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Airline Mile and Travel Reward Credit Cards
The Hotel Loyalist

Most people think of free flights as the best travel reward, but lodging is often a bigger vacation expense. By using a hotel-branded credit card, you'll concentrate your efforts on scoring free places to stay. Many of these cards, including the Hilton HHonors Platinum Card by American Express and the Priority Club Rewards Platinum Visa (for Holiday Inn and other InterContinental hotels), don't charge an annual fee.

Cardholders build up points per dollar elsewhere. With such a card in hand, you're also more likely to score room upgrades and other perks.

Before signing up for a hotel's credit card, you should obviously be sure that you're a fan of its hotels. Find out ahead of time whether it has properties in locations you want, and realize that you're going to forfeit many more points to stay at high-end properties. Converting hotel points into airline miles is possible, but it'll come at a very unfavorable exchange rate. With InterContinental's program, for example, you'd need 125,000 points for a domestic flight; you'd get far more value by redeeming those points for five nights at a top-notch InterContinental hotel or as many as 12 nights at a Holiday Inn Express.

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