When it comes to choosing which travel credit card is best for you, you first need to determine which benefit is the most important to you. There are many options to choose from. Do you want cash back? Airline miles? Disney rewards? Or free hotel stays? Most airlines and hotel chains offer cards with varying benefits and sign-up rewards. I will discuss a few of the most popular options but you will have to decide which one is best for you based on which benefit you want the most.
Best Travel Benefits
My favorite all-around travel credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. This card has the most expensive annual fee of $550. However, if you are an avid traveler, you will quickly get your money back with this card. Not only does this card offer a $300 annual travel credit but also Global Entry reimbursement of $100 every four years and complimentary airport lounge access. You earn triple points on all travel purchases.
If you’re not a heavy traveler, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a $95 annual fee and instead earns double points on all travel purchases. Both cards have no foreign transaction fees, as well as trip delay, cancellation, and lost luggage insurance.
The best airline credit card is going to depend on which airline you travel the most. Almost every airline offers a credit card with bonus miles for signing up. I have the Southwest Rapid Rewards and the American Airlines Advantage cards. I alternate these cards based on which one I am going to need the most benefit out of soon. However, keep in mind, if you typically fly United or Allegiant for example, you will want to look into the cards those airlines partner with instead.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
There are three different Southwest rapid rewards cards with varying levels of benefits.
The most basic card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, has a $69 annual fee and you get a bonus of 3,000 reward points every anniversary.
The next tier is the Premium card with a $99 annual fee and 6000 reward points annually.
The third card is the Priority card. It has a $149 annual fee and comes with 7500 reward points annually. Benefits of the priority card also include a $75 travel credit and four upgraded boarding passes annually.
The premium and the priority card offer no foreign transaction fees. All three cards earn double reward points on Southwest purchases and one point per dollar spent on everything else. They also all include baggage delay and lost luggage benefits.
If you know that you will be flying Southwest at least once per year, you might get the most benefit from having the Priority card.
The AA Advantage platinum select card has a $99 annual fee that is waived for the first year. Benefits include first checked back free on all domestic American Airlines flights for up to 4 companions, preferred boarding, 25% off inflight food and beverages, double reward points on restaurants, gas, and all AA purchases, and no foreign transaction fees.
American Airlines Advantage also offers Mile Up card with no annual fee. You can earn double points for AA flights and 25% inflight purchases, but you don’t get the other travel benefits.
The AA Advantage Platinum Select card pays for the annual fee in just two flights with the free checked bag.
Another fan favorite is the Disney Visa card. The Disney Visa card has no annual fee and earns 1% back in Disney rewards for every $1 spent. The Disney Premier Visa has a $49 annual fee and you earn 2% back on groceries, restaurants, gas, and most Disney purchases and 1% on everything else.
You can redeem your rewards for Disney theme park tickets, resort stays, shopping, dining, Disney store purchases, and Disney Cruise Line.
You earn 0% financing for up to 6 months on Disney vacation packages, 10% off select dining and merchandise, and exclusive cardmember photo opportunities. Sometimes, you can even save up to 30% off Disney resort stays if there is a promotion available with your Disney Visa card.
If you have a Disney vacation in your future, this card may be a good idea for you.
Some things to consider when deciding which card is right for you include rewards points, foreign transaction fees, insurance benefits, and the annual fee. You should weigh all of the benefits and the fees to determine which card makes the most sense for you. I will include a link at the bottom for each of these cards in case you decide to choose one of these. In the interest of full disclosure, if you choose to apply for one that I currently have, I may receive bonus reward points in the process.
Some of you may already know, that other than a travel agent, I am also an accountant. So it is important for me to note, that if you choose any of these cards or another one I haven’t mentioned, please do so responsibly.
Do you have a favorite credit card with great travel benefits? We would love to know if there are others out there that we have missed. Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite or reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram @PineappleEscapes.
For more information on travel credit cards, listen to our Travel Tidbits Podcast episode Travel Credit Cards.
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