5 Credit Cards for Frequent Travelers

airplane

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Airport security can be a big source of frustration, subjecting fliers to time-consuming lines and checkpoints. Now, programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck offer expedited security lines with fewer requirements to eligible travelers. Unfortunately, you’ll need to come up with an application fee of up to $100 and a renewal fee every few years.

Some travel credit cards can help get you to your gate by reimbursing you for these costs or offering expedited security through membership programs.

Here are five cards that can help you get through airport security faster.

1. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent at participating hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining, car rentals, and flights purchased from the airline; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Two free nights at eligible tier 1–4 Ritz-Carlton hotels if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, and 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and the addition of an authorized user within the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Ritz-Carlton lovers can earn elite travel benefits and receive a Global Entry application credit.
For Airport Security: This card earns rewards points for all purchases and offers perks including an annual $300 travel credit and elite benefits at Ritz-Carlton properties. On top of that, there’s a $100 credit for your Global Entry application every four years.
Drawbacks:
If you don’t frequent Ritz-Carlton hotels, this card’s specific rewards may not be best for you. 

2. JetBlue Plus Card

Rewards: Six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases; two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
30,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: $99
APR:
Variable 12.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR on purchases; 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within 45 days for 12 months, then variable 12.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Big spenders can earn their way into a membership program with security benefits.
For Airport Security: 
Frequent JetBlue fliers can use this card to earn rewards points and many JetBlue perks. On top of that, spending $50,000 in a calendar year gets you into the TrueBlue Mosaic Program, which includes access to expedited security lines and complimentary alcohol on flights.
Drawbacks: 
If you don’t fly JetBlue, this card may not get you the reward points you want.

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve 

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on travel and dining; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
APR:
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: 
This card earns valuable travel points and offers a credit for your security application.
For Airport Security: 
Travelers can use this card to earn rewards points with competitive redemption rates, receive an annual $300 travel credit, access airport lounges, and more. Plus, you’ll get up to a $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years.
Drawbacks: 
There’s a steep $450 annual fee.

4. Citi Prestige Card 

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
75,000 bonus points if you spend $7,500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
APR: 
Variable 16.74% to 24.74% APR on purchases; and balance transfers. Balance transfer must be made in the first two months from the date the card is opened.
Why We Picked It: 
Many spending categories earn double or triple rewards points, and you get a credit for your security application.
For Airport Security: 
Along with travel rewards points, an annual $250 travel credit, airport lounge access, and complimentary hotel nights, you’ll receive a $100 credit toward your Global Entry application every five years.
Drawbacks: 
At $250, the annual travel credit is slightly lower than some competitors.

5. The Platinum Card from American Express

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent on flights booked with the airline, flights booked with American Express Travel, and eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
60,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$550
APR: 
There is no APR, as it’s a charge card that requires your balance to be paid in full every month. Late fees may apply to late payments.
Why We Picked It: 
American Express offers a security application credit for you and every authorized user.
For Airport Security: 
The Platinum Card boasts a seriously impressive list of travel benefits, including VIP hotel perks and Uber, hotel, and airline credits. Both primary cardholders and authorized users with their own cards get up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits every four years.
Drawbacks: If you prefer to carry a balance month to month, this card isn’t right for you. 

How to Choose a Card for Airport Security Perks

Many credit cards can help you get through airport security, usually by offering a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Most premium travel credit cards that offer this feature charge steep annual fees, so make sure the offered benefits are worth the cost of admission.

Look for a card that rewards the types of purchases you tend to make, or it won’t be a good fit. For instance, if you prefer to fly Southwest, a competing airline’s credit card won’t land you the best value.

If you can’t take full advantage of a travel card’s benefits and rewards, you may want to consider more cost-effective cards and put the money you’ll save in annual fees toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.

What Credit Is Required for a Travel Credit Card?

Premium travel credit cards usually require excellent credit. You’ll want to be confident in your credit before you apply and trigger a hard inquiry into your credit report. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com.

Image: istock

At publishing time, the JetBlue Plus Card and the Platinum Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

 Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Credit Cards for Frequent Travelers appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Hotel Credit Cards for Travelers Who Love Luxury

Rearview shot of a businessman looking through a hotel room window and talking on a cellphone

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Luxury hotels are perfect for those who desire special treatment when they travel. Large hotel chains can offer pristine grounds, exciting experiences, and loads of amenities at thousands of properties around the world.

Many luxury hotel chains have their own branded credit cards that let customers earn rewards, special benefits, or VIP status. These cards can take a stay at your favorite property to the next level.

Here are five hotel-branded credit cards for loyal guests who crave luxury.

1. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Rewards: Up to five points per dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels; two points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Rewards hotels; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
25,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0 the first year, then $95.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
Variable 16.24% to 20.24% APR on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account.
Why We Picked It:
Loyal Starwood and Marriott guests earn rewards for hotel stays and get many special perks.
Benefits:
All eligible purchases earn points, with eligible Marriott purchases earning two points per dollar and eligible Starwood purchases earning up to five points on the dollar. Points are redeemable for flights, experiences, and more, including free nights at luxury Starwood properties such as St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, and W Hotels. Your eligible stays go toward earning Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) elite status, which may grant point bonuses, late checkouts, room upgrades, and other perks. You’ll also enjoy free internet access at participating hotels, and the card has foreign transaction fees.
Drawbacks: Although Starwood and Marriott have merged, their rewards programs are still separate. You can transfer points between them, but you’ll have to maintain two accounts to earn full membership rewards at both hotels.

2. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent at participating Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining, car rentals, and flights purchased directly from the airline; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
Two free nights at any eligible tier 1–4 Ritz-Carlton property if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
APR:
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It:
Cardholders can earn points in many ways and receive an annual travel credit.
Benefits:
All qualifying purchases earn points, with extra points for eligible hotel stays, flights, car rentals, and dining. Points can be redeemed for travel expenses including Ritz-Carlton stays. An annual $300 travel credit can be used for baggage fees, flight upgrades, airport lounge access, and more. The card also offers $100 in savings on eligible airline tickets, a $100 credit toward Global Entry applications, and access to over 900 worldwide airport lounges. At Ritz-Carlton hotels, cardholders can enjoy Gold Elite status for the first year, a $100 hotel credit for stays of two nights or more, and three annual Ritz-Carlton Club Level upgrades for stays of seven nights or more. Additionally, there are no foreign transaction fees, making it easy to take your card abroad on your next vacation.
Drawbacks: There’s a steep $450 annual fee.

3. Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels; two points per dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, car rentals, and dining; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
80,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months.
Annual Fee:
$85
APR:
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: 
A free night’s stay every year, a big sign-up bonus, and a variety of ways to earn points make this card valuable for Marriott loyalists.
Benefits:
All purchases earn rewards, but eligible hotel stays, airline tickets, car rentals, and dining can earn you extra. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more. You’ll get an annual free night’s stay in a participating category 1–5 hotel after your account anniversary, and your card is guaranteed to earn you Silver Elite status every year. There are also no foreign transaction fees.
Drawbacks: 
The greatest value is reserved for frequent Marriott guests.

4. Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Rewards: 12 points per dollar spent at participating Hilton properties; six points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations in the US; and three points per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
100,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$75
APR:
Variable 16.24% to 20.24% APR on purchases, as well as on balance transfers requested within the first 60 days of opening your account.
Why We Picked It: 
Hilton’s credit card boasts a moderate annual fee and an impressive points program.  
Benefits:
Like other hotel cards, Hilton’s card earns extra points for eligible hotel stays and select purchase categories. What’s unique is that even everyday purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants earn triple points on the dollar. Using your card to book online and pay for a Hilton stay will land you a 500-point bonus. You’ll automatically earn Hilton Honors Gold status, and you’ll be bumped up to Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year.
Drawbacks: 
All foreign transactions are charged 2.7% of the purchase amount.

5. The Hyatt Credit Card

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent at participating Hyatt hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining, car rentals, and flights purchased directly with the airline; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
40,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$75
APR:
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It:
Cardholders earn points for a wide range of purchases and get an annual free night after their cardmember anniversary.
Benefits:
You’ll get triple points at Hyatt, double points on select purchase types, and one point elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for free stays and upgrades, room service, spa treatments, and other rewards. Plus, you’ll receive an annual free night at any category 1–4 hotel or resort after your first account anniversary. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Drawbacks:
The card’s best value is limited to frequent Hyatt guests.

How to Choose a Hotel Rewards Credit Card

If you’re fiercely loyal to one hotel chain, start by finding out if that chain offers a credit card. Hotel cards will likely offer perks like room upgrades, point rewards, and special benefits that you can use anytime you travel to an eligible property.

Don’t jump on your favorite hotel’s credit card without evaluating the competition, though. Hotel-branded credit cards reserve their best value for those who spend a lot of time at eligible properties. And with point-transfer programs, you might even have the ability to transfer points from other cards at a one-to-one value to your hotel or airline of choice.

If you’re an agnostic traveler who stays at many different hotel chains, a general travel credit card may be a better choice. These cards offer a variety of ways to redeem points for travel and aren’t tied down to any specific company.

Make sure to also check the fees and APR. Travel rewards are great, but fees and interest can cut into the value, so try to pick a card that makes good financial sense. 

What Credit Is Required for a Hotel Rewards Credit Card?

Cards that offer epic hotel rewards often require excellent credit. You should be confident in your chances of approval before you apply, because a hard credit inquiry from a credit card application can lower your credit score a few points. You can check two of your credit reports for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and Hilton Honors Surpass Credit Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Image: kupicoo

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Hotel Credit Cards for Travelers Who Love Luxury appeared first on Credit.com.

100K Credit Card Points When You Get a Mortgage? Here’s a Look at Chase’s Latest Offer

Chase_mortgage_offer

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Credit card signup bonuses usually come with, well, credit cards. But a new offer from Chase touts beacoup points for (wait for it) … getting a mortgage.

Yup, you’re reading that right: Now through Aug. 6, the bank will award 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points to existing Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve credit cardholders who finance a new home with Chase.

What’s behind the offer? Chase’s being pretty upfront about the fact that it’s courting millennials, who, despite a reported reluctance to sign up for credit cards, displayed a significant interest in the premium Sapphire Reserve Card the bank launched last summer.

“Half of Chase Sapphire customers are millennials, many of whom are looking to buy their first home now or in the near future,” Pam Codispoti, president of Chase Branded Cards, said in a press release.

A Mortgage for Credit Card Points?

Chase’s offer is eye-popping, but right off the bat, it’s important to note that you don’t want to rush into a mortgage just to score credit card rewards points, no matter how lucrative that part of the deal might seem. Home loans are an expensive proposition on the front-end — where you’ll have to cover a down payment, closing costs, possible points and other expenses — and the backend — where you’ll locked into a monthly mortgage payment and paying plenty of interest most likely for the next 15 to 30 years. (Plus, you know, you’ll have a house to take care of and maintenance isn’t exactly cheap.)

Even if you were already looking into home loans, remember, the rate’s really the thing. The allure of credit card rewards points shouldn’t dissuade you for shopping around for the best mortgage deal you can net. (You can get an idea of where your credit might land you by viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

Per Chase’s website, the annual percentage rate on its 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.094%. That’s competitive. Chase’s big bank counterparts Wells Fargo and Citi quote APRs on comparable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage products as 4.275% and 4.086%, respectively, on their websites. (Note: Rates are subject to change and the points you may be required to pay will vary.) But that’s not to say someone with good credit couldn’t score a lower rate or better overall deal at another financial institution, smaller bank or local credit union. It’s still wise to do your research and crunch the numbers to be sure you’re getting the best mortgage. The prospect of credit card rewards should be, at best, an afterthought.

The Nitty Gritty

That being said, if you do have good credit, are looking for a mortgage on a new home and have a Sapphire credit card in your wallet, Chase’s offer could be worth looking into. The exact value of the points will vary, depending on what card is in your wallet and how you ultimately choose to redeem them, but 100,000 points can translate to some significant dollars.

You may recall that when the Chase Sapphire Reserve (full review here) launched last summer, it touted a 100,000 bonus point offer equivalent to $1,500 when redeemed for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards. The card, which also comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, currently carries a 50,000-point signup bonus (equivalent to $750 in travel) if cardholders spend $4,000 in the first three months.

As far as the new mortgage offer details go, it applies only to residential first mortgage purchase loans submitted directly to Chase. You’ll have to have had a Sapphire card prior to May, 7, 2017 launch date to be eligible, so no need to rush out and apply for any new plastic.

Cardholders only get the bonus points if their loan is fully approved and they close on the home. (Points will get automatically posted to the primary cardholder’s account within 10 weeks of closing.) The offer is not transferable, limited to one per property at a time, and could be discontinued without notice, the bank says on its website, where you can find more offer details.

Meanwhile, if you are currently looking for a new home, we’ve got 50 things house hunters should do ahead of their search right here

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: monkeybusinessimages

The post 100K Credit Card Points When You Get a Mortgage? Here’s a Look at Chase’s Latest Offer appeared first on Credit.com.