Best Travel Reward Credit Cards From Money Magazine

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The best credit cards help you travel more comfortably, save money, and stress less while you’re at the airport. These credit cards are often recognized for their outstanding benefits (such as having some of the best credit card sign up bonuses as well as an overall generous rewards structure) by sites such as Money Magazine.

Best Travel Reward Credit Cards From Money Magazine

Travel rewards credit cards can not only help you reach your travel goals, but they can also provide travel benefits such as travel protection and upgrades. Depending on your spending habits, you can use a travel rewards card to have even more enjoyable travel experiences.

So if you’re keeping your eyes peeled for a new travel credit card, check out the best travel reward credit cards from Money Magazine options.

Best All-Around Travel Credit Card

Winner: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why it won

  • Complete flexibility for earning miles (forget rotating spending categories, forever!)
  • Easy-to-understand “double miles” earnings
  • Lower-than-average APR range

With the ability to earn an unlimited 2x miles per dollar spent on everything, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card stands out as a card to have on your radar.

If you’re looking for a straightforward way to earn, it’s perfect since you don’t have to keep up with changing spending categories every quarter.

Hot tip: Through January 2020, you can also earn 10 miles per dollar on booking hotels through Hotels.com/venture.

The generous sign-up bonus is on par with other top tier credit cards, at 50,000. You have to spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account to earn it. The 50,000 miles are worth about $500, which is on the higher range for a travel credit card.

There’s also no minimum amount to redeem miles, which means you can use them for small everyday purchases, like a $7 cab ride.

Here are details for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card:

  • 2 miles per dollar
  • 50,000-point bonus if you make at least $3,000 in purchases within three months of opening your card account.
  • Annual fee: $0 first year, then $95

Learn more: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best Travel Credit Card With No Annual Fee

Winner: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card (Learn more:  No Annual Fee Credit Cards)

Why it won 

  • Generous sign-up points
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • No interest in the first year

Most travel rewards credit cards come with annual fees to help offset some of the perks that come with using the card. Cards that generally have low or no annual fees typically won’t offer high perks.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card is a straightforward travel reward credit card without the annual fee attached. The card also allows you to redeem points (you receive a statement credit) for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and baggage fees.

Tip: A statement credit simply means that whenever you spend on a purchase that is travel-related, you get reimbursed.

You can also use points for credit for travel purchases for up to 12 months after those purchases post to your account (a longer window when compared with other cards).

Their 25,000 sign-up bonus is worth $250. There’s no interest on purchases for the first year you have the card. The bonus may seem low, but considering there is no annual fee, it’s actually pretty decent. Compare it to some of the other best travel credit cards with no annual fees.

Here are more details:

  • Unlimited 1.5 rewards points per dollar
  • 25,000 sign-up bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of becoming a cardholder
  • Low introductory offer of 0% on purchases for 12 billing cycles, then a variable rate applies
  • Preferred members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase (this means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend!)

Learn more: No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Best Premium Travel Credit Card

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Why it won

  • Generous overall rewards structure
  • Higher-than-average points for travel and dining categories
  • Flexibility in earning and redeeming rewards

What’s a premium travel credit card, anyway? For one, it offers plenty of wow factors such as greater flexibility and protection when you book travel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve is no doubt a relished card among frequent travelers. The perks are too good to pass up, despite the card’s $450 annual fee. Don’t let the fee scare you. If you take the $300 in travel statement credits you receive each year, the fee doesn’t feel so steep.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a simple rewards structure. It gives you 3x the points for spending on travel and dining categories. These include flights, cruises, hotels, car rentals, trains, and taxis.

The card also has nine airline transfer partners, including United, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines. This makes it easy for you to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you want more flexibility in airline choices.

You can easily book travel for a hotel or flight through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Use that portal to also redeem your points to make Amazon or Apple purchases, for example. I like to use it along with some of the best Chase business credit cards.

Other benefits include:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • A signup bonus worth $500 if you choose cash back or $750 if you redeem your points through Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X the points on travel and dining
  • 50% more in travel redemption

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Considerations When Looking for a Travel Credit Card

When considering the top travel rewards card from Money Magazine options, the type of travel credit card that is best for you depends on how frequently you travel and your spending habits.

If you’re looking for a solid travel credit card, you may want to consider the following:

  • Bonus signup points: How many points can you receive, just for signing up?
  • Points for travel: The average value for a mile/point will equal about a cent. Look out for cards that offer more than this.
  • Simplicity: Are the rules to redeem points or overall rewards structure confusing or restrictive?
  • Ability to transfer points to another airline: Can you easily transfer on a 1:1 basis?
  • Airport perks: Does the card offer lounge access or travel extras such as TSA PreCheck reimbursement?

Which is the best travel reward credit card Money Magazine option for you?

The opportunity to earn free or discounted travel through some of the top credit cards can be exciting. The best way to earn easy points is to simply sign up.

Choose a card that helps you rack up points based on your spending habits. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and make sure the annual fee makes sense for you.

Here are a few more articles that may help you in your decision:

Claire Tak

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Best Travel Reward Credit Cards From Money Magazine

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