Consumer Reports: best travel credit cards - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Consumer Reports: best travel credit cards

(WMC TV) - Today's travel cards can be a great way to stretch your dollars if you pay your balance off every month.

But it's downright confusing trying to figure out which offers the best deal.

Consumer Reports said it comes down to either an airline card or a bank card. Which type is best for you depends on what kind of traveler you are.

Choose an airline card if you travel a lot on one particular airline. Airline cards are also good if you want a free trip fast. Though they are not usually as generous with rewards as bank cards, you can sometimes score a bonus as high as 50,000 points when you sign up. For every dollar spent with the airline, you get two miles or two points.

Some good airline cards are:

• Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold
• Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa
• US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World MasterCard

If you don't fly a particular airline, a bank card is the way to go. Those let you earn
rewards on the purchases you make, then use them to buy tickets on any airline. Consumer Reports said other pluses with bank cards:  they are not subject to blackout dates, and their points don't generally expire.

Some good bank cards are:

• American Express Premier Rewards Gold
• Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa or MasterCard
• PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express

A real benefit with all three is there's no annual fee the first year.

If you're a member of several frequent-flyer programs, Consumer Reports said you're probably better off with one of the high-end American Express bank cards, such as the Amex Premier Rewards Gold. That card lets you transfer earned points to a number of airlines.

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