If you are looking for the best airline credit card, then it depends on the airline you fly with. For example, if you do not fly Virgin America, there's no sense getting their credit card even it offers great sign-up bonus and generous ongoing rewards. It's quite logical to have a credit card from the airline you often fly with. This will potentially be the best airline card for you.
As for the best credit card for travel rewards, there are several factors you should consider before getting a credit card. Here are main things to bear in mind when choosing best credit card for travel:
- Think how often you fly a year. If it's less than two times, then a credit card that earns fixed rewards on all purchases and charges no annual fee will be the best choice. An example of such a card is the Discover it Miles card. This card gives 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. It also has a sign-up bonus: all new cardmembers get their first-year miles matched at the end of the year. The card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
- Consider your expenses. If you fly two or more times a year, then a credit card that gives increased miles/point rewards for travel purchases can become your best choice. For example, the Citi ThankYou Premier card gives 3x points on travel purchases (that includes gas purchases), 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. As you can see, this card is aimed at frequent travelers who spend a lot on travel.
- Know redemption options. Most travel rewards credit cards will simply allow you to redeem earned miles/points for travel statement credits or cash. However, there are some offers that allow points/miles transfers to frequent flyer programs. This type of travel cards is good for those who already have an airline credit card and want to boost their earnings, or for members of frequent flyer programs who want an alternative to an airline credit card. When you choose a card that allows points transfers, you should first of all now which partners participate in the program. For example, the aforementioned Citi ThankYou Premier card has more than 10 partners, including TrueBlue, Flying Blue, and Virgin Atlantic. So make sure your frequent flyer program is a partner of the credit card's rewards program.
Finding a credit card that will be the best option for you is always a tricky proses as you should take into account your spending habits, credit accounts you already have, your goals and your finances. It's also worth calculating your potential savings to understand if the card you are going to apply will actually be working for you.