Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

Imagine yourself stepping on a plane bound for Jamaica.

You’re headed to the Caribbean paradise to spend a week enjoying what may be the best vacation you’ve ever had. The best part? After taxes and fees for the tickets and your hotel room, you're paying nothing.

How? Travel rewards credit cards. Big sign-up bonuses and rewards rates, which we talk about in this guide, are the keys to earning enough free travel to make a Caribbean vacation – or any vacation – possible.

However, the various cards you have to choose from are so different that it’s really hard to choose the right one because each card handles its rewards slightly differently, whether it’s the rate at which you earn your travel rewards or the way you redeem them for flights, hotel nights, or general travel purchases.

Our guide will help you understand which cards are best while at the same time equipping you to be a shrewd cardholder who knows how to get the most benefit out of your card while limiting the downside.

In This Guide:

HighYa’s Top Picks for the Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

Best Overall Travel Rewards Card - Capital One Venture

We’ve graded seven popular travel cards according to the features that matter most to cardholders: yearly rewards, sign-up bonus, redemption options, annual fee, and APR. The resulting overall grade is an indication of how well the card performed across each of those five categories.

Based on this grading system, we believe the Capital One Venture is the best travel card because of its low APR, robust rewards rate and substantial sign-up bonus. It’s an excellent card for those who want a simple way to redeem rewards for travel purchases.

Rank Card Overall Grade Sing-Up Bonus Yearly Rewards Redemption Options Regular APR Annual Fee
1 Capital One Venture B A A C B C
2 Discover it Miles B C B C A A
3 Chase Sapphire Preferred C+ A C A D C
4 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards C D- B B C B
5 Barclaycard Arrival Plus C B A C D C
6 Citi ThankYou Premier C A B B F C
7 Bank of America Travel Rewards C- D B C F A

 

#1. Capital One Venture
Capital One Venture Card
Pros: Double points on purchases is the best rate among all cards. APR is second lowest. Intro bonus of 50,000 miles is tied for the best. An all-around solid card.

Cons: Rewards cannot be transferred to a travel partner.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 50,000 miles

Rewards Rate: 2x on everything
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
50,000 miles $0 for the first year, then $95 14.24% - 24.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#2. Discover it Miles
Discover it Miles
Pros: One of two cards without an annual fee. First-year match bonus is a great opportunity for big spenders. Low APR benefits those with balances.

Cons: Rewards cannot be transferred to a travel partner.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 50,000 miles

Rewards Rate: 1.5x on everything
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
37,500 miles No annual fee 13.24% - 24.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#3. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Pros: Points transfer to nine airlines and four hotel chains. Tied for the best sign-up bonus. 1.25% points bonus when you book travel through Chase.

Cons: Tied with Arrival Plus for highest APR. Lowest yearly rewards points in the bunch.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 29,650 points

Rewards Rate: 2x on travel and dining, 1x on everything else
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
50,000 points $0 for the first year, then $95 17.24% - 24.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#4. U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards
U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards
Pros: Second-lowest APR and annual fee. Points are worth 50% more when you book through U.S. Bank’s travel portal.

Cons: Rewards cannot be transferred to a travel partner. Yearly rewards are second lowest in the group.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 32,864 points

Rewards Rate: 2x on cell phone bills, charitable donations and groceries, gas or airlines; 1x on everything else
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
20,000 points $0 for the first year, then $49 15.24% - 25.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#5. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards
Pros: Top yearly rewards of $525 because of a 5% bonus when you redeem points. Second-best intro bonus.

Cons: Low-end APR is tied with Sapphire Preferred for worst of the group. Annual fee is second-highest.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 52,500 miles

Rewards Rate: 2x on everything
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
40,000 miles $0 for the first year, then $89 17.24% - 24.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#6. Citi ThankYou Premier
Citi ThankYou Premier
Pros: When you redeem your points in Citi’s travel portal, you get a 25% bonus. APR is middle of the pack, 2% lower than Sapphire and Arrival Plus. No annual fee the first year. Best rewards for travel and gas purchases.

Cons: Rewards cannot be transferred to a travel partner. Has penalty APR of 29.99% that kicks in when you make a late payment.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 37,867 miles

Rewards Rate: 3x on travel/gas, 2x on dining/entertainment, 1x on everything else
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
50,000 miles $0 for the first year, then $95 15.74% - 24.74%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

 

#7. Bank of America Travel Rewards
Bank of America Travel Rewards
Pros: $0 annual fee ties the Discover card for lowest in the group. 10% bonus on points for Bank of America customers.

Cons: Has second highest APR and levies penalty APR of 29.99% if you pay late. The sign-up bonus is lowest of the group.

Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 41,250 points

Rewards Rate: 1.5x on everything
Sign-Up Bonus Annual Fee Regular APR
20,000 points No annual fee 16.24% - 24.24%
More on this card: Read Our Full Review

HighYa’s Picks of the Best Travel Cards for Specific Situations

Our choice for the top spot is the Capital One Venture card because it performs so well in all categories. However, there is no is no single type of consumer and, therefore, there is no single card that works best for everyone.

Some cardholders want a travel card that is only good at one thing, like transferring points to travel partners. Others are looking for cards that have the biggest first-year value because they close the account before their annual fee kicks in.

Because each consumer is different, we’ve created a list of the best travel cards for specific situations:

Best Travel Card for Free Flights and Hotel Nights

Best Travel Card for Free Flights and Hotel Nights - Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel credit cards offer two types of rewards: the kind you can transfer to travel partners (airlines, hotels) and the kind you can apply to travel purchases you’ve already made. And, in most cases, you can use your rewards to purchase travel through the card issuer’s own travel site.

This distinction is important because, in nearly every situation, transferring your points to an airline or hotel’s loyalty programs will provide more value than simply cashing out your points or using them to make purchases through your credit card’s travel portal.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the winner in this category because its 13 travel transfer partners provide maximum value for your yearly points. These rankings are based on the number of yearly points you can earn with the card and how many free nights and flights you can get with those points:

Rank Card Estimated Yearly Rewards Estimated Number of Free Flights Estimated Number of Free Nights Notes
1 Chase Sapphire Preferred 29,650 1-4 6 Benefits from having Hyatt and Southwest as transfer partners. Hyatt hotels can be booked for 5,000 points a night, while the cheapest Southwest flights are around 6,500 per round-trip.
2 Barclaycard Arrival Plus 52,500 1.5 4 Leads the non-transfer pack because of the $525 you can earn each year from spending (50K) and the 5% redemption bonus (2,500).
3 Capital One Venture 50,000 1 4 Its $500 yearly rewards are second only to the Arrival Plus. If you can book a flight below the average prices of $354, you could get one-and-a-half flights with your yearly points.
4 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards 32,864 1 4 If you use one year of rewards to book travel through U.S. Bank’s website, you’ll have $492.96 to put toward flights, nights or both because of the 50% bonus you get. That bonus buying power puts this card in fourth place.
5 Bank of America Travel Rewards 41,250 1 3 Last of the cards that offer more than 40,000 points. Yearly rewards are enough to get you one round-trip flight. The significance here is that you only get three nights at the average hotel rate, not four.
6 Citi ThankYou Premier 37,867 1 3 This card allows you to transfer points to JetBlue, but at a 0.5:1 rate instead of 1:1. The better value is to redeem for travel purchases, but, even then, you can only book one flight.
7 Discover it Miles 37,500 1 3 No bonuses or transfer partners make this card’s $375 of yearly rewards barely good enough to get a free flight.

How to Win at Getting Free Flights and Hotel Nights:

They key to getting the most free nights and flights out of a card’s rewards program is to do your research ahead of time.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you two different domestic airlines to choose from. If you’re planning a trip to, let’s say, San Francisco, head to United and Southwest’s websites to see who offers the cheapest points flights from your city to San Francisco. Then, transfer your points to that airline’s loyalty program.
Do the same for hotels. Since Chase lets you transfer points to four different hotel programs, check your destination city to see which chain offers the cheapest hotel that’s nearest to where you want to be within the city.

If you need to, make a spreadsheet in which you list the hotels that are available through your card’s travel partners then list how many points it takes to book the hotel. This will help you do side-by-side comparisons and narrow down your top pick.

You don’t have to use this tactic for the Citi card because you only have one domestic airline partner and no hotel partners. However, it could come in handy if you plan on flying internationally because Citi has multiple overseas airline partners.

The rest of the cards in this article don’t have travel partners but that doesn’t mean you’re barred from doing research. Use an aggregate site like Kayak to compare prices for flights and hotels. Book the one that best fits your budget and which part of town you want to stay in.

When the payment clears, you can apply your rewards balance to it.

Best Travel Card for First-Year Rewards

Best Travel Card for First-Year Rewards - Capital One Venture

In the travel-card world, it’s common for people to sign up for a card to get the bonus and then cancel it before they have to pay an annual fee the following year.

If this is you, then you’re most concerned about how many points you can earn your first year. The rankings below include the maximum amount of points you can earn the first  year, all bonuses included:

Rank Card Estimated Total First-Year Rewards Estimated Spending Rewards Sign-Up Bonus Notes
1 Capital One Venture 100,000 miles 50,000 miles 50,000 miles Tied for the best sign-up bonus and second for yearly rewards, the Venture has a sizeable lead for first place: 7,500 more points than the Arrival Plus.
2 Barclaycard Arrival Plus 92,500 miles 52,500 miles 40,000 miles As the only other card to offer a first-year total of more than 80,000 points, the Arrival Plus uses its 5% redemption bonus to push rewards past 90,000.
3 Citi ThankYou Premier 87,867 miles 37,867 miles 50,000 miles Combination of the big sign-up bonus and decent yearly rewards vault this card into third place ahead of the Sapphire Preferred. Points can be redeemed at a 1.25% bonus if you buy airfare through Citi.
4 Chase Sapphire Preferred 79,650 points 29,650 points 50,000 points The card’s weak rewards rates put it in fourth place; it’s the only card on the list with less than 30,000 points in yearly rewards. Has the top sign-up bonus along with the Venture and Citi cards.
5 Discover it Miles 75,000 miles 37,500 miles 37,500 miles First-year bonus is a match on spending that’s deposited after your first year. If you have above-average spending, rewards will be better but you’ll still have to wait a year to take advantage of them.
6 Bank of America Travel Rewards 61,250 points 41,250 points 20,000 points While the card’s yearly rewards are third in the group, the sign-up bonus is dead last and drags this card down.
7 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards 52,864 points 32,864 points 20,000 points Lowest yearly rewards and second-lowest sign-up bonus doom this card to last place. Yearly points could get a boost for families who spend more than average on groceries, making the 2x grocery rewards rate more lucrative.

How to Win at First-Year Rewards:

If you’re using a card for its first-year rewards, then take the card that gives you the most rewards.

For families who spend a lot of money each month on their card – at least $2,500 – and don’t want to deal with travel partners, the Capital One Venture can produce at least $600 in the first year plus the $500 from the sign-up bonus.

You’ll have more than $1,000 to use for a hotel room, plane tickets and other travel-related purchases.

If you want to use cards that offer points transfers to travel partners, the Sapphire Preferred is the right choice because they have the best variety. Your first-year balance of more than 79,000 points is good enough to book flights and a hotel stay.

Southwest and Hyatt offer the cheapest rewards flights and nights; it’s feasible you could book a round-trip flight and 10 nights in a Hyatt Place for 79,000 points.

Best Travel Card After Three Years

Best Travel Card After Three Years - Citi ThankYou Premier

Most travel cards get a lot of hype for what they give you the first year. In fact, many people like to use the card for a year and close it before the annual fee comes around. Therefore, the cards with the best first-year rewards are popular.

If you’re in it for the long-run, cards that emphasize first-year rewards aren’t going to satisfy you. You’ll need a card that has a reasonable annual fee and APR along with powerful rewards potential.

The three-year point totals below were calculated by adding the sign-up bonus, points earned through spending and redemption bonuses, then subtracting the annual fees you’ll pay:

Rank Card Estimated 3-Year Rewards Notes
1 Citi ThankYou Premier 182,201 miles Finishes first because of top-notch 50K sign-up bonus and 1.25x redemption bonus when you book flights through Citi.
2 Capital One Venture 181,000 miles Double miles generate a lot of value but lack of redemption bonus keeps this card just 1,201 miles behind the ThankYou Premier.
3 Barclaycard Arrival Plus 179,700 miles Coming in a close third, the Arrival Plus’ points total benefits from the 5% bonus you get when you redeem points. Also, the card’s $89 annual fee is slightly lower than the Venture’s $95 annual fee.
4 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards 158,088 points Benefits from the 1.5x bonus for using points in U.S. Bank travel portal. Annual fee of $49 also keeps fees low. Yearly points totals are low but strong bonus pushes this card past the Sapphire Preferred.
5 Discover it Miles 150,000 miles 1.5x rewards on all purchases is solid but no redemption bonus traps the card in fifth place. Double points the first year could push this card into 4th place if you spend at least $31,000 the first year.
6 Bank of America Travel Rewards 143,750 points While the card has no annual fee, its low bonus rates for purchases keep the yearly points total at a rock-bottom level, even with the 10% bonus that B of A customers get.
7 Chase Sapphire Preferred 143,187 points The card’s high annual fee ($95) and low yearly points drop it to the last spot. A higher redemption bonus would’ve helped; even the 25% bonus doesn't pull it out of the last place.

Things to Consider When Owning a Card for Three Years:

While the Capital One Venture is the best card overall, it doesn’t quite measure up to the Citi ThankYou Premier over the course of three years.

However, the Citi Premier only works well for people who don’t carry a balance. If you do carry a balance, then the Capital One Venture is the best choice because its APR is 1% lower. Also, if you tend to pay late, the Citi Premier’s penalty APR will cost you too much over the course of three years.

Best Card for Carrying a Balance

Best Card for Carrying a Balance - Discover it Miles

Consumers who carry a balance on their credit cards have an average balance of around $16,000 spread across four credit cards. Credit card companies charge an interest rate on that balance. If your interest rate is 17.24% and your average daily balance on one card is $4,000, you’ll end up paying $680 a year in interest.

If this is you, your main concern should be interest rates and not rewards rates:

Rank Card APR Yearly Interest on $4,000 Balance Notes
1 Discover it Miles 13.24% - 24.24% $529.60 Discover cards consistently offer the lowest interest rates. In this case, you’ll save $160 per year over last-place finishers Arrival Plus and Sapphire Preferred.
2 Capital One Venture 14.24% - 24.24% $569.60 An intriguing option in the #2 spot because its interest rate is 1% higher than the Discover card but its rewards rate is also 0.5% higher.
3 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards 15.24% $609.60 Sneaks past the Citi card into third place. Interest payments are $80 higher than the Discover card but $80 lower than the Arrival Plus and Sapphire Preferred.
4 Citi ThankYou Premier 15.74% - 24.74% $629.60 Finds the middle ground between the B of A and U.S. Bank cards. Rate is still a half percent lower than national average APR of 16.38%.
5 Bank of America Travel Rewards 16.24% - 24.24% $649.60 While the card’s APR isn’t out-of-the-ordinary compared to the national average, it still lags $120 behind the Discover card.
6 Barclaycard Arrival Plus 17.24% - 24.24% $689.60 Occupies the bottom spot with the Sapphire. Rate is highest among cards and nearly a full percent above the national average.
6 Chase Sapphire Preferred 17.24% - 24.24% $689.60 The card’s interest rate, along with its feeble rewards, is its Achilles’ heel. Consumers who carry a balance should avoid owning this card for more than a year because of the interest payments you’ll hand over.

How to Handle Carrying a Balance and Using a Travel Card

If you carry a balance, there’s no way you can avoid paying interest on a travel card. However, you can follow some basic steps to get the most out of your card.

First, you need to find the card that has the best intersection of yearly rewards and low APR. In this case, it’s the Capital One Venture – best yearly rewards and second lowest APR.

Second, come up with a plan to reduce your balance. The more of it you can pay off, the less you’ll pay in interest.

While the Capital One Venture is the best card for balances because of its low APR and big rewards provide more long-term value than the Discover it Miles, the Sapphire Preferred is the riskiest card. Its APR is tied for the highest in the bunch but you can get tremendous value from the card’s travel partners.

The first-year rewards can earn you multiple hotel nights and a round-trip flight. For example, 79,000 first-year points are good enough for one round-trip flight on Southwest (about 30,000 points) and 10 nights in a Category 1 Hyatt hotel.

Based on national averages for flight fares and hotel rates, the cash value of those points is around $1,500. You could rationalize that, even with interest, the first year of owning this card is worth it.

After the first year, run the other way. The yearly rewards rate and interest rate don’t justify keeping the card. The Capital One Venture and Discover it Miles are better choices in the long run because their interest rates are lower.

Also, the Discover it Miles has no annual fee, further reducing the cost of ownership for consumers who carry balances.

Travel Cards FAQ

How do points transfers work?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi ThankYou Premier utilize points transfers from your credit card account to an airline or hotel loyalty program. To make the transfer, log into your account and click to redeem your points. You’ll be given the option to transfer the points to a travel partner.

You’ll have to provide your login information for the travel partner; once you do, it takes seconds to connect the accounts.

How do I redeem points or miles?

Every card is slightly different in how you can redeem points. Go to the home page of your credit-card account. Click on your rewards balance.

From here, you’ll have the ability to either apply that balance to travel purchases you’ve made on your card in the past six months or you can use the balance to pay for travel you book through the credit card’s travel portal.

Using the travel portal is seamless. Find flights you want to take, indicate that you want to pay with points and you’re done, minus taxes and fees. The same applies to hotel and rental bookings through the travel site, although remember that the Citi card’s 1.25x points bonus only applies to flights.

How do points bonuses work?

The following three cards give you bonuses when you book through their portals:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.25x for hotels and flights
  • Citi ThankYou Premier: 1.25x for flights
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards: 1.5x for flights

Let’s say you have 10,000 points you want to redeem. Chase will let you book $125 worth of travel; Citi, $125 and U.S. Bank, $150.

Meanwhile, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ 5% bonus means that, after you use those 10,000 points, 500 points (5% of 10,000) will be deposited to your rewards balance.

Bank of America gives you a 10% bonus on points you accrue. So, if you’re spending earns you 2,500 points in a month, you’ll get an additional 10% credit, or 250 extra points.

What qualifies as a “travel” purchase?

This question is important because the Discover, Capital One and Barclaycard cards emphasize the fact that you can use your rewards points to pay for travel purchases you’ve already made.

These cards operate from the same basic list of what counts as a travel purchase. Here is an example from Discover’s fine print that shows what’s included in “travel”:

  • Commercial airline tickets
  • Hotel rooms
  • Cruises
  • Tours
  • Vacation packages
  • Transportation: buses, trains, metros, ferries, taxis, limos

Purchases that won’t count include those made by NFC or with virtual wallets.

Can I lose my rewards points?

One of the ways you can lose your rewards points is if your account drops out of “good standing”, which typically means you’re more than 90 days late on a payment or your card issuer suspects you of using your card for fraudulent activities.

The other way is by closing your account. If you cancel your card and you still have a rewards balance, that balance will disappear and you won’t be able to use the points.

How do hotel categories work?

This question is relevant for the Sapphire Preferred because it’s the only card that lets you transfer points to hotel loyalty programs.

Categories exist to show how many points are needed to book a night based on the hotel’s luxury level and location.

Category 1 hotels tend to be the company’s least luxurious properties located in the least desirable places. As the hotel’s location gets better, it gets moved up to higher categories; the same principle applies to a property’s luxury level.

For example, a Courtyard by Marriott in Columbus, Ga., is going to be in a lower category than a Courtyard by Marriott in Times Square.

Why are transfer partners more valuable for points than cash redemptions?

Points you can transfer to travel partners tend to get you better cash value than what you’d get if you put your points toward previous travel buys or used the points to purchase travel through your card’s travel site.

For example, you can transfer 10,000 Chase points to the World of Hyatt program and then book two nights in a Category 1 hotel.

The average price of a two-night stay is around $244, while the cash value of 10,000 points is $100. As you can see, using those points to book a room is more valuable than using the points to pay for travel you’ve already bought.

What is “churning”?

Churning is a strategy by which you apply for new credit cards only for the sign-up bonuses. Then, after you’ve used the points and before the annual fee rolls around, you cancel the card.

This method relies on one thing, though: discipline. You can’t carry balances and pay interest when you churn because interest payments cancel out rewards.

Churning is not a good strategy if you consistently pay late or carry a balance.

How do sign-up bonuses work?

A card’s sign-up bonus requires a certain amount of spending within the first three months. For example, the Citi ThankYou Premier card will give you 50,000 points if you can spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Keep in mind that any balance transfers you make or fees and interest you pay don’t count toward the spending requirement. Also, the three-month deadline starts the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you get it in the mail.

Tips for Maximizing Your Travel Rewards

There are very specific habits you can adopt and drop in order to get the most out of your travel card:

1. Don’t Sign Up for a Travel Card If You Always Carry Balances

The payments you make for an average daily balance of $4,000 at an interest rate of 15% will cost you $600 a year. Considering that the best yearly rewards total you’ll get out of the cards we’ve listed here is 52,500 ($525), you’re always going to lose out if your average balance is more than $3,500.

Using a travel card while paying interest minimizes – not maximizes – the card’s rewards.

2. If You’re New to Travel Cards, Start With the Capital One Venture

This card is the most straightforward of the group and the easiest for newcomers to grasp. Nearly every purchase gets two points per dollar.

Redeeming those points is easy and done through your account page or app. You don’t have to worry about points transfers or booking through a travel portal.

3. If You’re a Travel Hacker, Pair the Chase Sapphire Preferred with the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Seasoned travelers who want the most possible travel points per year need to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the only non-business, non-luxury card in the Chase lineup that allows points transfers to travel partners. The card also allows points transfers from other Chase rewards cards, too, which is where the Freedom Unlimited comes in.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar spent. So, using that card for a year can net you 37,500 points, or about 8,000 more than the Sapphire Preferred. Transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, then transfer the points to a travel partner.

Do it once and the process will become clear; it takes about two minutes of your time. Also, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee.

4. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal Isn’t the Best Option for Flights

Whenever you use your Sapphire Preferred points to buy flights through the Chase travel portal, you have fewer choices than you would if you transferred your points to Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program.

Not only will Southwest give you more flight options but there’s a good chance your rewards flight will cost you fewer points than what you’d use to book through the Chase travel portal.

Methodology and Data Used

To make an even playing field for credit card comparisons requires using the same spending averages for all cards.

We’ve chosen to use the average household spending numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most recent version of those numbers are:

  • About $25,000 overall, per year
  • About $3,150 on eating out
  • About $4,000 on groceries
  • About $1,900 on gas

We Score Each Card Based on the Ideal Number for Each Category

Each card in our competition received an overall letter grade that was based on grades for five different categories of data that are most important to your use of the card.

A grade of an “A” was given in a category where the card met standards we consider the most advantageous to the consumer:

  • Sign-up bonus: “A”  for 50,000 points or more
  • Yearly rewards: “A”  for 40,000 points or more
  • Redemption options: “A”  for having airline and hotel transfer partners
  • APR: “A”  for an interest rate of 13% - 14%
  • Annual fee: “A”  for $0

Grades of B through F were given for lower sign-up bonuses, lower yearly rewards, limited redemption options, high APRs and higher annual fees.

» For Further Reading: Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2018


J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren is a personal finance reporter who examines credit cards, credit scores and bank products. J.R. is a three-time winner at the Florida Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism contest and his advice has been featured in MSN and Fox’s money sections.


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