Vacation without planes or hotels? Here is how to earn rewards


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As cities publish guidelines for reopening, the idea of ​​a summer vacation feels tangible again. Families are trapped in their homes and, in many cases, have already canceled or postponed trips, and are ready for a change of scenery.

Still, travelers are cautious and look for options that allow them to maintain some kind of social distance. Road trips are coming back in style as families get closer to home and bring everything they need. Vacation rentals, such as those booked on Airbnb or HomeAway, provide travelers with space to enjoy their vacation and may include additional amenities such as kitchens or backyard pools. Recreational vehicles, motorhomes, and even houseboats are other options to consider.

For travelers who avoid planes, hotels, and rental cars, loyalty points will accumulate more slowly, but using the right credit card can help you earn a little more.

The best credit cards for road trips

With cumulative travel demand and gasoline prices at rock bottom prices, travel activity is steadily increasing, according to the Daily climber travel index. The index tracks driving activity through GPS signals and collects the number of trips of 50 miles or more. The number of trips is still below the pre-pandemic baselines, but tends to rise. Americans are already taking day trips or even longer trips.

If you are filling your gas tank, these cards offer an additional investment for your money.

Citi Premier Card℠

The Citi Premier card has one of the best fuel purchase reward rates: you will earn 3 ThankYou points for every dollar spent at gas stations with no limit on annual earnings. Your ThankYou points can be redeemed as a statement credit or you can transfer your points to partner airlines in a 1: 1 ratio for future free flights. This flexibility is great when your plans are uncertain, since you don’t have to decide right away.

The card has changes in the bonus categories as of August 23, 2020, although gas will continue to earn triple points both before and after the restructuring. Going forward, it will also earn 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, making it a great deal for its $ 95 annual fee.

Information on the Citi Premier® card has been independently collected by Forbes. The card issuer has not reviewed or provided the card details on this page.

Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card

Hikers who prefer reimbursement rather than reward points should consider Citi Costco Anywhere Visa. The card offers a 4% fuel rebate (and not just at Costco) on the first $ 7,000 in annual gas purchases. You’ll also earn 3% on travel and restaurants, 2% on Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else. Unfortunately, rewards are only paid once a year.

Since this card is a Visa, cardholders are eligible for their flat rate roadside assistance. Standard service calls start at $ 69.95 for services like towing up to five miles, lockout services, or fuel delivery. Not only will you get a fixed fee, but you’ll be connected to a trusted professional, which is helpful when you’re away from home and don’t know who to call. For help, check Highway Visa Dispatch and charge the service to your Visa.

The card does not have an annual fee, although you must be a Costco member with a paid membership to apply for it.

Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card information has been independently collected by Forbes. The card issuer has not reviewed or provided the card details on this page.

Read more: The best credit cards for road trips

The Best Recreational Vehicle Credit Cards

The appeal of hitting the road with an RV is undeniable right now. This travel style unites a trip with personal space and a clean room that you bring with you.

Like all travel right now, even RVing comes with a set of restrictions and is not a magic bullet. Many motorhome parks and parks remain closed, and those that are open will fill up faster than usual. Check local restrictions on your route, make early reservations for the night, and have a backup plan for energy, water, and septic disposal in case no connections are available.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

the Wells Fargo Propel Amex Card offers a winning combination of reward bonus categories for RV travelers. You will earn 3 GoFar Rewards points per dollar spent on gas, highway and bridge tolls, parking lots, camps, and most other travel related purchases. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar for restaurant purchases, such as restaurants, fast food, and takeaway or delivery. Lastly, you’ll get 3 points per dollar on streaming services, so you can listen to Spotify Premium on your disc or watch Netflix at night.

GoFar Rewards points are worth a penny each when redeemed for travel, gift cards, or cash refunds. Simplicity makes this card a winner, especially since there is no annual fee. If you’re also a Wells Fargo Visa Signature card holder, you can pool points to redeem for airfare at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.

Information for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card It has been independently collected by Forbes. The card issuer has not reviewed or provided the card details on this page.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Recreational vehicle commuters who prefer to cook rather than eat outside could do better by choosing Amex Blue Cash Preferred. This card offers cash back: 6% on purchases in US supermarkets. USA (Up to $ 6,000 per year) and transmission services, 3% on gasoline, tolls and parking, and 1% on all other purchases.

Like Wells Fargo Propel, this card offers simple but valuable rewards. Because it charges an annual fee of $ 95, this card is best for consumers who will maximize the grocery benefit, whether at home or on the road.

To view American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card rates and fees, visit this page.

The best credit cards for vacation rentals

Short-term rentals, like condos and Airbnbs, have increased in popularity in the past three years. They are prepared for higher demand than traditional hotels until the pandemic breaks out. Travelers seeking personal space can avoid contact with staff or other travelers and manage daily sanitation on their own. They will also have additional space to rest and kitchens to cook (or eat takeaways).

Rentals booked through popular booking platforms like VRBO or Airbnb code credit card transactions like travel, meaning there are dozens of options for which card to use to get strong rewards. The Wells Fargo Propel, above, is a strong choice with no annual fee. The Citi Premier, also mentioned, is another great card with triple points on stays. For other great cards, these are some of our favorites.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A longtime favorite, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on hotels, including vacation rentals. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on other common travel expenses, such as airfare, car rental, tolls, parking, restaurants, and other dining establishments.

The Sapphire Reserve also allows you to redeem points for your rental. If you book your stay through its Expedia-powered booking platform, you can redeem points at a rate of 1.5 cents each. If you prefer to book on other platforms, you can still use the $ 300 annual travel credit to help pay for your stay. The card also includes auto rental collision damage waiver insurance as well as basic trip cancellation and delay insurance.

Other redemption options include transferring your Ultimate Rewards to the frequent flyer and partner hotel loyalty programs or even redeeming for a statement credit.

Although this card has a high annual fee of $ 550, the benefits of the card are impressive.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

For strong rewards that are transferable to partner airlines with a lower annual fare than the Sapphire Reserve, consider the Capital One Venture card. This credit card is free the first year and $ 95 and up, and offers 2 points per dollar spent on each purchase.

The card is easy since you don’t need to remember bonus categories. Redeeming is also simple as you can book future trips with no penny-blocked dates per point through Capital One. If you prefer, you can transfer your points to other rewards programs, such as Air Canada Aeroplan or Air France Flying Blue.

Information for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card It has been independently collected by Forbes. The card issuer has not reviewed or provided the card details on this page.

Read more: The best Travel Rewards credit cards

Bottom line

This year’s travel plans may be a little different than what you are used to, but the opportunity to earn additional rewards on your trip is still there. If you plan to get out of town, be sure to get the best credit card for your trip and earn a little more for the next one.

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