The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2014

10 Best Travel Rewards Credit CardsIf you find yourself traveling a lot because of work or pleasure, owning a travel rewards credit card is a great way to reduce your costs and at the same time, earn a little something on the side.  Depending on your situation, you may be looking for a card that can earn you stays at hotels, free airfare, or just a travel rewards credit card that offers you international transactions without fees.

Finding the best travel rewards credit card can be achieved simply by checking our list below.  Some cards provide you purchasing power overseas, while others are designed for your travel in the United States.  If you own a card you feel worthy of our list, let us know and we’ll add it!

The Top Travel Reward Credit Cards

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival Cardmembers
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A 0%* 12 Months 14.99% or 18.99%* Variable $89 - waived first year
735 Average credit score approved for this card† 679 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Credit Card
Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Credit Card
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase
  • Earn 5X points on Priceline.com purchases
  • Earn 1 point on everything else. And there’s no limit to the number of points you can earn!
  • Plus, earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on qualifying transactions in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Your points can act like cash - Redeem points for statement credits against purchases made on your account
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
0% 12 Months 0% 12 Months 14.99% or 21.99%* Variable $0
714 Average credit score approved for this card† 644 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival Cardmembers
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A 0% 12 Months 14.99% or 18.99%* Variable $0
714 Average credit score approved for this card† 677 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

The Travelocity® Rewards American Express® Card
The Travelocity® Rewards American Express® Card
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase
  • Earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible Travelocity purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Points can be redeemed for statement credits towards Travelocity purchases for Flights, eligible Hotels and Vacation Packages, with no blackout dates
  • No Annual Fee
  • Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A N/A N/A 14.99%, 21.99% or 24.99%* Variable $0
0 Average credit score approved for this card† 0 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

The Carnival™ MasterCard®
The Carnival™ MasterCard®
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening, and a variable rate of 13.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% APR thereafter, depending on your creditworthiness
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points when you use your card for the first time
  • Earn DOUBLE points on any CarnivalTM purchase
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Redeem points for cruises on CarnivalTM or other eligible World’s Leading Cruise Lines vacations, hotel or flight discounts, onboard gifts and services, merchandise or gift cards
  • No Annual Fee
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A 0% 15 Months 13.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%* Variable $0
696 Average credit score approved for this card† 613 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Published or Updated: May 14, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Just got a letter from Starwood: annual fee is now $65/year. This is the new reality, I guess:

    “Many issuers have homed in on fees that typically accompany rewards cards as a potential moneymaker. The Pew study, which was to be released today, found that about 14 percent of bank credit cards have annual fees, about the same as last year. But the median annual fee for the 12 largest banks’ cards rose 18 percent, to $59, over the past year.”

  2. Rob Berger says:

    Mike, the top travel cards have always charged fees. I carry the Starwood Amex, and I ‘ve found the rewards to be well worth the cost of the card.

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  5. Brian C. says:

    Hi Rob,
    I am a newbie and learn a lot from this site. Hope you don’t mind shedding lights on my stupid Qs (haven’t apply for many years).

    When applying for a card, is it generally the case (I read somewhere online) that one can put combined income in the form even the primary applicant is unemployed but spouse is employed? The rationale is to let the highest FICO applicant (primary) take the impact from hard inquiry so to ensure both FICOs are still high afterwards. Both 770+ score but one is ~20 points higher hence the question. Thanks again!

    Thanks a lot for tolerating a stupid question :-)!

    • Rob Berger says:

      Brian, if you are both 770+, I doubt it’s going to matter much. Also, unless you are applying for a ton of credit, a single hard inquiry shouldn’t have a major impact. But to your question, if the primary applicant is unemployed, I suspect this will raise a question with the credit card issuer. But you’ll never really know until you try.

  6. I have had the SPG card for a year now and the annual fee is coming due. I benefited from the opening bonus, but see little future value to holding on to the card. I find that I can book a Sheraton hotel on Priceline for the same cost as Starwood charges for a cash and points award, if it is available. For a free hotel night, I would have to spend thousands of dollars, as you only earn 1 point per dollar spent on general purchases. The only reason to hold on to the card would be to if I think they might have a sign-up incentive in August this year, where I could get 5,000 points for referring my spouse for the card, and he would also get 5,000 points over the usual sign-up bonus.

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