It costs banks a large amount of money in order to attract new customers to their credit cards. To earn these new customers, and keep them, banks and their affiliates offer loyalty points and frequent flier miles as a reward for their continued patronage. Yet all programs are not created equal. Some provide a minimal value to the cardholder, while others return rewards that are well above average. Here are a few of the loyalty programs that return the highest value to credit card holders.
- Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest Program. Starwood’s program is incredibly valuable because of its flexibility. Points can be redeemed for hotel night stays at any of their properties with no blackout dates or capacity controls. At the same time, points can be transferred to miles with the programs of over 30 different carriers.
- American Airlines AAdvantage. American Airlines is the last major domestic carrier that still offers reasonable award availability at lower mileage levels. While Delta, United, and US Airways travelers struggle to find the award seats they want, American’s customers still report good luck finding domestic coach awards and international Business and First Class flights at the “Saver” level.
- American Express Membership Rewards. Like the Starwood program, Membership Rewards points are great because cardholders can use them to transfer to miles on 20 different airlines. Better yet, American Express frequently offers promotions that grant additional miles beyond the normal one to one transfer ratio.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase’s points can transfer to three airlines and several different hotel programs. Sapphire Preferred cardholders also enjoy the option of air travel awards at a rate of 1.25 cents per point as well as a 7% annual bonus when they renew.
By choosing a credit card linked to one of these high value point systems, credit card users can earn the most possible value in exchange for their loyalty.