The Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

The Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2023
The Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

The Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

A travel rewards credit card can help you earn free flights, hotel nights, and other travel perks quickly. But with so many options, how do you choose the best travel card? This review covers the top travel rewards cards available for different types of travelers.

Evaluating the Top Travel Card Offers

The most valuable travel cards provide strong bonus offers along with generous ongoing earning rates. Here are key factors to consider when comparing options:

Signup Bonuses

The best travel credit cards offer large signup bonuses like 50,000 points or miles after meeting minimum spend requirements. This gives your rewards balance an initial boost.

Earning Rates

Look for cards that earn 3 points or more per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. The top cards also earn highly on broader categories like groceries, gas, or entertainment.

Redemption Value

Aim for cards where points are worth 1 cent or more when redeemed for travel. Flexible point systems typically offer better value than airline or hotel co-branded cards.

Annual Fee

Many premium travel cards have annual fees of $95 to $550. The perks and rewards you earn should outweigh the fees.

Foreign Transaction Fees

A no foreign transaction fee card is ideal for travelers who plan to spend abroad.

Best Flexible Travel Rewards Cards

Flexible travel rewards cards allow you to transfer points to various airline and hotel partners. This enables you to shop for the best redemption deals.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • 60,000 point signup bonus
  • 3x points on dining and travel
  • 1:1 point transfers to airline/hotel partners
  • $95 annual fee
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With a reasonable annual fee, solid rewards earn rates, and valuable redemption options, the Sapphire Preferred is a top pick for many travelers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • 50,000 point bonus
  • 3x points on travel and dining
  • 1:1 point transfers
  • $550 annual fee

The Sapphire Reserve offers premium perks like airport lounge access, an annual $300 travel credit, and Global Entry fee reimbursement. It’s a worthwhile upgrade for frequent travelers who can utilize the benefits.

American Express Platinum

  • 100,000+ point bonus offers
  • 5x on flights and hotels booked through Amex
  • Airline fee credits and lounge access
  • $695 annual fee

The Amex Platinum provides airport lounge access and luxury benefits like hotel elite status. The hefty annual fee is offset by travel credits and other perks.

Best Airline Credit Cards

If you frequently fly one airline, a co-branded airline credit card can unlock valuable perks and benefits.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express

  • Up to 100,000 mile bonus
  • 3x miles on Delta purchases
  • Free checked bags and lounge access
  • $550 annual fee

Frequent Delta flyers get a free companion ticket each year plus major discounts on Delta flights when booking with miles.

United Explorer Card

  • 60,000 mile bonus
  • 2x miles on United purchases
  • Free checked bag, priority boarding
  • $95 annual fee

Cardholders receive 25% back on United inflight purchases and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. There are also exclusive access passes for United events.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

  • 50,000 point bonus
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases
  • $75 Southwest travel credit each year
  • $149 annual fee
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With points counting towards Southwest’s Companion Pass plus anniversary credits and inflight discounts, this card is a must for loyal Southwest customers.

Top Hotel Credit Cards

Hotel credit cards provide elite status, free night rewards, and other property benefits.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass

  • Up to 150,000 point bonus
  • 12x points at Hilton hotels
  • Annual free weekend night reward
  • $95 fee

The free night can more than offset the annual fee. Other benefits include diamond status and 10 free airport lounge visits annually.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

  • 60,000 point bonus
  • 9x points at Hyatt hotels
  • 2 free nights each year as reward
  • $95 annual fee

Automatic elite status plus an annual reward night make this card rewarding if you stay at Hyatt. Points are very valuable thanks to reasonable redemption rates.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 100,000 point offer
  • 6x points at Marriott hotels
  • 1 free night reward annually
  • $95 annual fee

The free night is worth over $100 at many hotels. Silver elite status and 15 elite night credits also help frequent Marriott guests.

Final Take – Choose the Best Card for Your Needs

The value any travel credit card provides depends heavily on your spending and travel habits. Compare the top offers to pick a card matching your goals. A flexible point card often makes sense for occasional travelers. If you are loyal to one airline or hotel, check out their co-branded card for maximum benefits.

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Maximum credit card rewards strategies

Maximum Credit Card Rewards Strategies