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Travel Cards

Travel Card Deals: September 2015

We've compiled a list of the 3 Travel Card Deals currently available on CreditDonkey.

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Compare travel credit cards from our partners and apply online
By helping you earn miles or points toward airfare and hotel stays, travel rewards cards can be a great way to make your next trip more affordable. Whether you are a frequent business traveler wanting elite perks or a family looking to save money, you should be able to find a travel rewards card that's right for you.


Best Travel Rewards Credit Card


Airline Miles for Beginners


Warning: Foreign Transaction Fee


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How to Choose a Travel Credit Card

Looking for a new travel credit card?

You have our sympathy. There is simply WAY too many offers to choose from now.

But how do you find the right one for you?

It turns out, you can narrow down your search dramatically by deciding which one of the following links matter the most to you:

Save Money on Travel and Dining: Chase Sapphire Preferred

    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Here's the deal: If you spend over $1,334 per month on your credit card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers 40,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 during the first three months from account opening (worth $500 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards).

  • You get 2x points on travel (including airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, train tickets, taxis, and tolls) and at restaurants (includes fast food). You get 1 point for every $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Now here's our favorite part: You can transfer points at 1:1 to a leading frequent travel program such as United MileagePlus, Marriott Rewards, and Amtrak Guest Rewards.
    • Airline partners include Southwest, British Airways, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, United, and Singapore Airlines.
    • Hotel transfer partners include Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and the Ritz-Carlton.

  • There is a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the 1st year).

This card is a good fit if you want a hot deal or you plan to transfer points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners.

Is it worth the $95 annual fee? Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred before you apply.

Tip: How to Meet Your Credit Card Minimum Spending Requirements

Travel Perks: American Express Platinum

    Amex Platinum
    Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
  • Here's the deal: the Platinum Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser, offers 40,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new card in your first three months.

  • With Airport Club Access, you get complimentary access to 3 airport lounge networks: Delta Sky Club, Centurion Lounges, and Airspace Lounges.

    Plus, you also get Priority Pass Select at no additional cost. When you enroll in Priority Pass Select, you can access over 600 participating airport lounges worldwide.

  • You earn Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer to over a dozen frequent traveler programs.
    • Airline transfer partners include Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Virgin America.
    • Hotel transfer partners include Hilton, Best Western, and Starwood.

This card is a good fit if you frequently travel and want Platinum benefits such as Airport Club Access, Platinum Concierge Service. Keep in mind, the travel-friendly benefits come at a price. There is a $450 annual fee and this is a charge card, not a credit card. In other words, you have to pay off your balance every month.

Is the Platinum Card worth it? Read our Platinum Card review before you decide.

Bonus Tip: If you frequently fly American Airlines, consider looking into the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, which lets you transfer SPG points to AAdvantage. Plus, you get 5,000 bonus Starpoints when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints.

Earn Rewards for Travel

International Travel
For overseas travelers, consider using a credit card with no foreign transaction fee to help save money while traveling abroad. Most credit cards have a foreign transaction fee of 3%, which applies to purchases you make overseas.

Airline
If airfare is your biggest concern, look for an airline credit card to help you earn free flights. Several of these cards include great introductory deals, such as bonus miles, free flights or free checked baggage.

Hotel
To save on hotel expenses, consider applying for a hotel credit card promotion. Special offers may include bonus hotel points and free hotel stays.

Gas
A gas credit cards can help stretch your budget. Read our guide to see how using credit cards can help drivers save money.

Redeeming Points
Some travel rewards cards give you points or miles with a particular company’s frequent traveler program, such as United Mileage Plus or Hilton HHonors. Other cards give you points that you can use with the credit card issuer’s reward program.

Also consider how you would like to book your reward travel: some cards require you to book through the card issuer’s website, while others have more flexible options. Be sure to review the card's terms and conditions to see whether it has blackout dates or other restrictions on redeeming points.

Most travel and airline credit cards require very good to excellent credit to apply. Like most rewards cards, travel and airline credit card offers tend to charge higher interest rates compared to other types of credit cards, so if you don't plan on paying your balance in full each month, consider a low interest credit card instead.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Best Credit Cards for International Travel

The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. Read this before you take off.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Travel Rewards Benefit: 2X points per dollar spent on travel. 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
Our Review: Do you like to travel? Chase Sapphire Preferred has a huge bonus point offer and premium travel benefits. But the card has a $95 annual fee. Read on to see if the Sapphire Preferred is worth it... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsTravel RewardsCar Rental RewardsTravel Accident InsuranceEmergency Assistance
Our Review: If you want to earn 2x miles with all purchases and have the flexibility to redeem miles toward any airline purchase, consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. The $89 annual fee card lets you earn miles quickly with no mileage caps. In addition, a 40,000 bonus mile offer makes this card an attractive choice... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/A
0% for 12 months (must be completed within first forty-five days of account opening)
15.99% or 19.99%* Variable
$89 - Waived first year


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsTravel RewardsBonus Airline RewardsNo Expiration on Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Our Review: Discover it Miles credit card rewards users with 1.5x miles and no annual fee (a rarity among travel credit cards). Even more appealing, as a promotion, the card will double the miles you earn at the end of your first year... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
10.99% for 12 months
10.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • New: No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • New: Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • New: Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • Earn free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates.
  • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Terms and limitations apply.
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsTravel RewardsBonus Airline RewardsNo Limits on RewardsEventsCar Rental InsuranceExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Airline Rewards: Transfer Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Hotel Rewards: Earn free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates. (Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.)
Our Review: There’s a new version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, and with the updated perks comes an increased cost: the annual fee has been bumped from $65 to $95. Read on to find out if the card should still be worth considering in 2015... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
NoneNone
15.24% - 19.24% variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

The Platinum Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms & restrictions apply.
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsPoint RewardsTravel RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitConciergeEventsExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityIdentity Theft Assistance
Our Review: Is the American Express Platinum Card worth the $450 annual fee? Read this review to help you decide... Read full review
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$450


Read Review
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsPoint RewardsTravel RewardsDining Rewards
Our Review: If you’re looking for an all-purpose rewards credit card that offers a mix of travel perks and a generous promotional bonus, the Citi ThankYou Premier card deserves a close look. This card offers triple reward points for travel, double reward points for dining and entertainment, and a long list of travel protections. Read on to see if the card is worth the $95 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months)... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
13.99% - 22.99%* (Variable)
$95; fee waived for the first 12 months*

Travel Rewards Benefits

Travel rewards credit cards not only help you save money on expenses, such as flights and hotel rooms, they also usually offers points (or miles) that can be redeemed toward other discounts or benefits. A travel-focused credit card might also provide additional benefits when it is used to pay for travel expenses.

The majority of travel rewards credit cards work like regular rewards cards, with cardholders earning a certain number of points for each dollar spent on purchases using the card. The difference is that cards focused on travel rewards usually offer bonuses, either when you use them to pay for travel-related expenses, or when you redeem points for travel savings. Some examples may include:

  • Some cards let you earn double or even triple points or cash back for each dollar spent on airfare or gas, in addition to awarding bonus points when you sign up.

  • Other possibilities include receiving credits to cover incidentals such as baggage fees, access to special lounges at airports, or concierge services to help trip planning.

  • Some programs may require fewer points to redeem award flights or hotel stays, particularly if you book through the card issuer’s travel website.

A Focus on Business

Many credit cards aimed at businesspeople also emphasize travel rewards, as work-related travel remains common despite today’s challenging economy:

  • You may be able to receive a discounted companion airplane ticket when purchasing one at a high enough fare rate.

  • You may also be able to easily transfer points and miles between your credit card and particular frequent flyer programs.

  • Other benefits can be perfect for business travelers, including reduction or elimination of foreign transaction fees and additional car rental insurance.

Corporate Tie-ins

Some cards bear the name of a travel-related company, such as an airline or hotel chain, and provide even better bonuses for purchases at that particular business. Potential perks include:

  • Some cardholders may be able to take advantage of special benefits or avoid certain fees when booking with the selected airline or hotel chain, in addition to earning bonus points or miles.

  • Blackout dates or other restrictions may not apply when booking with the appropriate card.

  • Just remember to be aware that some of the benefits of these cards are only awarded at the particular company’s properties or flights.


Articles on Travel Rewards

    Best Credit Card for European Travel

    If you’re looking for a credit card that can take you to Europe and back, you might need to look past what’s already in your wallet. Let’s do a quick inventory: any credit cards with a small chip located on the left-hand side? Put aside any that ...

    How to Travel the World

    By Leah Norris - Tips
    Thinking of taking a trip around the world? It’s not cheap to travel anywhere these days. The cost of airfare alone can be enough to make you think twice about traveling internationally to one location, let alone take a multi-country journey. ...

    How to Save Money While Traveling

    By Leah Norris - Tips
    Planning a vacation? Hotel and transportation costs are high enough without the added costs of food, entertainment, and attractions. But, there are some easy ways to save money during your trip without sacrificing experience.

    3 Mistakes People Make with Their Travel Credit Card

    June 8, 2015 - Tips
    A travel credit card can be your next BFF (a loyal, rewarding one) or it can become an frenemy, by making you feel guilty that you're not using all of its benefits. There are many mistakes you can make along the way — starting with choosing one ...

    Best Place to Print Photos

    February 26, 2015 - By Rachel Hoyt - Reviews
    We’re all taking more photos than ever. But what are we doing with them? Are they forever stuck in our phones or in the cloud somewhere? Photo sites make it easy to pull out your favorite images and turn them into printable keepsakes and gifts. ...
    Cruise Ship Docking

    Cruise Ship Industry Statistics

    By Rebecca Lake - Tips
    Whether you're a seasoned cruiser or you prefer to keep your feet firmly on land, here are 23 things that might surprise you about the cruise industry.
    Two Hang gliders over beachy head sussex england showing a sea mist

    Why Traveling is Good for You

    By Michelle Smith - Tips
    We all need to get away sometimes. And if the only thing standing between you and your next trip is a good excuse, start packing because we've got you covered. Here are 23 reasons why traveling is good for you, on both a personal and ...

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.