The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

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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!

Featured Travel Rewards Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: If you want to score a cheap plane ticket across the pond to explore Europe, your best bet is to choose your destination based on price and then use their amazing train system to get where you want to go. But who wants to come out of pocket for train tickets? The Barclay World Arrival card lets you charge travel related expenses to your card and then use your miles for statement credits. For example, the 50,000 bonus miles you receive will be enough to purchase a German Rail Pass for 2 people which will allow unlimited travel anywhere in Germany and even into some neighboring countries for 10 consecutive days!

What Additional Perks Does This Card Offer? Most US based cards are using chip and signature, but the World Arrival has a Chip Plus pin that will allow use overseas at unmanned kiosks. Couple this with no foreign transaction fees and it’s the perfect card for international travel.

$89 / waived first year
Annual Fee

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Current Offer: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer ends 4/5/2017.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: Starwood Preferred points don't just give you access to some of the best hotels in the world, they are also transferrable to some of the best frequent flyer programs as well. Increments of 20,000 points transferred to airline partners receive a 5,000 point bonus. So, let's do the math -- you will have a minimum of 40,000 points after bonus and minimum spend which can then be converted to 50,000 airline miles. (40,000 + 10,000 bonus) If you were to transfer those miles to the British Airways distance based Avios program, that would be enough for 3 round trip direct flights to on American up to 1,150 miles each way. This could take you from DFW to Miami in one direction, or from DFW to Palm Springs in the other!

What Additional Perks Does This Card Offer? 3x points for Hyatt property purchases, 2x points at restaurants and airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and car rental agencies.

Annual Fee, waived first year

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What This Bonus Do for Me: When thinking about the best way to use your Chase points, you could always take this 50,000-point bonus to book up to $625 in travel through Chase's travel portal. However, that is JV, and you my friend, are ready for Varsity! Take advantage of Chase's transfer partners to get some outsized value. 45,000 points transferred over to Hyatt will get you 3 nights at the Andaz in Costa Rica with access to FREE childcare through the outstanding Camp Hyatt! Or, if you prefer, move your points to United and you will get 2 round trip tickets to anywhere in the Continental US!

What Additional Perks Does This Card Offer? 2x Dining at Restaurants, 2x Travel (Including Tolls), 5,000 additional ultimate rewards points for authorized users.

Annual Fee, waived first year

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Current Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: The best way to really maximize your City Thank You points is to transfer to one of Citi's partners. For example, Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles Program uses a distance based chart. Transferring 35,000 Thank You points (which could easily come from 30,000 sign up bonus being met with spend in bonus categories) to the Asia Miles Program will enable you to fly 1st Class from New York City to Vancouver in what many consider to be the best premium airline in the world! Krug and caviar are in YOUR future!

What Additional Perks Does This Card Offer? 3x points on travel, 3x points on gas, 3x points on dining out and entertainment.

Annual Fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Current Offer: 20,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: On the surface, it seems this card's 20,000 bonus is worth $200 in travel credits -- but depending on your relationship with Bank of America, it could potentially be much more (up to $349). This would be a great way to cover those fancy umbrella drinks or a couple of spa treatments on your next cruise!

What Additional Perks Does This Card Offer? 2 points for every purchase and 5% rebate on all travel credit redemptions.

Annual Fee

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Last Edited: April 21, 2017 @ 9:59 pmThe content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!