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As you know, the choices can seem overwhelming, but exciting, with hotel and airline cards, as well as cards that partner with multiple brands. Co-branded cards are good for the loyalist, while general-purpose travel cards are good for the travel shopper.
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We're going to look at a general-purpose card, the Capital One Venture Rewards, and one of our favorites, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. With the exceptions of Delta and United, airline cards may have blackout dates and other restrictions , although in the case of our examples, this is not true. Both the Sapphire Preferred and the Venture Rewards have no blackout dates, no expiration dates and no point limits. Additionally, the Venture Rewards offers 10X miles on every dollar spent at hotels.
Both allow transfers with multiple travel partners. Finally, while the Venture card rewards 2X miles on all purchases, the Sapphire Preferred only rewards with 2X points on worldwide travel and restaurants and 1X point on everything else. Most of the best travel cards offer travel and shopping benefits, such as travel insurance, rental car insurance and extended warranties. If, for example, you often rent rental cars, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be the best card for you, because its car rental insurance is primary, meaning that it covers you even before your personal auto insurance.
In a recent study of our sample credit cards, we found that 53 actually offered no foreign transaction fees. Most of those cards were either offered by U. Bank or American Express. Most travel rewards cards offer no foreign transaction fees, but it's important to check to make sure the card you select doesn't have the charge, which can otherwise charge a percentage of every purchase made overseas or processed through a foreign bank.
This is great news for consumers, although I fear the trend could reverse as issuers look to compensate for the lost revenue attributable to the recent Fed rate cuts. Finally, consider a travel rewards strategy that includes multiple cards. For example, you might have an airline credit card primarily to enjoy priority boarding and to receive a free checked bag.
At the same time, you might also have a general travel rewards card that you use for most of your spending. In fact, frequent travelers may carry an airline card, a hotel card and one or more general travel rewards cards, to realize the unique benefits offered by each. Make sure your credit matches the required score for the cards you are looking at and be sure to pay in full each and every month so that you don't pay interest charges. One of the primary disadvantages of travel credit cards is that most come with an annual fee. While some credit card users will always refuse to pay an annual fee, many have found these fees to be worth it to receive these benefits.
To decide if a fee is worth it, you must first consider the net cost of the card, after any fee credits. Next, consider the added value of the benefits and rewards you receive, compared to the best available alternative with a lower annual fee or none.
Best Airline Miles Credit Cards of - The Points Guy
If the value of these rewards and benefits comfortably exceeds the difference in annual fees, then the card will be worth it for your needs. Nevertheless, it's important to re-evaluate the card each year before paying the annual fee. Heads up that we've found that consumers have had good luck with getting the annual fee waived when they asked, so that's an option.
We found that of cards we reviewed earlier this year, 26 had an annual fee. The cards with annual fees were overwhelmingly travel cards:. Of the cards we studied, 6 travel cards have waived annual fees the first year; 1 of the credit-builder cards has a waived annual fee the first year; and 1 of the cash back cards has a waived annual fee the first year. These are the travel cards we found to have waived annual fees the first year:. Free airport lounge access is another potentially lucrative benefit among travel cards that assess annual fees. Finally, there are some credit card users who simply aren't excited about travel rewards.
This can include those who rarely travel and others who just drive to their destinations and stay with friends and family, and have no need for award flights or hotel stays. Also, there are consumers who prefer to spend their vacation time at home, perhaps doing a summer home renovation. These types of consumers would be better served by foregoing points and miles and using a cash back credit card instead. The same goes for other holiday costs — consider using your points for cash back, gift cards or merchandise that can help offset the most expensive time of the year.
We also looked at how many and who will be traveling this holiday season.
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Here's how they plan to spend:. And who is the holiday traveler? In the same way that millennials love their points, they are much more likely than older adults to be preparing to hit the road:. Administered online to members of the YouGov Plc panel of 1.
Preferred Rewards makes your credit card even better
Some 2, U. The Citi Premier is no longer available through CreditCards. Jason Steele is a credit card journalist and a leading expert in the personal finance industry.
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Best Travel Credit Cards
Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January ; learn more at hotels. View All Card Details. Thrifty Tip 1: We find international flight deals from over U. Sign-up and try our Premium service for free today. Read on to learn how. Not only can you use these points to book cheap cash flights, but you can also transfer them to a number of different hotel and airline partners to potentially reap even more value out of them.
The portal is powered by Expedia, and generally speaking, you should be able to pull up the same cash rate in the portal as you did in Google Flights. But here is the kicker. When booking a flight through the Chase portal with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, each point is worth 1.
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And as an added bonus, as long as you include your United frequent flyer number when you are completing your reservation, you will still earn United miles on the flight! So when booking an airline ticket this way, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will always be worth 1. And to figure out how many points you will need to book a ticket, you can simply take the cost of the ticket divided by 0.
Lastly, it provides a Priority Pass lounge membership that will get you into thousands of airport lounges and restaurants across the world. Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But perhaps the most important differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve is the rate at which they earn and redeem points.
The Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points per dollar spent on dining and travel compared to 2x on the Preferred and it redeems Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase portal at a rate of 1. That means the exact same Amsterdam flight can be booked for just 32, Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you hold the Sapphire Reserve. Skip to main content. Sign up now. Password Forgot password? Overview and elite status My trips. Remember me. Sign in.
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