Here’s What to Do Before Debt Collectors Start Calling

Take your car insurance bill, for example. When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices, anyway? You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money and help you avoid missed payments.
Make sure your bad credit doesn’t give the debt collectors more ammo to use against you. Sign up for free (it only takes about 90 seconds) and see how much you could improve your score.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

1. Get Rid of Dings on Your Credit Report and Raise Your Score

If you went to the hospital without insurance or you haven’t met your deductible yet, doctors’ bills can be pretty steep.
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A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
If your bills are lower, there’s less of a chance you’ll miss a payment due to lack of funds. And no missed payments means no debt collectors calling you every single day. But a lot of these money-sucking bills are ones you can’t cancel.
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
Most Americans have some sort of debt — and not all of it is good debt, like a mortgage, car loan or student loans, which are considered good investments.

2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company Insane Interest Rates

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The good news? A free website called Credit Sesame makes it easy to put your credit score on track to reach your debt-free goals. We even talked to one guy, James Cooper, of Atlanta, who used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** He says they showed him exactly what to do — he was even able to open his first credit card.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of 9 a year.
What could adding 300 points to your score mean for your goals? It could easily save you thousands of dollars over the life of a car loan or mortgage.
Yup. That could be 0 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

3. Lower Your Bills to Avoid Missed Payments

While it doesn’t make the debt disappear (you are still liable for these payments), a payment plan makes paying off these debts more manageable and will keep the debt collectors off your back so long as you make each monthly payment.
If you have a low score with a few dings on your report, you won’t get access to decent interest rates on your loans. That means you’ll be paying more in interest and less on the actual loan amount — taking you sometimes years longer to pay it off and thousands of dollars more. If it’s a mortgage, the cost of your poor credit score could mean tens of thousands of dollars gone to waste.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
Thankfully, doctors and hospitals can be willing to work with you. Some medical providers will offer a discount if you’re strapped for cash, and most are open to payment plans. So instead of 0 out of pocket today, you could be paying a little over a month for the next six months.
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape and the debt collectors will set up camp on your doorstep forever…

4. Try to Negotiate Your Payments and Get On a Payment Plan

In just 90 seconds, Credit Sesame will give you access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
Ready to stop worrying about money?
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.  Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Debt happens.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
What does your credit score have to do with debt? Turns out — it can be a major factor in you getting out of debt quicker. <!–

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Credit card debt, medical debt, overdue bills and high interest loans are just a few of the types of bad debt that can wreak havoc on your life. They can destroy your credit, snowball into even more debt and, yep, have the debt collectors hounding you to pay up.

Best Online Installment Loans for Bad Credit

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Dig Deeper

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Everyone aspires to good credit. But not everyone is so fortunate, at least not right at the moment.

Bad credit can strike for any number of reasons: overwhelming debt loads, missed payments, foreclosure, bankruptcy. Often, it has more than one cause, making the process of rebuilding credit all the more challenging.

Meanwhile, life rarely waits for your credit to improve. Fortunately, if you need to borrow money now — perhaps to consolidate high-interest debt or deal with unexpected expenses — you have options. Many online lenders offer installment loans to borrowers with limited or poor credit.

Best Online Installment Loans for Bad Credit

These are the best online installment loan providers for borrowers with impaired credit. Some appear on our list of the best personal loan companies overall, while others cater mostly or exclusively to subprime borrowers. 

Each of these providers does at least one thing really well, whether it’s serving borrowers seeking larger loans or providing fast funding. Our top pick excels in several areas and offers the best overall value for the typical borrower.

Best Overall: Earnest

Earnest is our best personal loan provider primarily because it’s a loan broker. That means it works directly with other personal loan companies to match you with online installment loan options.

In other words, Earnest makes it more likely that you’ll find favorable rates and terms on an online installment loan — even if your credit is impaired. 

Earnest’s benefits include:

  • Borrow up to $100,000, although most borrowers with bad credit won’t qualify for such high loan amounts
  • Wide range of lenders offering competitive interest rates
  • Opportunity for loans with no origination fees, although some borrowers won’t qualify
  • Option for noncredit underwriting factors, such as savings rate and educational attainment

Best for Borrowers With Limited or No Credit: Stilt

Stilt is designed for a specific group of borrowers within the larger “subprime” category: people with limited or no U.S. credit history. This includes unbanked U.S. citizens and permanent residents as well as recent immigrants with U.S. bank accounts, including people here on work visas. 

Stilt’s underwriting process puts noncredit factors front and center. If you don’t have a credit score, you can still qualify for a loan based on your financial behaviors, such as your savings rate and earning potential.

Additional features:

  • Loan amounts up to $35,000
  • Loan terms as short as 12 months and as long as 36 months
  • Competitive rates for borrowers with limited credit
  • Low fees

Best for Debt Consolidation: Upgrade

Upgrade is a flexible personal credit solution that offers both personal loans and an unsecured personal line of credit. 

Although its credit lines also work for credit card debt reduction, Upgrade’s debt consolidation loan is specifically designed for that purpose. It offers:

  • Loan amounts up to $50,000, although borrowers with bad credit may qualify for less
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Option to receive loan proceeds in an account you control or have Upgrade pay off your creditors directly

Best for Larger Loan Amounts: Upstart

Upstart is a loan broker with a relaxed underwriting process that’s appropriate for some applicants with impaired credit — defined as minimum credit scores below 600 on the FICO scale. Upstart considers noncredit factors like educational attainment and work history. Although Upstart’s interest rates are broadly competitive, origination fees can range as high as 8%.

Additional features:

  • Borrow up to $50,000, although borrowers with low credit scores may receive lower offers
  • Repayment terms as long as 60 months
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Funding as soon as the next business day in some cases

Best for Secured Loans: OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial is one of the few online lenders for bad credit that offers secured loans — loans guaranteed by borrower assets, known as collateral. The most common type of collateral for OneMain Financial loans is the title to a vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle.

Additional features:

  • Borrow up to $20,000
  • Loan terms as long as 60 months
  • Branch-based loan specialists offer a better customer service experience than some competitors

Best for Rapid Funding: Avant

Avant funds personal loans in as little as 24 hours and has a minimum credit score below 600. These two selling points make it the best choice for borrowers with bad credit scores who need money fast.

Additional features:

  • Borrow up to $35,000 if your application qualifies
  • A credit builder credit card offers spending limits up to $1,000 (separate application required)
  • Relaxed underwriting standards that consider a range of noncredit factors — applicants with fair or impaired credit can still get approved
  • Avant forgives its late payment fee under some circumstances

Methodology: How We Select the Best Installment Loans for Bad Credit

We use these key factors to select the best lenders for people with bad credit. Each relates to the borrower experience in some way.

Loan Size

Some bad-credit loan providers specialize in smaller loans. Others have a wider range of permissible loan amounts.

While it’s rare for people with poor credit to qualify for large loans (say, above $50,000), we favor lenders that issue small and medium-sized loans to subprime borrowers.

Interest Rates

The personal loan business is competitive, so the interest rates you see in your loan offers won’t vary too much from lender to lender. 

That said, some lenders are known for shaving a percentage point or two off the going rate. Those that do this without tacking on extra fees come out ahead in our estimation. 

Just remember that lenders often deduct fees from the initial loan amount before distributing the proceeds. This raises the effective loan cost, which is why the true annual percentage rate (APR) is often higher than the advertised interest rate.

Loan Fees

Bad-credit loan fees tend to be higher than fees on loans for people with excellent credit. But fees vary quite a bit from lender to lender, so it really pays to shop around. 

The origination fee is the biggest fee you’re likely to pay on a personal loan. Look for lenders that offer low origination fees or waive them altogether. You’ll see this and other loan fees clearly listed in the loan disclosures you receive when you apply.

Loan Purpose

Most lenders allow you to use your unsecured loan proceeds for just about anything. You can use your loan to:

Some lenders are less generous. They restrict borrowers’ use of personal loan proceeds. Most often, this means they require borrowers to put loan proceeds toward high-interest credit card debt. They might even pay off those debts directly so that borrowers don’t have the option to use the funds as they see fit.

All else being equal, we prefer less restrictive lenders. That said, if your primary goal is to pay down high-interest credit card debt and a restrictive lender is the best fit for your needs, by all means proceed.

Application and Underwriting Process

Every lender takes a different approach to managing and underwriting borrower applications. Among the most important considerations for borrowers are:

  • Whether the lender performs a credit check during the process — most do, but a few substitute other criteria so as not to penalize borrowers with limited or nonexistent credit
  • The sales model — is the application process largely automated or does the borrower need to deal with a human loan officer, who might be pushy?
  • How the borrower submits documentation of income, assets, and other information requested by the lender

Funding Speed

Online personal loans generally fund within a few business days, but when days or even hours matter, it pays to go with a lender that gets the job done fast. The quickest lenders offer next-day or even same-day funding once the loan closes.


Online Installment Loans for Bad Credit – FAQs

You have questions about online installment loans for people with bad credit. We have your answers.

What Is an Installment Loan?

An installment loan has a fixed principal (loan amount), term (payoff period), and installment schedule (loan payment schedule, usually monthly). Most installment loans have fixed interest rates and fixed monthly payments as well. Loan proceeds arrive in a lump sum after the loan closes.

Common examples of installment loans include unsecured personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages (home loans). 

An installment loan is different from a credit line, the other main type of consumer credit product. 

Credit lines are more flexible than installment loans. Borrowers can draw as little or as much as they want up to the maximum allowable borrowing amount (credit limit), and although they must make monthly payments, the minimum payment amount is typically lower than an installment loan. But making only the minimum payment prolongs payoff and increases total interest expense.

Common examples of credit lines include credit cards and home equity lines of credit.

How Do You Get an Installment Loan?

Our guide to getting a personal loan explains the steps. There’s a bit more to it, but here’s the gist:

  • First, figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. Calculate your monthly payment using estimated loan amounts, interest rates, and loan terms.
  • Check your credit score to get a better sense of how lenders will view your application and your likely interest rate.
  • Get prequalified with one or more personal loan providers.
  • Compare loan offers, hopefully with multiple lenders.
  • Gather application documents and apply for the loan.
  • Close on the loan after you’ve successfully completed underwriting.

How Much Do Installment Loans for Bad Credit Cost?

If you have poor credit, you’re going to pay higher interest rates and probably higher fees than borrowers with good or excellent credit. That’s just a fact. 

Your actual interest rate depends on a number of factors:

  • Your income and assets
  • Your credit score — there are gradients even within the general “subprime” credit category
  • Your lender’s underwriting process, which might not be transparent
  • How much you’re borrowing

Are Bad-Credit Loans Payday Loans?

Bad-credit installment loans are not payday loans. Payday loans are also available to people with bad credit or no credit, but they have shorter terms and higher costs than online installment loans. Unlike installment loans, they typically roll over unless they’re paid off in full, compounding interest and fees.

Payday loan borrowers frequently find themselves trapped in cycles of high-interest debt. These cycles can be difficult to break without drastic measures like declaring bankruptcy. So it’s best to avoid them altogether. If you need to bridge a short gap until your next paycheck, look to lower-cost paycheck advance apps instead.

Are There Alternatives to Online Loans for Bad Credit?

If you need to borrow more than your preferred paycheck advance app allows, consider a secured credit card. 

Most secured credit cards require an upfront security deposit after approval, but once that’s done, you have the flexibility to borrow up to your credit limit and pay off the balance over time. Secured credit cards have high interest rates in comparison to unsecured credit cards but are broadly comparable to bad-credit installment loans.

Otherwise, you can use a credit card cash advance, borrow money informally (from family or friends), seek sources of emergency assistance that may or may not require repayment, or run a crowdfunding campaign.


How to Choose the Best Online Installment Loan for Bad Credit

We stand behind all of the lenders on this list. But we can’t personally select the very best lender for your specific needs.

Fortunately, that’s easier than you might think. If you’re looking to qualify for a personal loan without great credit, focus on the following:

  • Interest Rate. Your loan’s interest rate has a major impact on its total cost. When all else remains constant, a lower interest rate means a lower borrowing cost. Remember that fees deducted from loan proceeds, such as origination fees, increase the annual percentage rate (APR) above the advertised interest rate.
  • Monthly Payment. If you don’t think you can afford your loan’s monthly payment, reduce the principal or put off applying altogether. Just because your lender thinks you can handle it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
  • Loan Fees. Bad-credit loans often carry high fees. Make sure you understand the actual cost of your loan, not just the interest rate. And avoid loans with prepayment penalties.
  • Loan Term. Lengthening your loan term lowers your monthly payment but increases the total interest charged over the life of the loan.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Source: moneycrashers.com

How to Build Good Credit in 10 Painless Steps

You typically need a credit card or loan to build a credit history. (Sorry, but all those on-time rent and utility payments are rarely reported to the credit bureaus, so they won’t help your score.)
Make a purchase at least once every three months on the account, as credit card companies often close inactive accounts. Then pay it off in full.
By using a loan to pay off your credit cards, you’ll also free up credit and lower your credit utilization ratio.

How to Build Good Credit in 10 Steps

If you have open credit, ask your current creditors for an increase, rather than applying for new credit. That way, you’ll avoid lowering your length of credit, which could ding your score.

1. Stay on Top of Your Credit Reports

You’ll get the simplicity of a single payment, plus you’ll typically pay less interest since loan interest rates tend to be lower. (If you can’t get a loan that lowers your interest rate, this probably isn’t a good option.)
Provided you aren’t paying ridiculous fees, keep your credit card accounts open once you’ve paid off the balance. Credit scoring methods reward you for having a long credit history.

Pro Tip
Many debt consolidation loans require a credit score of about 620. If your score falls below this threshold, work on improving your score for a few months before you apply for one.

2. Pay Your Bills. On Time. Every Single Month

If you want to whip your finances into shape, here’s a good New Year’s resolution: improving your credit score.
If you’re struggling with credit card debt, consolidating your credit card debt with a loan could be a good option. In a nutshell, you take out a loan to wipe out your credit card balances.
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3. Establish Credit, Even if You’ve Made Mistakes

Tackling credit card debt helps your credit score a lot more than paying down other debts, like a student loan or mortgage. The reason? Your credit utilization ratio is determined exclusively by your lines of credit.
A strong payment history takes time to build. If you’ve made late payments, they’ll stay on your credit reports for seven years. The good news is, they do the most damage to your score in the first two years. After that, the impact starts to fade.

4. Open a Secured Card if You Don’t Qualify for a Regular Card

Now go crush those goals in 2022 and beyond.
About 1 in 5 credit reports contain inaccurate information. Make sure you access your reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, rather than one of the many websites that offer “free” credit scores but will make you put down your credit card number to sign up for a trial. File a dispute with the bureaus if you find anything you think is inaccurate or any accounts you don’t recognize.

  • Discover it Secured
  • OpenSky Secured Visa Card
  • Secured Mastercard from Capital One

5. Ask for a Limit Increase. Pretend You Never Got It

Yeah, you knew we were going to say this: Paying your bills on time is the No. 1 thing you can do to build good credit. Your payment history determines 35% of your score, more than any other credit factor.
When you apply for credit, it results in a hard inquiry, which usually drops your score by a few points. So avoid applying frequently for new credit cards, as this can signal financial distress.
Focus on your overall financial picture, and you’ll probably see your credit score improve, too. Remember, though, that while credit scores matter, you matter more.

Pro Tip
Increasing your credit limits helps your score because it decreases your credit utilization ratio. That’s credit score speak for the percentage of credit you’re using. The standard recommendation is to keep this number below 30%, but really, the closer to zero the better.

6. Prioritize Credit Card Debt Over Loans

Opening a secured credit card is one of our favorite ways to build a positive history when you can’t get approved for a regular credit card or loan. You put down a refundable deposit, and that becomes your line of credit.
The downside of a higher credit limit: You’ll have more money to spend that isn’t really yours. To get the biggest credit score boost from a limit increase and avoid paying more in interest, make sure you don’t add to your balance.

7. Keep Your Old Accounts Active

If the bureaus agree to remove information from your credit reports, expect to wait about 30 days until your reports are updated.
But if you have bad credit or you’re a credit newbie, getting approved for a credit card or loan is tough. Look for cards that are specifically marketed to help people start or rebuild credit. Store credit cards, which only let you make purchases at a specific retailer, can also be a good option.

8. Apply for New Credit Selectively

After about a year of making your payments on time, you’ll typically qualify for an unsecured line of credit. Just make sure the card issuer you choose reports your payments to the credit bureaus. Look for a card with an annual fee of no more than . Some secured card options we like (and no, we’re not getting paid to say this):
Don’t believe the myth that carrying a small credit card balance helps your credit score. Paying off your balance in full each month is best for your score, plus it saves you money on interest.

9. Still Overwhelmed? A Debt Consolidation Loan Could Help

A lot of New Year’s resolutions fail because they’re so extreme. Think of all the bonkers weight-loss and money-saving goals that surface at the start of every year.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
This resolution is different. No extreme measures are required. But there aren’t any shortcuts. Building good credit is a goal you need to commit to 12 months a year.

All the credit-monitoring tools out there make it easy to obsess about your credit score. While it’s important to build good credit, look at the bigger picture. A few final thoughts:

10. Keep Your Credit Score in Perspective

Bonus: Paying off credit card debt first will typically save you money, because credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than other types of debt.

  • Your credit score isn’t a report card on the state of your finances. It simply measures how risky of a borrower you are. Having an emergency fund, saving for retirement and earning a decent living are all important to your finances — but these are all things that don’t affect your credit score.
  • Lenders look at more than your credit score. Having a low debt-to-income ratio, decent down payment and steady paycheck all increase your odds of approval when you’re making a big purchase, even if your credit score is lackluster.
  • Don’t focus on your score if you can’t pay for necessities. If you’re struggling and you have to choose between paying your credit card vs. paying your rent, keeping food on the table or getting medical care, paying your credit card is always the lower priority. Of course, talk to your creditors if you can’t afford to pay them, as they may have options.

Your credit reports won’t show you your credit score, but you can use a free credit-monitoring service to check your score. (No, checking your own credit doesn’t hurt your score.) Many banks and credit card companies also give you your credit scores for free.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected] or chat with her in The Penny Hoarder Community.
Ready to stop worrying about money? <!–

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Set whatever bills you can to autopay for at least the minimums to avoid missing payments. You can always pay extra if you can afford it.

Best Credit Cards for Streaming Services

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You probably pay for at least one streaming service. Maybe you like Netflix for on-demand content, or Sling TV for live TV, or Spotify for music.

Whatever your preference, paying for streaming services lets you consume digital content when you’re at home or on the go. And you’re not alone. The average household spent $55 per month on streaming services in Q2 2021, according to J.D. Power.

As it turns out, your streaming habit isn’t a totally sunk cost. Some of the best cash-back credit cards, travel rewards credit cards, and even gas credit cards offer impressive rates of return on eligible streaming purchases. You just need to pick the right one.

Best Credit Cards for Streaming Services

These are the best credit cards to purchase streaming services with right now. 

Each has a distinct audience determined by its other rewards categories or features. But all have one important thing in common: They reward streaming purchases very well indeed.


Best Overall: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preffered Card American Express

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is our top pick for streaming content fans. It earns a better return on streaming purchases than any other card on this list: 6%.

Blue Cash Preferred’s list of eligible streaming services is expansive. It features the most popular visual streaming providers, including but not limited to Netflix, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and DirecTV Stream. It also features audio or multimedia streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Stitcher.

Additional features:

  • 6% cash-back on the first $6,000 in eligible U.S. supermarket purchases each year, then 1% back (cash-back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits).
  • 3% cash-back on eligible transit purchases, including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses.
  • 3% cash-back on eligible U.S. gas station purchases.
  • 1% cash-back on other purchases.
  • Introductory APR Offer: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months. Following the end of the introductory period, the regular APR is variable (currently 13.99% to 23.99%), depending on prevailing rates and your personal creditworthiness. See this card’s rates and fees page.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn $300 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first six months. Cash-back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • $95 annual fee after the first year.

Best for Frequent Travelers: U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

Us Bank Connect Visa Signature

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The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is the best streaming credit card for frequent travelers. In fact, it’s one of the best credit cards for frequent travelers, period. 

That’s because it earns 4x points on eligible travel purchases, including gas stations, airfare, hotels, and car rentals. It also provides up to $100 to offset your TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry® application fee once every four years. See this card’s rates and fees page.

Altitude Connect earns an impressive rate of return on eligible streaming purchases too: 2x points. And it’s the only card on this list to offer direct statement credits against eligible streaming purchases: up to $30 per year.

Additional features:

  • 2x points on eligible restaurant dining, grocery store, and grocery delivery purchases.
  • Spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening to earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Up to $600 in cellphone protection coverage per incident (less $25 deductible).
  • $95 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.

Best for People Who Like In-Person Entertainment Too: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Rewards Cash Credit Card

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The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the perfect hybrid for entertainment lovers. In addition to a very solid 3% cash-back rate on eligible streaming purchases, it earns 3% cash-back on purchases of in-person entertainment and restaurant dining (including dine-in and takeout).

Additional features:

  • 3% cash-back on eligible grocery store purchases.
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening — thereafter, variable regular APR applies (currently 14.99% to 24.99% variable).
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

Best for Students: Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Rewards Student Cash Credit Card

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The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best student credit card for streaming purchases. Like the adult version, it delivers unlimited 3% cash-back on eligible streaming purchases — a nearly unheard-of rate of return for an entry-level credit card designed specifically for young people. 

Additional features:

  • 3% cash-back on eligible grocery store purchases, entertainment purchases, and restaurant purchases.
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
  • You could be considered for a higher credit line after six months of responsible use and timely payments.

Best for Frequent Online Shoppers: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

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If you’re a paid-up Amazon Prime member, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card earns unlimited 5% cash-back on all eligible purchases in the Amazon ecosystem, including Amazon Prime Video (on-demand streaming) purchases. That’s something, even if it doesn’t apply to your Netflix or Hulu subscriptions too.

Additional features:

  • Earn 5% cash-back on eligible Whole Foods Market purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back on eligible purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores.
  • Get a $100 Amazon gift card immediately upon approval — exclusions apply; see terms for details.
  • Amazon Prime membership ($119 per year) is required to earn 5% cash-back on Amazon-ecosystem purchases — otherwise, earn 3% cash-back on Amazon purchases.

Methodology: How We Select the Best Credit Cards for Streaming Purchases

We use five key factors to evaluate the best cards for streaming entertainment purchases. Each relates to a specific cost or benefit for card users, like annual fees or return on streaming spending.

1. Return on Streaming Purchases (Rewards Rate)

Return on streaming purchases is the most important consideration for anyone seeking a streaming rewards credit card. This rate determines how handsomely your card rewards you for purchasing streaming services.

2. Return on Spending in Other Rewards Categories

None of the credit cards on this list reward only streaming purchases. They wouldn’t be very good rewards credit cards if they did.

After confirming that the card’s return on streaming spending is acceptable, look at what else its rewards program has to offer. Most of the cards on this list earn impressive rates of return — often 3% or better — on everyday purchases like gasoline, restaurant spending, and groceries.

3. New Cardmember Offers

Many credit cards use generous new cardmember offers to entice sign-ups. Also known as sign-up bonuses, welcome offers, or early spend bonuses, these promotions can deliver hundreds of dollars in value. To earn it, you usually need to clear a particular spending threshold during the offer period, which typically lasts three to six months.

A similar number of credit cards, including several on this list, offer another enticement for new cardholders: 0% APR introductory promotions on purchases, balance transfers, or both. If you need to pay off high-interest credit card debt or aim to finance a major purchase right after opening your account, a 0% intro APR promotion could save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

4. Other Card Benefits

The best streaming credit cards are more than the sum of their rewards programs and new cardmember offers. They also offer perks for travelers, protections for shoppers, and fringe benefits that can quickly stack up in value. 

Each of the cards on this list has something else to entice cardholders. For example, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card, our top pick for frequent travelers, has a generous travel credit that nearly offsets its annual fee.

5. Account Fees

Credit card fees reduce the value of rewards programs, new cardmember offers, and other card benefits. 

This is particularly true of annual fees, which penalize folks who don’t spend very much (and thus don’t earn rewards very quickly). Likewise, foreign transaction fees erode card value for people who regularly travel abroad or make purchases from international merchants.


Become a Streaming Credit Card Rewards Expert: Your Questions Answered

You have questions about the best credit cards for streaming services. We have answers.

How Do Credit Cards Define Streaming Services?

That depends on the credit card. To understand how a particular card defines “streaming services” — and therefore which streaming services qualify for bonus points or miles — you’ll need to read its rewards program’s fine print. 

Generally, though, popular visual streaming services qualify for bonus rewards. This includes popular movie and TV streaming services such as:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu and Hulu + Live TV
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Sling TV
  • DirecTV Stream
  • Philo
  • FuboTV
  • YouTube TV
  • Paramount+

Some credit cards also reward purchases with audio streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.

Can You Get Streaming Entertainment for Free With Any of These Cards?

Only one of these cards offers permanent discounts on or credits against streaming entertainment purchases: the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card, which is good for up to $30 in annual statement credits for eligible streaming services, including Netflix and Spotify. 

Keep your eyes peeled for limited-time promotions of this sort though. And bear in mind that some other cards may offer credits against certain types of streaming entertainment services (and related services like Peloton streamed workouts).

Can You Qualify for a Streaming Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Never say never, but it won’t be easy. The credit cards on this list market themselves to applicants with good credit or excellent credit, as do most of the top rewards credit cards on the market. 

If your credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, consider applying for a secured credit card or entry-level unsecured card first and working to build your credit. With time, your score may improve to the point where you’ll have your pick of these cards.


How Do You Choose the Best Streaming Credit Card?

Figure out what you value most in a credit card, then work backward from there.

If maximizing your return on streaming purchases is your top priority, you’ll want to target the card that offers the best payback: the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. But you may have other priorities, such as:

  • Maxing out your rewards in other spending categories
  • Earning the biggest possible new cardmember offer
  • Qualifying for a long 0% intro APR offer
  • Reaping benefits that fit your spending patterns or lifestyle
  • Minimizing card fees

Once you have your credit card priorities straight, all that’s left to do is review our list of the best streaming cards and choose the one that fits your life best.

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Source: moneycrashers.com

11 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Travel rewards credit cards are not one-size-fits-all. They fall into several broad categories.

These categories include airline rewards credit cards designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships, hotel credit cards that focus their rewards firepower on hotel stays and related expenses, and even cash back credit cards that offer accelerated cash back earnings on travel-related purchase categories like gasoline, airfare, and restaurant purchases.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you likely stand to benefit from all of these card types. And if you own your own business, you can count on many consumer travel credit cards having small business credit card counterparts, often with additional features and benefits for small business owners.


Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Here’s a look at today’s best travel rewards credit cards.

Pay close attention to these cards’ annual fees, redemption options and point or mile values for each, travel credits, and potentially valuable fringe benefits, such as complimentary airport lounge memberships or hotel credits.


Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Sapphire Preferred Card Art 8 17 21

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card delivers the best value of any travel rewards credit card on the market. 

The $50 annual credit against hotel purchases made through Chase Travel offsets about half the $95 annual fee. It’s backed up by an excellent rewards program:

  • 5x Points on Chase Travel Purchases: 5x total points on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Travel after the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit is exhausted. Through March 2022, 5x points on qualifying Lyft rides and eligible Peloton equipment and accessory purchases (up to 25,000 total bonus points earned on Peloton purchases).
  • Unlimited 3x Categories: 3x points on eligible restaurant dining purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases.
  • Unlimited 2x Categories: 2x points on other eligible travel purchases. 
  • Base Rewards: Unlimited 1x point on most other eligible purchases.

Sapphire Preferred has some additional features worth noting:

  • Sign-up Bonus: Spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening to earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Key Fees: $95 annual fee after the first year; no foreign transaction fee.

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.


Best Sign-up Bonus: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Ihg Rewards Club Premier 9 30

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The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has the best offer for new cardmembers right now:

  • Earn 125,000 bonus points when you spend at least $3,000 on eligible purchases during the first 3 months your account is open. 
  • This bonus is worth more than 12 full award nights at lower-priced IHG properties. IHG operates nearly 6,000 hotels and resorts in about 100 countries.

Additional features:

  • Up to 25x Total Points on IHG Purchases: Up to 25x IHG points on all eligible purchases at IHG properties: 10x bonus points per $1 spent with your card and 15x base points per $1 spent as an IHG Rewards Club member.
  • Unlimited 2x Categories: 2x points on eligible purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.
  • Base Rewards: Unlimited 1x point on most other eligible purchases.
  • Key Fees: $89 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.
  • Enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as your account remains in good standing.
  • Claim 1 complimentary award night each year at select IHG hotels.

Find out how to apply for this card here.


Best Annual Travel Credit: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a $300 annual travel credit that applies to eligible travel purchases: hotels, airfare, car rentals, and more. When fully utilized, it effectively reduces Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee down to $250.

Additional features:

  • Sign-up Bonus: Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points, worth $750 in eligible Chase Travel redemptions.
  • 10x Categories: 10x total points on eligible hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Travel.
  • 5x Category: 5x total points on eligible airfare purchases through Chase Travel.
  • Unlimited 3x Categories: 3x total points on eligible dining purchases and most travel purchases (after exhausting the $300 travel credit).
  • Base Rewards: Unlimited 1x point on all other eligible purchases.
  • Key Fees: $550 annual fee; $75 annual authorized user fee per user, per card; no foreign transaction fee.
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points 1-for-1 to 10+ travel loyalty partners.
  • Get complimentary access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select.
  • Get a free year’s subscription to Lyft Pink ($199 value).
  • Earn a $100 statement credit against your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee

Find out how to apply for this card here.


Best Bonus Categories: Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier Card Art 7 8 21

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The Citi Premier® Card is one of the few travel rewards credit cards that includes gas and gas station purchases in its travel tier, which earns 3x points per $1 spent. That makes it an ideal choice for travelers driving to or around their destinations.

Citi Premier also adds two broad nontravel categories to its 3x points category: restaurants and supermarkets. That’s a great value-add for anyone who eats.

Additional features:

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after you make $4,000 in purchases with your card in the first 3 months.
  • Base Rewards: Unlimited 1x point on all other eligible purchases.
  • Key Fees: $95 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.
  • Earn a $100 hotel credit once per year on eligible hotel stays where you spend $500 or more.
  • Transfer ThankYou points to 10+ travel loyalty partners, mostly 1-for-1.

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.


Best for Frequent Flyers: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta Skymiles Reserve American Express

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The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers a slew of valuable benefits for Delta loyalists — a better mix than any other airline credit card. They include:

  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club membership (free airport lounge access).
  • A complimentary companion certificate (free airfare, less taxes and fees, for a companion with your paid fare) once per year.
  • Accelerated progress toward Delta Medallion status with possible benefits like complimentary first class and Comfort+ upgrades, complimentary upgrades for ticketed companions, discounted CLEAR® membership (terms apply and enrollment is required for all these benefits).
  • General frequent flyer benefits like priority wait list, baggage fee waivers, and priority check-in and boarding.

Additional features:

  • 3x SkyMiles Category: Earn 3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases.
  • Base Rewards: 1x SkyMiles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Status Boost: Get 15,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost after you spend $30,000 on your card, up to 4 times per year. Terms apply.
  • Key Fees: $550 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply here.


Best for Elite Status: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Bonvoy Brilliant Card Art 10 15 20

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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card promises automatic Gold Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program as long as your account remains in good standing. That’s enough to make it our top credit card pick for complimentary elite status at hotels.

Gold Elite Status benefits include:

  • 25% bonus on base point earnings at participating Marriott properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades where available, including select suites
  • Flexible late checkout (up to 2pm)

Spend $75,000 on your card in a cardmember anniversary year to unlock an upgrade to Platinum Elite Status. Platinum Elite benefits include a 50% bonus on base point earnings, complimentary hotel lounge access where available, and super-flexible late checkout (4pm).

Additional features:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first 6 months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply.
  • 6x Rewards Category: 6x points at participating Marriott hotels.
  • 3x Rewards Categories: 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • Base Rewards: 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Key Fees: $450 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees).
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit each year for eligible purchases at participating hotels.
  • 1 free night award per year at participating Bonvoy properties.
  • Complimentary airport lounge access at more than 1,000 locations worldwide (enrollment required).
  • $100 annual Marriott Bonvoy property credit at participating properties.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.


Best for Luxury Perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Amex Platinum Card Art 2 4 21

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The Platinum Card® from American Express has the most generous travel perks lineup of any card on this list. Highlights include:

  • A $200 airline fee credit each year with the airline of your choice (enrollment required)
  • Credits worth up to $200 per year on Uber rides (enrollment required).
  • Complimentary Gold Status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite Status with Marriott Bonvoy (enrollment required).
  • Complimentary access to 1,300+ airport lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection (enrollment required).
  • Up to $550 (on average) in exclusive benefits like room upgrades and complimentary breakfast at Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection properties.
  • Up to $100 off your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (enrollment required).

Additional features:

  • Welcome Offer: 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $6,000 within 6 months of opening your account. Plus, earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. during the first 6 months your account is open (up to $25,000 in combined purchases).
  • 5x Rewards Categories: 5x Membership Rewards points on eligible travel purchases, including flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. Airfare earnings capped at 500,000 points per year.
  • Key Fees: $695 annual fee; no authorized user fee or foreign transaction fee; late and returned payments cost up to $40 (see rates and fees).

Find out how you can apply for this card here.


Best for Business Travelers: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Amex Business Platinum Card Art 7 1 21

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a lot like its consumer cousin, the Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s built specially for business travelers seeking the optimal combination of luxury and convenience, with benefits like:

  • A 35% bonus when you use Membership Rewards® points to book travel with your selected qualifying airline (up to 500,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points each calendar year)
  • A $200 annual statement credit against purchases made with an airline of your choice (enrollment required)
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide (enrollment required)
  • Reimbursement for TSA Precheck and Global Entry application fees (up to $100)

Additional features:

  • Welcome Offer: 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend at least $15,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months of opening your account.
  • 5x Rewards Categories: 5x Membership Rewards points on eligible travel purchases, including flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. 
  • 1.5x Rewards Categories: 1.5x points on purchases in key business spending categories and all other purchases greater than $5,000 (cap applies).
  • Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time. After that, your APR will be 14.24% to 22.24% APR, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at time of account opening. Terms apply.
  • Key Fees: $595 annual fee ($695 if your application is received on or after Jan. 13, 2022); no foreign transaction fee.
  • Up to $400 in annual purchase credits for U.S. purchases with Dell (terms apply; enrollment required)

See our American Express Business Platinum Card Review for more information. Find out how to apply for this card here.


Best Flat-Rate Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Card Art 4 23 21

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The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s rewards program couldn’t be simpler. With the exception of hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel, all eligible purchases earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent. That’s an effective 2% rate of return on all spending.

  • Early Spend Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more during the first 3 months. That’s worth $600 at redemption.
  • 5x Bonus Category: 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel.
  • Unlimited 2x Rewards: Unlimited 2x miles on all other eligible purchases. 
  • Transfer points to participating travel loyalty partners at favorable rates.
  • Get a $100 credit against your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.

Find out how you can apply for this card here.


Best for Driving Vacations: U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

U.s. Bank Altitude Connect Card Art 9 8 21

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The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is a cash back credit card that earns 4x points on eligible gas station and car rental purchases. That’s enough to make it the best travel card for road trips. (See rates & fees.)

Additional features:

  • 4x Travel Categories: 4x points on eligible travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, and car rentals.
  • 2x Rewards Categories: 2x points on streaming, restaurant dining, and grocery store and grocery delivery purchases.
  • Base Rewards: 1x point on all other eligible purchases.
  • Sign-up Bonus: Spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening to earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Key Fees: $95 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.
  • Up to $600 in cell phone protection coverage per incident (less $25 deductible).
  • Up to $30 in annual statement credits for eligible streaming services, including Netflix and Spotify®.
  • Up to $100 to offset your TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry® application fee.

Terms and conditions apply; see rates & fees.


Best for Hotel Stays: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

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The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase offers tremendous value for Marriott loyalists. Benefits include:

  • Up to 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases at participating Marriott properties.
  • 1 free night’s stay at participating properties with redemption thresholds up to 35,000 points per night.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status with benefits including 10% points bonus on eligible Marriott spend.
  • Upgrade to Gold Elite Status with $35,000 annual card spend (benefits include a 25% points bonus on eligible Marriott spend).

Additional features:

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 3 bonus free night awards (each valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases. Plus, earn 10x points total on eligible purchases in select categories.
  • Base Rewards: Unlimited 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Key Fees: $95 annual fee; no foreign transaction fee.

Find out how to apply for this card here.


Methodology: How We Select the Best Travel Credit Cards

We evaluate travel credit cards using 10 key metrics that matter to frequent travelers. 

Some relate to the structure of the card itself, like whether it has a welcome offer for new cardholders (and if so, how generous it is) and the type of rewards it earns (cash back, points, miles). 

Others tie back to the card’s intended user: road trippers, frequent flyers, people who prefer a particular hotel brand, and so on. 

Here’s why they’re important.

Sign-up Bonuses

Depending on the issuer, you might see these advertised as “welcome offers,” “early spend bonuses,” or “new cardmember offers/bonuses”.

But no matter what we call them, we can agree on one thing: The travel credit card category is famous for extending ridiculously generous offers to new cardholders able to meet often-hefty spend requirements. With our top travel sign-up bonus pick, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can fund well over a week of free accommodations at select InterContinental Hotel Group properties.

Travel Credit

When is an annual fee not really an annual fee?

When it’s reduced dollar-for-dollar by an annual travel credit. As long as you spend enough on eligible travel purchases to earn the full credit value each cardmember anniversary year, you’ll lower your effective annual fee by a corresponding amount.

A $200 travel credit turns a $500 annual fee into a $300 annual fee, a $300 travel credit turns a $550 annual fee into a $250 annual fee, and so on.

Nontravel Bonus Categories

Many travel credit cards reward nontravel spending over and above the baseline rewards rate. Some cards do this better than others, however. Our top pick, the Citi Premier® Card, pays 3x points on purchases in five categories:

  • Air travel
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations

Of these, two are very clearly not travel-related (restaurants and supermarkets) and one straddles the line between travel and nontravel (gas stations). All three nontravel or travel-adjacent categories are broad and popular.

Rewards and Benefits for Frequent Flyers

Few frequent travelers get around exclusively on the ground. It takes too long and it’s more dangerous than flying besides. 

Accordingly, we give deference to cards that offer frequent flyer benefits like elite status with co-branded airlines, in-flight and pre-flight perks (like priority boarding), and value-adds like complimentary airport lounge access. 

Rewards and Benefits for Frequent Hotel Guests

Unless you’re truly committed to the short-term rental game or have an extensive network of family and friends in every city you visit, you’re going to want a travel credit card that rewards you for staying in hotels.

On this measure, the top travel credit cards offer some or all of the following:

  • Automatic elite status or accelerated progress toward elite status
  • Bonus points on eligible purchases at participating hotels
  • One or more award nights (free night’s stay) after your cardmember anniversary and/or meeting qualifying annual spend
  • An automatic award night tacked onto the end of a minimum-length stay, often four or five consecutive nights at the same property

Rewards and Benefits for Road Warriors

Whether your travel driving consists entirely of tooling a rental car around your destination or you prefer road tripping from start to finish, you’ll want a travel card that delivers solid value on gas spending and offers driver-friendly benefits like complimentary rental car insurance coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Elite Status 

Because its potential value is so great for frequent travelers loyal to specific brands, elite status is worth calling out in its own category. The best travel cards for elite status are generally super-premium cards with annual fees north of $400, but that expense can easily pay for itself if you’re on the road as often as you’re home.

Luxury Perks and Benefits

Even travel cards that defy easy categorization as “airline cards” or “hotel cards” can distinguish themselves with grab-bags of high-value perks and benefits for frequent flyers and hotel guests. When evaluating these cards, pay attention to “below the fold” benefits that can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually when fully exploited.

Rewards and Benefits for Business Travelers

Some of the best cards for business travelers have close cousins on the consumer side. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, our top pick in this category and near-twin to The Platinum Card® from American Express, comes to mind. 

Type of Rewards

Many travel credit cards earn points or miles best redeemed for travel purchases. Their rewards programs revolve around specific spending categories or tiers — often travel-related — in which cardholders earn at accelerated rates.

Some travel cards break this mold though. They might be cash back credit cards that favor travel purchases, earning honorary distinction as travel cards, or more traditional travel rewards cards that apply one flat rewards rate to all spending. Both types of alternative cards appeal to casual travelers and so deserve a place on this list.

Become a Travel Credit Card Expert: Your Travel Rewards Questions Answered

You have questions about travel credit cards and travel rewards. We’ve got answers.

What Are the Different Types of Travel Credit Cards?

There are two main types of travel credit cards: general-purpose travel cards and co-branded travel cards.

General-purpose travel cards earn points or miles that can be redeemed through the issuer’s loyalty program. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase Travel portal for airfare, hotel stays, and other travel services from a variety of travel merchants, or transfer your points to participating travel loyalty programs and redeem directly with them.

Co-branded travel cards earn loyalty points or miles issued by a particular travel merchant, such as Delta or Marriott. The best way to redeem this type of loyalty currency is for free or discounted travel services (award travel) from the issuing merchant. Co-branded cards often but not always offer better redemption value than general-purpose cards.

A general-purpose travel card is a better fit for you if you’re not loyal to one particular travel brand. A co-branded card makes more sense if you are loyal to a particular brand and want to maximize your rewards’ value within their loyalty program.

Can You Get a Travel Credit Card With Bad Credit?

With difficulty, maybe. Credit card companies prefer to market travel rewards cards to applicants with good to excellent credit and ample spending power. There’s not much of a market for subprime travel credit cards.

If you have impaired credit or limited credit and hope to get your hands on a travel card in the near future, do the following:

  • Apply for a general-purpose secured credit card or credit-builder credit card right now
  • Use it responsibly, keeping your credit utilization rate low and making timely payments
  • Make sure the card issuer reports your payment behavior and card utilization to the three major credit reporting bureaus
  • Closely monitor your credit score

With responsible use and no black marks elsewhere, your credit score should increase over time. Eventually, you’ll have a credit profile strong enough to qualify for one of the cards on this list.

Is the Annual Fee Worth It for Travel Credit Cards?

It depends on the card, but the answer is often “yes.” The best travel rewards credit cards justify sometimes-hefty annual fees with perks and value-adds like:

  • Annual Travel Credits. If you spend enough on travel each year, your card’s travel credit acts as a one-for-one offset for the annual fee. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s $300 annual travel credit reduces its $550 annual fee down to $250 on net.
  • Elite Status. Permanent elite status can be extremely valuable for travelers loyal to specific hotel or airline brands.
  • Airport Lounge Access. Airport lounges typically charge $60 per person at the door. If your long-haul travels involve layovers long enough to get comfortable at a lounge (and enjoy what’s often an all-you-can-eat-and-drink refreshments table), you’ll quickly earn back your annual fee and then some.
  • Discounts and Privileges With Participating Travel Partners. Really high-end travel cards often partner with similarly high-end hotels and resorts (often boutique properties) to offer discounts and perks worth hundreds of dollars per stay. These vary from card to card and property to property, and you sometimes have to work to claim them, but they’re totally worth it if you can.

Should You Get More Than One Travel Card?

It depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How often you travel
  • How much you spend on travel
  • How you typically travel — for example, do you prefer to stay in nice hotels, crash on a friend’s couch, or nest in a short-term rental?
  • Whether you’re loyal to specific travel merchants or simply seek the most affordable, convenient options

If you’re an occasional traveler who doesn’t spend much when you leave home, a single general-purpose travel credit card is adequate. Ideally, this card would have no annual fee, or you’d be able to extract enough value from it to offset the hopefully modest charge.

If you’re a frequent traveler who enjoys the finer things and/or spends a good amount of money on the road, you’ll want at least two cards. 

One should be a high-end general-purpose card that affords maximum flexibility when you travel and ensures you’re maximizing your travel spend. Another should be a co-branded card backed by the travel brand with which you spend the most money year in and year out. And if you have more than one preferred travel merchant, perhaps one favorite airline and one favorite hotel, you’ll want a co-branded card for each.

Fun Facts About Travel Credit Cards

  • The first recognizable travel rewards card was the Air Travel Card. Starting in the 1930s, upscale travelers used the Air Travel Card to purchase discounted airfare from participating airlines on a promise to pay later.
  • Bank of America was the first major card issuer to allow travelers (and others) to carry a balance from month to month using its BankAmericard account.
  • The Continental TravelBank Gold MasterCard debuted in 1986 as the first co-branded airline credit card. It was a partnership between Continental Airlines (now part of United Airlines) and Marine Midland Bank (now part of HSBC).
  • American Express rolled out the first transferable general-purpose travel loyalty currency, Membership Miles, in 1991. The currency lives on today as Amex’s Membership Rewards points.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

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What Credit Score Is Needed For A Us Bank Platinum Visa?

Are you thinking about applying for the US Bank Platinum Visa?

The minimum recommended credit score for this credit card is 750.

US Bank Platinum card

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved for US Bank Platinum Visa

Getting approved for a credit card requires a little planning. Most credit card offers require very good credit. When applying for new credit, it’s important to know your credit scores and what’s on your credit reports.

Credit card issuers want to see a strong credit history, steady income, and low credit utilization. If you’re using too much of your existing revolving credit, it’s a sign that you may not pay them back. It’s also important to make sure that you haven’t applied for too much credit in the recent past. Having too many credit inquiries can lessen your chances of getting approved.

Need help improving your credit score?

One of the best ways to improve your credit scores is by removing negative items from your credit report. Lexington Law can help you dispute (and possibly remove) the following items:

  • late payments
  • collections
  • charge offs
  • foreclosures
  • repossessions
  • judgments
  • liens
  • bankruptcies

They have over 28 years of experience and have removed over 7 million negative items for their clients in 2020 alone. So if you’re struggling with bad credit and want to increase the likelihood of getting approved for new credit, give them a call at (800) 220-0084 for a free credit consultation.