When you evaluate which credit card is the best travel reward card, the answer will depend on your personal travel needs and habits. Travel reward cards offer the most popular consumer rewards programs.
Once air miles rewards were the automatic answer for those asking which credit card is the best travel reward card.
Air mile bonus programs are still highly popular but have been joined by reward programs that feature hotels and resorts.
Today the air miles rewards often overlap with other travel rewards as the competition for new customers with good credit ratings intensifies.
Deciding which credit card is the best travel reward card may depend on the airlines where the earned miles are accepted and also on blackout dates listed for the program or airline. Blackout dates are commonly used by airlines to balance the passenger load on flights.
Certain days are known as high travel days when business passengers are heading out for the week on Monday or returning home on Friday. Weekends and days surround national holidays are known for fully booked flights.
By listing blackout days when free flights paid for with air miles cannot be used, the airlines are attempting to channel travelers to days when empty seats are most common on flights.
Airline Travel Reward Programs
For true frequent flyers, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is a popular choice. It has a great hotel rewards program and you can transfer points earn on normal purchases into air miles to use when traveling.
The limit of miles you must earn to use the rewards is lower than in many travel reward programs as only 20,000 miles earned will pay for a free domestic flight.
Chase offers a Sapphire (SM) Preferred Card which offers one of the best travel reward programs today. Account holders can use a special travel booking site to book their flights and will earn double points when using that site.
The ability to transfer points on a 1:1 ratio from one airline to another and to hotels is a feature praised by those with a Chase Sapphire (SM) Preferred Card. Airlines that can be used for these rewards are United, Southwest, British Airways and Continental.
The AmEx Express Premier Gold Card is another popular credit card for frequent flyers with triple points earned when you purchase a ticket from an airline.
Miles by Discover Card will appeal to you if you dislike the tight restrictions on some other reward programs. The Miles card eliminates the requirement of 14 or 21 day advance booking and is a good fit for family vacations and those who travel infrequently.
Which credit card is the best travel reward card requires decisions when you visit the American Express website. Amex offers several travel reward options.
The Blue Sky from AmEx has no annual fee which is unusual for travel reward credit cards today. You can use your own travel agent to get the best deals on flights and to avoid blackout dates.
Chase Sapphire travel rewards card is a less expensive version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit option. The bonus points are somewhat lower than for the preferred card but the absence of an annual fee has made this a highly popular card with consumers.
Which Credit Card is Ideal for Your Needs?
Before comparing options for travel reward credit cards, list your personal needs. There is no point in choosing a credit card with high reward points if the airline associated with the card doesn’t serve the destinations you will be visiting.
Frequent flyers may find its well worth paying a healthy annual fee for the bonus points and higher air miles earned with use of a certain credit card. Those who travel only once or twice a year will do better to choose a card with no annual fee attached.
Once you know what your travel needs are likely to be, you can identify the credit cards that might be best for you and can compare the terms of those cards to make your choice. The competition for new customers is high.
Once you determine which credit card is the best travel reward card for your needs, your good credit will qualify you for a new account. Take the time to understand the lender’s rewards program and you will be able to maximize your benefits.