If you have a good credit score, you have a better chance at qualifying for a great travel rewards credit card. These are the highest ranked travel rewards credit cards because of their rewards payout, annual fees, signup bonuses, and promotional rates.
The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express is one of the best travel rewards credit cards, and not just because it doesn't have an annual fee. The 0% introductory APR on balance transfers lasts for 18 months (make your transfer before March 31, 2013). After that the regular APR of 9.99% applies. You earn 5 miles per dollar on airline purchases (1 mile on everything else). Plus you can earn 20,000 miles for spending at least $2,500 in the first three months. Pretty good for a no-fee travel rewards credit card.
One of the biggest perks of the First National Bank of Omaha Graphite American Express travel rewards card is that there’s no foreign transaction fee. Many others charge 3%. Get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. The $99 annual fee is waived in the first year. Earn 3% on airline purchases, 2% on gas and grocery purchases, and 1% on everything else.
The Citi Premier / Expedia card - Elite level, formerly called the Expedia World MasterCard Elite Level (not to be confused with the Expedia World MasterCard), has a 0% introductory rate on purchases for 7 months. Earn your rewards in ThankYou points: 2 per dollar on Expedia and certain other purchases, plus 1 point on all other purchases, and 1 point for every mile flown. Get a $100 statement credit after the first booking. One drawback is that you can only earn 200,000 miles per year, 100,000 of them from Expedia purchases. The card comes with a $75 annual fee.
Since the card is issued by Citi, your purchases receive the Citi Price Rewind benefit. You get a refund of price differences on greater than $25 on purchases made within the past 30 days. Certain restrictions apply.
The Capital One Venture Rewards card doesn't offer an introductory rate, but it does not charge balance transfer fee. Hardly any other credit card, travel rewards or otherwise, benefits cardholders by eliminating balance transfer fees. There is, however, a $59 annual fee that’s waived in the first year. The reward structure is simpler than almost any other travel rewards card: earn two miles per dollar spent. Earn 10,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 within the first 3 months. Redeem rewards for travel, hotel stays, car rental, gift cards and more. Multiply the price of your expense by 100 (or just add two zeros) and that's the number of rewards you need.
The Orbitz Visa Platinum is another rare travel rewards card that has great benefits and no annual fee. First, the card offers 0% APR on purchases for 12 months (until February 2014) and no fee on balance transfers. As you might assume, you earn more rewards for booking with Orbitz – triple points on Orbitz booking and one point on everything else. Earn 500 bonus points for airline bookings; 1,000 points for booking a hotel; 2,000 points for combination bookings; and 250 points just for redeeming your points. This card is issued by Capital One, and like others by this major card issuer, there's no foreign transaction fee.
The Travelocity Rewards American Express, with its $39 annual fee, pays five points per dollar Travelocity purchases, plus 2 points for each dollar on a preferred category (you choose, and one point on everything else. Earn 7,500 bonus points after the first purchase, no minimum amount or time limit required. You also earn 20,000 bonus points after $6,700 in Travelocity spending and 5,000 bonus points if you transfer a balance within the first 30 days. The card has 1.5% foreign transaction fee, and 0% APR on balance transfers for 9 months.
There's a no-fee version of this card that pays three points for each dollar on Travelocity purchases, a 5,000 point bonus after first purchase, but requires you to spend $6,700 to earn the 20K point bonus. There's no two-point reward tier. It's a great offer, but the $39 fee will allow you to earn rewards much faster.
This is the only airline-specific travel rewards card to make our "Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards" list. It's not necessarily because the airline, but the great credit card perks. Enjoy 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months and up to 10,000 bonus miles with your transfer (1 mile per dollar transferred). You also get 30,000 bonus miles after the first purchase. Each year, you receive two companion tickets (redemptions) starting at $99 to use along with coach ticket purchased at regular price. Earn 2 points per dollar on US Airways purchases and one point on everything else at a $89 annual fee.