Travel isn't always cheap – sometimes it's free! At least that can be the case for those who leverage the vast network of miles and points programs out there. Credit cards, frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty clubs allow travelers to earn free or discounted travel, sometimes just with your everyday spending on gas, groceries and other purchases.
10Best teamed up with a miles-and-points expert from NerdWallet to nominate the best programs for American travelers – the credit cards, frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs with the best earning potential, flexibility, extra perks and ease of redemption. For thee past four weeks, our readers have been voting on their favorites, and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners.
Best Frequent Flyer Program: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards wins for the third straight year — Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines
Points never expire with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, so long as there's a flight or partner earning activity every 24 months. Southwest offers some 3,900 flights daily, and with no blackout dates and unlimited reward seats, redeeming points is easy. Rapid Rewards members can also earn points on car rentals with Alamo.
Best Hotel Loyalty Program: Wyndham Rewards
Travelers can earn Wyndham Rewards at 8,000 hotels worldwide — Photo courtesy of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
The Wyndham Rewards program honors stays at some 8,000 participating hotels worldwide, including brands like Hawthorn Suites, Ramada, Howard Johnson and Super 8. Members can also choose to earn miles with partner airlines, including American and United, or on car rentals through Avis and Budget.
Best Rewards Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Reserve
This winning card comes packed with travel perks — Photo courtesy of Chase
A popular option since its introduction in late 2016, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a 50,000-point sign-up bonus, plus a $300 annual travel credit, Global Entry fee waiver, no foreign transaction fees and three points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants worldwide (one point per dollar on everything else).
Best Co-Branded Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card
Frequent Southwest flyers earn upgraded boarding with this winning card — Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines
Budget-minded travelers who frequently fly Southwest Airlines benefit from the Rapid Rewards Premier credit card – no foreign transaction fees, a 40,000-point sign-up bonus, upgraded boardings, $75 annual travel credit and a 7,500-point bonus after each account anniversary.
Congratulations to all our points and miles winners!