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Compare Travel Credit Cards in December 2023
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
- Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
- A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
American Express Gold Card
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
Benefits of Travel Credit Cards
One of the primary benefits of a travel credit card is the ability to earn travel rewards. These rewards can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back that can be redeemed for travel-related expenses such as flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Accumulating travel rewards can significantly offset the cost of your travel expenses.
Many travel credit cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses for new cardholders. These bonuses typically require you to spend a certain amount within a specified time frame, and in return, you receive a large number of points or miles. Sign-up bonuses can give you a head start on earning rewards and allow you to enjoy significant savings on your travels.
Travel credit cards often come with a range of travel-related perks that can enhance your travel experience. These perks may include airport lounge access, priority boarding, free checked bags, travel insurance, concierge services, and hotel upgrades. Such benefits can make your journey more comfortable and convenient while saving you money on additional services.
Foreign transaction fees
Many travel credit cards do not charge foreign transaction fees. This means that you can use your card for purchases made abroad without incurring additional fees typically imposed by other credit cards. Avoiding foreign transaction fees can result in significant savings, especially if you frequently travel internationally.
Travel insurance and protection
Travel credit cards often provide various forms of travel insurance coverage. This can include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay/loss coverage, rental car insurance, and emergency medical coverage. Having these protections can offer peace of mind and save you money in unexpected situations during your travels.
Exclusive travel offers and discounts
Some travel credit cards provide access to exclusive offers, discounts, and perks through partnerships with airlines, hotels, and travel booking platforms. These benefits may include discounted rates, complimentary upgrades, special access to events, and more. Taking advantage of these exclusive offers can lead to additional savings and unique travel experiences.
Certain travel credit cards offer favorable currency conversion rates when you use your card for purchases made in foreign currencies. This can help you avoid unfavorable exchange rates and save money on your international transactions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a travel rewards credit card?
Let’s start with the basics. A travel rewards credit card offers users benefits related to travel when they use the card. When users make purchases with the card, they can get rewards and cashback bonuses from use.
What are different types of travel credit cards?
Travel rewards credit cards come in two forms.
There are cards that carry a brand and are associated with a specific airline, hotel chain or rental car company. The rewards from this card will typically come with rewards back to travel purchases with that brand.
An airline credit card will want you to use your rewards for airfare on their airline. Free hotel stays that are earned would need to be with the brand of hotel that gave the reward.
General travel cards offer rewards that can be used for a variety of travel depending on how the user cashes in the rewards. The points could buy airline tickets or car rentals. You could also take cashback rewards and use them for travel or nontravel related purchases.
How to choose the best rewards credit card for you?
This is a time when it pays to do your homework. It is also helpful to consider your travel habits and spending habits before doing the credit card application and opening the card. Because there are often yearly fees, you want to weigh if the rewards you get give the necessary return on investment.
The credits cards might offer rewards a few ways. They can offer reward points on purchases. These points might be worth more if used for travel-related expenses. The rewards might also come in the form of cashback rewards earned from purchases overtime.
Some other perks might include:
- Free hotel stays
- Free airfare
- Reduced rate airfare
- A ticket bump to first class
- Credits towards ride-share services like Uber or Lyft
- Waiving of international transaction fees
- Free checked bags
- Priority boarding with their card
With rewards coming in so many different forms, a consumer needs to do their homework to find the card that will give them the most benefits for future rewards.
What to consider if a card is worth owning?
Again, this is a time to do careful research. You have to weigh whether you will earn enough rewards to merit any fees associated with the card.
Eventually, with regular use, you are sure to earn some kind of reward from most of the travel credit card programs. The caveat to all good credit card use is to make sure you are regularly paying them off too.
Can you get a travel credit card with a low credit score?
Many of the best travel credit cards are available to those with good to great credit. If you have less than perfect credit, 650 or below, this can leave you without as many options.
Be sure to join your preferred travel companies’ rewards programs even if they are not credit connected.
Work to improve your credit by paying bills on time and reducing the amount of credit you have. Pay attention to your credit score by monitoring your credit report.
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