15 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

rewards crit cards fall into several broad categories. First, airline rewards crit cards are design to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships. When purchasing airfare, in-flight incidentals, and possibly other -relat items, cardholders earn points at accelerat rates. Once enough points are rack up, they can be reem for free or discount flights, free or ruc baggage fees, and other goodies. Some airline rewards cards offer additional perks and benefits, such as airport lounge access, discounts with hotel partners, and bonus miles for reaching certain milestones.

Hotel credit cards focus their rewards power on hotel stays and relat expenses. Many major hotel brands and brand families offer at least a handful of crit cards that reward cardholders for room, food, and incidental purchases (such as spa treatments) at properties they own. Many hotel rewards crit cards also accumulate points for everyday outlays, such as regular restaurant meals, gasoline, and supermarket purchases. Cardholders can reem their points for free or discount nights and other hotel expenses.

Lately, numbers of cash back credit cards have jump into the rewards game. General-purpose cards often offer accelerat cash back earnings on gasoline, airfare, and restaurant purchases – all critical, and sometimes costly, expenses for frequent ers. Cash back rewards can be reem for merchandise and ft cards purchas online, airfare and hotel stays purchas directly through providers, and actual cash or statement crits.

If you’re a frequent er, you likely stand to benefit from all of these card . And if you own your own business, you can count on many consumer crit cards having small business credit card counterparts – often with additional features and benefits for small business owners. Whether you’re an individual or business customer, many come with attractive promotions and sign-up bonuses or welcome offers that can be hard for deal-seeking applicants to resist. Incidentally, we outline some of the best small business cards toward the bottom of this list.

Here’s a look at today’s best rewards crit cards.

chase sapphire preferred credit cardchase sapphire preferred credit cardChase Sapphire Preferr is one of the most popular rewards crit cards around, and for good reason. It earns an unlimit 2 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and purchases, plus 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Like Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earn with Sapphire Preferr to participating loyalty programs at a covet one-to-one ratio.

Ultimate Rewards points are worth up to $0.0125 apiece when reem for purchases (such as airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals) through the Ultimate Rewards portal – a 25% boost to their cash remption value. Points are worth $0.01 or less when reem for non- purchases and cash equivalents, such as ft cards, statement crits, direct deposits, checks, and physical merchandise.

Oh, and don’t miss Chase Sapphire Preferr Card’s awesome solid sign-up bonus. When you spend at least $4,000 in elible purchases in 3 months, you get 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. The $95 annual fee is waiv for the first year.

See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.










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2X miles per dollar on every purchase; 50,000 Miles bonus

capital one venture credit card

Like Discover it Miles and BankAmericard Travel Rewards, Venture Rewards allows you to reem points for statement crits on a wide range of purchases, including flights, rental cars, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, and incidental expenses. You can also reem for general statement crits or paper checks.

This card has a very good early spend bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. That’s worth up to $500. Just be aware that the annual fee is $95 (waiv in the first year).

See our Capital One Venture Rewards Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has been collect independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been review or provid by the card issuer. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve is an exclusive card design for frequent ers who enjoy flying and staying in style. If you can earn rewards quickly enough to offset the $450 annual fee, this is one of the best cards you can carry in your wallet – period.

Highlights include a generous sign-up bonus worth up to $750 when reem for , a $300 annual crit, access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, and a one-to-one point transfer program that boasts some of the world’s top vendors, including Southwest Airlines and the Intercontinental Hotel Group. When you transfer Ultimate Rewards points earn with your Sapphire Reserve card to participating loyalty programs, you get an equivalent number of points – 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points becomes 1,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, and so on.

Everyday spending pays off with Sapphire Reserve too. This card earns an unlimit 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and purchases. All other elible purchases earn unlimit 1 point per $1 spent. Ultimate Rewards points are worth up to $0.015 apiece when reem for purchases (with no blackout dates or seat restrictions) through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Other remption , such as statement crits and ft cards, are worth $0.01 per point or less.

See our Chase Sapphire Reserve Review for more information. Find out how to apply for this card here.

5x Membership Rewards Points Per $1 Spent; Benefits Worth $1,000+ Annually

american express platinum credit card

The Platinum Card’s rewards scheme is almost beside the point. Yes, elible airfare purchases made directly with the airline and airfare and prepaid hotel purchases made through the American Express portal earn unlimit 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn unlimit 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Among other perks, this card comes with complimentary elite status (Gold) in 2 popular travel loyalty programs

The list goes on. (We haven’t even gotten to the generous welcome offer yet.) If you’re in the market for a truly distinctive card and you’re confident you can get your money’s worth out of this card, it’s worth a closer look. Just remember that The Platinum Card is a charge card, so you to pay your balances off in full each month or risk account closure.

See our American Express Platinum Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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Unlimit 3X Miles on Purchases, Including Gas

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is one of the few rewards crit cards that includes gas and gas station purchases in its tier, which earns unlimit 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying purchases. If you do most of your long-haul by car, or you have a long commute that can feel like a road trip some days, this is a valuable inclusion that could greatly boost your net rewards.

ThankYou Premier also has a great sign-up bonus worth up to $750 when reem for airfare purchases, along with an unlimit 2x tier that rewards restaurant and entertainment spending. Plus, ThankYou Premier’s points transfer scheme mostly matches Chase Sapphire Preferr’s, with 1-to-1 transfer ratios for most partner pairs. Don’t sleep on the transfer arrangement’s value, either: some partner points or miles can be worth several times the $0.01-per-point ThankYou baseline when reem for long-haul in higher fare classes.

See our Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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Unlimit 2X Miles on All Elible Purchases

Barclaycard Arrival Plus CardBarclaycard Arrival Plus CardThe Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® earns unlimit 2 miles per $1 spent on all elible purchases. For a limit time, there’s a generous sign-up bonus too: 70,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $5,000 in elible purchases within 90 days. The 5% remption bonus lessens the sting of the 10,000-mile remption minimum. And there’s no foreign transaction fee – great news for globe-trotters looking to save money on international travel. The $89 annual fee (waiv in the first year) does demand a modicum of annual spending, though.

The most productive remption option is statement crits against recent purchases – you can reem for virtually any type of , with no blackout dates or other restrictions. Other options include ft cards, cash back, and merchandise, but they all value miles lower than the standard $0.01-per-mile rate.

See our Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.










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Unlimit 3X Points on Most Purchases, Including Gas, Rideshares, and Transit

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is another multi-tier rewards card with an expansive definition of “”: cardholders earn unlimit 3 points per $1 spent on gas, rideshares, transit all complement standard rewards card fare like airfare, car rentals, and hotels. The 3X tier has a non- inclusion, too: popular streaming services, including Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify.

Propel is one of a relative handful of rewards cards with a 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers. The 0% APR applies for 12 months from account opening – plenty of time to minimize interest charges on big-ticket purchases or balance transfers. Frugal applicants, take note: Propel has no annual fee, either.

See our Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.










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american express platinum delta skymiles business card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles earns unlimit 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on all elible Delta purchases. All other elible purchases earn unlimit 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. A limit-time welcome offer worth 2 or more round-trip economy flights within the U.S., plus a $100 statement crit, sweetens the deal further.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles really shines on the Mallion status front. Heavy spenders can earn up to 20,000 bonus Mallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) – almost enough to qualify for Silver Mallion status without requiring any complet segments. Heavy spenders can also earn up to 20,000 bonus SkyMiles per year. Plus, every cardholder can expect a complimentary companion certificate each year their account remains open and in good standing.

See our American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.










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2 SkyMiles per $1 Spent on Delta Airfare; 1 SkyMile per $1 Spent on Everything Else

american express gold delta skymiles credit card

Although this card has a $95 annual fee, the welcome offer helps – 30,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account. That’s more than enough for a round-trip award flight within the continental Unit States. Low balance transfer fees and no foreign transaction fees help as well.

If you own a business, check out the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, which is virtually identical.

See our American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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The information for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Crit Card has been collect independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been review or provid by the card issuer.

Every $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels worldwide earns you an unlimit 6 Marriott Rewards points, and you earn an unlimit 2 points per $1 for purchases made directly with airlines and rental car agencies – though not through online portals like Kayak and Expia. Restaurant purchases also earn an unlimit 2 points per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn an unlimit 1 point per $1 spent. Points don’t expire as long as you make purchases on your card every 24 months.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus also has a very generous sign-up bonus: When you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, you get 100,000 Marriott Rewards points.

See our Marriott Rewards Premier Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.

The information for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Crit Card has been collect independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been review or provid by the card issuer.

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card earns you 10 IHG Rewards points per $1 spent at Intercontinental Hotel Group hotels, including Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. Purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations earn 2 points to the dollar, while purchases everywhere else earn 1 point per $1 spent. There aren’t any spending caps or restrictions. However, the card does come with an $89 annual fee.

You can reem points for hotel nights at select Intercontinental properties, including most Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses, plus ft cards and online merchandise purchases. Remption minimums vary by remption method and date, but start at 10,000 points for hotel nights. When reem, points are generally worth about $0.005 each, though that amount varies by brand. Other benefits include complimentary TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application (up to $100 value every 5 years) and automatic IHG Platinum Elite status.

See our IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review for more information. Compare this card with other hotel rewards cards.

3 Avios Points per $1 Spent on British Airways and Partner Airfare

The information relat to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has been collect by Money Crashers and has not been review or provid by the issuer of this card.

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card isn’t just for overseas . Every $1 spent on British Airways and select partner airfare and incidentals earns you 3 points – British Airways partners include Iberia and the OpenSkies alliance. You also earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Reem your points for airfare purchases with British Airways and its partner airlines (including American Airlines) at variable point values. Shorter routes, particularly within North America, tend to be worth more. Remption minimums vary bas on route length. Be aware that there is a $95 annual fee.

If you can manage $30,000 in annual spending in any year, British Airways doubles your reem rewards on one flight, allowing a companion to come along.

See our British Airways Visa Signature Card Review for more information. Compare this card with other top airline crit cards.

Earn Unlimit 2x Miles on All Purchases; Get Up to 200,000 Miles as an Early Spend Bonus

capital one spark miles select credit card

Spark® Miles for Business has a lot of other perks too, including an early spend bonus of up to 200,000 points, worth up to $2,000 in purchases. The $95 annual fee (after the first year) is manageable when you factor in the lack of foreign transaction fee and the unlimit employee card allowance at no additional cost.

See our Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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6 Starpoints per $1 Spent at Starwood Properties; Welcome Offer Worth Up to 75,000 Points

The Starwood Preferr Guest Business Crit Card is virtually identical to the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, describ in detail above. Their fees, terms, rewards programs, and other perks are all broadly similar, with some notable exceptions.

This card earns unlimit 6 points for every $1 of elible purchases at participating SPG and Marrriott hotels. Elible purchases made at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, wireless telecom purchases made directly with U.S. providers, and shipping purchases earn 4 points per $1 spent. All other elible purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent. Terms and conditions apply – see rates & fees.

See our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.










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american express platinum delta skymiles business cardamerican express platinum delta skymiles business cardThe Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Crit Card from American Express is the business equivalent of Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and a more generous stablemate to Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express .

Like its consumer doppleganger, this card has a solid but unspectacular SkyMiles rewards program. Elible Delta purchases earn unlimit 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent; all other elible purchases earn unlimit 1 SkyMile per $1 spent.

What really sets Platinum Delta SkyMiles business apart is its Mallion status program. If you can manage at least $25,000 in elible annual spending, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Mallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Spend another $25,000 in the same calendar year ($50,000 in total elible spending) and you’ll get another 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus MQMs. Terms and conditions apply – see rates and fees.

See our Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express review for more information.










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Most crit cards come with booklet-siz cardmember agreements, but rewards programs are particularly complicat. Before you complete your card application, take time to read the fine print. Pay particular attention to restrictions on how your card accumulates rewards, as well as when, where, and how you’re allow to reem them.

As a general rule, cards that offset purchases with statement crits are somewhat less complicat than cards that require you to reem points or miles directly with merchants like hotels or airlines. However, the only way to find out for sure is to buckle down and pore over their terms and conditions statements.

What’s your preferr rewards crit card?

itorial Note: The itorial content on this page is not provid by any bank, crit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been review, approv, or otherwise endors by any of these entities. Opinions express here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, crit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been review, approv, or otherwise endors by any of these entities.

Updat: December 7, 2018
Categories: Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Lifestyle, Travel

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving stratees for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provid or commission by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been review, approv or otherwise endors by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or are answer.

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