Best Travel Credit Cards of 2017

post author icon
by parag
Last Updated: March 20th, 2017
fb icontw iconli icon

KEYWORDS:#credit cards #tips #rewards #cash back
post image

If you think you can’t afford to travel, maybe you just haven’t found the perfect travel credit card yet! The right travel card can save you hundreds of dollars on flights, hotels, and foreign exchange fees. Finding a great credit card can mean reading through pages of fine print, but we have done the work for you. These are the best travel credit cards of 2017.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

You will see this card at the top of any traveler’s list of favorites and with good reason. It has one of the best sign up bonuses and some of the best rewards available. It also looks and feels really, really cool! It’s made of metal and the account number and your name are laser embossed on the card, there are no raised characters. People will comment when you hand over your CSP!

Sign Up Offer: When you sign up for the CSP, you will receive 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account. This gives you $625 towards airfare or hotel stays when you redeem points through Chase’s travel portal, Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will receive an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user, and they make one purchase within three months.

Earning Points: The ease with which you can earn points is one of the reasons this card is so popular. You earn 2 points for every $1 spent on the usual travel expenses like airfare and hotels, but you also earn them for cruises, rental cars, train travel, taxis and even Uber! There are no airline blackout dates when using the CSP, if there is a seat available, you can book it with points.

You also earn 2 points for every $1 you spend dining out, and again, the criteria for earning points is pretty generous. Coffee shops like Starbucks count as do some bars which serve food so long as they are coded as a restaurant in Chase’s system. For all other purchases, you receive 1 point per $1 spent.

Partners: CSP offers 1:1 points transfers with many travel programs including British Airways, Korean Air SKYPASS (which includes Delta), Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and the Ritz-Carlton.

When you book your plane ticket, hotel, car rental or cruise, through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, you’ll receive a 20% discount.

Travel Protection: A lot can go wrong on a trip, but CSP offers some terrific travel protections. If your trip is canceled or cut short due to things like illness or bad weather, you’re covered for up to $10,000 in pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

If you rent a car using your CSP, you can refuse the rental companies collision insurance. CSP will provide primary coverage up to the cash value of the car for theft and collision damage in the US and abroad.

When you charge your air, bus, train, or cruise travel, CSP will provide up to $500,000 in coverage for accidental death or dismemberment. Should you need medical or legal help, CSP can provide referrals, but you are responsible for the cost of those services. Very valuable should you find yourself needing help in a foreign country.

If your luggage is lost or damaged, you are covered for up to $3,000. If the bags are delayed for more than six hours, CSP will reimburse you for any essentials you must purchase, $100 per day for up to five days.

Fees: CSP has no foreign exchange fee which is important if you travel abroad. Some cards charge as much as 3% per transaction! The annual fee for CSP is waived for the first year and $95 per year after that. The APR is 16.24%-23.24%.

Credit Score: Because your credit score takes a small hit each time you apply for a new credit card, you want to be sure that you only apply for those cards you are likely to be approved for. To get the CSP, you need a good credit score. The average score the card is awarded to is 741.

Chase Sapphire Preferred
APPLY NOW
intro apr
N/A
 
regular apr
16.24%
16.24%-23.24% Variable
fees
$95

waived for the first year

promo

50,000

Bonus Points

Show Details

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you can’t be bothered keeping track of travel reward points, this is the card for you! You earn miles (CO uses the term miles rather than points) but rather than having to redeem them; they are issued to you as a statement credit. You charge your travel expenses to the card and then use the credit to pay for them.

Sign Up Offer: You will receive 40,000 miles when you sign up which is equivalent to $400 for travel expenses after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Earning Points: This is why travelers love this card. You earn 2 miles for every $1 spent. Not just on travel, on every purchase! There are no blackout dates because you’re paying directly for travel expenses that will be paid later with your statement credits.

Partners: You can book with any airline, any hotel, it doesn’t matter due to the way the rewards on this card are structured. You can also use statement credits to pay for things like car rentals, train tickets, cabs, even travel agents!

Travel Protection: This is where the CO falls short. It doesn’t offer much in the way of travel protection aside from up to $3,000 if your luggage is lost or stolen.

Fees: CO has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee is waived for the first year and at $59 a year after, is one of the lowest among travel cards. The APR is 13.24%-23.24%.

Credit Score: You’ll need a good score for this card, the average score the card is awarded to is 738.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
APPLY NOW
intro apr
N/A
N/A
regular apr
16.24%
16.24%-23.24% Variable
fees
$59

waived for the first year

promo

40,000

Bonus Points

Show Details

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

American Express offers several travel rewards card but if you love luxurious hotels and resorts, this is your card.

Sign Up Offer: SPG is offering 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Traditionally, they have increased this to 35,000 points in the late summer, so if you’re considering this card, you may want to wait and see if that proves true again this year.

Earning Points: It’s more difficult to earn SPG points than it is to earn points with some other travel cards. You can earn up to 5 points per $1 spent at SPG hotels and resorts and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. However, Starwood points are extremely valuable. There are no blackout dates to redeem points.

Partners: SPG points transfer at a 1:1 basis to almost 150 airlines including Alaska Airlines, Delta, and United. When you transfer 20,000 points to a frequent flyer program, you get 5,000 additional points, a 25% bonus!

If you really want to make the most of your SPG points, you’ll spend them at SPG branded hotels. This is what makes the points so valuable. SPG has more than 1,100 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries.  The properties are ranked as Category 1-7. A category 1 hotel costs just 2-3,000 points per night. Category 7 cost from 30-35,000 points per night. When you stay in a category 3-7 property, you get the fifth night free. You can also combine cash and points. At some properties, a night can cost as little as $30 and 1,500 points.

You will also receive credit for 5 nights, and 2 stays toward Gold Status each year you are a card member regardless if you’ve stayed in an SPG hotel or not. Gold Status comes with perks like late checkout and room upgrades.

Travel Protection: SPG offers coverage if your rental car is damaged or stolen. Global Assist can help you with things like lost passports and luggage but any third party expenses incurred are your responsibility.

Fees: SPG has no foreign transaction fee. They did previously but in order to compete in a crowded field; they dropped it. The annual fee is waived for the first year and is $95 a year after. The APR is 15.49%-19.49%.

Credit Score: You’ll need a good score for this card too; the average score the card is awarded to is 743.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
APPLY NOW
intro apr
N/A
N/A
regular apr
16.24%
16.24%-23.24% Variable
fees
$95

waived for the first year

promo

25,000

Bonus Points

Show Details

 

So Which Card is Best?

Any of these cards will make a great travel partner but what’s the final verdict? That depends on what your priorities are. If you frequently travel whether for work, pleasure or both, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is your best bet. Things can go wrong when we travel; we’re delayed by a storm, or our luggage ends up on the wrong flight. CSP offers some of the best travel protection in the industry.

If you want to get in on the perks of having a travel card but don’t want the hassle of keeping track of points and moving them between accounts, the Capital One card is a straight forward way to get those perks.

If you love sipping a drink beside a pool while you gaze out over the ocean, or you want a five- star experience in a glamorous city, the SPG card will help you get there.

Travel is such a rewarding experience; make sure you have the best travel reward card to help get you where you want to go!

fb icontw iconli icon
Advertisement