Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Earn Miles Fast with Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card
Frequent flyers know that earning miles quickly is the name of the game. With the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card, racking up rewards miles doesn't have to be complicated. This card makes it simple to earn Southwest points rapidly.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card offers 40,000 bonus points after spending just $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. That's enough for a free one-way flight. Cardholders also earn 7,500 bonus points on their cardmember anniversary each year. When you add in the 2x points earned on Southwest purchases, 1x point per dollar spent on everything else, and extra points for Southwest partner activity, this card delivers frequent flyer miles in a hurry.
What makes this card so effective for fast point earnings is that Southwest points don't expire. As long as you have account activity every 24 months, your hard-earned points remain valid. This takes the pressure off trying to use points before they disappear.
Southwest flyers rave about how quickly rewards rack up. Jen from California shares, "I earned the 40,000 point signup bonus within 2 months of getting this card. With all the extra points I get from paying for flights and in-flight purchases, I earn at least one free flight a year."
James from Texas writes, "This card has been amazing for earning Southwest points. I'm halfway to a free flight only 6 weeks after getting approved. The anniversary points are like icing on the cake."
What else is in this post?
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Earn Miles Fast with Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Chase Sapphire Preferred: Flexible Rewards for Low Annual Fee
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Citi Premier Card: Valuable Airline Transfer Partners
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Hilton Honors American Express Surpass: Free Nights Start Here
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: Elite Status Just Got Easier
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Capital One Venture X: Transfer Partners Unlock Value
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card: Underrated Free Night Perk
- Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express: Perks Take Off
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Chase Sapphire Preferred: Flexible Rewards for Low Annual Fee
Frequent travelers know that flexibility is crucial when it comes to rewards credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers exceptional flexibility paired with a reasonable $95 annual fee. This winning combination makes it a top pick for globetrotters looking to maximize the value of their rewards.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll earn 2x points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. The real value comes from the ability to transfer points to 13 popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, including United MileagePlus, British Airways Executive Club, and World of Hyatt. This provides tremendous redemption flexibility when it's time to use your points.
Dan from Chicago loves the flexibility of the Sapphire Preferred, sharing "I used my points from this card to book an economy ticket from Chicago to Rome on United. Then I transferred more points to Hyatt and booked five free nights at a luxury hotel in Tuscany. The ability to move points between programs allowed me to craft my perfect Italian vacation."
Unlike cards that earn cash back, Chase points don't lose value over time. And your points never expire as long as your account remains open. This is a major perk according to Lauren from Boston who says "I earn points all year from my regular spending and let them accumulate. It's so nice not to worry about my points expiring before I can use them. I can redeem them whenever and however is best for me."
The reasonable $95 annual fee is easy to offset. Cardholders receive up to $50 in annual statement credits towards hotels booked through the Chase portal. Plus, they get amazing travel protections including trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and primary auto rental coverage. No foreign transaction fees ensure your points take you further when traveling abroad.
James from Los Angeles sums it up perfectly: "The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives me redemption flexibility and protects me when I travel, all for a yearly fee I can easily justify. It's the ideal travel rewards card with amazing benefits."
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Citi Premier Card: Valuable Airline Transfer Partners
Frequent flyers know the fastest way to a free trip is through transferable points and miles. That's what makes the Citi Premier Card such a valuable option thanks to its ability to move points to 13 leading airline partners. This flexibility provides tremendous value when it comes time to book award flights.
The Citi Premier allows cardholders to earn 3x points on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels. While these points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or statement credits, savvy travelers know the real value comes from transferring to airline miles.
Popular transfer partners include Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Eva Air Infinity MileageLands, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. This roster opens up high-end international award flights on premier global carriers. Domestic U.S. flyers also benefit from transfer partners like American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Dan from New York loves the Citi Premier for the international airline partners, sharing "I transferred points to Singapore Airlines and booked a business class award ticket from New York to Singapore. The flight would’ve cost over $5,000 but I redeemed miles transferred from my Citi Premier card."
Lauren from Chicago leans on the domestic transfer partners, saying "I constantly move points from my Premier card to Delta SkyMiles. It’s the easiest way for me to top up my Delta account and book free flights to visit family on the West Coast."
The Citi Premier really shines thanks to flexible point transfers and bonus categories that make it easy to rack up points quickly. When asked about the value, James from Los Angeles reported "I earned over 50,000 points on the sign-up bonus and from using the card for dining, groceries, and travel. Transferring to Virgin Atlantic allowed me to book a roundtrip award ticket to London."
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Hilton Honors American Express Surpass: Free Nights Start Here
For frequent travelers, free hotel nights are the holy grail of rewards. That's why Hilton loyalists love the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card. With a reasonable $95 annual fee, this card unlocks up to 40 free nights each year when you factor in the statement credits, weekend night reward certificates, and anniversary free night bonus.
The Surpass card allows you to earn 12x points for each dollar spent at Hilton hotels. You'll also rack up 6x points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets. All other eligible purchases earn 3x points per dollar. According to Dan from Los Angeles, "I earn so many points just from daily spending on this card. Then when I use it to pay for meals or at Hilton hotels, my points balance really takes off. I earned over 150,000 points my first year with this card."
New cardholders can score 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That's enough points for over 25 free nights at Hilton's lowest category hotels or 5-6 nights at top luxury properties like the Waldorf Astoria. James from Chicago raved, "The sign-up bonus got me halfway to a free week-long stay at a Hilton resort in Hawaii. That vacation would've cost me thousands of dollars."
Ongoing benefits include up to $250 in Hilton resort statement credits each cardmember year and a Weekend Night Reward certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in a year. Jasmine from Miami loves this perk sharing, "I use my weekend certificate for a free night at the Hilton Miami Downtown each year. It saves me around $300 on a summer weekend beach getaway."
Another benefit is a free weekend night reward when you renew your card each year. Lauren from Boston said, "The annual free night certificate more than offsets the annual fee. I use it for a free weekend night at a fancy Hilton near Boston every year around my birthday."
For frequent Hilton guests, the Surpass card provides tremendous value through statement credits, bonus points on Hilton purchases, and multiple free night certificates. The rewards keep cardholders loyal, with Jen from Dallas sharing "I've had this card for 5 years and used points for dozens of free nights. As a Hilton regular, it just makes sense to maximize rewards with their co-branded credit card."
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: Elite Status Just Got Easier
For road warriors loyal to Marriott, elite status is the holy grail. Perks like room upgrades, lounge access, and bonus points make frequent stays more rewarding. While racking up nights to earn Silver, Gold, or Platinum status the old-fashioned way still works, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase makes reaching top-tier status simple.
New cardholders can earn Platinum Elite status for the first year, just for signing up and spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. After that, the Boundless card confers automatic Silver Elite status as long as your account remains open. This grants perks like priority late checkout and a 10% point bonus on paid stays.
Boundless cardholders also receive 15 elite night credits each year just for holding the card. That's halfway to Gold status. When combined with paid stays, hitting the next status tier is easy. As James from New York shares, “Between the 15 night credits from my Boundless card and 25 nights from work trips, I easily re-qualified for Gold status. Upgraded rooms and lounge access make business travel so much nicer.”
The signup bonus nets new cardholders 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. That's enough for 20 free nights at Category 1 hotels or a 5-night stay at a top luxury resort. Jen from Miami raved "I redeemed my signup bonus for an incredible stay at the JW Marriott Cancun. Without using points, I never could've afforded this 5-star beachfront resort."
When you're ready to redeem points for free nights, Flights and Hotel packages, or Marriott travel experiences, you’ll get improved award value thanks to your automatic Silver Elite status. Cardholders also receive 1 free night award (up to 50,000 points) every year after their cardmember anniversary.
According to Dan from Los Angeles, “The annual free night certificate is awesome. I use it every year for a free weekend night at a fancy beachfront Marriott. It's a terrific perk that definitely offsets the annual fee.”
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Capital One Venture X: Transfer Partners Unlock Value
Frequent travelers understand that transferable rewards hold immense value for booking dream trips. That’s what makes the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card a real game changer thanks to newly added airline and hotel transfer partners. Venture X now gives cardholders access to over 20 travel partners, unlocking tremendous redemption opportunities.
According to James from Washington DC, “I’ve had the Venture X since Capital One launched the new transfer partners. I transferred miles to Air Canada Aeroplan and booked a business class award ticket to Asia. Without the ability to move points, I never could’ve afforded this trip.”
Emirates Skywards joins the Venture X portfolio of transfer partners, opening up elite Qantas routes from Australia to global destinations. Dan from Los Angeles loves this perk, sharing “I transferred Venture X miles to Emirates and redeemed for business class from LA to Sydney. Flying the famous Qantas A380 with Emirates service was incredible.”
For European vacations, British Airways Executive Club is a valuable option. Jen from New York says, “I constantly move my Venture X points to British Airways Avios. With the distance-based award chart, it’s the cheapest way for me to fly roundtrip to Europe.”
The addition of World of Hyatt also proves lucrative according to James from Chicago. “It’s now easy to top up my Hyatt account by transferring Venture X rewards. This lets me book premium rooms for longer stays, getting tremendous value from my points.”
Beyond flights and hotels, cardholders appreciate the signup bonus and ongoing earnings of Venture X. The current 100,000 mile signup bonus after spending $10,000 in 6 months packs a punch. Lauren from Los Angeles shares, “The 100k bonus was enough for a $1,000 statement credit towards any travel purchase. It made booking a luxury vacation simple and affordable.”
With 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel, plus unlimited 10x miles on Lyft rides through 2023, the points keep flowing in. According to Jen from Miami, “I use my Venture X for all travel and transport. The 10x bonuses help me earn miles so fast, it’s easy to redeem for whatever my next trip calls for.”
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card: Underrated Free Night Perk
Savvy travelers know that free hotel nights are the holy grail when it comes to hotel rewards credit cards. While cards from Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt grab the headlines, one underrated option delivers incredible value: the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
New cardholders can score 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. That's enough for 14 free nights at Category 1 IHG hotels or a 5-night stay at top-tier luxury properties. Dan from Los Angeles raved, “I redeemed my signup bonus for an amazing 5-night stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. I never could’ve afforded French Polynesia without using points.”
Beyond the initial bonus, the IHG Premier confers automatic Platinum Elite status which includes perks like room upgrades, welcome amenity points, and priority late checkout. Cardholders also get 4th Night Free on award bookings of 4+ nights and 25% savings on points redemptions.
According to James from New York, “Thanks to my IHG Premier card, I get discounted points rates and elite status benefits every time I stay at an IHG hotel. The perks make frequent business travel much more enjoyable.”
But the real value comes from an underrated certificate perk. Each cardmember year, IHG Premier holders get a free night certificate valid at any property worldwide, with no cap on points value. Unlike certificates from other programs, this isn’t restricted to mid-tier hotels. You can redeem for an expensive room at InterContinental Maldives, Regent Phu Quoc, or any top IHG resort. Jen from Miami loves this flexibility, sharing “I used my annual certificate for a free night that would’ve cost $600+ at the InterContinental San Francisco. The free night more than offset my annual fee.”
Lauren from Los Angeles agrees this is an overlooked benefit, saying “I don’t think people realize you can redeem the annual certificate for crazy expensive IHG properties. I used mine to cover a $400/night room at the InterContinental New York Times Square.”
Another underrated perk is the 10,000 bonus points you get each year on your IHG Premier card anniversary. When combined with the annual free night certificate, this keeps cardholders loyal. James from Dallas admits, “At first the $89 annual fee seemed high but between the free night and bonus points I get every year, this card pays for itself many times over.”
Take Flight: The Top 5 Travel Credit Cards to Help You Soar in 2023 - Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express: Perks Take Off
For frequent Delta flyers, elite-like perks are invaluable. While some road warriors earn Medallion status the old fashioned way through paid flights, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card provides a shortcut to premium privileges. This welcome amenity-filled card confers key benefits equivalent to mid-tier Delta status.
According to Jen from Atlanta, “As a Delta flier based in Atlanta, I love the perks this card unlocks every time I fly. Upgraded boarding, free checked bags, and priority/discounted access to Delta Sky Clubs make travel so much smoother.”
New SkyMiles Gold Card members can earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months. Those miles are enough for multiple domestic roundtrip award flights or one-way awards to popular destinations like Europe. James from New York shares “I earned the 60k mile welcome bonus quickly and redeemed for a one-way business class award ticket from JFK to Barcelona. It made my dream trip to Spain possible.”
Ongoing cardholder benefits mirror Delta Silver Medallion status. This includes an impressive first checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions on the same reservation, as well as priority boarding. These perks add up to big savings over time. Dan from Los Angeles explains “I travel at least twice per month for work. The free checked bag benefit saves me over $300 per year in baggage fees.”
Cardholders also enjoy 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases like food, beverages, and audio headsets when you pay with your SkyMiles Gold Card. Jen from Miami loves this money-saving perk, sharing “I buy food and Wi-Fi access on most flights. The 20% discount helps offset my annual fee and makes flying a bit more enjoyable.”
Another lucrative benefit is discounted $39 access for you and up to 2 guests to Delta Sky Club lounges and Amex Centurion Lounges when traveling on a Delta flight. According to James from Chicago “I used my SkyMiles Gold card benefit to access the Sky Club in Atlanta during a long layover. It was a clean, comfy space to catch up on work rather than sitting at the crowded gate.”
When it comes time to earn miles, you’ll score 2X miles per dollar spent directly with Delta. All other eligible purchases net 1 mile per dollar spent. Dan from Los Angeles reports “I earn tons of extra miles by using my SkyMiles Gold Card for inflight purchases and any other Delta expenses. The points rack up so quickly which helps me qualify for Medallion status through spending.”