The number of people that book travel online is steadily on the rise, and it's already hard to imagine booking travel anywhere else than in front of a screen. Apart from enabling users to compare a large variety of prices and deals, booking online is simply more convenient than booking through an offline travel agency. Since online booking is a steadily rising trend, it's important to be aware of the best ways to maximize your travel benefits when booking. I'm going to let you in on one of the best ways to earn extra travel rewards: online travel agency (OTA) loyalty programs.

According to Google's 2012 annual Traveler's Road To Decision Study, in the U.S. 83% of leisure travelers and 76% of business travelers plan online. The percentage of travelers that use their mobile phones for travel information is also on the rise - 57% of business travelers and 38% of leisure travelers. ComScore reported that 5.4 million travelers in the US use their mobile phones for travel services. Among these travelers, a significant amount are enrolled in loyalty programs to get more out of their trip. Business travelers are the biggest loyalty program users, with over 70% of them using loyalty programs for air travel and 68% for hotels according to Google's Traveler's Road To Decision Study.

OTAs have recently started adding loyalty programs that offer benefits and rewards to frequent users. And if you use a OTA loyalty program combined with the right credit card you can earn even more.

OTAs are even teaming up with credit card issuers to give their users yet another incentive to book through their sites. For example, Travelocity teamed up with Barclays. Another OTA that has recently launched a loyalty program is Orbitz. The program is called Orbitz Rewards and it lets users earn a percentage of their spending in the form of 'Orbucks'. Orbucks can be redeemed for eligible hotel bookings (not flights), and you can use them to pay in full or pay a part with your credit card.

It pays off to combine the right rewards credit card with a loyalty program to reap maximum benefits and rewards. Here is one of our best rated credit cards for booking travel online:

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
Discover it<sup>®</sup> Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
APPLY NOWAt Discover's secure website

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months

13.99% - 24.99% Variable

$0

Excellent/Good
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Why we like it
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Excellent Credit
Gold Delta SkyMiles<sup>®</sup> Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Want even more flexibility? Pay with Miles is a Card Member feature that gives you the option to redeem miles for all or part of the price of your tickets on Delta.com.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

17.74%-26.74% Variable

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Excellent/Good
The Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

N/A

$550

Why we like it
  • Rewards program.
  • Platinum benefits.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
We least like
  • Annual fee.
Excellent/Good
Limited Time Offer
United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Limited Time Offer
APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website
  • Limited time offer! Earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable

$0 Intro for First Year, then $95

Why we like it
  • Rewards Program.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Limited time offer! Earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles.
Excellent Credit