Travel Right: Our Top 5 Travel Rewards Credit Cards


RelayRides blogger and frequent-flier, Grayson Bell, shares his top 5 favorite travel rewards credit cards that land you free flights, hotel rooms and much more.

There has been a constant debate about which credit card rewards program is better. Cash back or travel rewards? While it is hard to answer this because each have their perks, those looking for travel rewards have more card options. If you love to travel, then finding the right rewards card can provide you with free flights, hotel rooms, and much more. While cash back is always nice, there is something to say about saving a lot of money on a simple flight or entire vacation. In the spirit of earning rewards, here are the top 5 travel rewards credit cards

Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard

Meet the best travel rewards credit card of 2013 as named by Money Magazine. The Arrival World Mastercard comes with a 40,000 mile bonus, which is equal to $400, when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. You can earn 2X miles on all of your purchases.  If you spend your miles on travel, then you earn 10% miles back. You can use your miles as statement credits on flights, cruises, rentals, and much more. Barclaycard comes with a $89 annual fee, which is waived the first year. There is also a card with no annual fee, but you only year 1X miles on your purchases.

Capital One Venture Card

The Venture card is a simple travel rewards card. You earn double miles on every purchase. New card owners can get a 20,000 mile bonus when they spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. You can earn unlimited miles that don’t expire and can be redeemed easily for flights, hotel rooms, and more. There is an annual fee of $59, but is waived for the first year. This card also has no foreign transaction fees, no blackout dates, or seat restrictions.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards and has been for some time. You can receive 40,000 bonus miles by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, which are equal to about $500 if booking travel through Ultimate Rewards. Earn 2 points on travel and dining purchases, while receiving 1 point for every other purchase. You can earn a 7% annual points dividend earned on all purchases throughout the year. There is an annual fee of $95, which is waived for the first year.

Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express

Are you a frequent hotel traveler? Do you have a specific hotel chain that you like to stay in? If you enjoy hotels like Sheraton, ALoft, The Westin, or Four Points, then this card is for you. Starwood Hotels and Resorts owns over 1500 hotels in the US, where you can earn up to 5 points for every dollar spent at their properties. You can earn one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. There are no blackout dates when you redeem the points.  They have a 10,000 point bonus when you make your first purchase, then another 15,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first six months. There is an annual fee of $65, which is waived for the first year.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Rapid Rewards has been a popular program for Southwest. When you use this card, you earn 2 points for every dollar spent at Southwest and AirTran. You can also earn 2 points on purchases with Rapid Rewards car rental partners and hotels. All other purchases earn 1 point. New card owners get a 50,000 point bonus when they spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rapid Rewards also gives 6,000 points every anniversary year.  There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions. The card comes with a $99 annual fee.