OT: Best Travel Rewards Credit Card

Submitted by ken725 on August 20th, 2010 at 3:24 PM

What is the best travel rewards credit card out there right now.  Just wondering about the experience you guys have had, good or bad.

EDIT:  This question came up because I googled credit cards and now the side bar ad has been all credit cards. 



August 20th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

is I paid for my honeymoon cruise with my American Express Blue, and now I get a bunch of freakin offers for $500K round the world cruises all the time.

Earth to AmEx: You have access to my financial records. CHECK THEM!

oriental andrew

August 20th, 2010 at 3:53 PM ^

if you want a travel loyalty card, this one is tough to beat.  Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is arguably the top hotel program, and the fact that you can also convert your points through AmEx Membership Rewards is an added bonus.  Check out www.flyertalk.com for everything you ever wanted to know about travel (air, hotel, credit cards, etc).  


August 20th, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

... I used to work in management consulting and some of the guys in my company did a very thorough analysis which showed that Starwood is best.  This analysis was slightly dated, as offers change often, but I sitll use my Starwoods card pretty regularly and the benefits are great.


For straight cashback I use the Amazon Chase Visa -- 1% on all purchases, 2% on restuarants, and 3% on Amazon.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

It gives you mostly 1% back on everything except for certain retailers (randomly it gives 9% at all purchases made at Dick's Sporting Goods) and you can use the rewards to just pay off your credit card bill directly.

Like I had 20,000 (= $200) points a couple months ago and just clicked the option to put $200 towards my credit card bill. No fussing with gift cards or checks or whatnot, just direct cash coming off my bill. This way you can just charge the travel plans whenever you have points built up and then just have them use the points to take money off your latest bill. 


August 20th, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

the Chase Freedom, and switched from a Continental Airlines Visa (mainly because I didn't want to pay the Continental annual fee).

I've been a Chase Visa customer for the past 8 years and haven't had any issues with them. My card # was used for fraud, and they called me up, fixed the problem and sent me a new card.

In terms of collections, I pay my balance every month, but once I completely forgot to, they called me, I paid and explained my forgetfullness and they removed charges, if that helps.

If you are a big time traveler (e.g. consultant who travels 4 days a week), look at an Amex Platinum because you get lounge access, which is worth a $400 annual fee alone.

The other benefits are things I don't use, like Concierge services.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:59 PM ^

My wife and I decided on Capital One World, No Hassle.  It was best for us.  It was weird though, she signed up for it while in Texas because she got better perks than I did in Michigan.


August 20th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

After probably 15 years of either United or American miles rewards, I switched a few years back to taking cash back.  I split my activity between 2 cards. 

My American Express Blue Cash card gives me 5% cash back on gas, groceries and drug stores and 1.25% back on everything else.  My Charles Schwab Visa gives me 2% cash back on everything.  So, I use the AMEX for the 5% categories and the Schwab Visa for everything else.  No annual fee for either one.  The AMEX card does have much lower rewards (1% for gas, groceries and drugstores and .5% everything else) on the first $6500 of annual spending, so I frontload everything on to the AMEX for the first month of the year.

I netted about $2000 in cash last year.  If you don't pay your bill off every month, these programs might not be for you.  I have no idea what the interest rates are.


August 20th, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

I have a Delta Skymiles Gold, thinking about upgrading to Plat (= higher annual fee but more perks).

Gold is currently 1% on everything, 2% on select, and 3% on all Delta purchases.  You also get bonus miles per flight.

I'd say its pretty good.  if you know your travel plans in advance, you can easily book a reward ticket for 25k miles ($250).  It's definitely worth it for me, since the average ticket back to Michigan is somewhere like $300 multi stop and $350 nonstop.  Plus I live in a Delta hub, and when I travel for business we fly Delta.

Wooo Delta.


August 21st, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

Worth it if you like stacking up the MQMs depending on what level of status you've achieved & how much you spend on the card annually.

Having a credit card that can push you over to gold or platinum flyer status is worth it to me because of the benefits associated with that - namely increased likelihood of first class upgrades.

Also, I really like the travel companion benefits + access to AmEx's other customer service elements.

However, if you just care about racking up miles in general, gold is a great option.

Black Socks

August 21st, 2010 at 10:19 AM ^

Not sure which one is the best.  Studies show that you spend 18% less when paying cash.  So I'd say you won't find higher rewards than 18%.  For other stuff any 1% cash back seems pretty good.