Are you dissatisfied with your airline card reward program? Do you know you can get more value from the best general travel cards instead of restricting yourself to one airline? Nearly all the major air carriers, including United, American Airlines, Delta and Southwest, have reconfigured their rewards programs in recent years.
Frequent flyers have access to fewer rewards for longer flights. This has made airline cards less attractive. If you care more about value and convenience than airline loyalty or special perks such as priority boarding, you could get a better return for your time and money from a general travel card instead. Check out the best general travel credit cards that are currently available:
The Chase Sapphire Rewards Cards | Best General Travel Cards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer one of the most rewarding travel programs. If you’re willing to pay a $495 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers some of the best perks you can get on a travel card, including a $300 annual travel credit, a triple point bonus on travel and dining, a huge 50,000-point sign-up bonus and some of the most generous insurance benefits around.
Meanwhile, the mid-tier Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges just $95 in exchange for a double point bonus on travel and dining, a 50,000-point sign-up bonus and solid travel insurance benefits. To redeem points for travel, cardholders can book their trips on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer points to a participating frequent flyer program.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card | Best General Travel Cards
Capital One Venture Rewards card offers an unlimited two miles for every dollar you spend—including on purchases that don’t traditionally earn point bonuses. The generous rewards rate—coupled with a substantial 40,000-point sign-up bonus—makes it easy to rack up a large number of miles quickly. Capital One also takes the hassle out of booking rewards-funded plane tickets by reimbursing cardholders with a statement credit.
In addition, the Venture Rewards card’s $59 annual fee is significantly lower than the fees charged by many of its competitors.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard | Best General Travel Cards
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is also a good pick for cardholders who want to earn a large number of miles on everyday purchases. Like the Venture Rewards card, the Arrival card offers two miles for every dollar you spend. It also offers a 50,000-point sign-up bonus and allows you to conveniently redeem your travel with a statement credit. In addition, cardholders earn an extra 5 percent bonus each time they redeem their points, which is a nice incentive for cardholders who may otherwise forget to claim their rewards.
The Arrival card charges a significantly higher annual fee, though, of $89 a year.
The Discover It Miles Card
If you don’t want to pay a yearly fee, the Discover it miles offers a fair amount of value for a no annual fee card—particularly in the first year. Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar they spend, making it a good card to use for most purchases. But what really sets the Discover miles card apart is its first-year promotion. After the card’s first anniversary, Discover doubles cardholders’ earnings—essentially netting cardholders 3 miles for every single dollar they spent.
Discover also makes it easy to redeem rewards-funded travel by awarding a statement credit for any travel purchase you choose.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card doesn’t offer quite a generous sign-up bonus. Cardholders are awarded just 20,000 bonus points—large enough for a $200 ticket. But this no annual fee card does offer some nice perks for Bank of America customers, including a 10 percent loyalty bonus for deposit accountholders and an even more generous bonus—up to 75 percent—for accountholders with big balances. Like the Discover it miles card, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers a flat 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend and allows you to conveniently redeem your miles with a statement credit.