Credit Card




Winning the Point & Miles Game

By Ken Faught












How to choose the top travel credit cards for miles and points.

How to get free flights, free upgrades, early entry on flights and much more.


Have you ever wondered which credit card is best for free travel? My wife and I have worked on this for years, and she’s actually been able to save us tens of thousands of dollars on airfare. In fact, we have been able to fly our family of four from Los Angeles to Hawaii several times, and it's all because of using a combination of frequent flier points and credit card mileage.

But this story is only going to focus on credit cards that offer travel rewards.


XSplore Media and CardRatings have partnered on this story about credit card products because we think this is such a valuable topic. Note that XSplore Media and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


Anyone who travels has already heard about credit cards that offer points for free flights and free hotel stays, which can save you a lot of money. Our family has literally saved $3680 on flights one time to Hawaii just because we make all of our purchases on some of the best travel credit cards available. But the world of choosing the right travel credit card can be tricky because there are different rules and offers and some allow you to earn rewards for free flights quicker.   

Travel Credit Card Guide

Best Travel Credit Cards

























Important Travel Credit Card Features – Tips & Tricks

There are a lot of factors and variables that go into choosing the best travel credit card, and there is not one that fits everyone. It depends on how much you travel, where you travel to, how much flexibility you desire, how much you spend, how much luggage you bring, etc. In this story, we are only talking about the travel credit cards we think are really good for collecting points & miles and note that we have an American Airlines Mastercard because I am a million miler and there are perks of loyalty to one airline for over 30 years.

XSplore Media and CardRatings have partnered on this story about credit card products because we think this is such a valuable topic. Note that XSplore Media and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Important Credit Card Features – Key Considerations

Pay careful attention to all of the details with each of these credit card programs. Each credit card requires a contract and terms and conditions change frequently, so please read everything and do your own research.


Introductory Offer – Because there is a lot of competition in the credit card industry, many times the card companies will offer incentives which can be extremely valuable. They typically require you to spend a certain amount of money within a specified time period to receive your bonus, but they can be very rewarding.


Annual Fee – Most major credit card companies charge an annual fee and sometimes the fee can be waived for a certain amount of time depending on current offers. The fee is charged because a lot of people don’t actually use their credit cards, and they keep them for emergencies.

Airline Points Towards Free Flights – There are some credit cards that provide free credit towards the purchase of flights and some even offer free companion airline tickets.


Point Multipliers, the X Factor – Some cards offer points multipliers where you receive double or triple the points. Some card companies will pay 2X points for dining during certain times and others, or even the same card company, will offer 3X points on hotel stays or when using the card at gas station. The offers vary but they can be very advantageous.





Priority boarding is one of the best perks of traveling


Priority Boarding – This is a really cool luxury and I love boarding earlier than the general public. This is something that Delta Skymiles Card offers along with free checked bags on the airline. If you fly a lot, these upcharges can really add up, and this card can save you money.


Lounge Access – Some of the major airlines have VIP-style lounges at airports that are sometimes discretely tucked away but are really cool inside. Some travel cards offer discounts or free access to these airline lounges. Services can include free food, drinks, showers, couch seating and much more. I am a huge fan of these elite clubs.


Free Hotel Rooms – Some travel credit cards will reward you with a free hotel rooms when you get enough points for money spent. This can be a really good perk, especially if you are traveling by car and don’t need the points towards free flights.













Global Entry in San Diego

Global Entry Reimbursement – Some travel credit cards will reimburse you for Global Entry Fee – that’s $100 when you pay for it using their card. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.

At airports, program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.


Travel Credit Card Reviews  


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card





The Bonus: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. That's worth $750 in travel. The Annual Fee is $95 The Rewards -  Earn two times the points on travel and dining at restaurants and one point on everything else. Plus earn five points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's three points in addition to the two points you already earn on travel. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are transferable to numerous frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Extra Benefits with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:

  • 5000 extra points for adding extra user

  • No transaction fees on foreign purchases

  • 2x points on dining

  • 2x points on travel

  • Trip cancellation insurance

  • Car rental insurance

  • Travel accident insurance


Chase Sapphire Reserve Card





The Bonus: Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Thanks to that 50% more value situation, those points are worth as much as $750 when redeemed through Ultimate Rewards® and could be worth even more if you transfer them to hotel and airline loyalty partners. The Annual Fee: $550 The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent on travel (after earning your annual $300 travel credit) and on dining and one point per $1 on everything else. Added Perks: As we said, this is a luxury card and it boasts the luxury perks you'd expect, such as airport lounge access at more than 1,000 lounges around the globe, concierge services, special hotel benefits and upgrades and more. It can also save you money with up to a $100 credit every four years to cover your TSA Pre✓™ or Global Entry application fee plus up to $300 in statement credit each year to cover travel charges. Credit Needed: Excellent

Extra Benefits with Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • Rental car insurance

  • Travel accident insurance

  • Free priority lounge membership

  • 3x points on travel and dining purchases

  • No fees on foreign transactions

  • $100 application credit for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry


Capital One Venture Rewards Card



The Bonus: Snag 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that The Rewards: This is a card with which you earn two miles for every $1 you spend. Redeem miles for any flight or hotel stay, as well as car rentals, cruises and more. Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Extra Benefits with Capital One Venture Rewards Card

*Use the points on 10 different airlines

*You can earn 10X point by booking hotels through

*No fees on foreign transactions while traveling


Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Link to






The Bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on the card in the first three months. Additionally, on an ongoing basis you can earn a weekend night reward stay each calendar year you spend at least $15,000 on the card, an opportunity that could more than offset your annual fee.   The Annual Fee: $95. The Rewards: Earn 12 points per $1 spent directly with participating Hilton properties. Enjoy everyday earnings with six points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and three points per $1 on all your other purchases.    Added Perks: Cardholders receive 10 airport lounge visits each calendar year after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select. Visits beyond your 10th will incur a $27 fee, but those 10 complimentary visits are basically unheard of for a card with just a $95 annual fee.  Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Extra Benefits with Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

*Earn 12X points spent on Hilton

*Earn 6X points on gas

*Earn a free weekend night at Hilton when you spend $15,000 on qualified purchases



Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

Link to





The Bonus: Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The Annual Fee: $95 The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel; shipping costs; Internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. After reaching the spending cap, and on all your other purchases, you'll earn one point per $1 spent. When you redeem your points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, they're worth 25% more. Additional Perks: Pay your cellular bill on your card and you'll be protected against covered damage and theft to the phone (subject to a deductible and terms). The protection applies to the primary phone as well as the other phones listed on the account. Also, consider adding a no-annual-fee card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards®, such as the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, to your business tools as it's an excellent complement to the Business Preferred card. You can use the no-annual-fee card to earn top rewards in categories beyond those offered by the Business Preferred card and then combine all your points in a single bucket in order to take advantage of the 25% more value when you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Extra Benefits with Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

*5X point when purchasing office supplies

*Points can be used for over five airlines

*Free protection for your cell phone up to $600

*No transaction fees on foreign purchases

*Get up to 25% more value when using points through Chase’s travel portal



How to Understand Your Credit Score and Why it Matters

“When you apply for credit, insurance, phone service, or even to rent a place to live, providers want to know if you’re a good risk,” according to the Federal Trade Commission’s website.  “They use credit scores to help them decide.”

A credit score is a number. A high credit score means you have good credit. A low credit score means you have bad credit. A higher score means you’re less of a risk and are more likely get the product or service - or pay less for it.”

Here’s how it works: Lenders pull information from your credit report, like your bill-paying history, how long you’ve had your accounts, outstanding debt, and collection actions. A scoring system awards points for each factor that helps predict who is most likely to repay a debt. The total number of points - a credit score - helps predict the likelihood that you’ll repay a loan and make payments on time.

Credit scores can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some examples.

Insurance companies may use information from your credit report, along with other factors, to help predict your likelihood of filing an insurance claim and the amount you might claim. They consider this information when deciding whether to give you insurance and how much to charge.

Utility companies use credit scores to decide if a new customer has to make a deposit for service. Cellphone providers and landlords also use scores when considering a new customer or tenant.

Different companies have different scoring systems, and the scores may be based on more than the information in your credit report. When you apply for a mortgage, for example, the system may consider the amount of your down payment, your total debt, and your income.

To improve your credit score, focus on paying your bills on time, paying down outstanding balances, and staying away from new debt.




People also ask

*What is the easiest credit card to get? One that will have high fees, a low credit limit, and a high interest rate?

*What credit card should I get for travel? That depends on a lot of variables. Look at the list above in this story.

*Is it worth getting a travel credit card? Yes

*How can I raise my credit score 100 points?

            -Pay bills on time

            -Pay off any collections

            -Keep balances low on your credit cards

            -Have a variety of credit types

            -Shop for new credit over a period of time

            -Don’t close paid off accounts

            -Keep the money you owe as low as possible

            -Pay off debt rather than transferring it continually

            -Don’t check your credit score unless you need to for a loan

*Is 650 a good credit score? It’s considered fair

*Can I get a house with a 650 credit score? A score between 700-749 is generally considered good, but some lenders will do home loans with more money down for people with weaker credit scores.

*How can I quickly raise my credit score? It’s not easy, but follow the same phiolosophy listed above in the question about raising credit score 100 points.



Chase Ink.png
Chase Reserve.png
Chase Preferred.png
Venture Card png.png
Hilton Honors.png

Credit Card



Best Overall Travel Credit Card

Best Premium Travel Card

Best Travel Credit

Card for New Users

Best Travel Reward Credit Card

Best Business Travel Credit Card

Priority Boarding.jpg
Global Entry.jpeg
Chase Preferred.png
Chase Reserve.png
Venture Card png.png