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Top 5 Travel Rewards Cards You Should Have in Your Wallet

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There are so many travel rewards cards choosing the right card can be confusing. These are the top 5 travel rewards cards you should have in your wallet.

Top 5 Travel Rewards Cards

These are my favorite travel rewards cards. If you had to only choose 5 credit cards, these are the cards you should get. The rewards you earn from most of these cards are transferable to many airlines and hotels. This means you have more options for free flights, hotels, and more. www.travelingwellforless.com

These are my favorite travel rewards cards. If you had to only choose 5 credit cards, these are the cards you should get. The rewards you earn from most of these cards are transferable to many airlines and hotels. This means you have more options for free flights, hotels, and more!

Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you want to earn points that can be used for free flights and hotel rooms, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and stay for free at hotels like the Park Hyatt Maldives

If you want to earn points that can be used for free flights and hotel rooms, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

I’ve transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United to fly First Class on Lufthansa. I’ve also transferred them to Hyatt to stay at various hotels during my Quasi-Round the World Trip.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you:

  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • $300 annual travel credit (can be used at grocery stores and gas stations through 12/31/21)
  • 3x points on travel and dining
  • 1x points on every $1 spent everywhere else
  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership (free airport lounge access)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer on a 1:1 ratio to participating airlines and hotels
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $550 annual fee (not waived the first year)

If you want similar benefits but a lower annual fee ($95) you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred you get 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, 2x points on travel and dining, earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points that transfer on a 1:1 ratio to participating airlines and hotels, and no foreign transaction fees.

Check out my post on how to get into every airport lounge.

The Platinum Card from American Express

You can earn Membership Rewards points with the Platinum Card from American Express.  These points can be redeemed for airline tickets and hotel rooms.Traveling Well For Less

Transfer Membership Rewards points and fly First Class on Etihad

You can earn Membership Rewards points with the Platinum Card from American Express.  These points can be redeemed for airline tickets and hotel rooms.

Transfer Membership Rewards points to Etihad and you could shower on your flight.

With the Platinum Card from American Express you get:

  • 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account
  • 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked with the airline or through American Express Travel
  • 1x Membership Rewards points on all purchases
  • Free entrance to Centurion Lounges
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership (free airport lounge access)
  • $200 in Uber credits each year
  • Free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold elite status
  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free Hilton Honors Gold elite status
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts (free breakfast, upgrades, and more)
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $550 annual fee (not waived the first year)

If you have a business, you can also get the American Express Business Platinum card. The benefits are the same as the Platinum Card from American Express except for two differences: you get a higher welcome offer/bonus and you don’t get the Uber credits.

You get 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

If you fly on American Airlines or one of their many partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and British Airways, you should consider getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive card.

American Airlines miles can be used to fly on Cathay Pacific

If you fly on American Airlines or one of their many partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and British Airways, you should consider getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive card. Search for airline rewards cards.

You can use American Airlines miles for a free trip to Hawaii.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive card gives you:

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2x miles on American Airline flights and purchases
  • 1x mile on every $1 spent
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions
  • Priority check-in and priority boarding for up to 8 travel companions
  • Free Admirals Club membership
  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry
  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 in purchases in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee (not waived the first year)

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, using your miles for free travel is simple and convenient. Make a travel-related purchase then use your miles to for statement credit. You can also redeem your miles for cashback.

Redeem your miles from your Barclaycard Arrival Plus to pay for travel expenses like snorkeling
Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Confused by which points transfer to what airlines or hotels? Want a card that’s easy to get free travel? Then you should get the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, using your miles for free travel is simple and convenient. Make a travel-related purchase then use your miles to for statement credit. Which means your activities in cities like Vienna will be free! You can also redeem your miles for cashback.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is no longer available to new applicants.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The best First Class seat on the 747-8 on Lufthansa. https://www.travelingwellforless.com

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, then book a flight on Lufthansa

If you’re looking for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, you should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt hotels and stay for free in Hawaii.

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited you get:

  • $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 5% cash back at grocery stores the first 12 months up to $12,000
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points that transfers on a 1:1 ratio to participating airlines and hotels when you transfer to your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred account
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Conclusion

Just starting out with travel rewards cards? Not sure which cards to get? These are the top 5 travel rewards you should have in your wallet:

You can use the points you earn from these cards to get free flights and hotels rooms. With some of these cards, you can get free airport lounge access.

Which are your top 5 travel rewards cards?

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The best travel rewards cards let your transfer points for free flights, hotels, and activities. You should get these top 5 travel rewards cards. | travel for free | travel hacks | travel hacking | travel rewards cards | www.travelingwellforless.com

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 80,000 points & a $50 statement credit on groceries your first year after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 


Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of $200 after spending $500 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back at grocery stores the first 12 months (up to $12k), unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your points to travel for free.
 

American Express Gold

The American Express Gold is a great card for earning travel rewards from grocery and restaurant purchases It offers a welcome offer of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 4X points at US grocery stores, 4x points at restaurants (including delivery and takeout) worldwide,, $120 statement credit at restaurants, 4x points on UberEats, $120 in UberCash (use for UberEats or rides),3x points on flights booked with the airlines or via amextravel, and 1x point on everything else.  
travel deals this week include $1,000 shipboard credit and more. www.travelingwellforless.com
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Alli

Wednesday 27th of December 2017

I’ve heard so much about Chase Sapphire! Unfortunately, I don’t think that one or any of the others are offered in Canada! But as I don’t have any kind of reward cards, this post certainly inspires me to look into what options I do have! :)

Elena

Wednesday 27th of December 2017

This list is very helpful. I never had a travel card, but I am very interested in getting one, considering that I travel a lot throughout the year. Thanks for the info, I will definitely look into all of these in more detail.

Lauren

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

I'm not sure that I can take advantage of any of these as a Canadian. But I love my Capital One World Aspire credit card because I collect lots of travel points on it! I get quite a few free flights out of it every year :) I keep hearing great things about that Chase Sapphire one though. Thanks for explaining all the perks!

Sandy N Vyjay

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

Reward cards are really useful and this is a good list. However in spite of all our travels we have not fully utilized our reward points. This is because we do not stick to the same airlines or hotel chains. One card that we have been using regularly is the Citibank card. With the onset of 2018 we hope to better plan our travels and capitalize on the advantages of these reward cards.

Nisha

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

Reward cards are so useful. These are perhaps some of the best. We don't have any of these in India but there are other alternatives. Only this summer I used up my card to get us a couple of tickets from India to Europe and back.

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