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The holidays are quickly approaching, and it’s time to start making travel plans. Have some airline rewards saved up? You might be surprised to find out that a lot of travel credit cards have restrictions like blackout travel dates. And two dates that are always blacked-out are Thanksgiving and Christmas.But never fear: There are a few great rewards credit cards without blackout dates. Start earning miles with these cards ASAP and you could have enough for a flight come holiday travel time.
If you don’t want to be tied to an airline…
Get the Capital One Venture One card. It lets you earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day. Plus, you’ll get 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. That won’t get you a free holiday flight, but you will have plenty of miles saved up in time for spring break. The Capital One Venture One card has no limit on how many miles you can earn and they never expire.
Pro: Redeem your miles with any airline.
Con: Low mileage earning capability, compared to airline-specific cards.
Approval Range: Average approved credit score is 724, according to on Credit Karma data.
If you dig a lot of entertainment options on your flight…
Get the Virgin America Visa card. With this card you’ll get three points for every dollar you spend on Virgin American purchases. For all other purchases, you get one point. Plus, for a limited time, you can earn 15,000 bonus points on qualifying transactions. These points can be redeemed for Virgin America flights, which come equipped with Red, Virgin’s interactive entertainment system. Another great perk of this card is that you’ll get $150 off a companion ticket every year of card membership.
Pro: Get 10,000 after your first purchase.
Con: Comes with an annual fee of $49.
Approval Range: Excellent credit required.
If you’re looking for rewards on more than just flights…
Get the Blue Sky from American Express. Spend just $1,000 in the first three months of card membership, and you’ll get 7,500 points, redeemable for a $100 statement credit. On purchases, you get one point per dollar spent. Those points can be redeemed for travel purchases at airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruises. Another benefit of this card is that you can get discounts at certain travel providers, like Marriott and Hertz, by using the Blue Savings Program.
Pro: No annual fee.
Con: The regular APR range is the highest of these three cards at 17.24% to 22.24% as of October 2012.
Approval Range: Average approved credit score is 704.
Bottom Line: Remember that credit cards with the best travel rewards often come with excellent credit requirements. Before you apply for any of these cards, make sure your credit is in tip-top shape.
Bethy Hardeman writes on credit, personal finance and the economy for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website that helps more than 8 million people access their credit score for free.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the card from Capital One as the Capital One Venture card. We regret the error and apologise for any confusion.