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Summer Travel Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – How to Calculate the Savings for Your Travel Budget?

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Summer Travel Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses – How to Calculate the Savings for Your Travel Budget?

The market for travel credit card bonuses is getting crowded, and so are articles comparing their advantages.  Yet without comparing these travel card savings to actual travel spending patterns, the comparison is on an apples-for-bananas basis.

New and more attractive bonuses are on offer as credit card companies scramble to sign you up before you start spending money on your summer travel adventures. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card comes out on top with 70,000 bonus points. It is an attractive deal for loyal Delta customers, but these points are mostly restricted to mileage with Delta and its partners.

A non co-branded card with no or limited restrictions, on the other hand, could offer you much higher value, but how much? Adding up the value that would accumulate in bonuses and rewards over one summer on a hypothetical basket of travel goods (hotels, dining, entertainment, taxis, insurance, and so on) can provide a more meaningful savings value on an apples-for-apples basis.

The Credit Card Tune-Up Calculator is a very useful tool that does the calculation for you to determine how much you will save on travel card deals based on your travel spending habits.

On the surface, many of these offers look the same, but owing to restrictions and limitations the value of bonuses and awards can vary drastically.

Here are some of the most flexible bonus offers in non-cobranded cards, meaning you have a wide choice of airlines, hotels, car rentals, and so on, worldwide.

CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED CREDIT CARD

Although the Chase Sapphire bonus has been halved from last year’s 100,000 points launch offer, it is still among the most attractive bonuses available to travelers.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card provides many of the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card without the $450 annual fee.

Sign Up Bonus

50,000 points (Value : $625 – redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)

After $4,000 in purchases in first 90 days

Annual Fee

$95 annually. Waived first year.

Rewards

Earn 2 times on travel and dining

1 point per dollar on other purchases

+25% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Extra Benefits

1-to1 Frequent Flyer transfer

Travel and Purchase Coverage

No foreign transaction fees

Pros & Cons

Travel card users frustrated by the restrictions on travel card use, forcing them to seek partners and qualifying brands as they travel, praise the Chase card’s flexibility. They rack up points quickly dining, lodging, and boating worldwide wherever they may roam. Your Chase Ultimate Awards can be transferred to partner loyalty programs. If you are a big spender, the Sapphire Reserve card accumulates 3X points with a 50% travel purchase benefit.

BARCLAYCARD ARRIVAL PLUS WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard is a truly world class travel card when it comes to acceptance.

Sign Up Bonus

50,000 bonus miles (Value : $500)

After $3,000 purchases in first 90 days

Annual Fee

$89 annually. Waived first year.

Rewards

Earn 2 times miles on all purchases

5% back each redemption

Redeem miles starting at 10,000 towards $100 in travel purchases (past 120 days) (statement credit)

Extra Benefits

MasterCard World Elite concierge and travel benefits

Travel accident and trip cancellation insurance

Fraud protection

No foreign transaction fees

Pros & Cons

While the BarclayCard bonus and rewards remain competitive in the travel space, travelers fully benefit from its low restrictions when they begin to use it. Here is another card that gives travelers what they want — the flexibility to eat, sleep and spend money where they want to – all while earning points to defray travel costs.

PLATINUM CARD® AMERICAN EXPRESS

Without travel in its main branding, this AmEx card’s travel benefits are often overlooked in the travel card lineup. With its new reward bonuses, it is holding its own in the travel market.

Sign Up Bonus

60,000 points (Value : $525)

After $5,000 in purchases in first 90 days

Annual Fee

$550

Rewards

Earn 5X points booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel

Earn 5X points on eligible hotels

Earn 1X points on every dollar spent

Extra Benefits

No interest charges (balance paid monthly)

1-to1 Frequent Flyer transfer

Travel and baggage insurance

No foreign transaction fees

$200 airline fee credit

Up to $200 Uber discounts

Various AmEx and co-branded benefits

Pros & Cons

AmEx’s value proposition has not changed — luxury travel (Uber rides are now part of the long list of amenities) for a fee. While booking through AmEx Travel provides more rewards and a lower travel bill, the choice of travel goods and services is broad. A complementary Gold card with no annual fee can earn extra membership reward points for you.

VENTURE FROM CAPITAL ONE

Sign Up Bonus

40,000 points (Value : $400)

After $3,000 purchases in first 90 days

Annual Fee

$59 annually. Waived first year.

Rewards

Earn 2 times miles on every $1 spent. (100 miles=$1 travel rewards)

Extra Benefits

Auto rental insurance

Fraud coverage

No foreign transaction fees

Pros & Cons

The Venture card, with no restrictions on where you do your travel shopping, is for real adventurers. As always, spend with in your monthly spending limits. This card is made of metal, so you cannot easily cut it up as a remedy for uncontrolled spending.

Before choosing a card, plug your travel spending habits into a travel credit card calculator to find out how much you can save this summer on travel. Remember to review fees for each card, which can range from 12 to 24%, based on your credit rating.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tim Kim @ Tub of Cash

    June 13, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Travel Hacking is my weakest area. I’ll definitely need to do more research to get me up to speed. Again, thanks for sharing these options!

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