Read More About The Amex Platinum:
The Capital One Venture;Rewards Credit Card;is a great “set it and forget it” card, in the sense that you don’t have to worry about various bonus categories for earning rewards. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar, no matter what you buy.
This card also offers one of the most straightforward ways to redeem rewards for travel: The Purchase Eraser Tool lets you “wipe” travel purchases from your card statement, at a rate of 1 cent per mile.;
Read more: The best ways to earn, redeem, and maximize Capital One miles
You also have the option to transfer Capital One miles to more than a dozen frequent flyer programs, including Air Canada Aeroplan, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Capital One recently added new partners including British Airways and Turkish Airlines, and improved the transfer ratio to 1:1 in some cases.;
The selection of transfer partners is best suited to someone who wants to travel internationally and who doesn’t mind spending some time researching the best ways to redeem miles with the different frequent flyer program options. But the upside is that you can always use the Purchase Eraser tool instead. You also get up to a $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
What the experts love:;The Purchase Eraser tool makes it easy to redeem miles, it earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase
Can You Combine Travel Points From Different Credit Cards
Some credit card issuers let you combine travel points from different credit cards as long as the points are part of the same rewards system. For example, you can combine the Ultimate Rewards points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® with those you earn on the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. You can also combine hotel points or airline miles from different credit cards as long as they’re from the same loyalty program.
Making The Most Of Your Rewards Card
Use the card for the bulk of your spending
Put all your ordinary expenses on the card, including monthly bills, to rack up rewards more quickly. Thats the power of a rewards card: getting extra value from your regular spending. Before applying for a card, make sure youll be able to meet the spending minimum required to earn the sign-up bonus. Be careful to never overspend just for rewards.
Pair cards to earn even more
Consider using;complementary cards;to extract maximum rewards for your spending. For example, one card might offer high rewards for restaurant spending, while an airline card gives you free checked bags and a third card gives you a nice rate on all other spending. If you have a card with a sign-up bonus, consolidate spending on that card until you earn that bonus.
Redeem rewards thoughtfully
Redeem your rewards in the way that delivers maximum value. With travel cards, you usually get a better redemption rate when you redeem for travel expenses than you would if you opted for cash back. Cash-back cards, meanwhile, may give you the highest redemption rate for statement credit, but a lower rate if you redeem points for gift cards. Some rewards can be transferred to travel partners, such as airlines and hotels, at a valuable rate. Learn what the options are and;what;your rewards are worth.
Use the freebies
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Citi / Aadvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Best For American Airlines Flyers
Why its the best travel credit card for American Airlines flyers:;If you fly American Airlines often, it can be handy to have a cobranded credit card from the airline. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select offers a nice mix of benefits and earning opportunities for a manageable $99 annual fee, making it great for AA flyers who arent looking for lounge access or an abundance of luxury perks.
Current bonus:;Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurants and gas stations.
Travel benefits:;Youll get preferred boarding, a free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to four travel companions, a 25% discount on eligible inflight purchases and a $125 American Airlines flight discount when you spend more than $20,000 in a calendar year and renew your card.
Why its worth it: For a low annual fee, American Airlines customers can enjoy elite-like benefits without breaking the bank or needing to hit an elite status tier. Youll earn 2x on three different bonus categories and a few nice benefits to help make the flight experience more enjoyable. Plus, the card is currently offering a welcome bonus that;TPG values;at $700. If you know how to;maximize your AAdvantage redemptions, that bonus could potentially be worth even more.
Read More About The Capital One Venture Card:
The American Express® Gold Card is an ideal travel rewards card for anyone who frequently eats out and/or shops at U.S. supermarkets. You’ll earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points on these purchases . The card also earns 3x points on flights booked directly with the airlines or through AmexTravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Amex Membership Rewards points
While the $250 annual fee is on the high side, you can offset it thanks to an annual statement credit. You can get up to $120 in annual dining credits**, but it’s divided into up to $10 in credits each month, and the credit only applies at the following restaurants and delivery services: Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.
You’ll also get up to $120 Uber Cash credit each calendar year .
What the experts love: “4x points on restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets is great usually, a card favors one or the other,” says Rathner. Plus, the card offers monthly dining credits.
What the experts don’t love: Wilson notes that other cards offer similar benefits for a lower annual fee, and Rathner notes that the card’s travel and dining credits come with some important limitations so read the fine print.;
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Dig Into A Dining Program
If you have an appetite for earning more points, see if your travel credit card has a dining program. A number of co-branded airline and hotel cards have dining programs that provide opportunities to earn extra points for using an eligible card at participating restaurants.
Examples include Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining and United MileagePlus Dining. Typically, youll need to enroll in the dining program and link your eligible card of choice to your account.
American Express Gold Card
Our pick for: Big rewards on everyday spending;;
The American Express® Gold Card can earn you a pile of points from everyday spending, with generous rewards at U.S. supermarkets, at restaurants and on certain flights booked through amextravel.com. Other benefits include hundreds of dollars a year in available dining and travel credits and a solid bonus offer for new cardholders. There’s an annual fee, though, and a pretty substantial one, so it’s not for smaller spenders. Read our review.
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What Are The Best Travel Credit Cards Right Now
With its welcome bonus of 60,000 points and 3x points for travel and dining,;Chase Sapphire Reserve is our current top pick for the best travel credit card for most people. American Express Gold Card has emerged as the best card for foodies, while The Platinum Card from American Express is the choice for first-class fliers.
Us Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
Our pick for: Cash back customizable rewards
If you don’t mind putting some work into your rewards, check out the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature® Card. It might be the most customizable cash back card available. You pick which categories earn the most cash back you get two 5% categories and a 2% category and you can change those options every quarter. There’s a good bonus offer for new cardholders, too. Read our review.
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Other Travel Credit Card Benefits
Most travel credit cards — which carry hefty annual fees — include benefits that further add value to those cards. Benefits like rental car collision insurance and even lost luggage reimbursement have become standard. Here’s what’s offered for the cards chosen here:
Travel accident insurance:Reserve, CapOne Venture
Trip cancellation insurance:Reserve, Platinum
Trip delay reimbursement or protection:Reserve, Platinum
Lost luggage reimbursement: Reserve, Platinum, Gold
Rental car collision insurance:Reserve, Platinum, Gold, Venture
Remember To Enroll And Activate
Check your cards terms and conditions to see which benefits require activation or enrollment. You might have to enroll online or call a toll-free number to enroll by phone. For example, with The Platinum Card from American Express, make sure to activate the Airline Fee Credit on the American Express website.
Youll also need to enroll on the Amex website for Hilton Honors Gold status and call 800-525-3355 for Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
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Bankamericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend with the card. Points can be redeemed for travel rewards of any type, including first-class seating on airlines. The APR is 13.99% to 23.99%, depending on your credit, with a 0% APR for the first year.
The card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, and there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions. If you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days, Bank of America will give you 25,000 bonus pointsequal to about $250 in rewards.;
Capital One Spark Cash Plus
Our pick for: Small business cash back
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is an excellent option for business operators whose expenses don’t fall into the bonus categories on other business credit cards. You get a high, flat rewards rate on every purchase, with no limit to how much you can earn. Just make sure that you can pay off your spending in full each month, as this is a charge card that doesn’t let you revolve a balance. Read our review.
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Buying Flying And Staying
You can, of course, earn points and miles by doing business directly with an airline or hotel. You can earn miles almost every time you fly with any given airline, and youll earn hotel points by staying overnight with a participating property. Just be sure to sign up for their loyalty program first!
Best Travel Credit Card For Students
Best Student Credit Card for Travel Rewards
Why its one of the best travel credit cards: The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is the best student travel credit card because it offers $250 in free travel for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. The card also gives 3 points per $1 spent on travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points per $1 on everything else.The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has a $0 annual fee and a $0 foreign transaction fee. It was built for college students with limited or no credit history.
Were the editors picks helpful?
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How Can I Maximize My Credit Card Rewards
Use your rewards card for every eligible purchase: If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table. Always pay by card so you can earn rewards on your spending.
Stick to your budget: A common mistake is making unnecessary purchases and using rewards to justify it. Don’t let credit card rewards convince you to overspend.
Pay off your credit card every month: Credit card interest will cost more than any rewards you earn. Avoid this by always paying your entire statement balance.
Evaluating General Travel Credit Cards
What you get with a;general travel card
The credit cards featured at the top of this page are general travel cards. They’re issued by a bank , carry only that bank’s name, and aren’t tied to any single airline or hotel group.;With these cards, you;earn points on every purchase usually 1 to 2 points per dollar spent, sometimes with additional points in certain categories.
Issuers of general travel cards typically;entice new applicants with big sign-up bonuses tens of thousands of miles that you can earn by spending a certain amount of money on the card in your first;few months.
» MORE:NerdWallet’s best credit card sign-up offers
What do you do with those points? Depending on the card, you may have several ways to redeem them:
Airline and hotel cards sharply limit your choice, but;they make up for it with perks that only they can offer, like free checked bags or room upgrades. General travel cards, on the other hand, offer maximum flexibility;but can’t;provide the same;kinds of perks,;because the banks that issue them don’t;operate the airlines or hotels. Still,;there are some noteworthy perks on general travel cards, including:
These programs differ in how much their points are worth and how you can use them. Some offer the full range of redemption options, including transfers to loyalty programs. Others let you use them only to book travel or get statement credit.
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Winner: American Express Cobalttmcredit Card
The American Express CobaltTMCredit Card is one of the most rewarding cards on the market, and it has a unique feature: a monthly fee. Cardholders pay a budget-friendly $12.99 a month to access top-tier rewards and exclusive offers.
Earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery and food delivery purchases in Canada. Get three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit purchases and get one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders should notice their reward balance growing steadily from their usual everyday purchases.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn a staggering $1,874 in rewards in the first year.
This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please.
Offer expiry date: December 5,2021
- Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and direct through Air Canada®purchases.
- Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card: Best For Alaska Airlines
Why we picked it: This airline credit card comes fully-loaded with a decent rewards return rate and plenty of extras, including a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on the same reservation.
Pros: Theres a doubly rewarding sign-up bonus that lets you earn 50,000 miles and the Alaska Airlines companion fare from $121 after spending $2,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. Youll receive that companion fare each year on your account anniversary, too.
Cons: The card carries a $75 annual fee, so be sure you fly Alaska Airlines enough for the long haul to justify adding it to your wallet.
Who should apply? If you fly Alaska Airlines with a companion even once or twice a year, youre likely to appreciate this cards benefits.
Who should skip? If you frequent a different airline or your travel patterns are more varied, consider a different travel credit card.
Read our full Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card review or jump back to this cards offer details.
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Pros And Cons Of Rewards Cards
Rewards cards make purchases work harder for you.;Earning rewards;on;every dollar you spend is like finding change in your couch cushions every day. Save up that change, and pretty soon youre talking real money.
They allow you to travel more often,;or;more luxuriously, at a discount.;Travel rewards credit cards can make it possible to sit in first class, upgrade to a suite or skip the long security line. Even if you dont cash in points to travel like an Instagram influencer, they can help you;travel for less money.
They can help protect you if your vacation falls apart.;Many travel cards will compensate you if your bags get lost, your flight gets significantly delayed or canceled, or you have to cut your trip short because of a family emergency or illness. Many;also offer;coverage for your rental car. This all comes at no additional cost to you.
Us Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card
Our pick for: Road trips
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is one of the most generous cards on the market if you’re taking to the skies or the road, thanks to the quadruple points it earns on travel and at gas stations. It’s also a solid card for everyday expenses like groceries, dining and streaming, and it comes with ongoing credits that can offset its annual fee:;$0 intro for the first year, then $95.;Read our review.
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Winner: Mbna Rewards Platinum Plusmastercard
TheMBNA Rewards Platinum Plus®Mastercard® offers cardholders four points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases for the first 90 days, up to the $10,000 annual spend cap in each category. After, earn two points for every $1 spent in these categories and one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
This card also features $1,000,000 travel accident insurance, unexpected return home insurance and car rental accident insurance.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $503 in rewards in the first year.
- Earn one Mile for every $25 you spend on your credit card.
- Earn three Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners.