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This is one of the most exciting times to earn credit card rewards. The best credit cards to earn travel rewards offer large signup bonuses, some of the highest purchase rewards per dollar spent, and exciting card benefits. If you’re ready to maximize your daily spending, now is one of the best times to do so.
We all have different spending styles and reward preferences. That’s why we’re giving you several options for some of the best travel credit cards 2019 and some of the best cash back credit cards 2019. Here are some of the best credit cards to earn travel rewards in multiple categories.
Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards: Flexible Travel Credit Cards
If you like options, you need a flexible travel credit card. These are the best option when you’re not loyal to a certain airline or hotel brand. The following cards may also offer point redemption bonuses and point transfers that help make each point worth more than the benchmark 1 cent redemption value.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – 60,000 Bonus Points and 1:1 Point Transfers
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is arguably the best credit card for travel miles. You have flexible point redemption options and a reasonable $95 annual fee. For starters, you can earn a whopping $750 signup bonus (60,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus you earn unlimited 2x points on all travel and dining purchases (1 point for everything else).
The best reason to consider this card is for the point redemption options. Each point is worth 25% more (1.25 cents each) when booking any award travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Here’s an example. Your 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $125 in award travel. However, you need 12,500 points with other cards to book the same travel reward.
Another option that makes this card unique is the 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners. Some partners include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, and World of Hyatt. You might be able to squeeze more value by transferring and booking directly through the travel provider. The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits for travel also make this a worthwhile option.
Chase Sapphire Reserve – $300 Travel Credit and $750 Signup Bonus
If you travel constantly, the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be a better option than the Sapphire Preferred. If you can use the Sapphire Reserve travel benefits, you can help justify its $450 annual fee. These benefits include a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge membership, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit.
Travel and dining purchases earn 3 points per $1 and all remaining purchases get 1 point per dollar spent. You also have access to the 1:1 Chase travel transfer partners and you get a 50% redemption bonus when booking award travel directly through Chase. Aesthetically speaking, this is one of the best metal credit cards to have.
Finally, you can get a one-time 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus worth $750 in award travel after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Platinum Card from American Express – Premium Air Travel Perks
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best premium credit cards 2019. Frequent flyers benefit the most from this card. That’s because you get an annual $200 airline fee credit, complimentary access to several leading airport lounge networks including The Centurion and Priority Pass, and earn 5x points when booking flights directly through the airline or AmexTravel.com.
Your points are most valuable when transferred to one of the 1:1 Membership Rewards airline transfer partners. These airlines include Delta, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, and Asia Miles. You can also book award flights directly through Amex Travel.
You will need an excellent 740 credit score to have the best approval odds. If so, you might qualify for the Platinum Card’s largest bonus offer worth $1,000 in award travel. The CardMatch™ tool lets you know if you can earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
Learn more: CardMatch™
Citi Premier – Earn 3x Points on Travel & 25% Air Travel Bonus
The Citi Premier℠ Card is a good alternative to the Chase Sapphire Preferred when the Chase 5/24 rule flags you for too many recently opened credit card accounts. In fact, you might earn more points on your daily purchases with the Citi ThankYou rewards program:
- 3x points on travel including hotels, public transit, tolls, and gas stations
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
- 1x points on all remaining purchases
Points are worth 1.25 cents when redeeming award flights through Citi. Otherwise, the standard redemption value is 1 cent per point. You can also transfer your points to airlines including Asia Miles, JetBlue, and Avianca LifeMiles. Note that Avianca LifeMiles credit cards currently have a 60k signup bonus opportunity available for a limited time.
The annual fee for the Citi Premier is $95 and there is no foreign transaction fee. New Citi cardmembers can also earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points worth $750 in award travel.
Capital One Venture Rewards – 2x Miles on Every Purchase and Global Entry Fee Credit
Flat-rate rewards credit cards don’t receive a lot of attention. But they are a better option if you have trouble maximizing another card’s tiered bonus categories. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2x miles on every $1 spent. Hotels.com/venture purchases earn 10x miles until January 2020.
Miles are redeemable as travel statement credits, upcoming travel, and even transferrable to airline loyalty programs. There isn’t a redemption minimum when getting a travel statement credit.
Capital One also covers your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee by offering a fee credit. The current signup bonus is 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in award travel, after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
The Capital One Venture is another good travel card that often gets compared with the top cards available, such as the Sapphire Preferred. Check out our review of the Capital One Venture Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Preferred to learn more about each.
Wells Fargo Propel – No Annual Fee and 50% Flight Redemption Bonus
The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card defies the expectation that travel credit cards without an annual fee are lackluster. This card, one of the best Wells Fargo credit card options, has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. If you want a travel credit card with a premium credit card-like rewards program without the additional benefits and fees, this is a great option.
You get unlimited 3x points on these purchases:
- Eating out and dining in
- Gas, rideshares, transit
- Popular streaming services
Points are worth an impressive 1.5 cents each (50% more) when redeeming for award flights using the Wells Fargo Travel Center. One downside is that the Propel doesn’t have point transfer partners. If no annual fee credit cards are of interest to you, you may want to review our best no annual fee travel credit cards list.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards: Airline Credit Cards
Loyalty has its perks, especially in the travel industry. These airline credit cards offer plenty of perks that are worth the annual fee.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card – $75 Travel Credit and 4 Upgraded Bookings
Southwest Airlines continues to push the envelope with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. You get a $75 Southwest travel credit and four Upgraded Bookings (when available) each year. All Southwest purchases earn 2x points and non-Southwest purchases earn 1 point per $1. Each purchase reward earned counts toward the annual 110,000-point Companion Pass requirement.
Plus, you earn a 7,500-point anniversary bonus each card anniversary. As short-haul award flights start around 5,000 points each way, this bonus can be enough for a free flight.
However, you might wait to apply when the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card offers are higher than the normal 40,000-point offer. Several times a year, the offer (generally) bumps up to 60,000 points, like the offer Hawaiian Airlines credit cards are currently promoting.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card – Up to 9 Free Checked Bags
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express lets you and up to 8 travel companions check your first bag for free. That’s potentially $540 roundtrip savings in waived checked bag fees. Even if you fly solo, you offset the $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) after two roundtrips.
You also earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and get a 20% discount on in-flight purchases.
When you want the chance to earn Medallion Qualification Miles or get an annual companion certificate, you might try upgrading to one of the higher-end best Delta credit cards.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
United Club Card – Premier Access benefits
United Airlines has one of the best premium co-brand airline credit cards in the United Club℠ Card. The first two checked bags are free for you and one companion. You also get free United Club lounge which can save you up to $550 a year. Bear in mind this card’s annual fee is $450.
Being a cardholder also gives you United Premier Access perks including priority check-in, security and baggage processing, and boarding. Space-available Premier Upgrades are also available. Like the cards listed above, there are other United credit card options if the Club Card isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.
Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards: Hotel Credit Cards
You can also scoop up good travel deals, such as the ability to earn 75k bonus points with some of the best Marriott credit cards. One of the best benefits of having hotel credit cards can be annual night certificates that can be worth more than the annual card fee.
World of Hyatt Credit Card – Up to 2 Free Nights Each Year
Hotel points are generally worth less than airline miles. However, Hyatt points are a rare exception to this rule as you can usually get 1.5 to 2 cents per award booking. The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one of the best ways to earn Hyatt points.
Hyatt purchases earn up to 9x points (4x points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5x per $1 as a World of Hyatt member). You also get 2x points on dining, plane tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting, and fitness club and gym memberships. Non-bonus spending earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
One of the most exciting card perks is getting up to two free nights at any category 1-4 hotel that normally cost 15,000 points or less per night. The first free night is automatic each card anniversary. You get the second free night by spending $15,000 during a cardmember anniversary year.
Owning this card also gives you instant Hyatt Discoverist loyalty status. Discoverist status benefits include 10% bonus points, free breakfast at SLH hotels and select Hyatt Place locations, and space-available room upgrades.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – Up to $600 Travel Credits
There are four different co-brand Hilton credit cards. The Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card is the most crown jewel of the Hilton lineup. Although you pay a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), you can enjoy at least $600 in yearly travel credits and perks.
Here is everything you can get by owning the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card:
- First Weekend Night Reward at card opening and each anniversary
- Second Weekend Night Reward after spending $60,000 in a calendar year
- $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
- $100 Hilton on-property credit
- $250 airline fee credit
- Priority Pass Select membership (you and up to two guests per visit)
- Hilton Honors Diamond status
- Earn up to 14x points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating hotels and resorts
You can also earn a welcome offer of 150,000 bonus Hilton Honors points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Award nights start at 5,000 points making this bonus worth up to 30 free Hilton nights. Or you can also bank your points for swanky stays like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island which costs 95,000 points per night.
Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards: Cash Rewards Credit Cards
Sometimes there’s nothing better than getting cash rewards. These cards help you earn more than the standard 1% cash reward.
Chase Freedom – Up to 5% Back
One of the most exciting cash rewards credit cards is the Chase Freedom®. You get up to 5% back on the first $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly bonus categories. Some of the bonus categories include gas stations (making it one of the best gas credit cards), grocery stores, and tolls. All other purchases earn 1% back. You can earn a $150 cash bonus by spending $500 in the first 3 months of account opening.
This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You may consider this card if you own a Chase Sapphire product for the 5x bonus categories. Then you redeem your points for travel with your Sapphire card for the travel redemption bonus or 1:1 point transfers, making this one of the best Chase credit cards.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express – 6% Back at U.S. Supermarkets
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express pays 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year then 1%). It also offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services. You get 3% back on transit and U.S. gas stations (1% for everything else).
The $250 welcome offer only requires a $1,000 minimum spend on purchases in the first 3 months. This can be one of the best credit cards for millennials.
Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards: Business Credit Cards
Your business spending can be more rewarding with these credit cards. Because business spending tends to be different, you’ll see how these cards offer perks for business spending.
Chase Ink Business Preferred – $1,000 Signup Bonus and 25% Redemption Bonus
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 in combined spending for travel, shipping purchases, social media and search engine advertising, and cable, phone and Internet service provider purchases.
Your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for award travel on Chase or you can transfer them to the 1:1 Chase airline and hotel partners.
This card also has an 80,000-point signup bonus worth up to $1,000 in award travel. Spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months to qualify. The annual fee is a reasonable $95 per year.
For a no annual fee business credit card, consider the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card which earns 1.5x cash back on every card purchase.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card – Flight Perks
The brand new Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card brings various air travel benefits. And you can earn 80,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points when spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. You get four Upgraded Booking per year (when available), inflight WiFi credits, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and 9,000 Rapid Rewards card anniversary points.
You also earn 3x points on Southwest purchases. Social media and search engine advertising plus Internet, phone and cable service purchases earn unlimited 2x points. All non-bonus spending earns 1 point per $1.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Summary of the Best Credit Cards to Earn Travel Rewards
It’s easy to earn bonus points on almost any of your most common purchases. More importantly, these cards make have valuable rewards and sometimes additional card perks. If you want to strengthen your spending power, these best credit cards to earn travel rewards are a good starting point.
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.
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