Best 0% APR Credit Cards for Travel
The only thing better than taking a great vacation is doing so with the rewards you earned from your credit card spending. But, points and miles for travel are only part of the benefits that you can get from using the right credit card. Some of the top travel rewards credit cards offer 0% APR promotional financing on new purchases, balance transfers, or both.
Here are some of the best credit cards that offer great travel rewards for spending and 0% APR introductory offer:
Discover it® Miles
Discover it® Miles offers 1.5 miles for each dollar spent, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel reservations, or as cash back. In addition, Discover will match your miles earned during your first year, doubling your rewards during that time.
New cardholders also receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases. Other benefits include $30 of statement credits towards in-flight Wi-Fi purchases, no late fee on your first late payment, and no penalty interest rates. There is no annual fee for this card.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Citi ThankYou® Preferred offers points in its ThankYou Rewards program it also features 15 months of 0% financing on both new purchases, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Cardholders earn double points on all dining and entertainment charges, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Points in Citi's ThankYou Rewards program can be redeemed for airfare, hotel, car rentals, and other reservations through Citi's ThankYou rewards travel center. Other travel benefits include trip cancellation and interruption protection, worldwide car rental insurance, and worldwide travel accident insurance. There is no annual fee for this card.
Amex EveryDay® and Everyday® Preferred Credit Cards from American Express
Both of these cards come with 12 months of 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. In addition, they both offer points in the American Express Membership Rewards program for each dollar spent. With the standard Amex Everyday® card, you earn double points at US supermarkets, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
Membership Rewards points are worth one cent each towards travel reservations made through American Express travel, but they can be much more valuable when transferred to frequent flyer miles with 16 different airline programs. In addition, you can receive a 20% bonus on the points earned in each statement period that you make 20 or more transactions. There is no annual fee for this card.
With the EveryDay® Preferred version of this card, 3X points are earned for purchases from U.S. supermarkets, 2x points at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, and 1x elsewhere. In addition, cardholders can earn a 50% bonus during each statement period that they complete at least 30 transactions, meaning that you can earn as much as 4.5x at supermarkets, 3x at gas stations and grocery stores, and 1.5x elsewhere. There is a $95 annual fee for this card.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards offers new applicants travel rewards. Earn 1.25 miles for each dollar spent. Each mile is worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel reservations including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. There is no annual fee for this card and it has no foreign transaction fees.
US Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card
If you just need to transfer an existing balance, and still want to earn rewards, this card offers nine months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.
You also earn one point per dollar spent in U.S. Bank's FlexPerks® rewards program. This program allows you to redeem your miles for travel on over 150 different airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees, and the number of points needed for an airline ticket varies with the price of the ticket. For example, you can redeem 20,000 FlexPoints for a ticket that costs up to $400. There is no annual fee for this card.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers new applicants 12 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Rewards are earned in the form of double miles for all purchases, and each mile is worth one cent as statement credits towards travel expenses including airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You even get 5% of your miles back toward your next redemption, every time you redeem. There is an $89 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.
How to Use 0% APR Cards for Travel
These financing offers for new purchases can allow you to carry a balance at no cost, and only pay the standard interest rate on the remaining balance once the promotional rate expires. A common use for such 0% introductory offers is to book a trip and have time to pay off the bill slowly without interest charges. The usual reason for this is that someone doesn't yet have the ability to pay for a trip without borrowing money.
Ideally, if you sign up for one of these credit cards for this reason, you should plan to make a strong effort to eliminate the card balance before the 0% APR period ends. Otherwise, you may be losing a lot of money on interest payments if you continue to carry a balance when the interest rate is no longer 0%.
And when utilizing a 0% APR offer for balance transfers, you can avoid interest charges on your existing balance. But, a 3% balance transfer fee will usually apply. See the chart below for a little more information on how much you can save on 0% APR on balance transfers. Generally, it is not a good idea to transfer a balance to a travel rewards credit card because you're not likely to earn rewards on the transferred balance (though there may be cards that will still offer rewards on balance transfers). It's only worthwhile if you already have high-interest credit card debt.
Credit Cards: Different APRs on Different Balances
|Credit Card Interest Rates||15.99% APR on Purchases, 0% APR on Balance Transfers||0% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 4.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers|
|Interest Charged on Purchase Principal||$65.71||$0||$65.71||$65.71|
|Balance Transfer APR||0%||15.99%||4.99%||15.99%|
|Balance Transfer Principal||$5000||$5000||$5000||$5000|
|Interest Charged on Balance Transfer Principal||$0||$65.71||$20.51||$65.71|
|End of Month Principal Owed||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00|
|Total Interest Charged on End of Month Principal||$65.71||$65.71||$86.22||$131.42|
|End of Month Balance Owed||$10,065.71||$10,065.71||$10,086.22||$10,131.42|
|Total Monthly Payment||$500||$500||$500||$500|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Lowest-APR Balance||$165.71||$165.71||$186.22||$231.42|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Highest-APR Balance||$334.29||$334.29||$313.78||$268.58|
|New Purchase Principal||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,751.93||$4,815.71|
|New Balance Transfer Principal||$4,834.29||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,815.71|
|New Total Balance||$9,565.71||$9,565.71||$9,586.22||$9,631.42|