The gist: Book travel online through your credit card provider’s website to earn rewards on top of your rewards.
You’ve probably heard that travel search websites can save you money on plane tickets and hotel rooms. Did you know that your credit card can do that too, and even earn you some extra points in the process? Many card providers have their own travel search tools, and the ones that don’t often partner with popular travel search websites. In either case, you’ll earn rewards for booking travel through your card provider’s website, all on top of the rewards your card already earns. Here’s the skinny just in time to make your winter travel plans.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool
The Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool lets you earn 1 extra point per dollar when you book flights or hotels online with your Chase rewards card, with the possibility of an added bonus if you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold. It allows you to search for travel by date and type (airline, hotel or rental car), compare prices, and book directly. Pay with your credit card, points, or a combination of the two.
Best card for maximum points: Sapphire Preferred. You 2% back on all travel and dining purchases, plus your points are worth 25% more when you use them for travel booked through Chase. That makes its $500 signup bonus worth $625! The 25% bonus is only offered on the Preferred and the Ink Bold, which is for businesses.
American Express Membership Rewards Travel Tool
Get 2 times the Membership Rewards Points when you book online through the American Express travel tool. Better yet, the points you already have will be worth 20% more with the right type of card. The AmEx Membership Rewards system has three tiers of membership, and you need to have a Green, Gold or Platinum card to book travel online. Blue card customers can still book online using the Pay With Points feature.
Best card for maximum points: AmEx Platinum. Offers 1% back, generous airline credits and a top-tier Membership Rewards First membership.
ShopDiscover Travel Deals
Got a Discover Miles or Escape card? You can earn an extra 2 miles per dollar (or 5% cash back if you have a rewards card) by booking travel through Discover’s online mall, ShopDiscover. Although Discover doesn’t have its own travel tool, ShopDiscover has partnered with many other popular travel tools like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. You can also earn the same double miles or 5% back on cruise bookings and resorts. Participating companies include Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, and Atlantis and More Bahamas Resorts.
Best card for maximum points: Escape by Discover. Earn double miles for every dollar you spend.
Bank of America World Points Mall
Like Discover, Bank of America doesn’t have a travel tool, but it does offer deals for other popular travel tools at the WorldPoints Mall. Earn 1 extra point per dollar when you use the mall to book travel though Expedia or Orbitz, 2 points per dollar when you book through Hotwire, 3 points per dollar when you book through priceline.com, and 6 bonus points per order (not dollar) when you book through Travelocity. You can also earn bonus points for buying plane tickets, renting cars and booking hotel rooms. Participating companies include Alaska Airlines, Delta, Avis, Best Western, and even resorts like Sandals and Beaches.
Best card for maximum points: BankAmericard Power Rewards. You earn 1 WorldPoint per $1 spent, and 3 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries and drugstores for the first 6 months. You could do that, or you could get 5% back in rotating categories plus 1% back elsewhere, all the time, with the Chase Freedom, which gets you access to Chase’s online mall.
Citi and Capital One: Travel Help Sans Rewards
Citi and Capital One don’t offer travel discounts, but they still make it easy for you to put your hard-earned points to work. The Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Center allows you to book flights using points, your card, or both. Capital One does not have an online travel tool. You have to contact customer service to book travel with your points, or you can opt to be reimbursed for any travel purchases you make on your own.
Best card for maximum points: Capital One Venture Rewards. Earn 2% back on all purchases.