Best Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers of 2016From Capital One to Bank of America, check out the best travel rewards credit card offers available.

 

Whether you’re a frequent flyer for business or just want to save on your annual trip to visit family, the best travel rewards credit cards make it easier, cheaper and more beneficial to travel. With one of these travel rewards cards in your wallet, you can get more comfort and convenience for less and get rewarded for both travel and everyday purchases.

You don’t have to settle for the first travel credit card you’re offered; to get the best rewards, you’ll need to shop around for the best card that has outstanding travel rewards and terms that are maximized by your spending habits. To find the 10 travel cards that offer the most value, GOBankingRates ranked the best travel rewards credit cards based on their annual credit card fees, APRs, bonus offers, points, rewards and travel redemption.

Read: The Hottest Travel Destinations for 2016

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers of 2016

The best travel rewards credit cards earn points and miles faster, get you more rewards when you redeem your points or miles, and have low fees that keep costs down.

Fees and interest rates should be a central consideration for any traveler looking to get the most out of a travel rewards credit card. Annual fees, foreign transaction fees and interest charges from high APRs can quickly offset rewards and eat into any savings you’ve managed to earn.

The best cards included in this list feature:

  • No or low annual fees — with many cards waiving their fees for the first year
  • Lower APRs than other credit cards
  • No or low foreign transaction fees

Another key consideration is how fast travel rewards credit cards earn points or miles. Cardholders should looks for cards that will earn points and miles faster on the purchases they make the most, from travel expenses to groceries and gas. The higher the amount of points or miles earned in key spending categories, the more rewards you’ll earn and have to redeem. Offers of bonus miles or points are also a great way to maximize rewards.

Last, you’ll want to find out how you can redeem miles or points to get rewards. Points and miles can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, from statement credits and travel expenses to gift cards and merchandise. Choosing a card with flexible rewards redemption options or rewards that align with your current spending habits will help ensure you’re getting the most value back.

Here’s a quick comparison of the top 10 best travel rewards credit cards you can sign up for in 2016:

Travel Rewards Credit CardAnnual FeeStarting APRForeign Transaction FeeTop Rewards Earning RateBonus OfferWhere to Apply
DiscoverDiscover it Miles$00% for the first year, then starts at 11.24%None1.5 miles per $1 on all purchasesMiles matched for first yearApply Now
Bank of AmericaBankAmericard Travel Rewards$00% for the first year, then starts at 15.24%$01.5 points per $1 on all purchases20,000 points for spending $1,000Apply Now
Capital OneCapital One Venture Rewards$0 for first year, then $5913.24%$02 miles per $1 on all purchases40,000 miles for spending $3,000Apply Now
US BankFlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature From U.S. Bank$0 for first year, then $4914.24%03 points per $1 for charitable donations20,000 points for spending $3,500Apply Now
BarclayBarclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard$0 for first year, then $8916.24%$02 miles per $1 on all purchases40,000 points for spending $3,000Apply Now
ChaseChase Sapphire Preferred$0 for first year, then $9516.24%$02 points per $1 on travel and dining50,000 points for spending $4,000Apply Now
CitiCiti ThankYou Premier$0 for first year, then $9514.24%$03 points per $1 on travel and gasNoneApply Now
PenFedPenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express$010.24%$05 points per $1 on airline purchases20,000 points for spending $2,500Apply Now

Discover it Miles

Discover it Miles travel rewards

The Discover it Miles travel credit card is one of the most affordable of any card on this list, with a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fee should you spend while abroad. It also features low rates, with a 0% APR introductory fee for the first 12 months after the account opens and APRs as low 11.24% after that.

Rewards:

  • 1.5 miles for every $1 spent with no limits
  • Automatic matching of all points earned during the first 12 months the account is open
  • Miles can be redeemed in any amount as credits against travel purchases you make within the last 180 days, with every 100 miles taking off $1

Perks:

  • Automatic statement credit for in-flight wireless internet purchases, up to $30 per year
  • Updated FICO score included on all statements
  • Ability to temporarily freeze a lost or misplaced card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards

BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card

One of the best credit cards for travel, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card From Bank of America currently offers a big bonus to new cardholders of 20,000 points when applying online. These bonus points will be applied to the new account when you spend $1,000 on the card within the first 90 days, and they have a value of $200, which you can apply to your account balance. Cardholders enjoy a 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles, and after this introductory rate expires, the rate is still as low as 15.24% APR.

Rewards:

  • 1.5 reward points for every $1 spent, with no blackout dates or restrictions
  • Bank of America customers can earn an additional 10 percent to 25 percent bonus to earn reward points
  • Points can be redeemed as credit statements against travel expenses like flights, rental cars, hotels, cruises and vacation packages

Perks:

  • Points never expire
  • No interest for the first 12 billing cycles
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Read: How to Save Money for Vacation From 11 Travel Experts

American Express Premier Rewards Gold

American Express Premier Rewards Gold credit card

The Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express is a best credit card for travel rewards. Users earn points faster with this card’s high-earning spending categories. Although this card charges no foreign transaction fees and the annual fee is waived for the first year, an annual fee will apply after that. Balances on a Premier Rewards Gold Card also must generally be paid in full each month.

 

Capital One Venture Rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards credit card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes with a nice sign-up bonus: With 100 miles equal to $1 in travel rewards, the bonus value is $400. Typically, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card requires excellent credit. It carries a $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year, and the credit card rates offered on this product start at a low 13.24% APR.

Rewards:

  • 40,000 miles earned when a new cardholder spends $3,000 in the first three billing cycles
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, with no limits
  • Miles never expire
  • Miles can be redeemed as a statement credit toward travel purchases like charges from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, cruise lines or travel agents made within the past 90 days
  • Miles can be used to purchase flights, car rentals or hotels through the Capital One Rewards Center

Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 fraud liability
  • Visa Signature benefits like complimentary concierge services and travel upgrades

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature From U.S. Bank

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature credit card

New cardholders of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature from U.S. Bank can get ahead with this card thanks to a starting bonus of 20,000 bonus FlexPoints, earned by spending $3,500 net within the first four months. The card also waives foreign transaction fees for any purchases you make while traveling abroad.

Rewards:

  • One FlexPoint for every $1 charged to the account
  • Double points for charges from cell phone carriers, gas stations, grocery stores and airlines
  • Triple points for qualifying charitable donations
  • Redeem FlexPoints for airfare on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates or redemption fees
  • 20,000 points buys a ticket worth up to $400
  • Starting with 5,000 FlexPoints, you have the option to redeem rewards for merchandise, gift cards and statement credits

Perks:

  • For flights purchased with redeemed points, flyers also get a $25 credit toward a future purchase with the same airline carrier
  • $0 fee for the first year, and $49 annually thereafter
  • Annual fee can be paid by redeeming FlexPoints
  • APRs start as low as 14.24%

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard credit card

A MasterCard travel credit card from Barclaycard US, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is offering new cardholders the chance to rack up even more miles with a current offer for 40,000 bonus miles. Spending $3,000 on any purchases in the first 90 days will earn the 40,000 bonus points, which is equal to a $400 travel statement credit.

Rewards:

  • 2 miles for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Miles never expire
  • Redeem miles with as few as 10,000 miles earned
  • Every 10,000 points is worth $100 when redeemed as a credit statement applied to any travel purchase of $100 or more made within the past 120 days
  • 5 percent miles back every time you redeem your rewards

Perks:

  • Baggage delay insurance
  • MasterCard concierge benefits
  • Travel accident and trip cancellation insurance
  • Zero liability on fraudulent charges
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee for the first year, then $89
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders who travel often can earn rewards faster and see bigger savings. Currently, Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus points can be earned with a lucrative sign-up offer. New cardholders who spend $4,000 or more in the first three months after opening a Chase Sapphire Preferred card will earn up to 50,000 bonus reward points.

Rewards:

  • Double points on travel and dining
  • One point per $1 spent on all other puchases
  • Points can be transferred at full value to partner travel programs like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Marriott Rewards and more
  • Redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get 20 percent off rewards points, so every 10,000 points earns $125 in travel purchases

Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory fee, after which an annual $95 membership fee applies
  • Interest rates starting at 16.24% APR

Citi ThankYou Premier

Citi ThankYou Premier credit card

Citi ThankYou Premier is offers several ways to earn and redeem ThankYou Points. If you’re considering this card, you should know about the Citi Price Rewind feature, which cardholders use to register purchases made. Citi’s system tracks prices from hundreds of merchants for 60 days from the purchase date and gives you the option to request a refund of the difference of any lower price found, up to $300 per item.

Rewards:

  • Triple ThankYou points on travel purchases, including gas
  • Double points on dining out and entertainment
  • One point for every $1 of all other purchases
  • Points redeemed through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center are worth 25 percent more
  • Points can be redeemed for gift cards to a variety of merchants
  • Points can be redeemed for cash
  • Points can be transferred and used through other travel loyalty programs

Perks:

  • ThankYou points don’t expire
  • No cap on the amount of points that can be earned
  • Citi Price Rewind feature offers refunds of up to $300 per item on registered purchases
  • Annual fee waived the first year, after which it’s $95
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • APRs starting at 14.24%

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express credit card

The American Express travel card offered by PenFed Credit Union is a good choice for the frequent flier who racks up airline purchases. New cardholders will get a head start on earning rewards with a bonus offer to get bonus points in the first three months. Points can be redeemed for travel purchases, like a one-night stay in a five-star Las Vegas resort.

Perks:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Blue Sky From American Express

Blue Sky From American Express credit card

The benefits of Blue Sky From American Express start with its lack of an annual fee, which makes this an affordable card to maintain. The Blue Sky American Express card does incur a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

Rewards:

  • No limits on points earned
  • Points don’t expire

Perks:

  • No annual fee
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Roadside and global assistance hotlines
  • Purchase and return protection

Honorable Mentions

A few travel rewards credit cards didn’t quite make the list of the best offers of 2016, but they are too good not to share. Check out these cards with offers worthy of an honorable mention.

JetBlue Credit Card From Barclaycard

JetBlue Credit Card From Barclaycard

The JetBlue Plus Card from Barclaycard US is a great option for frequent fliers whose preferred airline is JetBlue. Cardholders earn six points for every JetBlue purchase. With a current sign-up offer, new JetBlue Plus cardholders will get 30,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and another 5,000 bonus points on the account anniversary.

Rewards:

  • Six points for every $1 of JetBlue purchases
  • Double points at restaurants and grocery stores
  • One point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 10 percent points back when redeemed
  • 50 percent off in-flight purchases
  • $100 statement credit when purchasing JetBlue Getaways vacation packages

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card gives you a head start on rewards with an automatic bonus of 25,000 miles just for getting approved for the card. Alaska Airlines purchases earn triple miles, and all other purchases earn a mile per $1 with no caps or expirations.

Rewards:

  • Automatic bonus of 25,000 miles
  • Alaska Airlines purchases earn triple miles
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Miles can be redeemed with Alaska Airlines and partners such as American Airlines, Delta, AirFrance or AeroMexico

Perks:

  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to six other passengers on the same reservation
  • Annual credit for a coach companion fare of up to $121

Read: 5 Ways to Make a Better Plan for Your Money in 2016

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

The Southwest Airlines credit card from Chase offers 25,000 bonus points for spending just $1,000 in the first three months of using the card. Points earned with the Rapid Rewards Premier card can be directly redeemed through Southwest’s site for airfare. The card charges an annual fee of $99.

Rewards:

  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first three months of opening the card
  • 6,000 additional bonus points awarded on the one-year anniversary of account
  • Double points on airfare purchases with Southwest

Perks:

  • All bag fees waived on Southwest Airlines
  • No foreign transaction fees

Methodology: GOBankingRates assessed information about travel rewards credit cards, including sourcing information from the credit card and financial institution provider websites as of April 26, 2016. To comprise this list of the best travel rewards credit cards of 2016, GOBankingRates considered the following factors: (1) annual fee to keep the card open; (2) APR; (3) initial bonus offer; and (4) how rewards points can be accrued and used, including what purchases earn points and how points can be redeemed.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.

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