Got wanderlust? Here are some of the best beginner travel reward credit cards

Want to travel and earn rewards while doing it? Of course, you do. I’m always down to have a credit card company reward my spending habits. Whoever first came up with travel rewards on credit cards is a genius. In my last post, I emphasized the importance of credit. Why? Travel credit cards are why. When used wisely, they can really pay off.

The information below was last updated as of August 13th, 2018.

I consider these “beginner travel credit cards” with the exception of the Chase Sapphire Reserve because: $450 annual fee. Pocket change, right?

Ready to maximize your travel? Here are some travel credit cards I think are pretty great:

Credit Card Annual Fee The Good Stuff Foreign Transactions Additional Info Current Offers/Bonuses (as of 8/13/18)
Southwest Rapid
Rewards Plus
 $69.00 2 points/$1 spent on SW and Rapid Rewards hotel and car purchases; 1 point/$1

spent on all other purchases; 3,000 anniversary

points each year

3% of each transaction in USD all points count towards a Companion Pass (lets a friend fly with you for free) Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1000 in the first 3 months
Southwest Rapid
Rewards Priority
 $149.00 2 points/$1 spent on SW and Rapid Rewards hotel and car purchases; 1 point/$1 spent on all other purchases; 7,500-anniversary points each year; $75 annual travel credit; 4 upgraded boardings/year when available; 20% back on in-flight purchases None all points count towards a Companion Pass (a friend gets to fly with you for free!) Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1000 in the first 3 months + earn 25,000 points after you spend a total of $15,000 within the first year
Chase Sapphire Preferred $0 for the first year, $95 after 2 points on travel and dining; 1 point/$1 on all other purchases; trip cancellation & insurance; no blackout dates; travel and emergency services None 25% more in travel redemption; 50,000 points = $625 toward travel 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months + 5,000 points after you add first authorized user in the first three months
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450; each authorized user: $75 3 points on travel and dining; 1 point/$1 dollar on all other purchases; $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases; trip insurance; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Credit None 50% more on travel redemption when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 50,000 points = $750 toward travel; Complimentary Priority Pass to 1,000+ airport lounges after activation 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
Bank of America Travel Rewards None Unlimited 1.5 points/$1 on all purchases, everywhere; bonus 3 points/$1 at the travel center None 2,500 points = $15 20,000 points when you spend 1,000 within 90 days
Bank of America Premium Rewards  $95.00 Unlimited 2 points/$1 spent on travel and dining; 1.5 points/$1 spent on all other purchases; up to $100 in annual airline credit; $100 in TSA Pre/Global Entry credit None redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into BA or Merill Lynch accounts, gift cards, and for purchases at the BA Travel Center 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of account open date
Delta SkyMiles $0 for the first year, $95 after 2 miles per $1 spent directly with Delta; 1 mile for every eligible dollar; first checked bag free; discounted Delta Sky Club Access ($29/person) None Travel accident insurance; priority boarding 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 4 months (expires 9/19/18)

As you can see – Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of a whopping $450. However, when you take into consideration all the perks and credits you receive – it kind of balances out. I would love to get my hands on Chase Sapphire Reserve, but I don’t travel that much…YET. I’m pretty happy with my Sapphire Preferred credit card for the time being.

chase
this is the fanciest credit card I’ve ever held (it’s heavy!)

A few things to consider if you’re thinking about applying to get one of these travel reward credit cards:

  • most cards have a 17.74%-24.7% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) based on your creditworthiness 
  • all these cards won’t charge you interest as long as you pay off the entire balance by the bill due date – remember my mom’s advice?
  • there are penalty fees associated with each one if you don’t pay the bill on time depending on the balance
  • if you ever read the fine print on something, it should be the terms and conditions on the credit cards you are approved for; here’s an example of one.
  • do your own research – don’t rely on people like me to make up your mind – or do – but still, do your research

Travel on, Marty McFly.

Do you have a favorite travel rewards credit card? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Featured photo by Annie Spratt 
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Categories: smart money network, travelTags: , , , , , , , ,

Sarahi

Sarahi is the founder of Gems & Potatoes. She is passionate about early financial education, travel, and finding ways to live smarter. Sarahi was born and raised in Boise, Idaho so is naturally always planning for the next outdoor adventure.

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