The United ( UAL) MileagePlus Explorer from Visa Signature also features some nice additional airport perks, including priority boarding and a free checked bag, and you also get passes to the United Club. The card features a $95 annual fee.

You won't be charged a foreign transaction fee.
The Sapphire Preferred and Venture Rewards cards also follow another trend that's become popular among the best travel rewards cards: They exempt cardholders from having to pay a foreign transaction fee, which many issuers charge for making purchases overseas. That's a good thing, since these fees can be as high as 3% of each transaction.

You'll get an ample bonus for signing up.
Finally, if you're looking to sign up for a travel rewards card, you should wait until the issuer is offering an ample sign-on bonus. (These, too, have become a popular go-to perk for credit card companies looking to widen their customer base.)

Right now, Chase is offering $625 toward airfare and accommodations to new Sapphire Preferred cardholders, but the bonus has a fairly high spending threshold of $3,000 in the first three months of use. Capital One is also running a huge promotion to get new Venture rewards cardholders. You can actually earn up to 100,000 extra miles from rewards points you earned on a rewards card last year, but that requires you to have spent a lot of money last year plus an extra $1,000 on the Venture card within its first 90 days of use.

Those who aren't planning to make big purchases any time soon will find it much easier to take Discover ( DFS) up on the current bonus offer on its Escape rewards card. New cardholders are eligibile to earn 1,000 bonus miles each month they make a purchase in the first 25 months.

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