Travel rewards credit cards are extremely popular, though many carry high annual fees. High spending, savvy users of airline and hotel points can often figure out ways to benefit from travel cards, even those with high annual fees. For most, however, the hassle and fee expense aren’t always worth the effort.
That’s why I set out to find the best travel credit cards with no annual fees and huge bonuses. I have researched the rewards rates and bonus offerings for dozens of credit cards currently on the market. Although the competition was close, there was a clear winner: the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card took first place by offering the highest rewards rate (1.5 points on every purchase) and the largest bonus (a $200 statement credit awarded as long as $1,000 in purchases are made within 90 days of opening an account).
The Winner: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
Although the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card is worthy of mention simply because of its huge sign-up incentive, it takes first place because of the tremendous value it offers. Here are its key winning features:
- Online Bonus Offer: Approved applicants who spend $1,000 within 90 days are awarded 20,000 bonus points that are worth $200 when redeemed for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages and more with no blackout dates. Basically, all you have to do is charge any travel expense to your card and then use your $200 credit to pay it off.
- Highest Rewards Rate: With the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card, you earn 1.5 points on every dollar you spend. This is 50% more than most no fee rewards credit card and 20% more than our runner up. These rewards add up. For example, if you spend $5,000 on your card this year, you’ll earn $75 in addition to the $200 bonus. That’s $275 just for using this card for a year.
- Save on purchases with a 0% intro APR: If you are financing a vacation, or any other purchase, you can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR for the next 12 billing cycles. This saves you money on interest charges, though be sure to pay your balance off in full before the 0% introductory rate expires to avoid paying interest next year.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: The majority of credit cards charge a 3% fee on every dollar spent outside the U.S. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card does not, saving you $30 for every $1,000 spent internationally.
The Runner-Up: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
The VentureOne Card came in a very close second to the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card. It’s feature are nearly identical, including a big bonus, but its rewards rate is 20% lower. This is still a great card; its just not the best in its class. Here’s what you get:
- Online Bonus Offer: Approved applicants who spend $1,000 within 3 months are awarded 20,000 bonus miles worth $200 in travel.
- A Good Rewards Rate: While the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card offers a richer 1.5% rewards rate, the VentureOne card comes in a close second with a 1.25% rewards rate.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: Like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card, the VentureOne card charges no fees on international purchases.
If you’re going to spend money, it can make sense to do it with a credit card that pays you back. With either of our top credit card choices, you end up with a great sign-up bonus as well as the ability to earn money back on every dollar you spend.
If you do the math, it’s probably worth spending a few minutes to drop your current credit card and switch to one of these travel credit cards. There simply aren’t a ton of ways to be $200 richer in 5 minutes (if you’re not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet!).
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Bank of America. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Bank of America.
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