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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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

18.24% - 25.24% Variable

$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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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 you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within 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 for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights - that's a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 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

17.99% - 26.99% Variable

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

Excellent/Good
British Airways Visa Signature<sup>®</sup> Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website
  • Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios
  • Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That’s up to 120,000 bonus Avios
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, you will then earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
APPLY NOWAt Chase's secure website

N/A

18.24% - 25.24% Variable

$95

Why we like it
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Earn 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That's up to 120,000 bonus Avios.
Excellent Credit
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