PhotoIf you were to choose a credit card solely for use to pay travel expenses, recommends the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The credit card website says the Chase Sapphire Preferred came out on top in its latest rankings. It won points for the 50,000 points cardholders get just for opening an account.

It also won praise for ease in cashing in those points and its collection of rewards the judges described as “user friendly.”

Popular card

There is no doubt the Sapphire Preferred is a popular card. Back in March it ranked very high when ConsumerAffairs rated the best reward cards, singled out for its many travel-related perks.

We pointed out that to earn the 50,000 bonus points, new customers needed to charge $4,000 on the card in the first three months the account is open. Those points are good for $625 toward airfare and lodging when you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

On the downside, the card carries a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year. After that it costs you nearly $100 to carry this card, so you have to take advantage of the rewards to make it pay.

The judges were also impressed that customers who dine out frequently can easily rack up extra bonus points.

“Hit the sweet spot”

"The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has hit the sweet spot for the frequent but not constant traveler," says Editor-in-Chief and travel card judge Daniel Ray.

He notes the sign-up bonus provides a generous head start and a frequent traveler can easily accumulate valuable points.

Placing second in the competition is Capital One's Venture Rewards card. It gained points for its low interest rates and consumer-friendly redemption policy.

Coming in third was the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. It impressed judges by granting cardholders two miles for every dollar they spend. On top of that, it comes with a generous 40,000-mile bonus.

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