Hey, travelers, or wannabe travelers: Get where you’re going cheaper, upgrade flights and save on luxury lodging by getting yourself signed up for the right credit card.
There are lots of cards out there — some are hotel loyalty programs, others give you points to redeem for flights on specific airlines. But the trick is to maximize rewards and flexibility in how you redeem them. And for that, Chase Sapphire Preferred is our top pick.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Why we love it: With this card, you rake in a whopping 60,000 welcome bonus points (worth $725 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account. This is really a great deal — assuming you would spend this amount on regular expenses and, importantly, pay off the balance. We’re not alone in our fondness for this card, which Kiplinger Personal Finance named “Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption” in 2018.
- Earn 2 points for each dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases with this card.
- When booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you face no blackout dates or restrictions. If there is a seat available, you can book a ticket with points.
- Points transfer 1-to-1 to leading hotel and airline loyalty programs.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Note: This card has an annual fee of $95.
Here’s our second favorite card for racking up travel rewards — especially if you stay in a lot of hotels, because the rewards payout is extra high when you use it for that kind of lodging.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Why we like it: This card offers a hefty welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months with the account. You’ll earn a whopping 10 miles for every dollar spent on hotels worldwide, plus 2 miles per dollar on other purchases. 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. This travel card was our second-favorite, but CNBC gave it their top slot.
- Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent with this card, every day.
- Earn 10 miles for every dollar spent on hotels around the world.
- No blackout dates when you travel.
- Points transfer to more than a dozen hotel and airline loyalty programs.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees.
- No annual fee for the first year, then $95 per year.
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.