It is important to read reviews from around the web about travel credit cards before choosing one. These are some of the top current picks based on the pros, cons and reward points.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
This card tops the list because of its versatility in reward accrual. When cardholders redeem their rewards as travel credit and take advantage of other card benefits, they can enjoy rates as high as 2.5 percent. If preferred members use their airline miles, they receive a discount of 20 percent. There are 10 different programs for cardholders to transfer their points to. Most cardholders rate this card highly because of its double points on travel and dining purchases. Also, it is rated highly since it works with most major airline carriers. One of the disadvantages is that the card no longer offers Amtrak as a loyalty program option for point transfers.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
The list of benefits for this card are about as long as its name. Most cardholders rated it highly for foreign travel benefits and signup bonuses totaling about $300. Cardholders enjoy a free checked bag for themselves and up to four other people in their travel party. When cardholders redeem their miles using this card, they earn 10 percent of those back as a reward. The main drawback is the annual fee of $95, which is waived only during the first year. Also, travelers are limited to using OneWorld carriers or American Airlines.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles
This card comes with a surprisingly reasonable APR for an airline miles card. Frequent Delta fliers rave about the card. The rewards on this card can be used on flights, hotels, rental cars and several other travel necessities. Cardholders receive a free companion ticket each year, and there are no fees for foreign transactions. The main drawback is the steep annual fee of $195, which is not waived during the first year.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
For those who fly Southwest often, this card is rated highly for the generous reward of 40,000 points for spending $1,000 within the first few months. Cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on participating rental cars and hotels. Also, many people love the free annual loyalty reward of 6,000 points. Some cardholders saw the annual fee of $99 as a drawback and were disappointed that it was not waived during the first year.
United Mileage Plus Explorer
Most people rate this card highly for domestic travel. It features signup rewards totaling $300. Cardholders enjoy perks such as a free checked bag when flying, priority boarding and two annual one-time passes to United airport lounges across the country. Each United purchase is rewarded with two points for every dollar spent, and one point per dollar is awarded for all other purchases. Many cardholders raved about being able to earn 30,000 points if they spent $1,000 within the first few months, and spending $25,000 annually earned them 10,000 bonus points. The main drawbacks that cardholders complained about were the annual fee of $95 and the limitation of mileage redemption to United Airlines or other StarAlliance partners.
These are just a few of the top options. The Capital One Venture and Barclay Arrival Plus cards also rank highly overall. When choosing a card, pay attention to the annual fee, how many points are rewarded for specific purchases, the APR and the redemption limitations.