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The Travel Rewards Cards Worth The Most

[Thursday, October 20th, 2011]

Travel rewards cards are everywhere these days; the market is literally infiltrated by an infestation of them. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, ask travel-prone consumers anywhere.

The website NextAdvisor issued a report in which it investigated which travel cards programs are honestly worth your time, as well as money. Their findings may come as something of a surprise.

“We found out there’s a pretty big difference in the value of points for these airlines and hotels,” said Erik Larson, NextAdvisor president, according to an article appearing on the Marketwatch website.

They cited the card Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express as an example (coincidentally, it was the card that came out the most favorable in the study).

This card has its points for any stay at any hotel worth “two cents” and its flight redemption lies something below an actual cent. That may not seem like a whole lot, but keep in mind here that other airline-reward cards don’t leave their users faring much better.

Furthermore, the card user has the option of collecting nearly five points per $1 spent at any of the hotel’s brands they choose. The Starwood brand consists of names such as Sheraton, for starters.

Yes, the rewards that come paired up with these cards are rather nice to think about, especially if you’re of a wanderlustful nature. However, Marketwatch advised people to think most carefully about the real benefits of such a program, like a free room or flight. And who can resist free things, especially when the average flight or hotel is worth hundreds of dollars?

“You’ll get highest value for the actual travel rewards. The cost to provide the airline flight or hotel room is going to be less for United or Starwood than other rewards would cost them,” added Larson to Marketwatch.

He also was careful to make special note that an user should be careful to pay these cards on time every month, as not to risk any adverse effects to their programs, as well as be on the lookout for added fees.

The eight cards NextAdvisor ended up selecting as the “best buys” were as follows:  1. Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express, 2. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, 3. United MileagePlus, 4. Citi Gold/AAdvantage World MasterCard 5. Platinum Delta Skymiles from American Express 6. Continental Airlines OnePass Plus card 7. Marriott Rewards Credit Card from Chase and last not but not least. 8. Hilton HHonors.

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