While I don’t usually wade into the credit card wars — too much fine print and peeking behind the promotional curtains can quickly turn great-sounding offers into not-so-hot — the personal-finance website WalletHub has done its homework in determining what it calls Winter 2017’s Best Travel Credit Cards.
With holiday travel season approaching, this might be a good time to take a look at the offers on hand. Applying for certain cards now will give you enough time to earn up to $625 in “free” travel — at least if you’re willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars first.
Note that they all come with annual fees, so these cards are ones you’ll want to use if you successfully apply for them. (And they all require good-to-excellent credit.)
Be sure you have definite travel plans for sometime in the first three months of acquiring any of these cards — otherwise the bonuses are wasted.
Here is an an overview of WalletHub’s picks, which were selected from more than 1,000 offers due to their attractive travel rewards.
Best Initial Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred – $625 in travel for spending $4,000 in the first three months; $95 annual fee starting year two.
Best All-Around Travel Rewards: Barclaycard Arrival Plus – $400 travel statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first three months; 2% back on all purchases when you redeem for travel and a 5% miles rebate; no annual fee in the first year ($89 thereafter).
Best Airline Rewards: Frontier Airlines Credit Card – two round-trip domestic tickets for spending $500 in the first 90 days; two miles per $1 spent on flyfrontier.com and one mile per $1 spent on everything else; $69 annual fee.
Best Hotel Rewards: Club Carlson Premier Rewards – 50,000 bonus points after first purchase and 35,000 points for spending $2,500 within 90 days of account opening, redeemable for up to nine free nights; 40,000 bonus points on account anniversary, worth up to foure free nights; $75 annual fee.
For the rest of the best offers as well as additional money-saving travel tips, go to the WalletHub site.
Note: For a quick primer on the basics of credit cards, check out this article from LendEDU.com.
Dear Readers: My new guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die (Reedy Press, 2017) is now available for purchase. For those outside the Tucson area, where it’s available at Barnes & Noble, Antigone Books and other bookstores, you can go to the book’s sale page at amazon.com and order it. Don’t forget to write a review!
Or, if you’d rather support clarknorton.com than Jeff Bezos, you can order directly from me at paypal.me/clarknorton; price of $19.35 includes sales tax and shipping. Be sure to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and shipping address. We also accept major credit cards. Thanks!