Most of us have wallets full of credit cards, each dangling different promises to inspire you to pull it out first.
From free coffee (Starbucks Duetto Platinum Visa) to free books (Amazon.com Platinum Visa) to dollars donated to your favorite alumni association, the perks are endless.
What if your personal passion isn't coffee or books, but travel?
For a lot of us, a travel freebie is hard to beat. We like to reward ourselves for our hard work, and when that reward is free, so much the better.
So I thought I'd seek out the credit cards that offer the best travel-related perks.
Now, when thinking credit cards, airline frequent-flier miles are the first travel freebie to come to mind. But I'm grounding airline points before we even get started.
Why? First, they're commonplace. And as illustrated by those cute Capital One commercials, they come with so many restrictions that, well, planning a trip can take you right out of the vacation mood.
So with that ground rule in mind, I shuffled the deck to uncover five great card ideas.
- Big City Cards
Are you, like me, a New York buff? Then check out the American Express (AXP) IN:NYC card. This no-fee credit card lets you earn points from purchases anywhere towards dinners, massages and other treats in the Big Apple. In addition to earning rewards, you can enjoy immediate perks such as 2-for-1 admission at the Guggenheim or 10%-off Tuesdays at a long list of retailers.
Similar cards are available if your favorite destination is Los Angeles or Chicago, and I expect others soon.
- Cruise Cards
Cruise-ship devotees will want to use the Norwegian Cruise Line MasterCard (MA), Celebrity Cruises Visa or the Royal Caribbean (RCL) Visa, which earn points toward cabin upgrades or cruise discounts through ordinary spending.