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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Barclaycard Arrival PlusT World Elite MasterCard

40,000 Bonus Miles; 2 Miles per Dollar on All Purchases; 10% Redemption Bonus

barclaycard arrival plusThere are two versions of the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard: one with no annual fee and fewer bonuses, and the annual fee version, which is a chip card for added convenience and security when making transactions abroad. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard that carries an $89 annual fee provides one of the largest sign-up bonuses available on a travel card, as well as an opportunity to earn a bonus on miles after they are redeemed.

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  • Sign-up Bonus. The annual fee version of the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard awards a bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. These miles can be redeemed for $400 off your next travel redemption.
  • Fees. The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year. Balance transfers are $10 or 4%, whichever is greater. There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR is based on your creditworthiness and will be either 14.99% or 18.99%, varying with the prime rate. The APR for balance transfers is also 14.99% or 18.99%, but there is a 0% intro APR for 12 months for each balance transfer made within 45 days of opening your account.
  • Travel Rewards. You are able to earn two miles per dollar on all purchases with no limits or expiration date, as long as your account remains in good standing. Your miles can be redeemed starting at 2,500 miles (worth $25) as statement credits for travel-related purchases made within the previous 90 days, such as airlines, hotels and motels, and car rentals. You may also choose to redeem your miles for gift cards or merchandise, but you get the most value through travel redemption.
Other Perks. In addition to the sign-up bonus and the miles awarded on purchases, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard awards a 10% bonus when you redeem for travel purchases. For instance, if you redeem 20,000 miles for a travel credit of $200, the travel redemption would also earn a 10% redemption bonus of $20 which you can use on your next redemption. Additionally, you receive complimentary access to your online FICO credit score.

Starwood Preferred GuestR Credit Card from American Express

25,000 Starpoints Bonus; Up to 5 Starpoints at Starwood Properties; 1 Point on Other Purchases; Bonus Starpoints When Transferred to Frequent Flyer Programs

american express starwood preferred guest cardThe Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (a Money Crashers partner) is an extremely popular travel card because of minimal fees and the rewards program which allows you to earn Starpoints. The program is also favorable because of the opportunity to earn, transfer, and redeem Starpoints for airline miles and frequent flyer programs - oftentimes faster than you would with specific airline credit cards, as well as hotel stays at Sheraton, W Hotels, and other popular properties.

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  • Sign-up Bonus. You earn a bonus of 10,000 Starpoints after you make your first purchase with the card (within the first year). When you spend $5,000 with your card within the first 6 months, you also receive an additional bonus of 15,000 Starpoints.
  • Fees. The annual fee of $65 is waived the first year. Balance transfers are 3% or $5, whichever is greater, and the foreign transaction fee is 2.7%.
  • APR. The APR is 15.24%, 17.24%, or 19.24% based on your credit worthiness and varies with the prime rate.
  • Travel Rewards. Purchases are awarded with Starpoints. Each dollar spent earns one Starpoint, and each dollar spent with Starwood properties, Starwood retail establishments, and Starwood online stores earns four or five points - two from American Express, and two from Starwood Preferred Guest Program. If you are also a Gold or Platinum SPG elite, you earn an additional Starpoint from the SPG Program (totaling five). Starpoints can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood properties. Category 1 properties may be available as low as 2,000 Starpoints, and category 7 properties may require 35,000 Starpoints. There are no blackout dates on free nights in standard rooms. Starpoints are worth 1.25 cents per point up to over two cents per point, depending on redemption.
Other Perks. You are able to earn elite statuses and membership levels with each Starwood stay, which also provides special benefits and perks for travelers. As a cardholder, you automatically earn credit for five nights and two stays each year toward these elite statuses. In addition to stays with Starwood properties, your points may also be redeemed for airline miles on SPG flights, which includes over 350 airlines. You also have the option to transfer Starpoints to frequent flyer programs such as Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, often at a ratio of one-to-one. As an extra bonus, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to any of the 30 frequent flyer programs that are included, you earn a bonus of 5,000 Starpoints.

See our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review for more information.

Chase Sapphire PreferredR Card

40,000 Bonus Points; 3 Points on Airfare and Hotels Through Ultimate Rewards; 2 Points on Restaurants and Travel; 1 Point Everywhere Else

chase sapphire preferred cardThe Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers travelers an alternative to the standard miles credit cards. Instead of rewarding purchases with a specific airline or travel brand, Chase Sapphire Preferred awards restaurant and general travel purchases with points. Points can be redeemed for much more than just airline tickets. This option provides flexibility if you prefer to choose from various airlines or hotels when traveling, rather than one brand.

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  • Sign-up Bonus. You earn a bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add your first authorized user. If you redeem these points for travel through Chase's online portal, Ultimate Rewards, they are worth $540.
  • Fees. The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is $95, which is waived the first year. Balance transfers are $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR on purchases and balance transfers is 15.99% and varies with the prime rate.
  • Travel Rewards. You are awarded two points per dollar spent at restaurants and on travel, which includes airfare, hotels, cruises, and rental cars, and one point on all other purchases. You earn a total of three points per dollar spent on airfare and hotel purchases when you book through the Ultimate Rewards program provided by Chase. Points can be redeemed for airline tickets, gift cards, merchandise, and cash. If you redeem for cash, the minimum required is 2,000 points for $20. Points are unlimited and do not expire. You are also able to transfer your points at a ratio of one-to-one to many frequent flyer programs.
Other Perks. As a cardholder of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you receive 20% off travel such as airfare, hotels, and cruises when you redeem through Ultimate Rewards. For example, if you are redeeming for a $540 flight through Ultimate Rewards, you only need 45,000 points. The bonus if redeemed for cash would be $450, but through the Ultimate Rewards program would be enough points for a $540 flight.

See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review for more information.

Capital OneR VentureR Rewards Credit Card

Sign-up Bonus of 20,000 Miles; 2 Miles per Dollar Spent on All Purchases

capital one venture rewards cardTravel rewards credit cards often award purchases with points or miles that can be earned and redeemed with specific airlines or hotels. The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card allows you the opportunity to earn miles on all purchases and then redeem those miles for virtually any travel expense, regardless of the brand.

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  • Sign-up Bonus. When you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account, you earn a bonus of 20,000 miles, which can be applied to $200 in travel purchases.
  • Fees. The annual fee of $59 is waived the first year. There is no balance transfer fee, no over-limit fee, and no foreign transaction fee.
  • APR. The APR for the Capital One Venture Rewards card is 13.9%, 16.9%, 0r 20.9% on balance transfers, and the APR for purchases varies with the prime rate.
  • Travel Rewards. The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card awards two miles per dollar spent on purchases. Each mile is worth approximately one cent. Miles do not expire and are unlimited. You can redeem your miles for travel purchases made within the last 90 days using Purchase Eraser, which credits you for travel purchases that have already been made. Examples of qualifying purchases include airlines, car rentals, hotels, bus lines, and taxis. You may also redeem miles in the Rewards Center for travel as well, or for cash, gift cards, and merchandise through the Capital One website.
Other Perks. There are no blackout dates or restrictions on flights - you are able to fly free at any time. The flexibility of the Capital One Venture Rewards card allows you to choose any airline and purchase your ticket and receive credit toward any elite statuses the airline offers, while receiving a credit for the purchase.

See our Capital One Venture Rewards Card Review for more information.

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