Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card

This travel card is one of the best for any kind of traveler. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card fits for any travel purpose, for travel newbies and for tempted travelers.

  • Large signup bonus – 50,000 reward points after you spend $4,000 in first 3 months. Additional 5,000 reward points bonus if you add an authorized user to your account;
  • Nice rewards for dining out and travel purchases;
  • No foreign transaction fee;
  • Access to travel rewards maximization strategy if combined with Chase Freedom® credit card.
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Signup bonus

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card offers you a great signup bonus – as soon as you spend $4,000 on this card within first 3 months you will get 50,000 reward points. Also you get additional 5,000 points when you authorize a first user to your card.

Reward points

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card you get 2 reward points per each $1 spent towards travel purchases and dining out, and 1 point per each $1 spent on all other purchases. Notably, not only airfare and hotel stays are considered as “travel purchases”, but a wide range of other travel-related expenses – taxis, toll roads, car rentals and others.

Points redemption

Points earning rate offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card might seem not really profitable as compared to other travel credit cards, but this card really shines when you travel a lot and redeem your points for travel. When you redeem points obtained on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card on airfare and other travel-related purchases, you get a 25% increase in redemption rate, i.e. you redeem points with effective rate 1.25 cents per 1 point. You also can transfer your points to one of the Chase partners – to see the full lists, check our review of Chase transfer partners airlines and hotel loyalty programs.

What is also important about this card is that holders of the Chase Freedom® credit card can use travel maximization strategy focused on points transfer from one Chase credit card to another. To learn more about this strategy, read our guide “Combine Chase Cards To Maximize Travel Rewards”.

How much it costs

$95 annual fee is waived for the first year. Variable 16.99% - 23.99% APR is applied based on your creditworthiness. Bank might apply penalty fee up to $37 on late payments and if payment returns.

To learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card, read our full review.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards®

One of the best options for those who want to earn points at the good rate on all purchase categories (if Elite status reached). Points redemption for travel works as reimbursement of expenses. You are not tied to particular list of transfer partners anymore!

  • No annual fee;
  • 0% foreign transaction fee;
  • Rewards on all purchases;
  • Quite valuable 20,000 signup bonus (worth $200 if redeemed for travel);
  • Flexible options for redemption on travel.
  • Basic rewards rate is lower as compared to most other travel cards (1.5 points per $1).

Reward points

Spend $1,000 on this card within first 3 months to get a 20,000 signup bonus. Each $1 spent on all purchases grants you 1.5 reward points. This is a distinctive feature of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card – you get quite good amount of points without the need to worry how to maximize your rewards.

Points redemption

Of course such earning rate might seem low as compared to other travel credit cards, but tempted Bank of America customers might increase their effective points earning rate up to 2.62 points per each $1 spent on all purchases. To do this, you need to have checking of saving account at Bank of America and to reach certain Elite status tier within Bank of America Preferred Rewards® loyalty program.

Another great option to earn lucrative amount of points is to pay for airfare and hotel stays from this card – travel purchases will bring you 3 points per each $1. Points redemption on travel with this card works as travel expenses reimbursement – first you make a purchase, then you redeem points to get compensation for it in form of statement credit.

How much it costs

Annual fee is $0. This card provides you introductory 0% APR for 12 months. After that, a variable 15.99% - 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers applies based on your creditworthiness. Cash advances APR is 25.99%. Penalty APR up to 29.99% applies indefinitely in cases when you make any payment late. Also, up to $38 penalty fee applies for late payments, and up to $27 penalty fee – for returned payments.

To learn more about the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card, read our full review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

One of the greatest airline co-branded credit card that allows your companions travel for free!

  • No foreign transaction fee;
  • 60,000 points signup bonus;
  • Companion Pass after 110,000 points earned;
  • Card anniversary points bonus.
  • $99 annual fee;
  • Limited list of destinations to fly with Southwest airlines;
  • No luxury perks.

Reward points

You get a 60,000 signup bonus after you spend $2,000 on this card within first 3 months. You get 2 reward points per each $1 spend towards Southwest airlines flights and car rental agencies. 1 point per each $1 will be granted on all other purchases. Your points never expire as long as you keep your account open. Plus, each credit card anniversary you get 6,000 bonus points. Moreover, for the first 3 months after account opening you will get 1 point per each $1 of the balance transfer (for the first $15,000).

Additional benefits

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card provides you flight-related benefits mostly. First and second checked bags (if they meet size and weight requirements) are free for you, and no changes fee will be applied. Plus, you can book Southwest tickets without blackout dates.

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card you easily can move towards Southwest Rapid Rewards® Elite status called “Companion Pass”. As soon as you perform 100 one-way trips with Southwest during a calendar year, or earn 110,000 reward points during a calendar year, you will be able to get a free ticket for any companion to fly with you on any flight with Southwest.

How much it costs

Annual fee is $99. A variable 16.74%-23.74% APR applies according to your creditworthiness. Also, bank charges penalty fees up to $37 in case of late payment or if payment returns.

To learn more about Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit card, read our full review.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express

This card is a winner in “best for hotel” category among travel credit cards. It grants a great points earning rate for purchases at SPG® and Marriott properties, great redemption rate for hotel stays, and bonus for points transfer to partner airlines.

  • Relatively low 16.24% - 20.24% variable APR;
  • Cost-efficient rewards offer for hotel stays;
  • No foreign transaction fee;
  • Opportunity to move towards elite Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) status;
  • List of benefits at SPG® brand hotels, such as free in-room Wi-Fi.
  • Best rewards available only if you stay at Starwood brand hotels (Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, etc.);
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Reward points

Spend $3,000 on this card within first 3 months to earn a 25,000 signup bonus. With The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express credit card you earn up to 5 reward points per each $1 spent at Starwood brand hotels, 2 points at Marriott hotels, and 1 point on all other purchases.

Points redemption

Most of redemption options available for this card are quite regular (gift cards, merchandise, etc.), but the most profitable one is to redeem points on hotel stays within SPG® hotel chain. If you redeem points on hotel stays at SPG®, you get one of the most attractive redemption rates among hotel credit cards – around 2 cents per 1 reward point.

Additional benefits

Also, each time you transfer 20,000 points to the one of 30 airline partners, you get additional 5,000 points on your account. In addition, with this card you automatically get a list of complimentary services, such as free in-room Wi-Fi and late checkout.

How much it costs

$95 annual fee is waived for the first year. A variable APR 16.24% - 20.24% applies according to your creditworthiness. 29.99% penalty APR to new transactions on your account might be applied (for at least 6 months) if you make any payment late or your payment is returned.  Also bank charges up to $38 fee might for late payments or if payment returns.

To learn more about The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express, read our full review.