If your goal for your credit card rewards is to earn free travel, you may be wondering where to start. With so many excellent-looking travel rewards credit cards out there, which one is best?
Some cards definitely are better than others. They may offer more bonus rewards, or make it easy for you to cash in your rewards for airline tickets. But which card is best for you depends on factors like current sign-up bonuses, your spending patterns, and if you prefer a certain airline.
So when it comes to choosing a credit card for earning airline miles, do your research. Take a look at the top-rated airline miles credit cards out there, and then decide which card will work best for you. The internet is chock full of tools that can help you make this decision.
Online Calculators Make it Easy
The key to successful credit card use is to not rack up huge balances in order to get rewards. This will just land you with excessive interest charges, which will far outweigh any rewards you’ll gain. So instead of overspending to earn extra rewards, start with a credit card that suits your current spending patterns.
For instance, if you spend next to nothing on office supplies, don’t choose a credit card with major bonuses in that category. If you spend an arm and a leg every month to feed your family of five, choose a card with great grocery rewards.
Luckily, credit card companies make it easy to find out exactly what spending habits they reward most. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for instance, offers 2 points per $1 spent on travel-related purchases. And the US Airways Premier World MasterCard offers 2 points per $1 spent with US Airlines. It’s great if you travel with US frequently.
But you don’t need to go research every single travel rewards credit card to choose one that will work for you. Instead, use an online calculator to help you decide. Calculators like Credit Card Tune-Up and MileCards stay up-to-date on the latest credit card rewards offerings. You just put in your typical monthly spending in various categories, and the calculator will tell you which credit cards fit your lifestyle.
Bonuses Aren’t the End-All, Be-All
When you’re choosing the best mileage credit card for your needs, the everyday, long-term rewards you’ll get from a card should usually outweigh the up-front bonus. Some of those 40,000 mile bonuses are really tempting! And they’re great – if they’re for a credit card that will work well for you on a daily basis.
But unless you’re planning to really pay attention and get good at the credit card churning game, you’ll benefit most from a card’s long-term benefits.
Some Cards to Check Out
Now that you know how to choose a good airline rewards credit card, here are a few options you might consider:
Chase Sapphire Preferred: This popular credit card offers up to 45,000 bonus points (which can be redeemed for miles), plus an automatic 7% Annual Points Dividend on all new points you earned that year – even if you redeemed them. The card offers 2 points per $1 spent on travel and restaurant dining, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, making it a flexible way to earn everyday rewards.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®: If you have excellent credit and you’re looking for great overall rewards, this card is a good option. It offers 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases. It also offers a unique 5% miles back when you redeem your miles for travel, which makes each mile redeemed more valuable.
Priceline Rewards Visa: If you already travel a lot and use Priceline, this is a good travel card to have. It gives you 5 points per $1 spent on all Priceline purchases. It also offers 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.