These 4 Cards Can Save Hundreds on Flights, Hotels and Upgrades

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What’s the top destination on your travel bucket list? A romantic trip to Barcelona? A family gathering on another coast? Or maybe you just need to plan to warm-weather getaway to survive the long winter.

But if you love to travel and you’re not using a credit card that offers points, you’re leaving money on the table — think free hotel nights, free flights and upgrades. Your goal should be to obtain the best travel rewards card with the most flexible travel rewards program — and a card that fits your spending and traveling style.

CapitalOne Venture Rewards

Capital One

Why we like it: This great all-around card offers a hefty welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within your first three months with the account. You earn 2x miles for every dollar spent on the card. So long as you are paying off your card each month (since paying interest on a balance is obviously counterproductive), you can rack up serious mileage for all your adventures.

More highlights:

  • No blackout dates when you travel
  • Points transfer to more than a dozen hotel and airline loyalty programs.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee for the first year, then $95 per year
Click here for more details and to compare this with other offers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Why we like it: This highly rated travel card racks up 80,000 rewards points after you use it for $4,000 worth of purchases within the first three months of opening the account, and redeeming the points you earn is easy through this card’s super flexible program.

Chase

More highlights:

  • Earn two points for each $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and one point per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Points transfer 1:1 to other leading hotel and airline loyalty programs. And, if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you get 25% more value — for example, 60,000 points are worth $750 for travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees

Note: This card has a $95 annual fee.

Click here for more details on this card and to compare it with other offers.

If you’re a traveler, you may know that Southwest Airlines is now the country’s biggest low-cost airline — with flights to more than 100 cities in the United States as well as 10 international destinations and some 4,000 departures a day in peak season. By using one of their credit cards, you can rack up reward points fast and get in on many globe-trotting options for less.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Southwest/Visa

Why we like it: With the modest use of this credit card for $1,000 in purchases over the first three months, this card will rack up 40,000 Rapid Rewards points. The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flier program consistently gets high ratings among airline rewards programs. U.S. News & World Report ranked it the sixth best airline rewards program, describing it as “most beneficial for budget-minded travelers based in the United States who frequently fly to major cities around the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.”

More highlights:

  • Get 3,000 bonus rewards points on your account’s one-year anniversary.
  • Earn two rewards points for each $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards partner hotels and car rentals.
  • For all other purchases, earn one point for each $1 spent.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.

Note: This card has a $69 annual fee.

Click here for more details on this offer and to compare it with other cards.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Southwest/Visa

Why we like it: This card is very similar to the Rapid Rewards Plus card above — awarding 40,000 points after $1,000 in purchases over the first three months — but it’s a better option for a traveler who has international trips in mind. Although it has a higher annual fee, it awards you 6,000 bonus points after your first card anniversary and carries no foreign transaction fees.

More highlights:

  • Earn two rewards points for each $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • For all other purchases, earn one point for each $1 spent.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Note: This card has a $99 annual fee.

Click here for more details on this offer and to compare it with other cards.

Whatever you need in a credit card — whether it’s reward points, cash back or a low interest rate — you can find it with our credit card search tool. Click here to search for the plastic that best fits your needs.

Do you have a favorite travel-reward card or trick? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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