Thursday, February 14, 2008

The "Best of the Best" Travel Credit Cards

Reader mail from Tony:
"Do you have any insight on which credit card on the market is the best for travel redemption in your expertise?"

Thanks for your email Tony. While many reward programs pay 1 point/mile for each dollar you spend, the introductory bonus of each card varies. I've created a handy list (with links) below of my personal favorites, which all offer generous points/miles after initial usage of the card.

A few things to keep in mind:
-Be aware of the Annual Percentage Rate. If you plan on rolling a balance on a credit card, you should consider searching for cards with a low A.P.R. Not all reward cards have this.
-Input your frequent traveler number at the time of the application; adding it after you receive the card is at the very least a hassle.
-Read the terms and conditions of these applications before applying. Read the fine print.

10,000 points with your first purchase, fee free the first year.
-You earn a 1-3 free night stays after first purchase. No blackout dates with Starwood!
-Earn 1 point for most regular purchases, bonuses when staying at Starwood properties.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards SignatureCard from Chase *inflightout recommended*
16 Rapid Rewards Credits after first purchase. $59 annual fee.
-You earn a free round-trip ticket after 1st purchase and payment of annual fee!
-$59 bucks for a free ticket, grreat deal. You also receive free drink certificates when you redeem free flight credits.
10,000 ThankYou points after your first purchase, fee free.
-Redeemable for a $100 gift card, or flight credits.
-Earn 1 point for each dollar spent, and 1 flight point for every three miles flown!
-Applies to flights you purchase for others as well.
25,000 miles after you spend $750 within the first four months of account opening.
-This is enough miles for a free round-trip ticket in the continental U.S. Fee free the first year.
-A great deal if would typically spend this amount of money in a short period of time.
-Earn 1 mile for each dollar spent.
21,000 miles after you spend $250 on the card. Fee free the first year.
-Almost enough for a free round-trip ticket in the lower 48 states.
-Miles can be redeemed on partner airlines. A few other card perks as well.
-Earn 1 point for each dollar spent.
15,000 miles after first purchase, $49 annual fee.
-On Frontier Airlines, 15,000 miles is enough for a free ticket within the U.S & Canada.
-Limited redemption options since San Francisco Airport operations have slimed down, fewer flights available to redeem miles on.
-Earn 1 mile for each purchase dollar spent.
15,000 miles with your first purchase, fee free the first year.
-25,000 miles needed for a free ticket. This is a pretty good offer as well.
-Earn a mile for each dollar spent.