Want a travel reward credit card but aren’t sure which one to go with? ‘Tis the season! Here’s where you begin. Rewards, points, and miles are all a part of the game. There is a good possibility you have read these words before if you are looking for a new credit card for travel purposes. But what are they, how do you get them, and why do they save you money?
Most frequent users of rewards credit cards have at least heard some not-so-subtle braggadocio about free flights, cheap hotel stays, or bonus points. However, you may believe that you lack the funds or credit to get started in this pastime.
Travel credit card newbies needn’t worry about annual fees, near-perfect credit, or a slew of convoluted limitations, since there are alternatives that don’t. With the right travel credit card, you can get the free flights and hotel stays you’ve been dreaming about. What you need to know is right here.
What to look for in a credit card for your first international trip
All travel reward credit cards operate in the same fundamental manner. Credit card rewards can be redeemed for a variety of things, including vacation, retail, or cash. For example, some credit cards provide points or miles for booking tickets or dining out. Others reward you the same way regardless of how you spend your money.
If you want a travel credit card, it’s important to realize that it’s not always straightforward to get one. If your credit history is limited or you have a history of late payments, it may be difficult to secure a loan. But there’s more to come.
The benefits and travel partners of each credit card are different, so take some time to research them. So, if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy member who wants to switch to a Hilton or Hyatt credit card, think again.
The history of your payments follows next. As long as you generally pay your bill in whole, interest charges won’t eat away at the value of your points. The lower the APR (annual percentage rate), the better if you often carry a load and have strong credit. In a nutshell, you’ll need a solid credit score, a credit card with the correct features, and the lowest possible interest rate in the event that you need to rollover your debt.
What’s the easiest travel card to get?
You’ll likely need high to exceptional credit to get approved for a travel rewards credit card. The top credit cards for fair credit are listed below if you’re in the market. When your credit score is at the “good to exceptional” level, you may apply for a travel rewards credit card. Consider these possibilities first.
The 5 best starter travel credit cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
If you’re just starting out with credit cards, Chase’s Sapphire Preferred a travel credit card is a great option. Chase Ultimate Rewards members get 5X points on trips booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on qualifying dining, some streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible transactions. Tolls and Uber are examples of “travel.”
The Sapphire Preferred membership also comes with a slew of travel benefits: You’ll also get purchase and extended warranty protection, as well as travel-related insurances that other issuers don’t provide at this level.
The best part is that cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to get access to the famed Ultimate Rewards program of the bank. With Chase Ultimate Prizes, it’s easy to exchange your points for rewards from other loyalty programs. The points you accrue can potentially be exchanged for shop gift cards or cash.
Capital One Venture Rewards
Customer satisfaction is more important to Capital One consumers than their amusing marketing campaigns (hello, Vikings!). Using the purchase eraser function of the Capital One Venture Rewards card eliminates a significant amount of the headache associated with using rewards cards.
It’s a really straightforward idea. When you use the card to pay for your trip, Capital One will credit your account with the value of your redeemed miles. Easy! In addition, unlike other credit card reward programs, there is no minimum redemption amount required. When it comes to your $5 airline headphone purchase, you may use miles to pay for it.
There’s more to come. If you book your hotel or vehicle rental with Capital One Travel, you’ll receive 5X miles and 2X miles on all other transactions. There is no annual fee at all for Capital One, which gives away so many perks. The yearly price is simply $95 per person. A TSA PreCheck or Global Entry registration fee refund of $85 or $100 is also included in the offer. No, I don’t need it. Instead, use it to help out a family member or a friend.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
It’s possible you’re scratching your head right now. Isn’t this the Venture card that I read about recently? It’s both true and false. There are two Capital One travel reward cards to choose from. As with its Venture Rewards relative, VentureOne Rewards offers a purchase eraser and travel and car insurance cover. This credit card, on the other hand, has two significant advantages over other options.
The first is: There is no annual fee for the VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which is a wonderful bonus in the rewards card market. It’s also worth noting that VentureOne Rewards members enjoy a 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months (variable) of their card’s life.
In year two, the VentureOne APR range is lower than the Venture Rewards APR range. With VentureOne, if you roll over a debt, you may pay less interest. Why would someone go with Venture Rewards when there are so many other options? You may get 5 X miles on hotel and rental vehicle bookings made via Capital One Travel, and 2 X miles on all other purchases, with Venture Rewards.
When you book hotels and rental cars with Capital One Travel, you’ll get five times the miles back with VentureOne Rewards, while earning just 1.25 times the points back on all other transactions. As a result, Venture Rewards is best for routine purchases. You may prefer the VentureOne Rewards Card if you don’t mind paying an annual fee and plan on making a large purchase that you want to pay off interest-free over time.
American Express Gold Card
Of course, the American Express Gold Card comes with an annual charge of $250. Additionally, Amex cardholders have the option of redeeming points for items or gift cards as well as exchanging points for cash as they do with Capital One cardholders. When it comes to eating, we’ll assume that you care about what you put in your body.
Starting with the basics. Cardholders of the American Express Gold Card can redeem points in the well-known Membership Rewards program with their card. Membership Rewards may be new to you. For Amex cardholders, this is the holy grail of points redemption catalogs.
Additionally, Amex allows you to transfer points to 21 travel partners, including some of the most prominent airlines and hotels in the world. The real stinger, though, is this: You can now earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. grocery stores and restaurants, as well as takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases — so whether you dine out or get takeout, you’ll earn a nice return.
The Cheesecake Factory and Shake Shack are among the businesses that participate in the American Express Dining Program, which offers up to $120 in statement credits for dining at participating restaurants. Almost half the annual charge is covered by this. Is anyone in the mood for anything to eat? Enrollment in some benefits is required.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Check out the Chase Freedom Unlimited if you’re looking for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee but yet pays a reasonable interest rate.
Despite the fact that Freedom Unlimited is a cash-back rewards card, you may redeem points for travel. In comparison to the Sapphire Preferred’s 1.25 cents per point when redeeming for travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel site, cardholders earn a redemption value of one penny per point when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. One benefit of having numerous Chase credit cards is that you may consolidate your points into a single Ultimate Rewards account, which can result in significant savings.
Confused? Then don’t. As an example, consider what happens if: Think of your wallet as consisting of two different Chase cards: the Freedom Unlimited and the Sapphire Preferred. To put it another way, Sapphire Preferred points are more valuable than those of the Freedom Unlimited. But if you use the Ultimate Rewards system, you may redeem the Freedom Unlimited’s points at the Sapphire Preferred rates.
Is a travel credit card worth it?
There are several variables to consider when deciding if a travel credit card is worth your time and money, including how frequently you travel, your regular spending patterns, and the annual fee. In the event that you are a frequent flier and can take advantage of all the perks that come with a travel rewards card, you may save money on your travel expenditures. Make sure you do your homework before purchasing a travel card.