Spark Cash Select 0% Intro APR Card does not have transfer partners, unlike many other popular credit cards. Spark Cash Select 0% Intro APR Card rewards are redeemable only for cash back, gift cards, or previous purchases and cannot be transferred to another loyalty program.
Travel credit cards work just like any other rewards credit card, though they tend to reward cardholders more for making travel-related purchases than anything else. The points or miles that travel credit cards provide are also usually worth more when redeemed for travel, compared to other redemption methods. Plus, travel credit cards commonly offer features such as travel insurance, no foreign transaction fee, airport lounge access, and reimbursement for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fees.… read full answer
Travel rewards credit cards offer rewards in one of two currencies: miles or points. There isn’t much of a difference between the two, but miles are more frequently used in the context of airline rewards, while points are often associated with hotels. On that note, co-branded travel cards tend to give higher rewards rates and special perks with specific airline and hotel brands, while non-cobranded travel cards don’t favor any particular brand but give good rewards on travel purchases in general.
How Travel Credit Cards Work
They often reward you more for travel.
Travel purchases are usually going to be a lot more profitable rewards-wise than other types of purchases. For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred gives 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase, 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases, 3 points per $1 on dining and online grocery purchases, 3 points per $1 on select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. But this isn’t true for every card. Capital One Venture, for instance, gives 2 miles / $1 on almost all purchases.
Travel redemption is usually the best value.
In most cases, you don’t have to spend your rewards on travel, but the credit cards companies give big incentives for you to do so. Take Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example. You get 25% more value from your points when you redeem them for travel.
No foreign transaction fees.
Very few travel cards will charge you extra for using your card abroad or with foreign merchants online. But you should check your cardholder agreement just to be sure.
There may be booking restrictions.
Some travel cards, like Capital One Venture, pride themselves on rewarding you equally for any type of travel, no matter where you book it. But other cards, especially airline or hotel cards, may only give travel-specific rewards rates if you book directly through the issuer.
You may need at least good credit.
Travel rewards cards are typically available only to people with good or excellent credit. You should shoot for a credit score of 700+ for cards that require good credit and 750+ for excellent credit.
You’ll often get travel insurance & other perks.
Travel insurance is a big plus. Some cards will cover you for trip cancellation, delays or accidents. Many travel credit cards still offer rental car insurance, too, though many regular credit cards have dropped that benefit. Certain cards, generally those with annual fees, also give you a yearly credit toward airline or travel purchases. You may even get other perks like free airport lounge access and the ability to transfer your points or miles to hotel and airline loyalty programs.
So if you travel frequently, getting a travel credit card is a good idea. After all, you might as well get rewarded for trips you’d go on anyway.
The best travel rewards programs are the United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer programs as well as the Wyndham and Marriott hotel loyalty programs. If you don’t want to commit to a single travel provider, the best general travel rewards program is Capital One Venture Rewards.
United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles are the best travel rewards programs for frequent flyers because they offer a variety of perks ranging from free checked bags to airport lounge access. The exact benefits each program gives depends on the level of membership. Generally, though, all members will receive free checked bags and priority boarding on their respective airline’s flights. Higher-level members will also receive access to United and Delta lounges. The programs are free to join and the more you spend, the higher your level of membership. Plus, members can earn free flights faster by applying for a … read full answerUnited credit card or a Delta credit card. Some very rewarding offers are available.
Wyndham Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy are the best travel rewards programs for frequent hotel guests because their members earn the most rewards value per dollar spent and have lots of properties to choose from. For example, Marriott Bonvoy now includes all Ritz-Carlton and SPG properties as well. If you decide to join either of these free loyalty programs, you might also want to consider applying for the Wyndham Credit Card, the Wyndham Credit Card with No Annual Fee or one of the Marriott credit cards. They all require at least good credit for approval.
In other words, there are plenty of different travel rewards programs to fit whichever method of travel you use most often.
Best Travel Rewards Programs:
United MileagePlus – Best Frequent Flyer Program
Wyndham Rewards – Best Hotel Loyalty Program
Capital One Venture Rewards – Best General Travel Rewards Program
Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best Everyday Travel Rewards Program
Delta SkyMiles – Honorable Mention
Marriott Bonvoy – Honorable Mention
With the best frequent flyer programs, the stress of flying is lessened thanks to priority boarding, lounge access and free flights. With hotel rewards programs, you can easily earn free nights just for staying at your favorite hotels and resorts.
Travel isn’t always limited to just flights and hotel nights, though. Credit cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited card can also help you save on other everyday purchases. And if you travel a lot but not always with the same company or using the same mode of transportation, a credit card with general-purpose travel rewards is a good choice.
United MileagePlus is the best airline rewards program, according to WalletHub’s latest Frequent Flyer Report. And it doesn’t matter whether you travel a lot, a little or somewhere in between because MileagePlus is the top choice across the board. This is largely due to the fact that MileagePlus miles don’t expire because of account inactivity, in addition to the program’s tens of transfer partners and its lack of blackout dates for flights booked with miles.… read full answer
It’s also important to remember that credit cards are a whole different ballgame. An airline can have a great loyalty program but a crummy credit card. So, when you’re considering airline rewards credit cards, make sure to keep the following key characteristics in mind. Doing so will help guide you to the most rewarding miles program possible.
How to Pick the Best Airline Rewards Program:
Airline Affiliation: Some airline cards offer generic miles that can be redeemed for flights on any airline. Others are tied to particular airlines and provide miles usable only for flights with affiliated carriers. The former are good for both the infrequent traveler and those who travel a lot, but on different airlines. The latter are only good for brand-loyal frequent flyers.
Initial Rewards Bonus: The initial bonus that you can earn during the first few months of card use is an extremely important consideration. The reason for that is bonus miles on certain cards may even exceed the number of miles attainable from a full year of card use.
Earning Rate: You need to figure out how quickly you’ll be accruing miles, as this dictates how lucrative each card you consider will be. Just be aware of cards that require you to sign up on a quarterly basis in order to be eligible for the highest rewards earning rates.
Earning Tiers: Some airline miles credit cards give you a certain number of miles per $1 spent until you reach a designated spending threshold, at which time the rewards earning rate changes. Depending on your spending habits, this can significantly affect a card’s appeal.
Expiration: If your airline miles will expire at some point, you clearly need to know about it. When present, expiration is typically linked to either account inactivity or the amount of time elapsed since miles were earned.
Redemption Policy: Find out how many miles you need to redeem for a flight and how much that flight would cost if purchased normally. This will tell you how much the miles are worth. You should also scan the rewards program’s terms to see if there’s any mention of blackout dates or a minimum number of miles required for redemption.
Status Miles: The rate at which status miles are doled out is a key factor for frequent flyers who are thinking of committing to a particular airline.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.