3 Top Travel Rewards Cards to Get You Flying Fast, and Saving Big

If travel is on your agenda, these offers can help you make it happen while saving hundreds of dollars on flights, hotels and more.

3 Top Travel Rewards Cards to Get You Flying Fast, and Saving Big Photo by NicoElNino / Shutterstock.com

What’s the top destination on your travel bucket list? A warm-weather escape? Or maybe you just need to get to a family event and would rather not spend too much.

If you’re a traveler, you may know that Southwest Airlines is now the country’s biggest low-cost airline — with flights to 99 cities in the United States as well as 10 international destinations and some 4,000 departures a day in peak season. By using a card that racks up reward points fast you can get in on the many globe-trotting options for even less.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Southwest Airlines / Money Talks News

Why we like it: For the relatively modest use of this credit card on $1,000 in the first three months, this card will rack up 40,000 Rapid Rewards points and deliver another 3,000 bonus points after your anniversary as a card member. The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flier program consistently gets high ratings among airline rewards programs. U.S. News & World Report ranked it the fifth 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:

  • Earn 2 reward points for each $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards partner hotels and car rentals.
  • For all other purchases, earn 1 point for each $1 spent.
  • No blackout dates.

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 Credit Card

Southwest Airlines / Money Talks News

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

More highlights:

  • Earn 2 reward points for each $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • For all other purchases, earn 1 point for each $1 spent
  • No blackout dates
  • 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.

If you’re inclined to ring up larger balances on your plastic, and expect to do lots of travel, here’s another option for you, one that offers even more flexibility for redeeming reward points through an array of airline and hotel loyalty programs:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase / Money Talks News

Why we like it: This highly rated travel card racks up 50,000 reward 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.

More highlights:

  • Earn 2 points for each $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 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 percent more value — for example, 50,000 points are worth $625 for travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Note: $95 annual fee

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

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 rewards card or trick? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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