The U.S. credit card that gives the highest reward dollar value for travel is the Barclay Arrival World MasterCard, followed closely by the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, says a new report from NextAdvisor.
For every $100 you charge, both credit cards return $2 for purchase of either air tickets or hotel rooms. Both cards also offer generous one-time enrollment or first-use point bonuses. However, Barclay edged out Capital One because it returns a bonus of 1,000 points for each 10,000 points you use to pay for travel.
The Barclay card has an annual fee of $85 (waived the first year) and the Capitol One Venture has a $55 fee (also waived the first year). Both cards use the "bank value" travel reward model. That means the points or miles you earn accrue with the issuing bank, not any single airline or hotel program, and each point/mile is worth 1 cent toward the purchase of travel or other goods/services.
The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, at a return of $2.61, outscored both for hotel accommodations. But the Starwood card scored only $1.35 toward air tickets.
NextAdvisor is an independent consumer research agency. For 15 top credit cards, it calculated the net return per dollar spent for both air tickets and hotel accommodations.
For bank value cards, the return was based on the cards' fixed dollars-per-point ratio when used to buy tickets or rooms.
For airline and hotel cards, the return was based on the miles/points earned per dollar spent and the miles/points required for a ticket or room mileage/point award.
The NextAdvisor results bolster what I've always recommended:
Find the full report at www.nextadvisor.com.
Contact Ed Perkins at email@example.com.