Ever since the global financial crash, credit cards have been a popular talking point across the world. And they’re big business too. In the UK alone in March 2016, there were 223 million credit card purchases, and the USA isn’t so dissimilar itself.
If you’re a traveller, though, credit cards can be more than just the boring means to an end they are for many.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, a travel credit card can bag you some pretty awesome deals, like free nights in top hotels, cheap flights and even flight upgrades.
Travel reward credit cards are quick hacks and are worth it if you can work them into your lifestyle.
Below we look at some of the best travel credit cards for Brits and Americans, if you still confused and want credit card recommendations go to effectify.
Rules before signing up
- You must be sure that you can afford the card – lots of them have minimum spending amounts, so be sure to budget wisely.
- Make sure that the minimum spending amount is low. There’s no point in signing up for a card that wants you to spend £10,000 a year minimum – you may as well buy the flights for that amount!
- Go for a reputable brand so that you’ll definitely make the most of all the rewards.
- Make sure the card has a huge sign-up bonus otherwise it’ll take you an age to build up any credible points to spend.
- Know what you want before you apply. Flights or hotels or a bit of both? The card should serve your needs above all else.
How Do Travel Credit Cards Work?
Generally speaking, travel reward credit cards have, as mentioned above, a minimum annual spending amount. The best of the cards have a low one of these, making it affordable for lots of people.
Cards are often able to be widely redeemed.
For example, the card may be with one company but you can use the points you’ve racked up on another company or airline too.
It’s always good to check that you can redeem points across a number of companies if you don’t want to pigeon-hole your travel rewards to one specific brand.
On the other hand, some cards can only be redeemed with the company the card is with. That means you’re encouraged to be loyal to a brand in return for free nights in their hotel or discounted stays. Sometimes this is a good way of getting rewards fast too as companies love loyal customers.
Finally, with some of the travel reward credit cards, they give you more points if you purchase goods with their preferred merchants. For example, one card may say if you buy goods from Company X, they’ll give you 5,000 points instead of 1,000 with Company Y.
The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards
Cards From Americans
1. Alaska Airlines card – for flights
With this card you’re able to get 25,000 miles for signing up. To sign up, all you need is to be approved for the card which is done pretty quickly.
The minimum annual spend is $75 USD, but you can also get 30,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of having the card.
2. Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred card – for flights
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card with Chase Freedom is perfect for those who travel widely on various airlines.
You can earn 15,000 points for spending $500 in three months and, best of all, there’s no annual fee. The card is also redeemable on Virgin Atlantic airlines, United Airlines and British Airways – all of which fly around the globe.
Cards For Brits
1. Starwood Preferred Guest card – for flights
With the Starwood Preferred Guest card you can fly on many airlines, most notably Emirates and Japan Airlines, for a minimum annual fee of £75.
If you spend £1,000 in three months, you’re eligible for 10,000 points and each time you transfer points to flights on different airlines, you get another 5,000 points for doing so.
2. Hilton Rewards card – for hotels
We’ve all seen the glitz and glam of the Hilton Hotels around the world. With this rewards card, you get a free night in any Hilton Hotel just for signing up.
There’s no annual spending fee and you get points for your first stay at a Hilton too. If you’re a big spender who can pay it off, spending £10,000 in the first year of owning this card will get you an upgrade to Hilton Gold Status. Either way, though, you’re going to get at least one free night from Hilton with this card.
We hope this article has given you some ideas on the best travel credit card for you. Happy travelling!