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15 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

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Travel rewards credit cards fall into several broad categories. First, airline rewards credit cards are designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships. When purchasing airfare, in-flight incidentals, and possibly other travel-related items, cardholders earn points at accelerated rates. Once enough points are racked up, they can be redeemed for free or discounted flights, free or reduced baggage fees, and other goodies. Some airline rewards cards offer additional perks and benefits, such as airport lounge access, discounts with hotel partners, and bonus miles for reaching certain travel milestones.

Hotel credit cards focus their rewards firepower on hotel stays and related expenses. Many major hotel brands and brand families offer at least a handful of credit cards that reward cardholders for room, food, and incidental purchases (such as spa treatments) at properties they own. Many hotel rewards credit cards also accumulate points for everyday outlays, such as regular restaurant meals, gasoline, and supermarket purchases. Cardholders can redeem their points for free or discounted nights and other hotel expenses.

Lately, growing numbers of cash back credit cards have jumped into the travel rewards game. General-purpose cards often offer accelerated cash back earnings on gasoline, airfare, and restaurant purchases – all critical, and sometimes costly, expenses for frequent travelers. Cash back rewards can be redeemed for merchandise and gift cards purchased online, airfare and hotel stays purchased directly through providers, and actual cash or statement credits.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you likely stand to benefit from all of these card types. And if you own your own business, you can count on many consumer travel credit cards having small business credit card counterparts – often with additional features and benefits for small business owners. Whether you’re an individual or business customer, many come with attractive promotions and sign-up bonuses or welcome offers that can be hard for deal-seeking applicants to resist. Incidentally, we outline some of the best small business travel cards toward the bottom of this list.

Here’s a look at today’s best travel rewards credit cards.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

2 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Travel; One-to-One Transfer to Participating Frequent Flyer & Hotel Guest Programs

chase sapphire preferred credit cardChase Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards around, and for good reason. It earns an unlimited 2 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and travel purchases, plus 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Like Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned with Sapphire Preferred to participating travel loyalty programs at a coveted one-to-one ratio.

Ultimate Rewards points are worth up to $0.0125 apiece when redeemed for travel purchases (such as airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals) through the Ultimate Rewards portal – a 25% boost to their cash redemption value. Points are worth $0.01 or less when redeemed for non-travel purchases and cash equivalents, such as gift cards, statement credits, direct deposits, checks, and physical merchandise.

Oh, and don’t miss Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s awesome solid sign-up bonus. When you spend at least $4,000 in eligible purchases in 3 months, you get 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

  • Sign-up Bonus: You get 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points, which can be worth as much as $625 when used to purchase airfare and hotels through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on qualifying dining and travel purchases, and unlimited 1 point per $1 in all other eligible purchases.
  • Redemption: Redeem for travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal at a $0.0125-per-point value. Or redeem for cash, gift cards, checks, and other items, at a per-point value of $0.01 or less.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $95, waived for the first year. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of 5% or $10.
  • Other Perks: You get VIP treatment and exclusive deals for select entertainment and sporting events, including the PGA Championship.

See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.
Apply Now


2. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

2X miles per dollar on every purchase; 50,000 Miles bonus

capital one venture credit cardCapital One Venture Rewards earns you 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible purchases, no matter how much you spend or where you shop. Miles are worth $0.01 on travel redemptions and variable amounts on non-travel redemptions.

Like Discover it Miles and BankAmericard Travel Rewards, Venture Rewards allows you to redeem points for statement credits on a wide range of travel purchases, including flights, rental cars, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, and incidental expenses. You can also redeem for general statement credits or paper checks.

This card has a very good early spend bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. That’s worth up to $500. Just be aware that the annual fee is $95 (waived in the first year).

  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel expenses, when you spend at least $3,000 in eligible purchases during the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible purchases.
  • Redemption: Redeem for statement credits against virtually any type of travel purchase, or non-travel items such as statement credits and paper checks. Points are worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for travel.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR.
  • Important Fees: There is a $95 annual fee after the first year. There’s no balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
  • Other Perks: Capital One offers free and unlimited credit score access through the CreditWise feature.

See our Capital One Venture Rewards Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Learn More


3. Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

3 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Travel Worldwide; One-to-One Transfer to Participating Frequent Flyer & Hotel Guest Programs; $300 Annual Travel Credit

The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has been collected independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve is an exclusive card designed for frequent travelers who enjoy flying and staying in style. If you can earn rewards quickly enough to offset the $450 annual fee, this is one of the best travel cards you can carry in your wallet – period.

Highlights include a generous sign-up bonus worth up to $750 when redeemed for travel, a $300 annual travel credit, access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, and a one-to-one point transfer program that boasts some of the world’s top travel vendors, including Southwest Airlines and the Intercontinental Hotel Group. When you transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned with your Sapphire Reserve card to participating loyalty programs, you get an equivalent number of points – 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points becomes 1,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, and so on.

Everyday spending pays off with Sapphire Reserve too. This card earns an unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and travel purchases. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. Ultimate Rewards points are worth up to $0.015 apiece when redeemed for travel purchases (with no blackout dates or seat restrictions) through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Other redemption methods, such as statement credits and gift cards, are worth $0.01 per point or less.

  • Sign-up Bonus: When you spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months, you earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $750 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying dining and travel purchases. All other qualifying purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Redemption: Points are most valuable ($0.015 per point) when they’re redeemed for travel purchases at the Ultimate Rewards portal. That’s a 50% boost to the standard cash redemption value. You can also redeem for statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, merchandise, and other items, at a per-point value of $0.01 or less.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $450. Additional cards for authorized users cost $75 per card, per year. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%. Cash advances cost the greater of 5% or $10.
  • Other Perks: $300 annual travel credit against qualifying travel purchases (including airfare and hotel stays); 1-to-1 point transfer privileges with popular travel vendors; complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which confers access to more than $1,000 airport lounges worldwide; Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credits, up to $100 value every four years.

See our Chase Sapphire Reserve Review for more information. Find out how to apply for this card here.


4. The Platinum Card® from American Express

5x Membership Rewards Points Per $1 Spent; Travel Benefits Worth $1,000+ Annually

american express platinum credit cardIt’s hard to overstate the generosity of the American Express Platinum Card. Once you get past the hefty $550 annual fee – the highest of any card on this list – you’ll find a singular travel rewards credit card that redefines “premium.”

The Platinum Card’s rewards scheme is almost beside the point. Yes, eligible airfare purchases made directly with the airline and airfare and prepaid hotel purchases made through the American Express Travel portal earn unlimited 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn unlimited 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Among other perks, this card comes with complimentary elite status (Gold) in 2 popular travel loyalty programs: Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors. It boasts an annual $200 airline fee credit with the airline of your choice, and up to $200 in annual credits on Uber rides. Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,100 airport lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection?, the world’s largest airport lounge league. Stays at Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection properties include up to $550 (on average) in exclusive benefits, such as room upgrades and complimentary breakfast.

The list goes on. (We haven’t even gotten to the generous welcome offer yet.) If you’re in the market for a truly distinctive card and you’re confident you can get your money’s worth out of this card, it’s worth a closer look. Just remember that The Platinum Card is a charge card, so you need to pay your balances off in full each month or risk account closure.

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account.
  • Rewards Rate: You’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, including flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
  • Redemption: You can redeem your Memembership Rewards points for virtually anything, including travel with dozens of global brands, merchandise, gift cards and cash equivalents, services, experiences, and more.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $550, but there’s no authorized user fee or foreign transaction fee. Late and returned payments cost up to $38.
  • Other Perks: This card has a staggering range of benefits. Highlights include $200 airline fee credit with the airline of your choice, up to $200 in Uber credits annually, complimentary access to more than 1,100 airport lounges worldwide, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver, up to $550 in average benefits and inclusions at participating Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection properties, automatic and complimentary Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors loyalty programs, and more.

See our American Express Platinum Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
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5. Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Unlimited 3X Miles on Travel Purchases, Including Gas

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is one of the few travel rewards credit cards that includes gas and gas station purchases in its travel tier, which earns unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying travel purchases. If you do most of your long-haul travel by car, or you have a long commute that can feel like a road trip some days, this is a valuable inclusion that could greatly boost your net rewards.

ThankYou Premier also has a great sign-up bonus worth up to $750 when redeemed for airfare purchases, along with an unlimited 2x tier that rewards restaurant and entertainment spending. Plus, ThankYou Premier’s points transfer scheme mostly matches Chase Sapphire Preferred’s, with 1-to-1 transfer ratios for most partner pairs. Don’t sleep on the transfer arrangement’s value, either: some partner points or miles can be worth several times the $0.01-per-point ThankYou baseline when redeemed for long-haul travel in higher fare classes.

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months points after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s worth up to $750 when redeemed for airfare booked with any airline through the ThankYou travel portal.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on all eligible travel purchases, including purchases made at gas stations. Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. Once earned, points don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
  • Redemption: The best way to redeem your accumulated ThankYou points is for airfare purchases made through the ThankYou travel rewards portal. You can book flights on most major airlines here with no blackout dates. When redeemed for airfare booked through the ThankYou portal, ThankYou points are worth 25% more than their standard $0.01-per-point redemption rate – for instance, a 60,000-point redemption is worth $750 in airfare. Other redemption options include gift cards, general merchandise, and statement credits, and experiences. Redemption values vary, but generally come in at $0.01 per point or less.
  • Important Fees: There is a $95 annual fee after the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Other Perks: If you don’t want to redeem for travel or other items in the ThankYou portal, you can transfer your points to more than a dozen partner travel loyalty programs. Most are associated with major international airlines. With exceptions, the transfer ratio is 1 ThankYou point to 1 partner point or mile – a favorable ratio on par with other top travel rewards cards. Partners include JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, and Turkish Airlines. Another choice benefit is Citi® Private Pass®, which entitles you to exclusive and VIP event access at some of the biggest tickets in town.

See our Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
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6. Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®

Unlimited 2X Miles on All Eligible Purchases

Barclaycard Arrival Plus CardThe Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® earns unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible purchases. For a limited time, there’s a generous sign-up bonus too: 70,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $5,000 in eligible purchases within 90 days. The 5% redemption bonus lessens the sting of the 10,000-mile redemption minimum. And there’s no foreign transaction fee – great news for globe-trotters looking to save money on international travel. The $89 annual fee (waived in the first year) does demand a modicum of annual spending, though.

The most productive redemption option is statement credits against recent travel purchases – you can redeem for virtually any type of travel, with no blackout dates or other restrictions. Other options include gift cards, cash back, and merchandise, but they all value miles lower than the standard $0.01-per-mile rate.

  • Sign-up Bonus: For a limited time only, earn 70,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $5,000 in eligible purchases within 90 days of opening your account.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible net purchases, with no caps or restrictions.
  • Redemption: The optimal redemption option is travel: specifically, statement credits against prior travel purchases. Virtually all travel purchases are eligible, including hotels, car rentals, flights, vacation packages, and cruises. There are no blackout dates, seat restrictions, or other limitations on redemptions. Miles are always worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for travel, subject to a minimum redemption of 10,000 miles ($100 credit value). Between $100 and $2,000 in redemption value, redemptions are permitted in increments of $25 between $100. Every travel redemption triggers a 5% bonus – for instance, 500 bonus miles when you redeem 10,000 miles. The bonus is deposited into your account for use toward your next redemption. Other redemption options, including cash back, gift cards, and merchandise, value miles at significantly less than $0.01 apiece.
  • Important Fees: There’s a $89 annual fee after the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee on international spending. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. See terms and conditions for more information.
  • Other Perks: You can earn bonus miles for sharing travel stories in the Barclays Travel Community, subject to certain restrictions. This card comes with a full slate of World Elite Mastercard coverages, including travel insurance and rental car loss and damage waiver coverage.

See our Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.
Apply Now


7. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Unlimited 3X Points on Most Travel Purchases, Including Gas, Rideshares, and Transit

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is another multi-tiered travel rewards card with an expansive definition of “travel”: cardholders earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on gas, rideshares, transit all complement standard travel rewards card fare like airfare, car rentals, and hotels. The 3X tier has a non-travel inclusion, too: popular streaming services, including Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify.

Propel is one of a relative handful of travel rewards cards with a 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers. The 0% APR applies for 12 months from account opening – plenty of time to minimize interest charges on big-ticket purchases or balance transfers. Frugal applicants, take note: Propel has no annual fee, either.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. That’s worth $300 when redeemed for cash and other items at the Go Far® Rewards portal.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on gas, rideshare, transit, flight, hotel, homestay (including Airbnb and other short-term house and apartment rentals), car rental, and popular streaming service purchases. Earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. Once earned, points don’t expire as lojng as your account remains open and in good standing.
  • Redemption: You can redeem for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and experiences at the Go Far Rewards portal. Redemption minimums vary by type, but begin at $25 for gift card redemptions. You can combine cash and points to redeem for travel purchases. Points are worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for cash and travel. Redemption values for other redemption types may vary.
  • Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from your account opening date. Balance transfers must be made within 120 days (4 months) of account opening to qualify for the promotional rate. Once the promotional period ends, regular variable APR applies.
  • Important Fees: There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% during the 120-day promotional window and the greater of $5 or 5% thereafter. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5% from the day your account is opened.
  • Other Perks: Propel comes with some basic travel insurance protections, including lost luggage reimbursement and car rental loss and damage coverage. It also has a neat cell phone protection plan that provides up to $600 in coverage per incident, less a $25 deductible.

See our Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.
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8. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

2 SkyMiles Per $1 Spent on Eligible Delta Airfare & Other Select Purchases

american express platinum delta skymiles business cardPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is more generous stablemate to the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, profiled below.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles earns unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on all eligible Delta purchases. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. A limited-time welcome offer worth 2 or more round-trip economy flights within the U.S., plus a $100 statement credit, sweetens the deal further.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles really shines on the Medallion status front. Heavy spenders can earn up to 20,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) – almost enough to qualify for Silver Medallion status without requiring any completed segments. Heavy spenders can also earn up to 20,000 bonus SkyMiles per year. Plus, every cardholder can expect a complimentary companion certificate each year their account remains open and in good standing.

  • Welcome Offer: When you spend at least $3,000 in qualifying purchases within the first 3 months, you earn 70,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles (good for at least one round-trip domestic flight) and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit when you make a qualifying Delta purchase with your card within 3 months.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. Spend at least $25,000 in qualifying purchases in a calendar year to earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs); spend another $25,000 in the same calendar year and get another 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus MQMs (20,000 bonus SkyMiles and 20,000 bonus MQMs total). MQMs count toward Delta’s coveted Medallion status program, which confers a slew of attractive benefits for frequent flyers. Silver Medallion status, Delta’s lowest status tier, requires at least 25,000 MQMs. Higher tiers have sharply higher minimums. Qualifying Delta airfare purchases earn MQMs as well, based on flight length.
  • Redemption: Medallion status is automatic – once you cross the MQM earning threshold for the applicable Medallion tier, you’re in through the end of the following calendar year. (For instance, if you cross the status threshold in October, you’ll hold that status through next December.) Meanwhile, you can redeem accumulated SkyMiles for Delta airfare and upgrades, as well as non-travel items such as merchandise and services. Redemption requirements vary by route length, destination, and other factors, but SkyMiles’ redemption values generally range between $0.005 and $0.02 apiece.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR. Variable regular APR applies from day one – see rates and fees.
  • Important Fees: There is a $195 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fee. Late fees and returned payments cost as much as $38.
  • Other Perks: Delta benefits include priority boarding, 20% off in-flight purchases, a free checked bag for the cardholder, and a complimentary companion certificate (Delta Main Cabin) each year your card account remains open and in good standing.
  • Terms and Conditions Apply: See rates and fees

See our American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.
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9. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

2 SkyMiles per $1 Spent on Delta Airfare; 1 SkyMile per $1 Spent on Everything Else

american express gold delta skymiles credit cardThe Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is an airline rewards card that earns you an unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on Delta airfare and in-flight purchases. All other purchases earn 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. SkyMiles are reliably worth $0.0075 apiece, and occasionally more, though redemption value varies by method. Redemption minimums start at 10,000 SkyMiles.

Although this card has a $95 annual fee, the welcome offer helps – 30,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account. That’s more than enough for a round-trip award flight within the continental United States. Low balance transfer fees and no foreign transaction fees help as well.

If you own a business, check out the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, which is virtually identical.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 30,000 Delta SkyMiles, good for at least one round-trip flight within the U.S., when you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of account opening. Separately, get a $50 statement credit when you purchase a Delta flight with your card within 3 months of account opening.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on all eligible Delta airfare purchases. Earn unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Redemption: Redeem for Delta airfare and other items, subject to variable minimums and point values.
  • Introductory APR: There is no introductory APR promotion.
  • Important Fees: There’s a $95 annual fee, waived for the first year, but no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers and cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments both cost $37.
  • Other Perks: Cardholders always get priority boarding and first checked bag free. You also get a 20% discount (via statement credit) on all in-flight food, beverages, and entertainment purchases with Delta.

See our American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
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10. Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

6 Marriott Rewards Points for Every $1 Spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton & Starwood Hotels; 2 Points per $1 Spent on All Other Purchases

The information for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card has been collected independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Every $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels worldwide earns you an unlimited 6 Marriott Rewards points, and you earn an unlimited 2 points per $1 for purchases made directly with airlines and rental car agencies – though not through online portals like Kayak and Expedia. Restaurant purchases also earn an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. Points don’t expire as long as you make purchases on your card every 24 months.

Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed starting at 7,500 points. Their value varies depending on the property type they’re redeemed at – for instance, a Residence Inn in Birmingham, Alabama (regular room rates $40 to $100 per night), offers rooms for 7,500 points per night, while a similarly priced Fairfield Inn & Suites in Auburn, Alabama, requires 25,000 points per room-night.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus also has a very generous sign-up bonus: When you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, you get 100,000 Marriott Rewards points.

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of account opening. That’s worth up to 13 award nights at the lowest-tier Marriott properties.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 6 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotel and resort properties. Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases made directly with airlines and rental car companies. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Redemption: Redeem for hotel stays at participating properties, starting at 7,500 points per night. Point values vary depending on the underlying room rate.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $95, and there’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Other Perks: On your account anniversary, you get a credit equal to 1 free night’s stay at select Marriott hotels with redemption thresholds up to 35,000 points per night.

See our Marriott Rewards Premier Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.


11. IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

10 IHG Rewards Points per $1 Spent at Intercontinental Hotels; 2 Points per $1 Spent on Gas, Groceries & Restaurants

The information for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card earns you 10 IHG Rewards points per $1 spent at Intercontinental Hotel Group hotels, including Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. Purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations earn 2 points to the dollar, while purchases everywhere else earn 1 point per $1 spent. There aren’t any spending caps or restrictions. However, the card does come with an $89 annual fee.

You can redeem points for hotel nights at select Intercontinental properties, including most Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Expresses, plus gift cards and online merchandise purchases. Redemption minimums vary by redemption method and date, but start at 10,000 points for hotel nights. When redeemed, points are generally worth about $0.005 each, though that amount varies by brand. Other benefits include complimentary TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application (up to $100 value every 5 years) and automatic IHG Platinum Elite status.

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 80,000 IHG Rewards points when you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 10 IHG points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases at IHG hotels; unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Redemption: Redeem for award nights at participating IHG properties, subject to variable minimums and redemption rates.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR promotion.
  • Important Fees: There’s a $89 annual fee, waived in the first year, and no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Other Perks: You get 1 free night per year at select IHG hotels for as long as you remain in good standing, plus 10,000 bonus points when you spend at least $20,000 and make an additional purchase in a calendar year. You also qualify for Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a cardholder in good standing.

See our IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review for more information. Compare this card with other hotel rewards cards.


12. British Airways Visa Signature® Card

3 Avios Points per $1 Spent on British Airways and Partner Airfare

The information related to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card isn’t just for overseas travel. Every $1 spent on British Airways and select partner airfare and incidentals earns you 3 points – British Airways partners include Iberia and the OpenSkies alliance. You also earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Redeem your points for airfare purchases with British Airways and its partner airlines (including American Airlines) at variable point values. Shorter routes, particularly within North America, tend to be worth more. Redemption minimums vary based on route length. Be aware that there is a $95 annual fee.

If you can manage $30,000 in annual spending in any year, British Airways doubles your redeemed rewards on one flight, allowing a companion to come along.

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of account opening, an additional 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $10,000 within the first year, and a further 25,000 points when you spend at least $20,000 within the first year.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3 Avios per $1 spent on all eligible British Airways and partner airfare purchases. Earn unlimited 1 mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Redemption: Redeem for British Airways and partner airfare, subject to variable minimums and point values. You can also redeem for non-airfare items.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR promotion.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $95. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Other Perks: If you spend at least $30,000 in any calendar year, you get a Travel Together ticket good for 2 years. The ticket entitles you to redeem accumulated Avios rewards for any flight at regular redemption rates, and then bring a companion along with no extra charge (in dollars or Avios).

See our British Airways Visa Signature Card Review for more information. Compare this card with other top airline credit cards.


13. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Earn Unlimited 2x Miles on All Purchases; Get Up to 200,000 Miles as an Early Spend Bonus

capital one spark miles select credit cardCapital One® Spark® Miles for Business is a small business credit card that earns you unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible puchases. You can redeem accumulated miles in any amount for statement credits on virtually any travel purchase, including purchases with any airline and any hotel, at a standard point value of $0.01 apiece.

Spark® Miles for Business has a lot of other perks too, including an early spend bonus of up to 200,000 points, worth up to $2,000 in travel purchases. The $95 annual fee (after the first year) is manageable when you factor in the lack of foreign transaction fee and the unlimited employee card allowance at no additional cost.

  • Early Spend Bonus: When you spend at least $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles. That’s worth $500 in statement credits against virtually any travel purchase. When you spend at least $50,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership, you’ll earn a further 150,000 bonus miles, for a total 6-month bonus of 200,000 miles – a $2,000 value when redeemed for statement credits against prior travel purchases.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible purchases, with no caps or restrictions.
  • Redemption: Redeem for statement credits against virtually any travel purchase. Points are worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for travel.
  • Introductory APR: There’s no introductory APR promotion.
  • Important Fees: There’s a $95 annual fee after the first year. There’s no foreign transaction fee or balance transfer fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
  • Other Perks: Capital One’s emergency assistance services offer up to $100,000 in reimbursements for trips and reservations cancelled due to unforeseen events, such as accidents and illnesses.

See our Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Learn More


14. Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

6 Starpoints per $1 Spent at Starwood Properties; Welcome Offer Worth Up to 75,000 Points

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card is virtually identical to the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, described in detail above. Their fees, terms, rewards programs, and other perks are all broadly similar, with some notable exceptions.

This card earns unlimited 6 points for every $1 of eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marrriott hotels. Eligible purchases made at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, wireless telecom purchases made directly with U.S. providers, and shipping purchases earn 4 points per $1 spent. All other eligible purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent. Terms and conditions apply – see rates & fees.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend at least $3,000 in eligible purchases on your card within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 6 points for every $1 of eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marrriott hotels. Eligible purchases made at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly with U.S. providers, and shipping purchases earn 4 points per $1 spent. All other eligible purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent.
  • Redemption: You can redeem Starpoints for free nights and room upgrade sat participating SPG & Marriott hotels and resorts. Starpoints are worth up to $0.025 apiece when redeemed in this fashion, and sometimes more. Redemptions start at just 2,000 Starpoints per award night for the lowest-tier SPG & Marriott properties. Other redemption options include transfers to participating travel rewards programs and non-travel options such as merchandise and gift cards. Note: On August 1, 2018, SPG will convert every 1 point in a loyalty member’s account to 3 points. This will affect redemption – see members.marriott.com for details.
  • Introductory APR: None. Variable APR applies from day one.
  • Important Fees: The $95 annual fee is waived in the first year. There are no foreign transaction fees. Cash advances cost up to $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. Late and returned payments cost $38.
  • Other Perks: Travel-related benefits include complimentary access to the Sheraton Club lounge with an eligible booking, complimentary SPG Silver Elite Status, upgrade to Gold Elite Status with $30,000 in qualifying purchases in a calendar year (status applies for the following calendar year, and the required minimum annual spend rises to $35,000 beginning 1/1/19), and 1 free award night at participating properties per year after your cardmember anniversary (redemption level at or below 35,000 points).

See our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Apply Now


15. Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

2 SkyMiles Per $1 Spent on Eligible Delta Airfare & Other Select Purchases; Welcome Offer Worth Up to 35,000 SkyMiles, 5,000 MQMs & $100 Statement Credit

american express platinum delta skymiles business cardThe Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is the business equivalent of Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and a more generous stablemate to Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express .

Like its consumer doppleganger, this card has a solid but unspectacular SkyMiles rewards program. Eligible Delta purchases earn unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent; all other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent.

What really sets Platinum Delta SkyMiles business apart is its Medallion status program. If you can manage at least $25,000 in eligible annual spending, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Spend another $25,000 in the same calendar year ($50,000 in total eligible spending) and you’ll get another 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus MQMs. Terms and conditions apply – see rates and fees.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 35,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend at least $1,000 in purchases with your new card in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with your new card in the first 3 months.
  • Rewards Rate: After the limited-time bonus period, earn unlimited 2 SkyMiles per $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1 SkyMile per $1 spent. Spend at least $25,000 in qualifying purchases in a calendar year to earn 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs); spend $50,000 total in qualifying purchases in the same calendar year and earn another 10,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus MQMs, for a total spending bonus of 20,000 SkyMiles and 20,000 MQMs. MQMs count toward Delta’s coveted Medallion status program, which confers a slew of attractive benefits for frequent flyers. Silver Medallion status, Delta’s lowest status tier, requires at least 25,000 MQMs. Higher tiers have sharply higher minimums. Qualifying Delta airfare purchases earn MQMs as well, based on flight length.
  • Redemption: Medallion status is automatic – once you cross the MQM earning threshold for the applicable Medallion tier, you’re in through the end of the following calendar year. (For instance, if you cross the status threshold in October, you’ll hold that status through next December.) Meanwhile, you can redeem accumulated SkyMiles for Delta airfare and upgrades, as well as non-travel items such as merchandise and services. Redemption requirements vary by route length, destination, and other factors, but SkyMiles’ redemption values generally range between $0.005 and $0.02 apiece.
  • Important Fees: There is a $195 annual fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late fees and returned payments cost as much as $38. For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.
  • Other Perks: This card boasts Delta-specific benefits such as priority boarding, 20% off in-flight purchases, a free checked bag for the cardholder, and more.
  • Terms and Conditions Apply: See rates and fees

See our Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express review for more information.
Apply Now


Final Word

Most credit cards come with booklet-sized cardmember agreements, but travel rewards programs are particularly complicated. Before you complete your card application, take time to read the fine print. Pay particular attention to restrictions on how your card accumulates travel rewards, as well as when, where, and how you’re allowed to redeem them.

As a general rule, cards that offset travel purchases with statement credits are somewhat less complicated than cards that require you to redeem points or miles directly with merchants like hotels or airlines. However, the only way to find out for sure is to buckle down and pore over their terms and conditions statements.

What’s your preferred travel rewards credit card?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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