4 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Right Now

4 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Right Now
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Money expert Clark Howard typically recommends cash back credit cards, but there are always those who prefer travel cards to earn free flights, hotel stays and other valuable perks. 

These Are the Best Travel Rewards Cards Right Now 

The fact is that travel rewards cards can sometimes offer more generous sign-up bonuses and better money-saving cardholder benefits than even the best cash back rewards cards — especially for frequent travelers. 

I’ve reviewed the latest offers and narrowed it down to Team Clark’s top picks for best travel rewards cards: 

  1. PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express
  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  4. Discover it Miles

Of course, you always have to look out for the pitfalls of both travel and cash back rewards credit cards. 

First, you should never overspend to earn rewards, including a sign-up bonus. Even when you’re getting a strong 2% rewards return, you’re still losing 98% when you make an unnecessary purchase.

Clark also says that rewards credit cards only make sense for people who don’t have credit card debt.

If you ever need to carry a balance, then you shouldn’t worry about earning rewards and instead focus on finding a low-interest credit card. For more information, review Clark’s credit card philosophy.

Read on to compare our picks for best travel rewards cards and let us know your favorite in the comments below…

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express 

Welcome bonus 25,000 points after spending $2,500 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • 3x points on all travel and commuter expenses (4x for PenFed account holders)
  • 1.5x points elsewhere
  • Points can be redeemed for travel reservations, generally worth slightly less than one cent each
Annual fee None
Advantages Competitive rewards whether or not you’re spending in the bonus categories; $100 TSA PreCheck application fee credit and an annual $100 air travel credit
Drawbacks Points are worth slightly less than other reward points

Learn More: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express

Chase Sapphire Preferred 

Welcome bonus 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • 2x points for all travel and dining purchases, 1x elsewhere
  • Points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase, or transferred to airline and hotel partners
Annual fee $95
Advantages Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points offers excellent value when used for travel and dining; great flexibility to realize plenty of value from airline and hotel partners
Drawbacks $95 annual fee

Learn More: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Welcome bonus 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening
  • Double miles on all purchases
  • Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits or transferred to airline partners
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages Card now offers the chance to redeem rewards for travel statement credits or transfer them to miles with airline partners; $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Drawbacks $95 annual fee and airline transfer partners are mostly smaller foreign carriers

Learn More: Capital One Venture Rewards

Discover it Miles

Discover it® Miles 

Welcome bonus Discover will match all of the rewards you earn during your account’s first year
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent
  • Miles are worth one cent each as travel statement credits or cash back
Annual fee  None
Advantages Discover offers a simple travel rewards/cash back card with great customer service
Drawbacks 1.5% returns isn’t as competitive as it used to be, plus Discover recently slashed its travel and purchase protection benefits

Learn More: Discover it Miles

More Credit Card Content From Clark.com: 

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