August 11, 2022

Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2022 (Updated Monthly)

Airline and hotel loyalty programs Knowing where you typically fly and what airlines tend to…

Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2022 (Updated Monthly)

Airline and hotel loyalty programs

Knowing where you typically fly and what airlines tend to fly those routes will help you develop a solid points-and-miles strategy.

If your home airport is a hub for a particular airline — like Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson is a Delta hub or Chicago O’Hare is a hub for United — you’re likely to fly with that airline. This means you’ll want to consider any credit cards co-branded with that airline, but you’ll also want to consider generic travel credit cards with that airline on their list of transfer partners.

If you’re considering travel credit cards with premium perks, look into the airports you’ll be flying from, to and through. If you typically fly out of or through airports that don’t have Priority Pass™ lounges but do have an American Express lounge, for example, you might lean toward The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Airlines alliances

Apart from looking at how you’ll earn miles, you also want to look at how you’ll spend them — this is where airline alliances come into play. Many major airlines belong to airline alliances, or networks of airlines that have agreed to cooperate and, often, share benefits. This means you can usually redeem your miles for flights with any airline within the same airline alliance. The three main airline alliances are:

Star Alliance

SkyTeam

Oneworld

  • United
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • Copa Airlines
  • Egypt Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • and more

  • United
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • Copa Airlines
  • Egypt Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • and more

  • Delta
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • AeroMexico
  • AirFrance
  • China Airlines
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • and more

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • and more

In other words, the airline you’ve pledged loyalty to might not fly to the country where you’ve planned a summer vacation, but you might still be able to redeem your miles with a partner airline that does.

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Hotel brands

You’ll also want to decide which hotel brand you’re most likely to stay with.

Major hotel chains include Hilton Hotels, Marriott International, Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), Wyndham Hotel Group and Choice Hotels.

Each chain has a long list of brands under its umbrella. For example:

  • Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites and DoubleTree are all brands owned by Hilton Hotels, so Hilton points can be used at all of them.
  • Marriott owns The Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Springhill Suites and Aloft, so Marriott points can be used at any of those properties.

While Hilton and Marriott have enormous footprints and their hotels can be found in just about any city, smaller hotel rewards programs like Hyatt might provide a preferable experience for you.

That being said, you want to make sure you’ll be able to stay with the brand you choose regularly, whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure. Look into destinations where you travel often or plan to travel and find out which hotel chains have properties located there. You can choose credit cards that are co-branded with the hotel of your choice, or you can go with a generic travel credit card that lists that hotel as one of its transfer partners.