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Want a Travel Credit Card With Flexible Redemption Options? Check These Out

July 2, 2018
Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Travel credit cards are great in theory (free trips!) but in practice are sometimes difficult to manage. It seems like they all come with complicated restrictions about how rewards can be earned and redeemed.

This is one reason the Nerds love travel credit cards that allow you to redeem points or miles for statement credit. With these cards, you can book your travel however you choose and simply pay yourself back with the rewards you’ve racked up. Take a look at these two top picks.

If you hate fees: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

An annual fee on a travel credit card can be worth it if the rewards rate is high enough. But if you’re dead set against paying a fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good choice. It has a $0 annual fee and charges no foreign transaction fees, a rare combination among travel credit cards. Plus, the rewards are nothing to sneeze at: You earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on purchases. Points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for credit for travel expenses.

What’s more, if you’re a Bank of America® banking or investment customer, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a points dividend of 25%, 50% or 75% through the Preferred Rewards program. The bonus you’ll receive depends on the types of accounts you have and your total balances. But even if you don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards status, just having a Bank of America® checking or savings account will give you a boost: You’ll get a 10% dividend on the points you earn.

Plus, if you book your travel through the Bank of America® Travel Center with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you can earn 3 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases (excluding insurance). One caveat is airline purchases: You earn the extra 1.5 points per dollar only on up to $6,000 in airfare per calendar year. Since the portal offers more than 200 airlines and 10,000 hotels and resorts, this is an easy way to drive up the earning power of your Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

To sweeten the pot a bit, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card also comes with a modest signup bonus: 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases. You really can’t go wrong with this card.

If you want high rewards on everything: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Paying an annual fee isn’t a big deal to a lot of folks, as long as they’re getting ample rewards in exchange. If this sounds like you, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a good option.

With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on anything. Since each mile is worth 1 cent, that equates to a 2% rewards rate. Miles can be redeemed for all or part of any travel purchase, and there’s no minimum amount to redeem.

If you plan to travel internationally, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great choice, as it charges no foreign transaction fees.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card carries a hefty sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. But keep in mind that it also charges an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

›› MORE: NerdWallet’s Best Travel Credit Cards