Advertisement
credit & debt

Best Travel Rewards Cards

These three cards let you redeem points for free travel and other benefits, such as gift cards and cash.

These cards let you earn and trade in points for things other than travel. But the cards offer more points for travel spending or travel-related benefits, such as assistance with booking and discounts on vacations. Except where noted, the cards don’t charge a foreign transaction fee or impose blackout dates for booking travel with points.

BEST REWARDS CARDS BY CATEGORY: Cash-Back | Travel | Gas/Retail | Airline

Capital One Venture Rewards

www.capitalone.com

Advertisement - Article continues below

Interest rate: 13.9% to 20.9%

Annual fee: $59 (waived the first year)

Sign-up bonus: Spend $1,000 in the first three months to get 10,000 miles

Typical annual rebate: 40,000 miles

Earn two miles per dollar on all purchases, and redeem miles for any type of travel spending -- flights, cruises, hotel rooms, car rentals. The formula for the number of points you’ll need for a purchase is simple: Multiply the amount of your travel purchase by 100. That means if you buy a $300 airline ticket, you’ll need 30,000 miles. You can book travel with your miles through Capital One’s Rewards Center. Or redeem miles within 90 days of making a travel purchase with the card for a statement credit. Miles are also redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards or statement credits for nontravel purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

www.chase.com

Interest rate: 15.24%

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Sign-up bonus: 40,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first three months

Advertisement - Article continues below

Typical annual rebate: 25,817 points

A host of perks sweeten the deal on this card. It provides two points for each dollar spent on dining and travel, including cab fares and tolls (three points when you make airline and hotel purchases through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards shopping portal), and one point for all other purchases. Every year, you get a 7% bonus on the points you’ve earned throughout the year. And when you book travel through Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get a 20% discount on the price—so a $500 flight requires 40,000 points. You can transfer the points at full value to participating programs, such as United MileagePlus and Marriott Rewards. Or redeem points for cash back, gift cards and merchandise.

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature

www.usbank.com

Interest rate: 13.99% to 23.99%

Annual fee: $49 (waived the first year)

Sign-up bonus: 17,500 points after the first $2,500 in spending within five months

Typical annual rebate: 25,506 points

Advertisement - Article continues below

Earn two points per dollar spent on cell-phone bills, as well as on the category that you spend the most on each month: gas, groceries or airline tickets. Charitable donations get three points per dollar. All other purchases collect one point per dollar (up to $120,000 annually, then one point per $2). And each year that you make at least $24,000 in purchases on the card, you’ll get an additional 3,500 points. A plane ticket worth up to $400 (plus a $25 allowance for other airline charges, such as baggage fees) requires 20,000 points, or you can cash in your points for cruises, hotel rooms and car rentals. You can also choose to get statement credits, merchandise and gift cards. The card is embedded with a microchip, which is commonly used overseas, but it charges a 3% fee for purchases in foreign currencies. Points expire five years from the end of the quarter in which you earned them.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement
happy retirement

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

If you want a long and fulfilling retirement, you need more than money. Here are the most valuable retirement assets to have (besides money), and how …
August 3, 2020
Turning 60 in 2020? Expect Lower Social Security Benefits
Coronavirus and Your Money

Turning 60 in 2020? Expect Lower Social Security Benefits

When you file for Social Security, the amount you receive may be lower.
July 30, 2020
How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One
Tax Breaks

How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One

The HEROES Act, which was passed by the House in May, would authorize a second round of stimulus checks. While the new payments would be similar to th…
July 22, 2020

Recommended

6 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Check
Tax Breaks

6 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Check

If you don't have to use your stimulus check for basic necessities, consider putting the money to work for you. You'll thank yourself later.
July 30, 2020
8 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
Tax Breaks

8 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Since this year's tax deadline was pushed back to July 15, many people just recently filed their tax return. That means there are a lot of tax refunds…
July 17, 2020
Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider
credit & debt

Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider

Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and of the risk you pose to lenders. How good is yours?
July 10, 2020
52 Super Deals and Discounts for 2020
spending

52 Super Deals and Discounts for 2020

With a special nod to those of you spending more time at home, we found dozens of deals and discounts, plus ways to save (or make) money.
June 6, 2020