Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Thu June 23 2016

Which Travel Credit Card Is the Best?

Features & Advice | Janeen Christoff | June 23, 2016

Which Travel Credit Card Is the Best?

Photo courtesy Thinkstock

Shopping for credit cards and wanting to get the most travel bang for your buck?  It can be overwhelming to sift through the myriad offers – almost every airline, hotel and travel company has a card filled with promises of bonus points and miles. You can read the fine print yourself, or rely on the experts to sift through the noise for you.

NextAdvisor recently analyzed a vareity of travel credit cards and put together a list of the top cards based on a variety of criteria. Its Travel Rewards Credit Analysis looked at the values of the top frequent travel programs on the market and researched how far each program’s points would take the travelers who rely on them. Not surprisingly, there were some winners and some losers when it came to getting a good return on your investment – so to speak.

The Overall Best Credit Card for Travelers

So which company offers the best overall credit card? The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card came in at the top of the heap. According to NextAdvisor, it offers an ideal combination of value and flexibility. Other perks: It had the highest hotel value of any card included in their analysis, one of the highest flight values and the best combined value.

Chase Sapphire Preferred also has no foreign transaction fees, it is free for the first year, signing up nets users a large bonus, users get double points on travel and dining and you can use the points for a wide range of travel purchases.

Best Card for Hotel Value

Again, Chase Sapphire topped the list, giving users $2.61 for every $100 spent. Hyatt Credit Card from Chase was next and the BarclayCard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard was the third on the list.

READ MORE: American Bank Issues First Credit Card for Use in Cuba 

Best Card for Flight Value

Virgin America Visa Signature Card was the clear winner for overall flight value, rewarding users with $2.57 per $100 spent. According to NextAdvisor’s analysis, Virgin America Visa Signature Card earns 3 points per dollar spent on Virgin America and 1 point per $1 on everything else. As an added bonus, if cardholders are a member of Virgin America's Elevate program (which is free to join) cardholders earn an extra five points for each dollar spent on Virgin America, bringing users to a possible total of eight points per dollar spent on Virgin America. 

Rounding out the list of the top three cards for flight value are the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

READ MORE: JetBlue and Barclaycard Team Up for New Credit Cards 

Best Card for Introductory Bonus Value

The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase was the clear winner in this category. It offers a terrific hotel value and a bonus value worth $1,304.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express were other cards offering big bonuses for new cardholders.

Overall, there were some cards that clearly excelled over the counterparts. The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase and the BarclayCard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard were also high scorers in almost every category overall.  


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