Would you travel for free if you could? Your answer is most likely a resounding yes. But how is this possible? Travel miles, which are also known as frequent flyer miles or Airline miles, usually come from a loyalty program connected to an airline or a credit card. These points are, unfortunately, not just given to you. You can earn travel miles by making use of your credit card or by using airlines regularly. Once you have accumulated enough miles, you can use them to purchase tickets. Travel miles are a great way to save on flying, and with enough, you can travel to your dream destination for free.
The mentioned miles are more like points than actual miles. Fifty thousand travel miles won’t secure you free-flying for 50,000 literal miles. However, it isn’t just the free-flying that makes a travel credit card great. You want a card that gives you flexibility on how you spend your miles. Luckily, all the information you need to pick the best travel credit card is detailed below.
How Do I Get Travel Miles?
As mentioned above, there are two main ways to earn travel miles. Using a credit card is one of the ways to get points. You can gain travel miles by accumulating loyalty points on your credit card. When you use your card, you receive a set number of points for every dollar spent, though the actual number of points can differ per card issuer. Once you have a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for travel miles. Some airlines and hotel chains offer their own branded credit cards.
Branded cards can make earning points much easier if you are a regular user of that particular company. However, to offset the ease of earning points, the spending of those points may also be brand restricted. Credit cards that offer points for traveling require a higher credit score than a standard card would. There are also higher rates and fees to consider. If you struggle to pay off credit card debt at the best of times, then a travel rewards credit card might not be for you.
The other primary way of gaining points is by regularly flying. Airlines offer frequent flyer programs. The points earned this way are not universal and will only be usable with the specific airline. Nothing is stopping you from opening multiple accounts, though.
Using Travel Miles
Once you have got your hands on enough travel miles, you may be wondering what to do with them. Despite the name, you can do more with your miles than save on the cost of flights. A general travel credit card will give you more options for spending your miles. A branded card, on the other hand, will provide a better value for travel discounts and upgrades. Some great ways to spend your miles include:
There are other ways to spend your miles, but using them to save on your flight is the most obvious choice. When using your miles for flights, it is best to save them up for a significant expense instead of short trips. With or without miles, you want to book early to receive the best price. In the context of travel miles, you may be able to cover a whole round-trip flight if the price is good enough. Below, we discuss the different types of credit cards that offer miles or points. If you use a general credit card, you should also check that the airline you are considering using is compatible with your card. The card’s points program may offer direct discounts or allow you to transfer your points directly to the airline’s loyalty program.
You can get some of the best value for money by using your miles to claim a seat upgrade. Seat upgrades can be a great way to see how the other half live. The first class can offer free refreshments and luxury. Even business class is better than the flying economy, and if you aren’t paying extra, then why not go for it? Some of the cards listed below offer access to private lounges before your flight just for using the card. You may not mind a few hours of flying with cheap seats if you have just waited in luxury, and putting both together can lead to a relaxing trip you won’t forget. Upgrades are nice and an excellent way to use your miles, but free-flying is better if you can take the time to save up enough points.
Gift Your Miles
Not everyone can travel enough to earn travel miles, and sometimes it is nice to give back to the people you know. What can be a better gift than sending someone away on vacation? And it hasn’t cost you a thing. You can gift your parents a flight to a romantic destination. You could even take someone as a second passenger on one of your trips. Airlines will, on occasion, add value to your miles if you use them as a gift so you can get more miles per point.
Donate Your Miles
If you won’t use your miles and don’t want to gift them to someone you know, then you can consider a charitable donation. Some charities, such as the Make A Wish foundation, will accept your miles through their website directly while others can receive donations from the airline. Your philanthropy will go a long way to help someone who needs a trip.
Book a Hotel or Rent a Car
If you don’t want to use your miles for flying but still wish to save money on your trip, then your hotel reservation may be the place to save some cash. A hotel-branded card will let you use your points to earn free stays at their hotels. A more general credit card, on the other hand, can offer discounts on holiday packages. You will also be able to find offers on car rentals. Use your points to make getting around your destination more convenient. Some cards even provide car rental cover as part of their included rewards.
Gift Cards, Cash Back, and Merchandise
If you insist on not using your miles or points for travel purposes, then you can turn them in for cash back or gift cards. Doing this is not efficient in terms of cost as such purchases can come with a lower point to cash amount value. If you would prefer cash back, then you would be better off with a cash-back card.
Choosing a Credit Card
What Type of Credit Card is Best for Me?
Credit Cards that offer miles or at least points you can exchange for miles come in three categories. The category best suited to you will depend on your spending habits. The three types of cards are below.
General Travel Credit Cards
There are plenty of examples of general travel credit cards featured below. A great travel rewards card should offer multiple ways for you to collect and spend points. You should be able to use the points as a credit against flights, hotels, dining, and even car rentals. However, a general travel rewards credit card will usually tie to a specific point spending program such as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. To counteract this, you should be able to transfer your points over to an airline loyalty program for frequent flyer miles.
Airline Credit Cards
Despite what the name suggests, an airline credit card is co-branded instead of issued by the airline. For example, the United credit card comes from Chase. These airline miles credit cards can be a great way to earn travel miles with a specific airline as well as give you access to other travel-related perks such as lounge access, a free checked bag, and priority boarding. The deals you get with an airline card will usually be better than those of a general card though restricted to the brand on the card. Some airlines even offer a specific airline club that you can gain access to and thus earn better rewards. Entry to the members club is achieved by regularly using your card. An example of such a club would be the British Airways Executive Club, where you have to earn Avios points to become a member.
Hotel Credit Cards
Hotel credit cards work the same as their airline counterparts. You receive points for using the hotel chain. Once you have accumulated enough, you can use those points to cover the cost of a stay. Some hotel cards will even give you access to a room upgrade if available. To make use of the card, you have to ensure you are using hotels that have a connection to the brand of the card.
Getting the Most out of a Travel Credit Card
We have discussed how to spend your points, but you need to maximize your point income to get access to those deals. To make the most of your card, you need to start thinking ahead. That needs to happen before you even apply for your card because a large number of points can come from a welcome bonus. You should hold off on applying for a travel rewards credit card until you have a large upcoming purchase.
Don’t stop using your card after the welcome bonus, though. Offer to pay for meals more regularly as dining can earn you double the points, if not more per dollar spent. While gaining points, you should also look at airline loyalty programs. The leading card issuers all have their rewards programs, but airlines have the same. If you want a general card, you should sign up for an airline’s loyalty program to make the best use of your saved points. If you only travel now and again, you will struggle to get the best out of a travel rewards credit card.
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The Best Credit Card for Travel Miles
It is difficult to pick a “best credit card.” One card will be great for one person, but may not make sense to another. Each card comes with different sign-up bonuses as well as the number of points gifted per dollar spent. You may receive more points for purchases that fit into a specified category with a particular card, while others offer rewards for general purchases. Credit cards that offer travel miles can come with more benefits than just the points. Some cards offer travel protection while others provide TSA PreCheck, a way for trusted travelers to get through security checks with less hassle. Your choice will depend on the benefits that suit you best. You also want a higher point earning rate. The standard exchange rate is 1 point for $1 spent.
However, most cards offer increased point value on select purchases, with some offering as many as 5 points for every $1 spent. Cards also come with a sign-up or welcome bonus. Bigger is always better when it comes to this, though you should consider the overall advantages as opposed to one specific standout point. It will be standard on any sound travel rewards credit card, but you should check that there are no blackout dates. Blackout dates are periods that the card’s reward scheme won’t apply. Such periods are usually significant holiday periods when people will be traveling more often. Some cards do these things better than others, and the best-rated picks for you include the following:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card offers a variety of ways for you to spend reward points with their Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Unlike a card tied to a specific airline or hotel chain, you can use this card in many places.
The first reason that this particular card from Chase shines above the rest is down to the welcoming bonus. If you spend $4,000 in the first three months of your account opening, you will earn a reward of 60,000 points. Sixty thousand points will equal $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase’s rewards program. To earn points on top of the welcome bonus, you have to make purchases with $1 equaling 1 point. You can earn double points on purchases connected to travel, dining, and hotels. Chase Ultimate Rewards does not just offer travel rewards. However, it would be better to use your points against travel. When you use your points for that reason, you get 25% more value than you would with another category.
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Some other benefits include travel protection such as trip cancelation insurance and baggage delay insurance. As to be expected with a travel card, there are also no foreign transaction fees. One more benefit worth mentioning is that you can take your points and transfer them to an airline’s specific loyalty plan. Doing so means you can get travel miles for your points at a ratio of 1:1. The card also comes with no blackout dates, meaning you can use it at any time. Despite the bonuses, the card does lack some benefits that an airline-branded card can provide, such as priority boarding.
To get your hands on this card, you will need a credit score of 690 or more. If you meet that credit score requirement, you can expect between 15.99% and 25.99% variable APR. There is also an annual fee of $95, but if you travel enough, you can offset this cost.
As a rewards credit card, this an all-around solid card. Points are easy to earn with a generous offering given as a welcome bonus, and you can put those into a loyalty account if you prefer. The card is also metal, which may be a bonus for some.
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Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card does everything its Preferred counterpart does and more. The opening bonus is 50,000 points gifted when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Those 50,000 points are worth $750 when redeemed against airfares, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. The reason that the cash-out amount for points is so high is that Chase offers 50% more value when used against travel expenses. On top of that, you receive a $300 credit reimbursement for travel purchases you have made. This credit amount is deposited into your account every anniversary year. For further point gains, you receive 3 points to $1 spent on dining and 3 points on travel after you have earned the $300 travel credit. You will also receive 1 point per $1 for all other purchases. Also, you can earn a $100 application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Like the Preferred card, you can spend your Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. However, if you prefer not to use the dedicated plan, then you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to the loyalty programs of partner hotels and airlines.
In terms of other rewards, Chase Sapphire provides access to select airport lounges. The card also offers lost luggage insurance, travel insurance, trip delay reimbursement, as well as emergency evacuation and transportation cover.
The extensive offering comes with the third-highest annual fees on this list: $450. There is also an additional $75 for every authorized user. The card also comes with a higher-than-average variable APR starting from 18.99% and going up to 25.99%. You can cover the high fee with the $300 credit and $100 allowance for your TSA PreCheck application. If you are not a frequent traveler, then $450 may be too much. Even if you feel you can use this card, you will still need a credit score than is no less than excellent.
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Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred credit card is another card that comes from Chase. As with the above cards, any points you redeem for travel on the Ultimate Rewards program offer 25% more value. This card made this list due to its standout welcome bonus. Sure, the card above give you $750 toward travel, but this card rewards you with 80,000 points or $1,000 toward travel when used with Chase’s Ultimate Rewards.
To get your hands on those points, you need to spend $5,000 in the first three months. Even further points-gaining possibilities come from the 3 points for $1 on select purchases offer. Select purchases include travel expenses as well as advertising purchases and telecommunication purchases. This card is a business card, after all. The three for one bonus is only valid up to $150,000 spent with the offer reactivated every account anniversary year.
Along with the bonus points, you will also earn 1 point for every $1 spent for all purchases with no maximum amount. You can transfer your points to a specific airline loyalty program if you prefer to have travel miles. It is possible to earn further bonus points, 20,000 to be exact, for every business owner you invite to the Ink Business Card. There is a limit of 100,000 points per year for this scheme. Again, because this is a business card, you can issue cards to your employees at no additional cost. Because of the multiple cardholders, it is possible to gain points rapidly. In terms of protection offered, this card has you covered with trip cancelation insurance as well as some other non-travel-related insurance protection.
To become an owner of this card, you will need a good credit score of 690 or above. You can also expect a variable APR of between 17.99% and 22.99%. There is also an annual fee of $95. This card is excellent for businesses that require a lot of traveling.
Citi Prestige Credit Card
The Citi Prestige credit card stands out among competitors because of its point offering. You will receive 5 points per $1 spent on both air travel and dining. Along with that, you can also earn 3 points when using your card for hotels and cruise ships. All other purchases come in at the standard 1 point offered per $1 spent. The welcome bonus offers an average amount of 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months. You can then redeem those points through the Citi ThankYou rewards program. Fifty thousand points are worth $500 when used for travel purchases through the program. If you prefer to redeem the points on an airline loyalty program, you can transfer them with a ratio of 1:1.
In addition to points, this Prestige card comes with more benefits for your traveling needs. To start with, two times a year, you can receive a fourth night at a hotel free as long as you book the hotel through the rewards program. You will also receive $250 in travel credit per year. The final bonus is access to over 100 VIP airport lounges.
The rewards and the point gain sound great, and they are. However, there is a high annual fee of $495 to cover. In addition to the high fee, the variable APR comes in between 18.24% and 25.74%. If you aren’t put off by those fees, then you will need an excellent credit score to access this card.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express screams luxury. That is because it is. American Express had high-end travelers in mind when they designed the Platinum card and its bonuses. For the bonus points, you gain a whopping 5 points per $1 spent on airfares and hotels provided they are purchased the right way (terms apply). For other purchases, you will receive 1 point for every $1 spent.
It is also possible to gain 70,000 extra points when you make $5,000 worth of purchases in the first three months. You can then redeem points to cover some of the costs that come with traveling. Depending on how many points you have saved, you may be able to pay for the whole flight using points. You can also use the points for other purchases if you don’t have a trip coming up. If you prefer, you can even transfer the points to an airline loyalty program for travel miles with an average ratio of 1:1.
On top of the high points gained for air travel, you can also receive $200 in statement credit when you use the card to cover airline fees. For TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, American Express will reimburse the application fee every five years. The above features all sound great, but you may be wondering where the luxury is. Being the owner of a Platinum card will grant you access to over 1,200 airport lounges in over 130 countries. Airport lounges will give you access to free food and Wi-Fi, which makes relaxing before your flight much more comfortable. You will also receive bonuses at hotels that can come in the form of free room upgrades or late checkout.
Luxury does not come cheap, though, as this card holds an annual fee of $550, the most expensive fee on this list. You will also need a good to excellent credit score rating to be eligible. If waiting for your plane in luxury sounds great, then this card may be for you.
American Express Gold Card
If you prefer something less flashy than the Platinum card, then the American Express Gold card might suit your needs. The point offering is still reasonably high, with 4 points per dollar spent on worldwide dining and U.S. supermarket shopping. You can also earn 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly through the airline or via amextravel.com.
There are other ways to save money with this card other than points. You can earn up to $120 in statement credit when you spend money at participating restaurants. These restaurants include The Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’sRuth’s Chris Steak House. You must enroll in this perk as it is not automatic.
You can also get up to $100 in statement credit when using the card for airline fees such as checked bags or in-flight meals.
For you to become a Gold cardholder, you must cover the annual fee. However, as you know, Gold is less valuable than Platinum. Because of this, you can expect a lower annual fee of $250. Such an amount is still higher than other cards on this list, though the point gaining possibilities can make up for the high cost.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Venture Rewards credit card offered by Capital One keeps things simple. You get 2 miles for every dollar spent with no need to worry about categories or maximum spending cap. You also get a bonus of 10 miles per dollar on thousands of hotels using hotels.com through January 2020. It is also possible to earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. A mile when redeemed against travel purchases is worth one cent, so 50,000 miles equals $500 to be used against travel costs. If you prefer to transfer your points to an airline program, then that is possible; however, the ratio is not 1:1.
Along with the bonus miles you can gain with this card, there are other bonuses. You can receive up to $100 in credit to be used for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. There is also no foreign transaction fee. The card also provides access to 24-hour travel assistance as well as travel accident insurance. There are also no blackout dates, so you can travel when you want and still earn rewards.
To gain access to this card, you will need a good credit score. There is no annual fee for the first year, though, after this, it will be $95. The variable APR for this card is between 17.99% and 25.24%. If you can make use of the partnership with hotels.com to gain extra points, then this card might be for you.
Capital One VentureOne Credit Card
Cards that offer no annual fee can be lacking in the rewards that they offer. The Capital One VentureOne credit card is an exception to this rule. The point offer is not as much as the above Venture card but can still be worth your time. You receive 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on all purchases made with the card. The ten bonus miles per $1 spent on hotels.com also applies as it does with the above counterpart. The welcome bonus comes with 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 in the first three months. That can equal $200 in savings when redeemed for travel.
You can transfer your points to 12 of the leading airline loyalty programs. There is a current special offer that will run through October that if you transfer points to Qantas Airlines, for every mile you transfer to Qantas’ loyalty program, they will add one more. The card also charges no foreign transaction fees and provides travel accident insurance. You can take advantage of this card whenever you like, as it also comes with no blackout dates.
No annual fee is excellent, but it gets better. There is an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months. After that period, a variable APR of between 14.24% and 24.24% will apply.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Card
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card can be a great card as it offers 1.5 points for every $1 spent on any purchases. That point offering may not sound like much, but you can see the value when you consider that there is no annual fee to pay. There is also no foreign transaction fee. There is a welcome bonus, but it is nothing to write home about. You get 25,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening. Twenty-five thousand points equal $250 when redeemed as a statement credit toward travel purchases. You can earn rewards whenever you like, as there are no blackout dates.
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The Bank of America travel rewards card stands out as helpful when you have a Bank of America banking account and are a member of their Preferred Rewards program. Your Merrill investment account also contributes. A certain amount in your accounts will provide a bonus amount to your point gain. An amount of $20,000 or higher will earn you a gold status, which nets an additional 25% in points when you make purchases. Spending $50,000 or more will earn you 50% extra, and $100,000 and over will gain you 75% extra. A purchase that would typically net you 100 points can earn you up to 175 points.
Another bonus with this card is that there is an intro APR of 0% for the first 12 months. After that period, it increases to a variable APR between 16.99% and 24.99%. This card is an excellent option if you are a big spender who is also a loyal Bank of America customer. If you are neither, then there are better cards available, even if you have to cover an annual fee.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is another card on this list that does not charge an annual fee. That is a standout point on its own. The lack of an annual fee shouldn’t be what decides for you as you can often get back that annual fee in rewards. If there was an annual fee, that would be possible as Wells Fargo offers 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of becoming a cardholder. This amount has been known to go up to 50,000 bonus points from time to time. Thirty thousand points will gain you $300 in cash back.
On top of the welcome bonus, you can earn 3 points for every dollar spent on flights, hotels, dining, streaming services, and more. If your purchase doesn’t fit into the bonus category, then you will earn 1 point. Unfortunately, you cannot exchange your points for travel miles with an airline. Despite the lack of a direct transfer option, you can use them to get a discount on travel using Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards. You can also expect no foreign transaction fees. On top of that, the card offers cover in the form of lost luggage reimbursement and 24-hour travel and emergency assistance as well as emergency cash advances.
The card comes with a 0% APR for the first 12 months before going up to a variable APR of 15.74% and 27.74% for purchases. There is also a 0% APR with 12 months for balance transfers. You will need a good credit score to be eligible for this card. This card does nothing crazy, but it is issued by Wells Fargo, who is a trusted bank and also comes with no annual fee.
Discover It Miles Travel Credit Card
The Discover It Miles credit card has made this list due to the unique welcome bonus offered. The usual offering seen is several points provided after you have spent a certain amount within a time limit with the card, but that is not the case here. Instead, Discover It will take your yearly point gain and double it at the end of the first year. Thirty-five thousand miles will become 70,000 bonus miles, which are $700 towards travel expenses. The point offering is modest, with 1.5 miles per dollar offered on all purchases. If you would prefer not to spend your bonus miles on travel, then you can ask for the cash amount to be deposited to your bank account.
This card is a simple card with a great welcome bonus. Another bonus is that there is no annual fee as well as an intro APR of 0% that lasts for 14 months. Once that period is up, your variable APR will be between 13.99% and 24.99%.
United TravelBank Card
The first co-branded card on this list is the United TravelBank Card. Chase issues this Visa card, and it can be of great use to a loyal United customer. The opening bonus for this card comes in the form of United TravelBank cash. You can earn 150 in TravelBank cash when you spend $1,000 of real money on purchases in the first three months. One TravelBank dollar is equal to one USD when used for purchasing tickets for United flights. You can earn further TravelBank dollars with 2% rewarded for every $1 spent on United Airlines tickets with 1.5% offered on all other purchases.
You can make further savings with this card by taking advantage of the 25% statement credit. You will see this credit returned to your account when making purchases using the TravelBank Card onboard a United flight. Purchases can include food, beverages, and Wi-Fi.
This card comes with no annual fee nor foreign transaction fee, though there is a variable APR of between 17.99% and 24.99%. Because the card is a Visa, you can expect the usual protection. The appeal with co-branded credit cards is simple to explain; if you use United a lot, then you can benefit from this card.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card
The next rewards credit card partnered with an airline on this list is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card. The welcome bonus comes in the form of 60,000 points provided you spend $2,000 in the first three months. There is no set amount with regards to how many dollars a single point is worth. Instead, the value gets calculated against the cash amount of the airline ticket. On average, 70 points are worth $1 against the price of Southwest’s lowest ticket offering. For earning points through purchasing, you will get 2 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest Airlines tickets along with hotels and partners for car renting. All other purchases offer 1 point for $1. You will also be rewarded 7,500 points after every cardmember anniversary.
In addition to the points, you have a $75 credit amount per the calendar year to spend on flight costs. You can also get 20% back on inflight purchases.
Southwest Airlines offer the A-List scheme. To make use of the membership rewards provided by this scheme, you should make 25 one-way flights a year or collect 35,000 membership rewards points. Using your Rapid Rewards credit card can earn you up to 15,000 of those required points. Becoming an A-List member will give you access to a selection of benefits, including priority boarding, 25% more Rapid Reward points earned on inflight purchases, and a dedicated customer line.
There are more rewards offered than the card’s United Airlines counterpart, though there is also an annual fee of $149 to consider. The higher annual fee can be off-putting, but if you are a regular customer with Southwest, then you can offset the fee.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
The Delta Airlines co-branded card comes from American Express in the form of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card. Delta has both a rewards program and an elite members club. You can earn miles for both by using this card. As a welcoming bonus, you can earn 75,000 miles to use with the SkyMiles rewards program along with 5,000 miles towards your Medallion Tier. You can collect these bonuses after spending $3,000 with your new card in the first three months. There is an additional bonus of a $100 statement credit after you have made your first Delta purchase. Again, you must make that first purchase within three months of owning your card.
Your Medallion status can earn you access to select benefits such as priority boarding, waived baggage fees, and unlimited complimentary upgrades. You can upgrade your ranking by flying and spending with Delta and their partners as well as using offers like the above welcome offer. A higher rank will lead to more exclusive rewards.
In terms of point offerings, you can earn 1 point per 1 dollar for general purchases with the card. You can then earn 2 points for purchases made from Delta. Once accumulated, you can use these SkyMiles to save on traveling with Delta and 20+ partner airlines. You can then boost your miles further with the Miles Boost scheme. Spending $25,000 or more in a year will earn you an additional 10,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. You can earn another 10,000 of both miles after you have reached a spending amount of $50,000.
Using the Platinum card will also save you 20% on inflight purchases as well as allow your first checked bag for free.
To be given access to the numerous rewards this card offers, you must pay an annual fee of $195. There is also a variable APR of 17.49% up to 26.49%.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
You may prefer to be committed to a hotel instead of an airline. If that is the case, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is a great place to start. For just having this card, you will earn an annual free night stay at one of their countless hotels located all over the world.
In terms of points, the welcome bonus gifts you 75,000 once you have spent $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. You can earn 6 points per $1 spent at 7,000+ participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. Any other purchases will reward you with 2 points per dollar. One night at one of their hotels equates to 35,000 points.
Along with earning points, holding this card can give you “Elite Status” with Marriott Bonvoy. You will automatically receive Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Spending $35,000 per year after that will give you Gold status. Gold members receive 25% bonus points when spending money on stays as well as room upgrade options.
For the pleasure of owning this card, you will have to pay an annual fee of $95. You will also receive a variable APR that is between 17.99% and 24.99%. This card may not offer actual travel miles but can reduce traveling costs if you are a fan of the associated hotel chain.
Hilton Honors Card
The Hilton chain of hotels has over 5,000 properties in its portfolio. If you make regular use of any of these hotels, then a Hilton Honors Credit Card by American Express will be great for you. This card is all about points. There is a 75,000 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months. In terms of further points gain, you get 7 points per dollar spent on purchases made at a Hilton affiliated hotel. There is a 5 point gain per dollar for dining, groceries, and fuel at U.S. locations. You will earn 3 points per dollar for every other purchase. You can then use those points with the Hilton Honors program. You can exchange your accumulated points for free nights, discount on travel, or use them to make purchases on Amazon.com.
On top of gaining points, if you spend $20,000 in a year with the card, you will receive complimentary silver elite status. Elite status will open you up to further complimentary benefits. The card also comes with no foreign transaction fee, travel accident insurance, and car rental loss insurance.
To make use of this card, you do need to be a loyal Hilton Hotels customer. But, if you are not a regular customer, it might still be worth your time as the card comes with no annual fee. The variable APR is also average for a travel rewards credit card with the rate starting at 17.49% and going up to 26.49%.
It’s Time to Fly
Everyone loves a vacation and even more so if it is free. Credit cards, however, should not be taken lightly due to debt that you can incur. Yet, a travel credit card has a higher credit score requirement then a standard credit card. If you have managed to build up the necessary credit score to get your hands on one, then you are doing something right already.
Even if you have a high credit score, you may have to fight the temptation of free trips if you are not a constant flyer. That’s because the annual fee and variable APR are higher than a standard card. These costs will hit your wallet if you are not earning enough miles to cover them. If you are looking for non-travel related rewards, then cash-back credit cards might be more suitable. If you travel regularly, then you now have all the information needed to get the best travel credit card for you. It’s time to head out and start racking up some miles!
Have you been anywhere where you paid for your flight with travel miles? What is the most money you saved with travel miles?
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