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Finance Friday: Guide to the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

Finance Friday is a periodic series that brings you travel related finance news you can use to help your wallet and maximize all possible value when traveling.

Points, Miles or Cash-Back: Guide to the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

As I discussed in a previous post, Points, Miles or Cash-Back?, there are great travel related credit cards out there that can help save you money on your next trip, weekend getaway or provide other great travel related benefits.

Travel related credit cards can be broken up into four main categories:
  • Cash-Back Credit Cards
  • General Travel Credit Cards (Fixed Value - Earn Statement Credits)
  • Travel Credit Cards (Co-Branded Hotel/Airline Credit Cards)
  • Rewards Program Credit Cards (Chase, Amex, Citi - Travel Related Benefits)
Travel rewards credit cards help users save money on travel expenses by being able to use those miles and points by using them to offset travel related expenses as statement credits, within a particular airline/hotel loyalty program or using a bank's travel portal to book travel.  You can see examples of some of these cards in my previous post, Points, Miles or Cash-Back?

Now if you already have a travel related credit card or multiple cards, you know how important it is to maintain a good credit score, as your chances of being approved for one of these cards would increase.  If you are interested in applying for a new credit card and have no clue where your current FICO credit scores stand, check out a previous post, Do You Know Your Credit Score?

Now with all that being said, many cardholders can still get confused on how to use the miles and points they receive or may forget a particular card has other great benefits like airport lounge access, free checked bags, trip delay insurance, travel credits or other great perks that may end up going unused. 

There are lots of great websites out there that discuss travel related credit cards, which ones to apply for and why, how to use the points and miles for maximal benefit and how to use all of the great benefits a card can come with.  

I recommend checking out a new recent survey and guide to travel credit cards from U.S. News & World Report, a nationally recognized publisher of consumer advice and information.  They recently completed a nationwide survey of consumers who have travel credit cards, in order to get a comprehensive understanding about their rewards preferences and spending habits.

The results of the study reveal many cardholders don’t understand the basics of their card such as its annual fee and all of its available travel perks. This causes cardholders to incorrectly use their card, overspend, and sometimes carry a balance which ends up costing them more in interest than the rewards they earn.

In an effort to help consumers get a better understanding of travel credit cards, U.S. News created a guide that that shows consumers how to leverage these cards to maximize travel savings and benefits. The resource covers topics including how rewards credit cards work, the best and worst credit cards, and how to choose the best one for every type of consumer.  I have a few of the top cards they list and plan on writing about how I maximize benefits and use my miles and points to save big on flights, hotel stays and extract lots of other great benefits.

The U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 travel credit card survey and guide can be viewed here:

Also, if you're interested in reading more about previous reviews I've done on a few of the credit cards I use, see below for more information:
Disclosure: The Family Travel Guy was not compensated for writing about the U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 travel credit card survey and guide and in collaboration with U.S. News & World Report is sharing the survey and reference guide material for utilization for his audience.  The information and opinions expressed by The Family Travel Guy are not endorsed by U.S. News & World Report.  The U.S. News & World Report privacy policy and disclosures for their links for applying for any credit cards through their website apply therein.