If you don’t carry a big balance, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a rewards credit card. I already wrote a post all about finding the best one for you: “Finally Get Rewarded For Spending: Choosing the Right Rewards Credit Card”, and after finding out my credit score was not as great as it could be, I cried. Then I decided to open a second credit card to help it out a bit. I already had the Visa Signature Rewards card from Bank of America, but I knew I wasn’t getting the rewards I rightly deserved. Since I think points are best used for traveling, here are the results of my search for the best travel rewards credit card:
Chase Sapphire Preferred:
Sign up Bonus: 40,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, worth $500 of travel. If you book through their travel tool, the bonus is worth $625. You just have to spend $3k in the first 3 months.
Earnings: The card gives 2 points per $1 spent on travel and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Additionally, you earn 7% points dividend at the end of the year, and your points are worth 20% more when you book for travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel tool.
*No foreign transaction fees
* Access to most carriers – plus you can also use for merchandise, cash and gift cards.
* Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall which earns you an additional 1-20% cash back with preferred vendors
* Amazing travel benefits and insurance
* Trip delay and cancellation insurance: If your covered trip is delayed for more than 12 hours, you will be covered for your expenses (like if you need to eat in a restaurant or sleep in a hotel). If your covered trip is canceled for any reason, you will be provided with a full reimbursement.
* Delayed and lost luggage insurance
Fee: $95 waived the first year
Capital One Venture:
Sign up Bonus: 10,000 Capital One No Hassle Miles Bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Earnings: Every purchase earns 2% in travel rewards.
*No foreign transaction fees
*No restrictions on carriers and no blackout dates – can also use points for merchandise, cash or gift certificates
* You can redeem any number of points as a statement credit offsetting any travel expense (so you can book on Orbits or Priceline and they will credit your account)
* Free extended warranty, purchase security, travel insurance, car rental insurance, lost luggage reimbursement
* Travel concierge service and access to advance ticket sales to many events
Fee: $59 waived the first year
I chose the Chase Sapphire preferred due to the insane sign up bonus and the fact that you get even more points and discounts by booking through their Rewards tool. I also spend a lot of money on food and travel, so even though you earn more points with the Venture card, Chase was able to lure me in like a pedophile with candy…who gives reward points… ok that analogy didn’t work. Anyway, the point is – make sure your credit card is working for you too!