August 13th, 2013
Credit Karma’s Best Travel Rewards Cards of 2013
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It seems like every day in the mail either myself or my husband receives another credit card offer. The problem is; how do you know which one is the best one? Between working here at Credit Karma and the fact that my husband enjoys finding deals including credit card deals, I don’t have to play the guessing game.
But for most people all the information can be overwhelming.
These days credit card companies are all vying to be your go-to credit card and using sign-up bonuses and other perks to win that coveted spot. It’s hard to see through all the shiny extras to know the real value.
Credit Karma decided to do something to help. We used our exclusive data to compile an unbiased list of the best travel reward credit cards to help make it easier to choose.
How We Chose
Here are the different factors we compared to come up with our winners:
- Rewards Value: This was one of our highest weighted categories. We calculated the estimated dollar amount of the rewards you get for every $100 spent using the card. The higher the amount, the better the value.
- Average Credit Karma Review: What do cardholders really think of these cards? Credit Karma’s star rating gives you a good idea.
- Signup Bonus Value: For this factor we looked at the actual dollar value of the sign-up bonus for each card offer.
- Average Score Approved: We used our historical approval data for each card to find the average score approved. The lower the approval score the more accessible the card is for those without a perfect credit score.
- Annual Fee: Most reward cards come with an annual fee. While we still factored it in, we didn’t weigh it as heavily as other factors.
- Average Age of Accounts: We included this factor to show that a long history with a specific card shows customer loyalty.
- Average Credit Limit Awarded: Credit cards with higher credit limits are usually more attractive. People can maximize their sign-up bonus and not max out their credit card in the process.
And The Winners Are…
After pulling the data from the factors above, we crunched the numbers and gave each card an overall rating. The ratings were then used to rank the cards against each other and come up with the winners. Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® Card took the top three spots. Here’s a look at what the winning cards have to offer.
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
- 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99% depending upon your creditworthiness.
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- No mileage caps
- No foreign transaction fees
- Exclusive Carry-on Miles – earn 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel
- Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
- Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
- Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 annual value!
- Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
- Your first eligible checked bag is free*
- Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
- Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
- Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
- Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Check out our Best Travel Rewards Cards of 2013 page to see the how each card fared in the different categories.
It’s best to only seek out a travel reward card if you pay your bill in full each month. These types of cards tend to have higher interest rates. You could quickly be paying more in interest than what the rewards value is worth. If a rewards card isn’t right for you logon to Credit Karma. We can recommend other options better suited to your needs based on your credit and finances.
Amy Leone is the Public Relations Coordinator at Credit Karma. Before joining the team in June 2012 she spent most of her career as a TV news producer. When she’s not helping promote Credit Karma on a variety of media outlets, she’s probably out running or exploring her new state of California.
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