Best Travel Reward Credit Cards

6 Great Travel Reward Cards For Your 2014 Trips

It's near the end of the year, and that may get you thinking about assessing your credit cards. If you have a lot of trips in store for next year, perhaps signing up for a credit card that will give you great travel rewards would be worth considering. Before doing so, keep in mind that you should only charge what you can realistically pay off soon.

That said, if you know you can pay off what you owe, travel reward credit cards will be a neat way of earning free flights and hotel stays. Here are some good options:

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 if you spend up to $5,000 in six months.
  • Earning points: Get one Starpoint for every dollar spent on most purchases and five Starpoints on every dollar spent on SPG hotels.
  • Transferring points: Transfer Starpoints to about 30 airlines. The conversion rate for most airlines is one to one, so you'll be getting one mile for one Starpoint. You get a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flier program.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $65 annual fee for subsequent years.
  • APR: 15.24 percent, 17.24 percent, or 19.24 percent.
  • Cons: There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7 percent if you use it outside of the US. American Express isn't accepted everywhere. There is also a pretty high annual fee and APR.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $2,000 within three months of signing up.
  • Earning points: Get two miles for every dollar spent on net purchases. Miles don't expire, and there is no limit on earning miles.
  • Transferring points: You can transfer rewards to any other US miles or point accounts.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $59 annual fee for subsequent years.
  • APR: 13.9 percent, 16.9 percent, or 20.9 percent.
  • Bonus: No foreign transaction fees.
  • Cons: People with weak credit scores may not qualify. There is also a pretty high annual fee and APR.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points if you spend at least $3,000 within three months of signing up. That equates to $500 toward a flight.
  • Earning points: Get two points for every dollar you spend on travel and restaurants. Get an extra point for travel expenditures when you book a hotel or flight through its Ultimate Rewards program. You get one point for all other purchases.
  • Transferring points: Transfer points to participating mileage and hotel reward programs like United MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and Hyatt Gold Passport. The rate is a one-to-one transference with no transfer fees. So one Ultimate Rewards point equals one hotel reward point or one mile when you transfer it.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee for subsequent years.
  • APR: 15.99 percent, but may vary with different people.
  • Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You get 20 percent off your flight, hotels, car rentals, and cruises if you redeem your points through Ultimate Rewards. You'll also get 24/7 access to an expert service adviser. You get triple points if you dine out on the first Friday of every month through 2014.
  • Cons: Very high annual fee and APR. There is also a limited selection of participating mileage and hotel reward program partners if you compare it to other cards like American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card, which provides you with about double the amount of options.

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points if you spend at least $2,500 within three months of signing up. That equates to $200 toward a flight.
  • Earning points: Get five points for every dollar you spend on flights. You get one point for all other purchases.
  • Transferring points: You can't transfer points to any airlines or hotels, but you can purchase airfare with those points.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee.
  • APR: 9.99 percent.
  • Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You can access a 24/7 concierge, and you'll get VIP lounge access to over 350 airport lounges worldwide.
  • Cons: You have to be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member, but it's quite easy to join even if you don't belong to one of the qualifying organizations. You can also opt to pay a one-time $15 donation to a qualifying organization instead. American Express isn't accepted everywhere.

Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 HHonors bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 within four months of signing up. That equates to a free night at a Hilton property.
  • Earning points: Get six points for every dollar you spend on a hotel under the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Earn three points for supermarket, drugstore, and gas station purchases. You get two points for all other purchases.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee.
  • APR: 14.24 percent.
  • Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You can redeem your points for hotel stays, car rentals, partner airlines, and more.
  • Cons: The APR is pretty high, and you'll need to be a regular Hilton customer to best reap the benefits.

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. That equates to a $400 credit toward travel expenses.
  • Earning points: Earn two miles for every dollar you spend. Get 10 percent miles back when you redeem your miles for travel. No limit on earning mileage points.
  • Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then $89 for subsequent years.
  • APR: Zero APR the first year, then the APR is 14.99 percent or 18.99 percent.
  • Bonus: Free subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer ($49). No foreign transaction fees.
  • Cons: High annual fee.

As always, be careful when you're using credit cards, and if you don't have the means to pay it back in full before the end of the month, you should consider spending less.

Source: Shutterstock
Latest