4 Top Travel Credit Cards for 2016

View from up high on Day 2

American Express is an advertising partner of JohnnyJet.com, but the opinions and beliefs in this post are those of the author alone, who makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information.

Never has the right credit card been as important to travelers as it is now. If you’ve traveled lately, you know that the airlines are obsessed with adding as many fees as possible, and the hotel industry is trying to catch up. A credit card can provide relief from these fees by offering you perks and benefits that you would otherwise have to pay for. The right credit card will not just save you money, but it can also make your trip much more enjoyable, as well.

If you’re looking forward to an amazing trip this year, one of these top credit cards for 2016:

1. The Platinum Card® from American Express (expired)
The Amex Platinum card offers travelers all the tools they need to make their journeys as smooth and as comfortable as possible. First, you get a $200/year annual credit toward airline fees such as baggage charges, change fees and purchases of in-flight food and entertainment. In addition, cardholders also receive a $100 statement credit toward the application fee for the Global Entry program—which offers expedited service when arriving in the United States and access to the TSA PreCheck domestic security program at home—when the fee is pard for with the Platinum Card. You also receive membership in three different airline lounge programs: the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select and American Express’s own Centurion Clubs. Also included is elite status with Starwood and Hilton hotels as well as Hertz, National and Sixt car rental services, so you can enjoy upgrades and priority service on the ground. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card and there are no foreign transaction fees.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Sapphire Preferred is a long-time favorite of travelers for several reasons. First, it offers new applicants 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on new purchases within their first three months of account opening. It also offers double points on all dining and travel purchases.

Points earned are worth 1.25 cents toward travel reservations or can be transferred to points and miles with six different airline and four different hotel partners. This allows you to pick from among your favorite transfer partners that offer the best deals on award travel. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year and there are no foreign transaction fees.

3. United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
The United MileagePlus® Explorer card offers new applicants 50,000 bonus miles (sometimes 30,000) after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening, which is enough for a free domestic roundtrip flight in economy class. Additional benefits include priority boarding, a free checked bag and two United Club passes each year. Furthermore, cardholders are also able use their miles for any available seat at any time, and they receive greater access to economy class awards at the lowest mileage levels. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year and there are no foreign transaction fees.

4. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
This card offers a host of benefits to make travel easier including priority check-in, boarding and security screening. Cardholders also receive a statement credit of up to $100 as reimbursement every five years toward the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. In addition, both primary cardholders and authorized users receive an Admiral’s Club airport lounge membership. Finally, cardholders can earn 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines when they spend $40,000 on their card in a calendar year. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card and there are no foreign transaction fees.

*Editorial note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jason Steele

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a credit expert with CompareCards.com and a freelance journalist with a passion for credit cards and travel. As an expert in using credit cards to earn reward travel, he and his family love to explore the world using their points and miles, and helping others to do so.

As a freelance journalist, Jason has been contributing to many of the top personal finance sites on the subjects of credit cards and travel. After covering the credit card industry daily for over five years, he has become one of the nation’s premier credit card industry experts. Yet as a freelance journalist, he still has the time to attend all of his favorite travel, aviation and personal finance conferences and to continue to use his points and miles for plenty of leisure travel.

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