Best Travel Credit Cards for 2014

May 27, 2014
Laura Joszt

If you're already spending money on vacations and travel, then you might as well earn some rewards to offset the costs. These are the best travel rewards cards based on your spending and payment habits.

If you’re already spending money on vacations and travel, then you might as well earn some rewards to offset the costs. As the economy improves, more people expect to travel in 2014 and lucrative travel rewards credit cards can be a boon.

CardHub compared more than 1,000 credit card offers to identify the most reward cards for summer travel and separated the cards into various categories depending on what consumers are looking to get out of a card or which one will benefit them the most based on current spending.

You could be missing out on free miles, cash back, free nights at a hotel, and more.

(To see the full list and all the cards included in each category, read more here.)

All around

Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Fee: $89

The card offers a 40,000-mile rewards bonus for those who spend just $3,000 during the first 90 days after getting the card. The $89 annual fee is waived in the first year, and the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Consumers earn 2 miles for every $1 spent. Plus, you get 10% miles back every time you redeem travel statement credits.

Also: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Airline rewards

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Credit Card

Fee: $0

While there is no annual fee, there could be a $10 membership charge if you don’t meet eligibility requirements, according to CardHub. But the card offers a 20,000 bonus points for spending at least $2,500 in the first 3 months. Those points are good for $200 toward a roundtrip airline ticket.

The card provides 5 points for every dollar spent on airfare and one point for every $1 spent on everything else.

Also: Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Hotel rewards

IHG Credit Card

Fee: $49

Like most rewards cards with annual fees, the fee is waived in the first year. Consumers only need to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months to receive 60,000 bonus points, which are redeemable for up to 12 free nights. The card also offers users one additional free night each year on their account anniversary.

Users get 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotel chains, 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and one point for every dollar spent on everything else. There’s also no foreign transaction fee.

Also: Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card and Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card

Road trip rewards

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

Fee: $75

The annual fee is not waived the first year, but this card offers 6% back on groceries, 3% on gas and department store purchases, and 1% on everything else. Use it abroad and you’ll get hit with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, though.

Users will receive a $150 initial bonus in the form of a statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases on the new card.

Also: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card and TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express

Financing travel

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Fee: $0

The card charges no interest rate on purchases for the first 18 months, which makes it great for big purchases, like hotel rooms or plane tickets. However, if you’re headed outside of the country, this card may not be the best option—users will get charged a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Also: Chase Slate