s best travel rewards credit cards:

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (No Annual Fee)

1. Discover it® Miles

Unlimited 1.5 Miles per $1 Spent on All Purchases; Double Miles in Your First Year as a Cardmember

discover-it-milesIt’s hard to get simpler than Discover it Miles. For every dollar you spend, you earn 1.5 miles, with no limits, purchase categories, or other restrictions.

Miles are eligible for redemption in any amount as statement credits for travel purchases charged to your Discover it Miles card. Travel purchases include airfare bought directly from the airline (or from an online platform, such as Kayak), hotel stays (again, direct or through an online platform), travel agent commissions, rental car purchases, train fare, and commuter transportation, including short-haul rail and bus tickets.

Discover it Miles comes with a nifty first-year bonus: All miles earned in the first 12 months are automatically doubled, with no limits or restrictions. Notably, this card has no foreign transaction fees.

  • Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus, although Discover’s double first-year miles deal is nice.
  • Key Fees. There’s no foreign transaction fee or annual fee. Balance transfers run 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, while late and returned payments cost $35.
  • Introductory APR. There is a 0% purchase APR and 10.99% balance transfer APR for 12 months.
  • APR. After the intro period, the regular purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 11.24% to 23.24%, depending on prevailing rates and your creditworthiness. There’s no penalty APR, but the cash advance APR is 25.24%.
  • Other Perks. You’re entitled to free WiFi on any flight, payable as a statement credit. You also get a free FICO score every month with your statement.

See our Discover it Miles Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


2. Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

1.25 Miles for Every $1 Spent; Redeem for Virtually Any Travel Purchase (Including Flights) or Cash Back Equivalents

capital one ventureone rewards credit cardCapital One VentureOne Rewards is a somewhat less potent version of Capital One Venture Rewards, but with significant perks: It’s a bit easier to qualify for, there’s no annual fee, and you get a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. Rewards-wise, you earn an unlimited 1.25 miles for every $1 spent on everything, every day. Miles are always worth $0.01 upon redemption.

As with the Venture Rewards Card, VentureOne lets you redeem points for statement credits on just about any travel purchase, as well as cash equivalents such as statement credits and paper checks. Redemptions start at $25.

One big perk of the VentureOne Rewards card is a nice sign-up bonus that actually outdoes the Venture Rewards Card’s, pound for pound: When you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months, you get 20,000 bonus miles.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus miles, worth $200, when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Key Fees. Fees are minimal: no annual, foreign transaction, or balance transfer assessments. Late payments cost $35, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. Enjoy a 0% purchase APR for 12 months.
  • APR. After the intro, the purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 12.24% to 22.24%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 23.24%, and there’s no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. You get a free monthly FICO score and useful financial simulation, credit-building, and planning tools from Capital One Credit Tracker.

See our Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


3. BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

1.5 Points per $1 Spent on Every Purchase; Nice Sign-up Bonus

bankamericard travel rewards credit cardBankAmericard Travel Rewards is another simple, straight-shooting travel rewards card. This one also earns you an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything, every day. However, there is a redemption minimum: $25, regardless of how you redeem. Redemptions come as statement credits for virtually any travel-related purchase, including gas station purchases, baggage fees, car rentals, and airfare, as well as gift cards and general merchandise. Points are worth $0.01 apiece upon redemption.

If you’re a fan of sign-up bonuses, you’re going to love the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card: When you spend at least $1,000 in 90 days, you get 20,000 bonus points. Watch out for a rather high APR, but enjoy the lack of foreign transaction fees. Also, when you open a Bank of America deposit account, you automatically get a 10% annual points boost: If you earn 10,000 in a 12-billing-cycle period, you end that period with 11,000.

  • Sign-up Bonus. You get 20,000 bonus points, worth up to $200 when redeemed for travel purchases, for spending at least $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account.
  • Key Fees. There are no foreign transaction fees or annual fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 3%, while cash advances run the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost $37 and $27, respectively.
  • Introductory APR. There is a 0% APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles.
  • APR. After the introductory APR period ends, the APR for purchases and balance transfers is 15.24% to 23.24%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The penalty APR is always 29.99%, and the cash advance APR ranges from 18.24% to 25.24%, depending on prevailing rates and creditworthiness.
  • Other Perks. Bank of America Preferred customers earn anywhere from 25% to 75% extra points per year, but minimum balance requirements of $25,000 to as much as $100,000 apply. If you can’t swing those minimums, open a Bank of America deposit account to earn an annual 10% point bonus.

See our BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card Review for more information.


4. Expedia®+ Card from Citi

Unlimited 3 Expedia+ Bonus Points per $1 Spent on Travel Purchases Through Expedia; 1 Point per $1 Spent on Everything Else

citi expedia credit cardExpedia+ Card from Citi is a truly all-purpose travel rewards card. All travel-related purchases made through Expedia earn you an unlimited 3 Expedia+ points per $1 spent. Eligible travel purchases include hotels, airfare, vacation packages, car rentals, and more.

Redeem your accumulated points for airline tickets, hotel vouchers, and vacation packages purchased through Expedia. Depending on how you redeem, your redemption minimums are likely to vary – hotel redemptions start at 3,500 points, and flights are somewhat higher. Points are generally worth $0.01 apiece.

The Expedia+ Card has an above-average sign-up bonus: If you make at least $1,000 in total purchases within 3 months, you get 15,000 bonus Expedia+ points. Also, you automatically earn Expedia Silver Status, which confers a 10% points earning bonus, for as long as your account is open and in good standing.

  • Sign-up Bonus. You earn 15,000 Expedia+ rewards bonus points (worth up to $150) when you make $1,000 in total purchases within 3 months.
  • Key Fees. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount, but there’s no annual fee. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost $35.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Depending on your credit history and prevailing interest rates, the purchase and balance transfer APR is 15.24% to 23.24%. The cash advance APR is always 25.49%, while the penalty APR is always 29.99%.
  • Other Perks. Expedia Silver Status bumps your total points earnings by a 10% point bonus at no additional charge. You also get access to VIP amenities – such as spa credits and free parking – at 1,100 participating hotels worldwide.

See our Expedia+ Card Review for more information.


5. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

6 Hilton HHonors Points per $1 Spent at Hotels; 3 Points per $1 Spent at Supermarkets, Drugstores & Gas Stations

citi hilton hhonors visa signature cardThe Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card earns 6 Hilton HHonors bonus points per $1 spent on Hilton portfolio hotel stays; 3 points per $1 spent at gas stations, drugstores, and supermarkets; and 2 points per $1 spent on everything else.

As with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, you can redeem points for hotel stays and incidental expenses at variable rates and minimums starting at a minimum of 5,000 points. Point values vary by property, but are generally worth less than $0.01. For instance, a $150-per-night room in New York City ranges from 30,000 to 60,000 points. As long as you remain in good standing, you enjoy Hilton HHonors Silver Status, which entitles you to a free night on stays of 5 days or longer and automatically boosts your total point earnings by 15%.

This card comes with an attainable sign-up bonus of 75,000 points when you charge at least $2,000 in 3 months. However, the 3% foreign transaction fee is a big drawback for overseas travelers.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you make at least $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening, you earn 75,000 bonus points, worth up to $750.
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee, but foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, and balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost $35 each.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 15.49% to 19.49%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.99%.
  • Other Perks. You can upgrade to Gold Status, which comes with a points boost of 25%, when you stay 4 times within 90 days of account opening or spend $20,000 in your first year. The card also comes with Citi’s Private Pass benefits, including VIP treatment and special access at popular events.

See our Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card Review for more information.


Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (With Annual Fee)

6. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

2 Miles for Every $1 Spent; Redeem for Virtually Any Travel Purchases (Including Flights) or Cash Back Equivalents

capital one venture rewards credit cardCapital One Venture Rewards earns you 2 miles for every $1 you spend, no matter how much you spend or where you shop. Miles are worth $0.01 at all times.

Like Discover it Miles and BankAmericard Travel Rewards, the Venture Rewards card allows you to redeem points for statement credits on a wide range of travel purchases, including flights, rental cars, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, and incidental expenses. You can also redeem for general statement credits or paper checks, though redeeming for travel rewards can boost the value of your points beyond the standard $0.01. Redemption minimums start at $25.

This card has a competitive sign-up bonus. When you spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days of card membership, you earn 40,000 bonus miles. Just be aware that there is a $59 annual fee.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 40,000 bonus miles, worth $400, when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $59 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. There’s no balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee. Late payments cost $35, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates, the purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 13.24% to 23.24%. There’s no penalty APR, and the cash advance APR is 23.24%.
  • Other Perks. Capital One offers free and unlimited FICO score access, as well as a host of useful credit-building tools through Capital One Credit Tracker.

See our Capital One Venture Rewards Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


7. Chase Sapphire Preferred

2 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Travel; One-to-One Transfer to Participating Frequent Flyer & Hotel Guest Programs

credit-card-lockChase Sapphire Preferred earns an unlimited 2 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and travel, plus 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Plus, you’re allowed to transfer points at a one-to-one ratio to such participating frequent traveler programs as Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and IHG Club Rewards – 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points become 1,000 Rapid Rewards points, and so forth. In other words, this is truly an all-purpose travel rewards card.

Ultimate Rewards points are worth up to $0.0125 apiece when redeemed for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal. They’re worth $0.01 when redeemed for non-travel purchases and cash equivalents, such as gift cards, statement credits, direct deposits, checks, and physical merchandise. The redemption minimum is always 2,000 points.

Look out for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s awesome solid sign-up bonus: When you spend at least $4,000 in 3 months, you get 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. However, there’s a $95 annual fee, which is waived for one year.

  • Sign-up Bonus. You get 50,000 bonus points, which can be worth as much as $625 when used to purchase airfare and hotels through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months. You also get 5,000 bonus points simply for making one purchase and adding an authorized user in the same 3-month period.
  • Key Fees. The annual fee is $95, waived for the first year. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Late payments range from $15 to $35, depending on balance size, while returned payments are always $35. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of 5% or $10.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The cash advance APR is 25.24%, the purchase and balance transfer APR is 16.24 to 23.24%, and there’s no penalty APR. All APRs vary with prevailing rates.
  • Other Perks. You get VIP treatment and exclusive deals for select entertainment and sporting events, including the PGA Championship.

See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review for more information.


8. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

5 Starpoints per $1 Spent at Starwood Properties (Including Sheraton, Westin, and W); 20% Airline Points Transfer Bonus

american express starwood preferred guest credit cardFor every $1 spend at participating Starwood hotel properties, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express earns you 5 Starpoints. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. Note the $99 annual fee.

Starpoints can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood hotels at variable per-point values – up to $0.025, in some cases. You’re also allowed to transfer Starpoints to any of 30 participating frequent flyer programs (150 airlines in all). When you transfer 20,000 or more points, you get a 5,000 Starpoint bonus. Redemption minimums vary based on the hotel class you book, but start at 2,000 points for the lowest class.

Another big perk of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card is a solid sign-up bonus: 25,000 bonus Starpoints for at least $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. Free global WiFi access and lack of foreign transaction fees are nice perks as well.

If you’re a business owner, check out this card’s business credit card version: the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card. It’s very similar to this one, although the business card has a higher sign-up bonus spending threshold ($5,000 versus $3,000).

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints (worth up to $625) for spending at least $3,000 ($5,000 for the business card) within the first 3 months.
  • Key Fees. The annual fee is $95, waived during the first year, but there are no foreign transaction fees. Late and returned payments cost $37, while balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no introductory APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is 15.49% to 19.49%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.49%.
  • Other Perks. This card comes with a host of fringe benefits, including Return Protection (which pays up to $300 per item and $1,200 per calendar year for rejected merchandise returns) and free WiFi at thousands of hotels and Boingo hotspots.

See our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


9. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

2 Miles per $1 Spent on All Purchases

barclaycard-arrival-plusBarclaycard Arrival Plus is another great airline rewards card that also happens to be useful for everyday purchases. Every dollar spent earns you 2 miles, with no spending caps or restrictions. Miles are always worth $0.01 at redemption. Note that there’s a $100 redemption minimum – substantially higher than the minimum of some competing cards.

You can redeem your miles via statement credit for just about any travel purchase, including airfare, car rentals, hotels, and more. You always get a 5% rebate when you redeem, so a 10,000 mile redemption results in a 500 point deposit back into your account. There’s a solid sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in 90 days, but watch out for the $89 annual fee.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of card membership, you get 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500).
  • Key Fees. The $89 annual fee is waived during the first year, and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Late and returned payments cost $37, while balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
  • Introductory APR. There is a 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months, as long as the transfer is made within 45 days of account opening.
  • APR. Depending on your credit quality and prevailing interest rates, the regular purchase APR is 16.24% to 23.24%. Balance transfers are 16.24% to 23.24% after the introductory period. The cash advance APR is 25.49%, and you never pay penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. Barclaycard comes with a host of concierge services, including exclusive events and 24/7 travel booking.

See our Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card Review for more information.


10. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

2 SkyMiles per $1 Spent on Delta Airfare; 1 SkyMile per $1 Spent on Everything Else

american express gold delta skymiles credit cardThe Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is an airline rewards card that earns you an unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta airfare and in-flight purchases. All other purchases earn 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. SkyMiles are worth as much as $0.0075 apiece, though redemption value varies by method. Redemption minimums start at 10,000 SkyMiles.

Although this card has a $95 annual fee, the sign-up bonus helps – 30,000 SkyMiles (roughly $225 value) when you spend $1,000 in 90 days. Low balance transfer fees and no foreign transaction fees help as well. And if you own a business, check out the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, which is virtually identical.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 30,000 Delta SkyMiles, worth about $225, when you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Separately, get a $50 statement credit when you purchase a Delta flight with your card within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $95 annual fee, waived for the first year, but no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments both cost $37.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The regular purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 15.49% to 19.49%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.49%.
  • Other Perks. Cardholders always get priority boarding and first checked bag free. You also get a 20% discount (via statement credit) on all in-flight food, beverages, and entertainment purchases with Delta.

See our American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


11. United MileagePlus Explorer

2 United Airlines Miles per $1 Spent on United Airfare; 1 Mile per $1 Spent on Everything Else 

credit-card-lockThe United MileagePlus Explorer Card is a straightforward airline rewards card that earns 1 United Airlines mile per $1 spent on all purchases, every day, and 2 miles per $1 spent on United airfare. Neither category comes with spending restrictions or caps, though there is a $95 annual fee to watch for. When redeemed for United Airlines airfare purchases, points are worth up to $0.02 apiece, with shorter flights generally boasting higher point values. Redemption minimums vary based on flight distance and cost – short-haul domestic flight redemptions start at 10,000.

If you like attainable sign-up bonuses, you’ll like United MileagePlus Explorer: When you spend at least $1,000 in 3 months, you earn 30,000 bonus miles.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 30,000 bonus United Airlines miles (worth up to $600) when you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $95 annual fee, waived for the first year, and no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, while cash advances are the greater of $10 or 5%. Late payments cost $15 to $37, depending on balance size, and returned payments cost $37.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The cash advance APR is 24.99%, the purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 15.99%, and there’s no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. When you purchase flights with your United MileagePlus Explorer Card, you and a companion get a free checked bag. You always get priority boarding as well.

See our United MileagePlus Explorer Card Review for more information.


12. British Airways Visa Signature

3 Avios Points per $1 Spent on British Airways and Partner Airfare

credit-card-lockThe British Airways Visa Signature Card isn’t just for overseas travel. Every $1 spent on British Airways and select partner airfare and incidentals earns you 3 points – British Airways partners include Iberia and the OpenSkies alliance. You also earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Redeem your points for airfare purchases with British Airways and its partner airlines (including American Airlines) at a point value of up to $0.015 apiece. Shorter routes, particularly within North America, tend to be worth more. Redemption minimums vary based on route length, but generally start around 4,000 Avios. Be aware that there is a $95 annual fee.

If you can manage $30,000 in annual spending in any year, British Airways doubles your redeemed rewards on one flight, allowing a companion to come along.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. The annual fee is $95. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late payments range from $15 to $37, depending on balance. Returned payments are $37 each.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 16.24% to 23.24%, depending on prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 25.24%, and there is no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. If you spend at least $30,000 in any calendar year, you get a Travel Together ticket good for 2 years. The ticket entitles you to redeem accumulated Avios rewards for any flight at regular redemption rates, and then bring a companion along with no extra charge (in dollars or Avios).

See our British Airways Visa Signature Card Review for more information.


13. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

5 Points per $1 Spent at Ritz-Carlton & Marriott Properties; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Airfare, Car Rentals & Restaurants 

credit-card-lockRitz-Carlton Rewards earns you an unlimited 5 points per $1 spent at Ritz-Carlton and Marriott properties; an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on airfare, car rentals, and restaurant purchases; and an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. At the end of each year, your annual points earnings always get a 10% boost, no matter how much, or how little, you spend. Watch out for the hefty annual fee of $395.

Redeem points for free nights at most Ritz-Carlton and Marriott properties (excluding Ritz-Carlton EDITION properties), as well as airline miles with such partners as Lufthansa, vacation packages that include Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotel stays, and various merchants’ gift cards. Redemption minimums start at 30,000 points for hotel redemptions and rise from there. Points are generally worth less than $0.01 apiece.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card’s sign-up bonus is very nice: 2 free double-occupancy room nights at select Ritz-Carlton hotels when you spend at least $4,000 in 90 days. Other perks, which go a long way toward offsetting the cost of the annual fee, include a $100 annual hotel credit and a $300-per-year airline travel credit, good for incidental expenses and airport lounge memberships.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 2 free nights at participating Ritz-Carlton Hotels when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening. This bonus is potentially worth up to $1,000, depending on the property you select.
  • Key Fees. The annual fee is $395. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late payments range from $15 to $37, depending on balance, and returned payments are $37 each.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 16.23% to 23.24%. Cash advances come with a 25.24% APR, and there’s no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. The $300 annual travel credit can be used to pay for airplane seat upgrades, airport lounge access at one selected airport lounge, and baggage fees on any airline. The $100 hotel credit can be used for dining, recreation, and spa services, with any 2-night paid stay at participating Ritz-Carlton (not EDITION) properties. Also, when you stay at the Ritz-Carlton for up to 7 nights in a row, you’re entitled to an upgrade to Ritz-Carlton Club Level. A maximum of 3 upgrades are allowed per year.

See our Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card Review for more information.


14. Marriott Rewards Premier Card

5 Marriott Rewards Points for Every $1 Spent at Marriott & Ritz-Carlton Hotels; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Airline & Rental Car Purchases

credit-card-lockThe Marriott Rewards Premier Card is similar to the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card, though its $85 annual fee is much lower. Every $1 spent at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels worldwide earns you an unlimited 5 Marriott Rewards points, and you earn an unlimited 2 points per $1 for purchases made directly with airlines and rental car agencies – though not through online portals like Kayak and Expedia. Restaurant purchases also earn an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.

Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed starting at 7,500 points. Their value varies depending on the property type they’re redeemed at – for instance, a Residence Inn in Birmingham, Alabama (regular room rates $40 to $100 per night), offers rooms for 7,500 points per night, while a similarly priced Fairfield Inn & Suites in Auburn, Alabama, requires 25,000 points per room-night.

Marriott Rewards Premier also has a very generous sign-up bonus: When you spend just $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, you get 80,000 Marriott Rewards points.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 80,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points, potentially worth more than $800, when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of account opening. Additionally, earn 7,500 Marriott Rewards points when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase.
  • Key Fees. The annual fee is $85, waived for the first year, and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late payments range from $15 to $37, depending on balance. Returned payments are $37 each.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is 16.24% to 23.24 (variable), and the cash advance APR is 25.24%. There’s no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. On your account anniversary, you get a credit equal to 1 free night’s stay at select Marriott hotels (Category 1-5).

See our Marriott Rewards Premier Card Review for more information.


15. IHG Rewards Club Select Card

5 IHG Rewards Points per $1 Spent at Intercontinental Hotels; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Gas, Groceries & Restaurants 

credit-card-lockThe IHG Rewards Club Select Card earns you 5 IHG Rewards points per $1 spent at Intercontinental Hotel Group hotels, including Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. Purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations earn 2 points to the dollar, while purchases everywhere else earn 1 point per $1 spent. There aren’t any spending caps or restrictions. However, the card does come with a $49 annual fee.

You can redeem points for hotel nights at select Intercontinental properties, including most Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses, plus gift cards and online merchandise purchases. Redemption minimums vary by redemption method and date, but start at 10,000 points for hotel nights. When redeemed, points are generally worth about $0.005 each, though that amount varies by brand. You get a 10% rebate when you redeem points, with no maximums. Rebated points drop back into your account. If you redeem 50,000 points, you see a 5,000 bonus in your account afterwards.

Another perk of the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card: 70,000 bonus points when you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of opening your account.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 70,000 IHG Rewards points, good for up to $350 in stays at select InterContinental Hotels (including Holiday Inn), when you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $49 annual fee, waived in the first year, and no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late payments cost $15 to $37, depending on balance size. Returned payments are always $37.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The regular purchase and balance transfer APR is 16.24%, variable with prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 24.99%, and there’s no penalty APR.
  • Other Perks. In addition to the 10% redemption rebate, you get 1 free night per year at select IHG hotels for as long as you remain in good standing. You also qualify for Platinum Elite status upon request.

See our IHG Rewards Club Select Card Review for more information.


16. U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card

2 Points per $1 Spent on Cell Phone Purchases; 1 Point per $1 Spent on Everything Else 

us bank flexperks travel rewards cardU.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards earns you 2 points per $1 spent on cell phone purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Plus, each billing cycle, you automatically earn double points in one of 3 common spending categories – airline purchases, gas, or groceries, whichever you spend the most in during that cycle. Mind the $49 annual fee.

Redemptions start at 5,000 points, and points are worth about $0.02 each. You can redeem for airfare on more than 150 airlines, plus gift cards, statement credits, and merchandise purchased through the FlexPerks portal.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus FlexPoints, good for up to $400 in flights and other travel purchases, when you spend $2,000 within 4 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $49 annual fee, waived for the first year, and no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Late and returned payments cost $38 and $35, respectively.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Depending on creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates, the regular purchase and balance transfer APR is 14.24% to 24.24%. There’s no penalty APR, but the cash advance APR is 24.24%.
  • Other Perks. Every time you redeem FlexPoints for travel, you get a $25 airline credit good for in-flight purchases, baggage fees, and other incidental expenses.

Find out how you can apply for this card here.


17. Citi Prestige® Card

3 ThankYou Points per $1 Spent on Airfare & Hotels; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Entertainment; 1 Point per $1 Spent on Everything Else

citi prestige credit cardCiti Prestige is a generous, but pricey, travel rewards card that earns you an unlimited 3 ThankYou points per $1 spent on all airfare and hotel purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. You can redeem points for a host of purchases and credits at Citi’s ThankYou shopping portal: airfare, hotels, gift cards, clothing, electronics, and online bill-pay credits. Redemption minimums and point values vary based on how you redeem. The best redemption value is usually airfare, with point value ranging up to $0.0125.

The Citi Prestige Card has a solid sign-up bonus: 40,000 ThankYou Points when you spend at least $4,000 in 3 months. The biggest drawback is the hefty annual fee of $450, but the lavish perks more than make up for it for big spenders or frequent travelers.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $450 annual fee ($50 extra for each additional authorized user), but no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost $35.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is 15.49%. Cash advances cost 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.99%.
  • Other Perks. Cardmembers are entitled to complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, hundreds of other VIP airport lounges worldwide through Citi’s Priority Pass Select program, and a complimentary 4th night free at any hotel, worldwide. Also, enjoy a $250 air travel credit each year, good for American Airlines airfare and incidentals.

See our Citi Prestige Card Review for more information.


18. Expedia®+ Voyager Card from Citi

4 Expedia+ Bonus Points per $1 Spent on ExpediaTravel Purchases; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Entertainment; 1 Point per $1 Spent on Everything Else

citi expedia voyager credit cardExpedia+ Voyager is the bigger sibling of the Expedia+. You earn an unlimited 4 Expedia+ points per $1 spent on travel purchases made through Expedia’s portal, 2 points per $1 spent on entertainment and dining purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Redemption procedures and values are the same as the Expedia+ Card from Citi.

You do pay a price for your accelerated earnings though: a $95 annual fee. However, you automatically qualify for Expedia Gold Status, boosting your point earnings by 30% on all purchases.

  • Sign-up Bonus. If you spend $2,000 within 3 months, you get 25,000 Expedia+ rewards bonus points.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $95 annual fee and 3% foreign transaction fee. Late and returned payments run $35, while cash advances and balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Depending on your credit profile and prevailing interest rates, the purchase and balance transfer APR is 14.24% to 22.24%. The cash advance and penalty APRs are always 25.49% and 29.99%, respectively.
  • Other Perks. Card membership automatically entitles you to complementary Expedia Gold Status. Gold Status boosts your point earning power by 30% – plus it offers access to room upgrades and VIP amenities at more than 1,700 hotels worldwide. You also earn $100 total toward incidental purchases on any of 10 participating airlines each year.

See our Expedia+ Voyager Card Review for more information.


19. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

2 AAdvantage Miles per $1 Spent on American Airlines Airfare

citibusiness aadvantage platinum select mastercardIf you desire to carry the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Card, but don’t qualify because you don’t own your own business, apply for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard instead. For every $1 you spend on American Airlines purchases, this card earns an unlimited 2 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. All other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent.

As with CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select, you can redeem for virtually any purchase with American Airlines. Minimum redemption amounts and point values vary based on purchase type, but generally fall on either side of $0.01 (for instance, short-haul domestic one-ways require 7,500 to 12,500 points for non-preferred coach seats – usually about a $100 value). You always get an automatic 10% miles rebate. For example, 10,000 redeemed miles translate to a 1,000-mile deposit back into your account.

Take advantage of this card’s sign-up bonus by spending at least $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account. If you do, you earn 30,000 bonus miles. Just be aware of the $95 annual fee.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend $1,000 within 3 months of account opening, you get 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles (generally worth around $300) in return.
  • Key Fees. The $95 annual fee is waived during the first year. There’s no foreign transaction fee, but late fees range from $15 to $39, depending on balance size. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost $5 or 3%, whichever is more.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Cash advance APR is 25.49%, penalty APR is 29.99%, and purchase and balance transfer APR is 14.24% to 22.24%, depending on prevailing rates and your creditworthiness.
  • Other Perks. You always get a free checked bag for yourself and up to 4 companions, as well as Group 1 priority boarding on all American Airlines flights. Any in-flight purchase with American earns a 25% discount.

See our Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Card Review for more information.


20. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

3 Miles per $1 Spent on Alaska Airlines Airfare & Other Purchases

alaska airlines visa signature credit cardIf you regularly fly with Alaska Airlines or one of its partners, it’s hard to beat the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card. Every dollar you spend on Alaska Airlines airfare and vacation packages earns you 3 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles, with no caps or restrictions. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 mile per $1 spent.

When you’re ready to redeem, your miles are good for Alaska Airlines airfare, seat upgrades, and other incidental purchases. You can also redeem for airfare and incidentals with any of the airline’s 12 global partners, such as LAN and Cathay Pacific. Point values generally range on either side of $0.01. Redemption minimums vary based on how you redeem, but start at 10,000 points for domestic flights.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card’s sign-up bonus is nice: 30,000 miles when you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 3 months. Although this card has a $75 annual fee, it comes with a $50 credit toward a new Alaska Airlines Board Room airport lounge membership.

  • Sign-up Bonus. 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months, worth about $300.
  • Key Fees. There’s a $75 annual fee and 3% foreign transaction fee – which is unusual for an airline rewards card. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%, while late fees run $37 and returned payments cost $27.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. Depending on prevailing rates, the purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 12.49% to 19.49%, the cash advance APR is 15.49% to 22.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.99%.
  • Other Perks. You get your first checked bag free for yourself and up to 6 companions. Plus, companion airfare costs a maximum of $121, regardless of the actual ticket price.

See our Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Review for more information.


21. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

10 Hilton HHonors Points per $1 Spent at Hilton Hotels; 5 Points per $1 Spent on Airfare & Car Rentals

citi hilton hhonors reserve cardFor every $1 spent on Hilton portfolio hotel stays, the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card earns 10 Hilton HHonors bonus points. Every $1 spent on airfare and car rentals earns 5 HHonors points. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent, with no caps or minimums. This card comes with a $95 annual fee.

As long as your account is in good standing, you automatically earn Hilton HHonors Gold Status, which entitles you to a free night on stays of 5 days or longer. Gold Status also entitles you to a point earnings boost of 25%, with no restrictions. Redeem your points for hotel nights and incidental purchases, such as spa treatments and dining, with variable redemption minimums (starting at 5,000 points) and point values (generally less than $0.01 apiece). Spend at least $2,500 within 4 months of account opening to earn 2 free weekend nights at select Hilton portfolio hotels.

  • Signup Bonus. Earn 2 free weekend nights (standard room, double occupancy) at more than 4,000 Hilton portfolio hotels worldwide when you spend at least $2,500 within 4 months of account opening. Depending on the property you select, this bonus is potentially worth $500 or more.
  • Key Fees. There’s no foreign transaction fee, but the $95 annual fee isn’t waived during the first year. Late and returned payments cost $35 each. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 15.49%, the cash advance APR is 25.49%, and the penalty APR is 29.99%, all depending on prevailing rates.
  • Other Perks. When you spend $10,000 in a given year, you get an additional free weekend room night on your cardmember anniversary. Card membership also comes with 24/7 travel and event booking too. Extra perks include Citi’s Private Pass program, which gives you special access, VIP treatment, and other benefits at sporting events and concerts.

See our Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card Review for more information.


Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (Business Cards)

22. Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

1.5 Miles per $1 Spent on All Purchases; Few Restrictions on Redemption

capital one spark miles select credit cardCapital One Spark Miles Select for Business is a business credit card that earns you an unlimited 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, all the time. You can redeem accumulated miles in any amount for statement credits on virtually any travel purchase, including purchases with any airline and any hotel, at a standard point value of $0.01 apiece. Redemption minimums start at $25.

The Capital One Spark Miles Select Business Card has a lot of other perks too, including a sign-up bonus worth up to $200 in travel purchases, no annual fees or foreign transaction fees, and an unlimited number of employee cards (all of which accrue unlimited miles) at no charge.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you earn 20,000 bonus miles (worth $200).
  • Key Fees. There’s no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or balance transfer fee (aside from the variable APR). Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There is a 0% intro purchase APR for 9 months.
  • APR. The balance transfer APR is 13.24% to 21.24% from the get-go, depending on your credit profile and prevailing rates. After the intro period, the purchase APR is identical. The penalty APR is 29.65% and the cash advance APR is 23.24%.
  • Other Perks. Capital One’s emergency assistance services offer up to $100,000 in reimbursements for trips and reservations cancelled due to unforeseen events, such as accidents and illnesses.

See our Capital One Spark Miles Select Business Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


23. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

2 Miles per $1 Spent on All Purchases; Redeem for Virtually Any Travel Purchase

capital one spark miles business credit cardCapital One Spark Miles for Business is very similar to Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business, although it does have a $59 annual fee (unlike its cousin). You always earn 2 miles per $1 spent, regardless of how much you spend or what you buy. All redemption-related considerations, including the $0.01-per-mile value, are identical to the Spark Miles Select card. All in all, this is a great card for frequent travelers.

The sign-up bonus is nice, if a bit hard to attain: 50,000 bonus miles, good for $500 in travel purchases, with at least $4,500 spent in 3 months. And remember that, as a business credit card, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business isn’t open to consumers.

  • Sign-up Bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) when you spend at least $4,500 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Key Fees. The $59 annual fee is waived for the first year. There’s no balance transfer fee (aside from the APR) or foreign transaction fee, but cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no intro APR.
  • APR. The purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 17.24%, the cash advance APR is 23.24%, and the penalty APR is 29.65%, depending on prevailing rates.
  • Other Perks. Add additional employee cards at no extra charge. When you need to cancel trips due to factors beyond your control, you’re covered up to $100,000.

See our Capital One Spark Miles Business Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


24. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

2 AAdvantage Miles per $1 Spent on American Airlines Airfare & Certain Select Categories

citibusiness aadvantage platinum select mastercardNeed a business card that rewards you for travel as well as everyday purchases? When you spend $1 with CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select on American Airlines, telecommunications, gas station, and car rental purchases, you earn an unlimited 2 miles. You earn 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases, with no restrictions or caps.

You can redeem your reward for American Airlines airfare and incidentals purchases. Minimum redemption amounts and point values vary based on purchase type. Airfare redemptions start at 7,500 points, and incidentals start at 500 points. Point values fall on either side of $0.01. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but there’s no foreign transaction fee – a nice perk for global travelers.

If you don’t own your own business, you probably won’t qualify for this card. Instead, apply for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, which has very similar features and benefits.

  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles (worth about $300).
  • Key Fees. There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived during the first year, and there’s never a foreign transaction fee. Late fees range from $15 to $39, depending on the size of the overdue balance. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%.
  • Introductory APR. There’s no into APR.
  • APR. The regular purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 15.49%. The penalty APR and cash advance APR are 29.99% and 21.99%, respectively, both variable with prevailing interest rates.
  • Other Perks. You always get 25% off in-flight purchases and priority (Group 1) boarding on American Airlines flights. Plus, the first checked bag is always free for you and up to 4 fellow travelers.

See our CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Card Review for more information.


Final Word

Most credit cards come with booklet-sized cardmember agreements, but travel rewards programs are particularly complicated. Before you complete your card application, take time to read the fine print. Pay particular attention to restrictions on how your card accumulates travel rewards, as well as when, where, and how you’re allowed to redeem them.

As a general rule, cards that offset travel purchases with statement credits are somewhat less complicated than cards that require you to redeem points or miles directly with merchants like hotels or airlines. However, the only way to find out for sure is to buckle down and pore over their terms and conditions statements.

What’s your preferred travel rewards credit card?

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