It’s early in the year, but we have already seen some top travel rewards credit card offers for 2014. I thought it would be a good idea to do a post that unpacks some of these offers.
There are so many travel rewards credit cards to choose from. You have airline, hotel, and fixed value point cards just to begin with, so I’ll be breaking down cards into categories. This will help you find the right travel rewards credit card for you.
Here are the best travel rewards card offers in 2014, and why I think they are worth applying for.
Fixed Value Point Cards
Fixed value point cards basically offer you a cash amount that can be used for travel costs. And most fixed value point rewards cards have a $.o1 value per mile or point. In other words, you will get $200 in travel statement credits with 20,000 fixed value points.
Fixed value point cards are good options for people who fly domestically in economy class. Why? Because you can still earn miles/points, elite qualification miles, and stay credits on flights or hotel stays paid for with your fixed value miles. That’s because they act like a revenue transaction.
Fixed value points/miles are also great for travel expenses that frequent flyer miles can’t cover, like trains, b&bs, car rentals, etc.
The two best fixed value point card offers are:
Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®
You will earn $400 miles after spending $3,000 in 90 days with the Barclaycard Arrival. That’s a great sign-up bonus, but there’s more. You will also earn 2x points on ALL purchases, and you will get 10% back on all award redemptions. That means the sign-up bonus is actually worth $440 in travel.
Another perk that I love with the Arrival is the complimentary FICO score every month. Nifty. There’s also no foreign transactions fee, and the $89 annual fee is waived the first year. Convinced yet?
You can read my full review of the Barclays Arrival World Mastercard here.
Apply Now: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®
50,000 Capital One Venture
(this offer is no longer available)
For a limited time, you can apply for the Capital One Venture and receive 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.
You will earn 2x points per $1, but unlike the Arrival, you won’t receive 10% back on travel redemptions. The $59 annual fee is waived for the first year, and there’s no foreign transaction fees.
TIP: This is not the public offer of 20,000 miles, which is still live. To see the 50,000 miles offer, go here. The Capital One Venture is also a Visa Signature card, so you will get access to the cool Visa Signature bennies.
Read our full review of the Capital One Venture card here.
Business Travel Rewards Cards
Business cards are a great way to maximize your travel rewards by earning miles & points back on your business expenses. Plus, business cards often have high sign-up bonuses and lucrative category bonuses.
You may not know this, but you don’t have to be incorporated to apply for a business rewards credit card. You can apply as a sole proprietor, and just use your social security # instead of an EIN. You just have to have an explainable business. Do you do any freelance work? Explain away.
My three favorite business travel rewards cards:
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Currently, you will receive 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
I like the American Express Business Gold rewards card because it offers 3x points per dollar on airfare, and 2x on shipping and advertising. Membership Rewards points are extremely valuable because they can be transferred out to many travel partners.
The hefty $175 annual fee is waived for the first year. You can read my full review of the Amex Business Gold Rewards card here.
Apply Now: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest business card from American Express comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 uber valuable Starpoints.
You will receive 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase, and an additional 15,000 more after spending $5000 in 6 months. I like that Amex awards you on first swipe and gives you 6 months to meet the minimum spending requirement.
Starpoints can transferred out to over 30 airlines’ loyalty groups. Nice. Plus, you will receive a 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. The $65 annual fee is waived on the SPG card for the first year.
Chase Ink Plus
The Chase Ink Plus packs a big punch with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in 3 months.
I love that you can earn 5x points per $1 on office supplies, phone services, cable, and satellite. You also get 2x points on gas, and hotels book directly from the hotel’s website. There’s foreign transaction fee, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
Ultimate Rewards points are great because they can be transferred out to many top travel partners.
Apply Now: Chase Ink Plus
Transferable Point Rewards Cards
I love transferable points because instead of having a fixed value, you can transfer them out to travel partners. This will give you options when it comes time to book an award flight or hotel. Transferable points are great for those people who want to fly internationally, and especially in premium cabins.
The two best transferable loyalty programs are Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, and American Express’ Membership Rewards. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to: United, Southwest, Korean Air, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Amtrak. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Air, Jet Blue, Air France, ANA, Aeroplan, Aero Mexico, Air Canada, Alltalla, Delta, and Asia Miles. There are also transfer bonuses with Amex Membership Rewards points.
My two favorite personal transferable rewards cards are:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
I love this card. It’s just that simple. You will receive 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spend requirement of $3,000 in 3 months AND you will receive an additional 5,000 Ultimate Reward points after adding an authorized user.
The Sapphire Preferred packs a nice punch too – you will earn 2x points on dining and travel. Plus, a no longer available on all miles earned (excluding sign-up bonus). There’s no foreign transaction fee and it’s a chip and signature card. You can read my full review of the Sapphire Preferred card here.
Apply Now: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
The American Express Premier Gold card comes with a bonus of 25,000 points, but there will often be limited time offers from 50,000-75,000.
The American Express Premier Gold cards gives you 2x points per $1 on groceries & gas, and 3x on airfare. The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year, but it’s a hefty one. If you’re a big spender, you will earn an extra 15,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year.
You can read my full review of the American Express Premier card here.
Apply Now: American Express Premier Rewards Card
Hotel Rewards Cards
If you frequent hotels, then it’s definitely a smart idea to pick up their co-branded rewards cards. Hotel rewards cards often come with extra status perks, free night stays, and extra points if you use your card for your stay.
Here are a couple of my favorite hotel rewards cards:
Citi Hilton Reserve
The Citi Hilton Reserve comes with two free weekend certificates after spending $2,500 in 3 months.
I like that you instantly receive Hilton Gold Status. Gold status with Hilton gives you free breakfast, free internet, and while there isn’t a guaranteed room upgrade, by virtue of having Gold Status, you will sometimes receive a bump. There is a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived for the first year.
Apply Now: Citi Hilton Reserve
Starwood Preferred Guest
The Starwood Preferred Guest card is classic. It’s been around, but it’s still one of the hottest cards out there.
You will receive 10,000 Starpoints on first swipe, and an additional 15,000 after spending $5,000 in 6 months. There aren’t any good category bonuses with the SPG card, but you can redeem your points for top notch hotels, and transfer them out to many airlines. I love the options!
You can read my full review of the Starwood Preferred Card here.
Apply Now: Starwood Preferred Guest
Airline Rewards Cards
Airline rewards card can offer some sweet perks, so if you fly frequently (or even once a year), it may be worth getting a co-branded card. They can save you a lot of cash and hassle. You can get free checked bags, lounge access, priority boarding, and more, by just holding an airline rewards card.
Here are two of my favorite airline rewards cards:
American Airlines AAdvatage
The Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage card comes with hefty sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles!
You will receive the 50,000 miles sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in 90 days. I love AAdvantage miles because they are great for domestic or international travel. Beyond earning AAdvantage miles with this card, you will earn receive priority boarding, free checked bags, and 10% back on all your award redemptions. That’s a lot of perks.
You can read my full review of the Citi AAdvantage card here.
Apply Now: Citi AAdvantage
The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
For a limited time, the Frontier rewards card comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 miles.
You will receive 40,000 miles after spending $500 in 90 days. That’s easy. Plus, up to an additional 10,000 miles for balance transfers made in the first 90 days. The $69 annual fee isn’t waived, but you do get a 5,000 miles reduction for a companion ticket. That’s a nice touch.
Apply Now: The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
You can’t lose with any of these offers, by my two favorites are the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
As you can tell, there are a lot of great travel rewards credit cards out there. I think 2014 will be a great year for sign-up bonuses and other rewards related perks on credit cards. Stay tuned as I will be doing more reviews of other types of credit cards soon.
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