So if you dream of traveling the world but find yourself held back by money, or you just want to get cash back every time you make a purchase, read on to find the top credit cards for 2017.
What rewards do you want to earn?
Before you start looking at credit card deals to choose the best card for you, it’s important to set a goal around how you want to earn rewards and how you want to use them.
Are you looking to book a free trip to Thailand or Paris? Or do you want to earn extra money to buy a new gadget or gift for someone special? Knowing which rewards you want helps you separate good credit cards from top credit cards for your needs.
Personally, I am a serious travel hacker. So I’ve used credit card rewards for free or cheap trips to London, Paris, Spain, Portugal, and cities all over America.
However, some people don’t want to travel. So they’d probably be better off with cash back rewards instead of travel rewards.
Credit card rewards are typically going to come in one of those two categories, so decide now whether you want cash back or travel rewards.
Top credit cards for travel rewards
The top travel rewards credit cards can vary based on your credit history, spending habits, and your feelings on annual fees.
All of the cards below are cards I either have or personally recommend to friends and family. And remember, annual fees aren’t necessarily a bad thing if you earn enough rewards to cover the cost.
With some of these signup bonuses, the bonus alone is worth a heck of a lot more than the cost of the annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is arguably the #1 travel rewards credit card available today.
While it has a steep $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve pays you back in huge dividends. This is a powerhouse card that came onto the market near the end of 2016.
- You get up to $300 in statement credits each year as reimbursement when you put travel purchases like airline tickets and hotel reservations on this card.
- Receive 3x points on travel and dining purchases worldwide.
- If you pay $100 for Global Entry or $75 for TSA Pre-Check, Chase refunds the cost to your card as a statement credit.
- Travel like an elite traveler with access to over 900 travel lounges.
- Use your points to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for a 50 percent point value bonus.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase rewards cards are so great that they claim two spots on the credit cards list.
I have had the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in my pocket for years, and it’s led to thousands of dollars in free travel. This card has benefits not quite as good as the Sapphire Reserve, but the annual fee is $95 instead of a steep $450.
- The annual fee is waived for your first year.
- You get 50,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 during the first three months of opening your account.
- Receive 2x points per dollar spent on restaurants and travel.
- Use points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer to partners for 25 percent higher redemption value.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
For airline specific cards, the Citi /AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is a powerhouse.
This one also has a steep annual fee at $450 per year, but it comes filled with benefits. You’ll make up that $450 in no time thanks to a big signup bonus and other perks.
The card is best for people who live in an American Airlines hub city or prefer American Airlines and its alliance partners.
- 50,000-mile signup bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months after opening a new account.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit worth up to $100.
- Earn two miles per dollar spent at American Airlines and one mile everywhere else.
- Free access to American Admirals Club lounges when traveling with American Airlines.
Top credit cards for cashback rewards
If you prefer cash in your pocket to miles and points, here are some top credit cards to consider for 2017.
Citi Double Cash
Some cashback cards require you keep track of rotating categories or register quarterly to get your bonus earning cash back.
The Citi Double Cash card makes it much simpler. You’ll earn one percent cash back on every purchase you make, then another one percent when you pay your bill. That’s an effective two percent cash back on all purchases.
- Earn two percent cash back on all purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 18 month 0% APR introductory period on balance transfers.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday
Another no annual fee card, Blue Cash Everyday from American Express offers up to three percent cash back where you shop most.
- Three percent cash back for up to $6,000 in annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets
- Two percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
- One percent cash back everywhere else.
- $100 bonus cash back after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
- Zero percent APR on purchases and balance transfer for 12 months.
- No annual fee.
Another card in my wallet, Chase Freedom offers five percent cash back on rotating categories that change every quarter.
Click on a link in an email from Chase to enroll in the five percent cash back bonuses quarterly. You can redeem for cash back or transfer points to a connected Ultimate Rewards card like Chase Sapphire Preferred to use for travel.
- Five percent cash back on popular rotating categories like grocery stores, gas, and wholesale clubs. Five percent bonus limited to $1,500 in purchases per quarter.
- Earn one percent cash back everywhere else.
- No annual fee.
At the end of the day, it’s important to pick a credit card that fits in perfectly with your spending habits, financial goals, and everyday lifestyle.
I mean, if you’re using a credit card to make purchases, why not try and earn some perks in the process?
And if you’re looking for more information on how to best use rewards credit cards without getting into debt, check out our article here.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|7.39% - 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upstart|
|5.29% - 14.24%1||$5,000 - $100,000||Visit SoFi|
|8.00% - 25.00%||$5,000 - $35,000||Visit Payoff|
|5.99% - 16.24%2||$5,000 - $50,000||Visit Citizens|
|5.99% - 35.89%||$1,000 - $40,000||Visit LendingClub|
|5.25% - 14.24%||$2,000 - $50,000||Visit Earnest|
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