We’ve simplified things with our “Best Of” rankings for best credit cards for travel rewards. If you don’t have time to research cards, take advantage of our expertise! Travel Freely is here to help you with the best credit card offers. Need a primer on Rewards Cards? Sign up for Travel Freely (for free) or check out Rewards Cards 101.
Don’t Let Offers Disappear – We’ve seen a LOT of offers come and go. Some offers have clear expiration dates, and others just vanish without warning. My advice: If you are ready for another card, and you know the card you want… Don’t delay!
Brand new here? Free Travel Starts Here.
Make sure you sign up for Travel Freely – it’s free, and you’ll immediately get access to the short ebook Free Travel 101 and receive custom card recommendations, including offers for the best credit cards with travel rewards. Travel Freely is 100% Free. We don’t ask for credit card info or any sensitive information. Want to know more? Check out the benefits and features of our 100% free tool.
Highlights for January 2021
Zac’s Top 4 “Wildcard” Offers
I use the Uno Wildcard analogy a lot for people needing flexibility and value when they do not know what kind of free travel they need – domestic flights, int’l flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. In a year where we may not know what kind of travel we need, this is a great time to have a flexible rewards program that does not lock you into a specific airline or hotel. All of the top “Wildcards” have great offers right now. If you are looking for a great signup bonus to start the year, look at these cards for ongoing value and flexibility.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (60,000 points valued at $750+) – Read Zac’s review
- American Express Gold (60,000 points valued at $750+) – Read Zac’s review
- Citi Premier (60,000 points valued at $725+) – More info
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (60,000 miles valued at $600) – Read Zac’s review
Business Owner? Start 2021 with a Chase Ink Card (75,000 to 100,000 points – over $1,000 in value)
The Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited have huge offers for being no annual fee cards. Earn $750 (or 75,000 points)! For more info, check out the Chase Ink Cash Complete Guide, the Chase Ink Unlimited Complete Guide, or compare all Inks here. The Chase Ink Preferred has a whopping 100,000 points offer, but requires $10,000 in spending in the first 3 months.
Note: The Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited cards are marketed by Chase as cash back, but you actually earn points that can be redeemed for Travel, Gift Cards, Cash, etc. The signup bonus will earn 75,000 points. It’s your choice to convert points to cash or use for travel.
Ready. Set. Get the Southwest Companion Pass for Almost 2 Years!
Do NOT miss this opportunity if you are a Southwest fan. This is THE best time of year to get it. Southwest has some very intriguing personal card offers right now, too. The offers are for all three personal cards with an “up to” 80,000 miles possible. This is incredible timing for those ready to go after the Southwest Companion Pass.
Important Southwest rules to know: The three personal cards a considered a family, meaning you can only earn one signup bonus on any card every 24 months. To be approved, you must not be a current cardholder of any personal Southwest card and it must be 24 months or more since you last earned a bonus from any Southwest personal card. In contrast, the two Southwest business cards are NOT considered a family. You can earn the bonus for both business cards. Go here to see these up to 80,000 miles personal card offers. Business cards currently have a 60,000 miles bonus for the Premier and a up to 100,000 miles for the Performance.
If you need help, make sure you read this article on the Southwest Companion Pass strategy or Watch my new Southwest Companion Pass Webinar Replay. This is a brand new 20-min webinar that will talk through the easiest way to get the Companion Pass, including the application rules and best strategy for you.
Best 0% Interest Cards (including Balance Transfer)
This is the time when a lot of people are looking for 0% cards. I have some specific recommendations below in the 0% APR section, but feel free to go to our partner page to check out and compare all 0% offers. If you specifically need a balance transfer card, go here to look at specific offers for Balance Transfer offers. It’s very important to read all the terms on these cards. While there are introductory 0% APR offers for new purchases or balance transfers, there can still be fees involved such as a balance transfer fee. These terms are normally easy to find and not hidden.
Best Credit Card Offers
At Travel Freely, we are all about maximizing great sign-up bonuses with the best credit cards with travel rewards. It’s part of our approach to get the most amount of points in the least amount of time. Sign-up bonuses are the #1 way to rack up points WITHOUT traveling or spending a lot of money. Some people get more rewards in one bonus than they would in an entire year’s worth of spending on the same old card they’ve had for 5 years. Check out the BEST deals here.
- Overall Best Starter Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (60,000 points)
- Best “No-Thinking” Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (60,000 points)
- Overall Best Business Travel Card: Chase Ink Unlimited (75,000 points) or Chase Ink Cash (75,000 points)
- Best Stay-at-Home, Travel Later Card: American Express Gold Card (60,000 points)
- Best Hotel Personal Card: Chase World of Hyatt (50,000 points)
- Best Airline Personal Card: JetBlue Plus (up to 100,000 miles) or Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard (50,000 miles) or Southwest Personal Cards (up to 80,000 miles)
- Best Airline Business Card: Citi Business American Airlines (65,000 miles)
- Best Cash Back Bonus Personal Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited or American Express Blue Cash Preferred or Chase Freedom Flex
- Easiest Cash Back Earning Personal Card: Citi Double Cash (2% back on everything)
- Best Card for College Students/Grads: Citi Rewards+ Student Card or Discover It Student or Deserve Edu
- Best 0% APR Business Card: Chase Ink Unlimited (75,000 points and 0% Offer)
Get ready for 2021 with new webinars
I recently came out with some new webinars aimed at helping beginners learn why the Travel Freely is the easiest and most effective. Check out these webinars to learn your best strategy. Feel free to share with others who could use a huge boost to their travel budget.
Amazing Offers on Chase Business Cards
Ink Preferred – 100,000 Points
This is the best overall business card right now with a great sign-up bonus and 3X categories. It’s hard to beat the Chase Ink Business Preferred if you’re looking for an all-around business card that has flexible redemption options and can be combined with your personal Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
- Earns 3X rewards on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)
- Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel
- Cell phone protection against theft or damage
- No foreign transaction fees
Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. An excellent companion to the Ink Preferred, personal Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred. Like the personal Sapphire cards, this card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Earn 5X rewards (on first $25k spent) for phone, TV, internet, and office supply stores.
- Earn 2X rewards on gas and restaurants
- No Annual Fee
An all-round great cash back business card with no annual fee. It’s very simple. You earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. This can be a great standalone card, but it is a excellent companion card to the Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!
- Earn 1.5X rewards on Everything
- No Annual Fee
|Card||Sign-up Bonus||Spending Required||Annual Fee|
|Ink Preferred||100,000||$15,000 in first 3 months||$95|
|Ink Cash||$750||$7,500 in first 3 months||$0|
|Ink Unlimited||$750||$7,500 in first 3 months||$0|
Our Top Recommendations for 0% APR
Best cards for 0% APR and Balance Transfer: If you’re looking for the best balance transfer options, think about the Citi Diamond Card for a balance transfer and 0% on purchases option. The next best option would be the Citi Double Cash Card with 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. Note: You will not earn rewards for the actual balance transfers. Make sure to check terms when applying. For 0% APR, check out the Amex Blue Cash Everyday or Chase Freedom Unlimited because they also have a welcome bonus.
Best 0% Business Cards
Special Guide for Business Owners
What’s Our Criteria for the Best Cards?
- Value of points – Not all points and miles have the same value when it comes time to redeeming them. We take this seriously when helping you with the best credit cards with travel rewards.
- Bonuses – Travel Freely seeks to maximize sign-up bonuses, so if great sign-up bonus offers come out, those cards will move up in the rankings.
- Type of Card – We value airline cards higher than hotel cards because airfare never goes on sale (whereas hotel sites can get you almost 50% retail rates). So airfare is the highest value in free travel. So, if we see airlines and hotel cards as similarly great deals, the airline card will get the edge in the rankings.
- Bonus spending requirement – We rank cards lower that require major spending as part of sign-up bonus. For example: Some cards offer 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, but then they’ll offer an add’l 25,000 points if you spend $10-15k in additional spending over the course of the year. This is considered major spending to us and we do not factor that in for the normal free traveler.
- Ease-of-use – Factors such as customer service and redemption fees play a factor in our rankings. We don’t want you to spend hours on the phone with poorly trained, off-shore customer service when you have a question about your card. Avoiding ridiculous fees for redeeming free travel are also important to us. For example: Frontier – You might get a “free flight” on Frontier Airlines with 20,000 points. But, you have to spend a reward redemption fee, bag fee for carry-on or checked luggage, and a seat booking fee. You might spend $96 in fees for a “free” $110 flight!
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