Maximise your travel savings with travel rewards credit cards. By using these cards for everyday spending, you can earn redeemable points for airfares, hotels and other travel expenses.
What are rewards cards?
Rewards cards earn you redeemable travel points on a ratio to the amount of money you spend. Generally, they earn 1 point for every dollar spent and are primarily designed for high spending account.
The idea is to use them as much as possible and then pay off the outstanding balance at the end of the month. Some categories of spending earn you a higher ratio of points to dollar, and most cards also have huge sign-up bonuses for spending a minimum amount of money within the first few months.
Where are my points redeemable?
This depends on the card. You can choose to use either airline affiliated credit cards or general travel rewards credit cards.
Airline-branded credit cards award points or miles that are redeemable only with a specific loyalty program or airline/travel partners. If you’re a frequent flyer with one airline, it would make sense to choose an affiliated credit cards, because you’ll get bonuses when purchasing flights with any associated airlines. The Simple Dollar rated the following 6 as the best of 2016:
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (American Express)
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
The JetBlue Card
British Airways Visa Signature Card
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
The Hawaiin Airlines World Elite MasterCard
As mentioned, most of these cards also offer boons for spending after sign-up. The Delta SkyMiles card gives you 30,000 bonus miles if you can make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. The usual $95 annual fee is also waived for the first year.
If you’re looking for a European carrier, the British Airways Signature Card may be your best choice. If you can spend $3,000 within your first three months of membership, you’ll collect 50,000 Avios (points for miles). For everyday purchases, you’ll get 1 Avios for every $1 spent; or 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases.
General rewards cards
A general non-affiliated rewards card may be more suitable if you’re a frequent flyer but you don’t always stick to the same carrier. These are more consistent in their reward points to spending ratio. Points are converted to statement credits, which you can use with most airlines or loyalty programs.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is frequently written up as the best non-affiliated card in terms of its flexibility and rewards scheme. It earns 1 point for every dollar spent, double points on travel and dining at restaurants, and a point transfer of 1:1 to travel programs such as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Points are also worth 25% more if you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. As usual, this particular card also has an enticing sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months.