If you love to travel like I do, one of the best things you can bring along on your adventures is a nice travel rewards credit card. It’s safer and often more convenient than carrying cash. Plus, you get the added benefit of earning airline miles or other rewards just for spending on everyday items. Some of the best travel rewards credit cards offer more than one point per dollar spent, come with bonuses, and make redeeming your points easy.
Most of the cards below would make an excellent choice because they don’t place restrictions on which airlines you can use. We’ve listed our favorites and should you have a card you think deserves to be on the list, let us know!
PT’s Pick for the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card
Blue Sky from American Express® – The Blue Sky from American Express card is a regular credit card. Not a charge card. It has an excellent travel rewards program. Both in how you earn the points and how they are redeemed. You earn 1 point per dollar spent on the Blue Sky from American Express. However, you can earn 7,500 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within 3 months, which can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit. In addition to this, when you book your travel, you don’t have to go through a travel agent. You can book the flight yourself through whatever means necessary. You just have to use the Blue Sky from American Express to pay for the flight.
The Blue Sky from American Express has no annual fee, and comes with a nice promotional 0% interest rate on purchases for 12 months. Finally they have more travel perks to take advantage of: 20% off travel savings program, American Express traveler checks and their ticket savings center where you can get exclusive deals on shows and sporting events.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express – The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, a true credit card, is considered a hotel card by some, but I think with the way the points transfer to the airline miles programs, it should be on par with the other travel rewards credit cards. With this card you earn 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 15,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months. An additional 5,000 bonus Starpoints can be earned when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines. You also earn 1 Starpoint with regular spending, 2 Starpoints when you spend at the Starwood hotels and resorts and an extra point as a gold or platinum member, that’s up to 5 Starpoints per dollar. Wow! Points are redeemed through the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which has some nice point conversion rates for airfare. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card has no annual fee the first year, after that it’s $65. Additionally, the card comes with a variable rate, currently 15.24%, 17.24% or 19.24%. If you do a lot of spending at hotels, this is your card.
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card – The only true charge card in the bunch, I had to throw in the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. Being a charge card, you don’t pay any interest because you pay it off each month. And you don’t have a pre-set spending limit to hold you back. It has some sweet travel rewards for the frequent flier. With the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, you earn triple points per dollar spent on airfare, double points on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and single point on other purchases. Redeeming the rewards is a bit tricky through the American Express Membership Rewards program. I suggest you visit the MR list of airlines to see how the points will convert. The annual fee is waived in the first year, and after that it’s $175. You also have the opportunity to earn up to 40,000 Membership Rewards points in the first year, 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months and another 15,000 points when you spend $30,000 within one calendar year.
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