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Travel credit cards: Chase launches new card, enhances existing one

by Peter Andrew

Travel credit cards received a double boost when Chase increased its offering of airline credit cards by one, and boosted the rewards it offers on one of its hotel credit cards.

Airline credit cards: a newcomer

AirTran is, of course, a Southwest Airlines subsidiary, and you can earn the same accelerated rewards on travel to all the 95+ destinations served by the two companies. You can also transfer points between AirTran's A+ Rewards and Southwest's Rapid Rewards Card program.

Here are some of the headline features of the limited time offer for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card product:

  • Annual fee of $69.
  • Sign-up bonus that could buy you a round-trip flight if you spend at least $2,000 in the first three months you have the card. Government fees not included.
  • A cardholder anniversary 3,000 bonus points each year
  • Your checked bags fly free

Good deal? As with pretty much all airline credit cards, that depends on how often you fly with the carrier. If you fly frequently and like AirTran (and in three of the last five years it topped the Airline Quality Rating study), then this card could work in your favor.

Hotel credit cards getting better

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase offers new account holders bonus points after meeting spend requirements in the first three months from account opening. These bonus points can be redeemed toward night stays at participating Marriott locations.

You can earn five points for every dollar spent at 3,700 Marriott locations, two points for every dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants and one point for all other purchases. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, after that you will be paying $85 annually. A plus for international travelers this card has no foreign transaction fee, and comes with global chip and signature technology. The latter makes it easier to use in many overseas territories.

Again, this Chase credit card is only likely to appeal if you spend a lot of time in Marriott's branded hotels. If you do, the perks and convenience that come with this card are worth checking out.

Published 11/07/12 (Modified 02/27/14)

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