The 10 Best Travel Credit Cards

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What are the best travel credit cards?

If you do a lot of travel for leisure or work, having a travel credit card can be extremely beneficial.

Not only can they save you money on essentials, but they can earn you some pretty sweet rewards like free hotel stays and flights!

However, because there are so many different cards available, finding the right one can be tricky. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! 

 

The Best Travel Credit Cards

To make finding the best card for you easier, we’ve put together a list ranking the top travel rewards cards based on their perks, rates, and benefits.

Here’s our list of the 10 best travel credit cards available right now:

 

10. Discover it® Miles

 

Best For: No Annual Fee

The Discover it Miles travel rewards credit card is unique in that, unlike some of the best credit cards in America, it doesn’t come with an annual fee.

If not having to worry about fees wasn’t enough, Discover it Miles also gives users unlimited 1.5x miles per dollar spent on any purchase.

For those who travel more than 35,000 miles within the first year of using this card, Discover will match these miles, giving you a total of 70,000.

Better yet, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates with the Discover it Miles card, and you can choose to either redeem points for travel or deposit them right into your bank account.

Miles never expire either, even if you choose to close your card.

Additionally, Discover cards are accepted by 99% of all places that take credit cards, so you should have no problem using it to buy anything on your travels.

Pros:

  • No blackout dates
  • No earning limits
  • Miles never expire
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • Travel spending does not earn additional rewards
  • Doesn’t permit airport lounge access
  • Balance transfers to your bank account

Bottom Line:

The Discover it Miles card is a good choice for those who travel often and rack up a lot of miles.

It has no annual fees and the points never expire, so you can always have access to the rewards you have earned, even in the event you choose to close your account.

 

9. Chase Freedom Flex

 

Best For: Big Spenders

Chase Freedom Flex is one of the most unique travel credit cards, and while it also features no annual fee, its rewards are best taken advantage of by people who are planning on spending.

Although it comes with an unassuming sign-up bonus of $200 if you spend more than $500 within the first 3 months from account opening, it does have the potential to earn you up to 5% cash back.

However, in order to earn this extra 5%, cardholders need to spend up to $1,500 in purchases from bonus categories every quarter.

Because of this, the Chase Freedom Flex card is best used by those who are willing to pay attention to the bonus categories and spend the money necessary to earn the max amount of rewards.

That being said, this card does also offer 3% back on purchases at restaurants and drugstores, including delivery and takeout purchases.

Cardholders can also monitor their credit score by using Chase Credit Journey, which can also alert you if your information is found anywhere on the dark web.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • Potential to earn up to 5% cash back
  • 3% cash back on drugstore and restaurant purchases

Cons:

  • Categories for 5% cash back change
  • All other purchases only gain 1% cash back

Bottom Line:

The Chase Freedom Flex card can have a lot of good benefits for those who don’t mind tracking and activating the 5% cash back categories, but it may not be the best choice for those who want to earn more on travel-related expenses.

 

8. Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

Best For: Luxury Travel

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card sounds like a luxury and it certainly is geared towards those with a taste for luxury travel and staying at the most expensive hotels in the world.

With this travel rewards credit card, cardholders can earn 5x points on the cost of air travel and up to 10x points on car rentals and hotel stays.

You can also earn 3x points on dining and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

All of this potential for earning makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve card very appealing for those who travel a lot, plus this card also helps cover Global Entry or TSA precheck fees.

When redeeming points, you’ll get the most value by redeeming them on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where 50,000 points can get you $750 towards hotels and rental cars, plane tickets, and cruise reservations.

The biggest downside is the annual fee of $550, but frequent travelers may find this meager compared to all of the benefits the card provides overall.

Pros:

  • Airport lounge access
  • $300 credit for travel purchases annually
  • Points worth 50% when redeemed with Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons:

  • High annual fee
  • Requires a credit score of 750 or higher to apply

Bottom Line:

 If you travel often and spend a lot, Chase Sapphire Reserve is going to be one of the best credit cards to invest in.

While it does have a fairly steep annual fee, for those traveling enough it can be well worth it overall for the rewards and earning potential.

 

7. Bank Of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

 

Best For: Budget Earning Potential

With no annual fee and the potential to earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, this Bank of America card is a great choice for those who want flexibility and a lot of earning potential.

Within the first 90 days, if you spend at least $1000 you can receive 25,000 online bonus points, equalling about $250 in credit towards travel.

This card is also not limited to specific websites or blackout dates, so you can book hotels and flights through any site without worrying about missing out on rewards.

The Bank of America travel rewards credit card has a 0% introductory APR and if you become a Preferred Rewardsmember you have the potential to earn 25% to 75% more with every purchase you make.

With no annual fee and the ability to greatly increase the number of points you can earn, this travel card is a great choice for those who travel and want to get the most out of their cards without needing to go over their budgets.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • Lots of rewards potential
  • 0% introductory APR

Cons:

  • Low sign-up bonus compared to other cards
  • It may not be worth it for big spenders

Bottom Line:

Although high rollers who spend a lot of frequently travelling may not get everything they want from this card, it can be a great choice for those who travel often on a budget.

While the sign-up bonus could stand to be slightly more enticing, the 0% APR and lack of annual fees make it a strong contender and an all-around solid choice.

 

6. Citi Premier Card

 

Best For: Low Annual Fee

Unlike Citi’s Ultima Mastercard, one of the most exclusive black cards in the world, the Citi Premier card packs a huge punch while having an incredibly low annual fee of only $95.

While this card is geared more towards occasional travelers who just want to earn the most out of their trips and everyday spending even when not away from home.

With this card, you can earn 3x points per dollar spent in supermarkets and restaurants, as well as on air travel, hotels, and gas.

All other purchases can earn 1 point per dollar, which can stack up quickly depending on how much you spend per week or month.

Additionally, if you are able to spend $4,000 within the first three months from account opening, you will be rewarded with 60,000 bonus points, which is decently generous!

Pros:

  • Low annual fee
  • Reward points on everyday purchases
  • Points are easy to redeem

Cons:

  • Better for occasional travelers instead of frequent fliers
  • Lacks travel protections

Bottom Line:

For folks who occasionally travel but know they aren’t going to rack up thousands of miles every year, the Citi Premier card can be a good choice for earning the most rewards.

While it does have an annual fee, it is low when compared to other options like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

5. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

 

Best For: Bonus Rewards

The Capital One Venture X credit card is a solid choice for frequent travelers who want to get the most value out of their big-spending habits.

As a sign-up bonus, Capital One offers an extra 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your card.

Cardholders are also eligible to receive 10,000 extra miles every year beginning on their one-year anniversaries of having their card.

Additionally, you can earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One’s card, and 5x miles on flights.

All other purchases can earn you 2x miles and this is unlimited.

When traveling, you can also expect access to 1,300 airport lounges and up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck fees.

Although it does have an annual fee of $395, the fact that it comes with so many bonus rewards makes it almost pay for itself, especially if you travel very frequently.

Pros:

  • Lower annual fee than many other travel cards
  • Easy to earn points
  • Lots of bonus rewards

Cons:

  • Not a lot of hotel status benefits
  • Lack of hotel travel partners

Bottom Line:

We like this credit card because it allows you to rack up points very quickly, plus it offers a lot of nice bonuses that other credit cards often lack.

That said, its network is still relatively new, so it is lacking in status benefits and hotel partners.

However, this is likely to change in the future and if earning points is your biggest interest, this card is something to consider.

 

4. American Express Gold Card

 

Best For: Rewards for Dining

Featuring no foreign transaction fees and 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores, the American Express Gold card is one of the few credit cards that prioritizes dining.

When you first sign up for this card, you can expect to earn 60,000 reward points if you spend $4,000 in the first six months, an overall value of $1,200.

As for rewards outside of dining, you will also gain 3 points per dollar on flights booked either with Amextravel or directly with an airline.

All other purchases can earn 1 point per dollar, and you can also receive up to $120 in dining credit per year if you use this card at specific partners like The Cheesecake Factory, Grubhub, and participating shake shack locations.

Because they are also partnered with Uber, if you connect this card to your account, you can also get up to $120 in Uber credit every year, which you can use for rides or ordering Uber Eats.

With this card, you can really focus on how to embrace different cultures while traveling, instead of worrying about foreign transaction fees or missing out on rewards.

Pros:

  • Great earnings on food and groceries
  • Lots of partnerships to earn with
  • Generous sign-up bonus

Cons:

  • $250 annual fee

Bottom Line:

The American Express Gold Card is an all-around solid credit card, but its emphasis on dining and spending at supermarkets is what really makes it shine.

While the perks of traveling make it great for anyone on the go, the fact that you can still earn a lot just by buying food makes it useful for almost everyone.

Although it does have an annual fee, with all the points you can earn through travel and dining purchases — and even online grocery purchases — it really balances itself out overall.

 

3. The Platinum Card From American Express

 

Best For: Sign-Up Bonus

You don’t have to be trading the most expensive stocks in the world to feel like a big shot with this card.

The Platinum Card from American Express has one of the most generous welcome bonuses you’ll find as a basic cardmember, and it gives you the potential to earn 100,000 membership points if you spend $6,000 with your card in the first 6 months.

All you need to do to get started is apply, choose your preferred metal card design, and start racking up the points!

With this card, you can expect 5x points after you spend money on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amextravel, plus $200 hotel credits for stays at partnered hotels if you spend two nights.

Like the gold card, you can also get savings when using Uber, but with this card, you can also get a $240 digital entertainment credit if you use it to buy Disney+, Hulu, Audible, ESPN+, and many more.

While it does come with a steep annual fee of $695, the benefits are some of the most impressive offered by any of the credit cards on this list, and if you travel a lot, it can be a solid investment.

Pros:

  • Loads of exclusive benefits
  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Lots of reward potential

Cons:

  • Steep annual fee
  • Lacks the potential to earn points outside of travel

Bottom Line:

The Platinum Card from American Express has a lot to offer, but we have to say that if you’re not going to be taking advantage of them, you would probably do better with another card.

However, if you are planning on traveling frequently and using select airlines and hotels, you can earn a decent number of points rather quickly.

 

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

 

Best For: Overall Value

As one of the biggest banks in the world, Chase is well-known for providing quality credit cards, but it’s Sapphire Preferred card is by far the best value.

With this card, you can earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend 4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your card, and if you redeem those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they are equal to $1,000.

You can also earn 5x points on travel purchases with your Sapphire Preferred card, 3x points on dining and groceries, 2x on all other eligible purchases, and benefits like a $50 annual ultimate rewards hotel credit.

If that doesn’t sound good enough, this card also provides lost luggage insurance and trip cancellation insurance.

While it does have an annual fee, it is only $95, which we think is practically a steal for everything you are getting in return.

Pros:

  • Loads of potential to earn points on travel, dining, and everyday spending
  • Solid travel protection benefits
  • Great exchange rate for points through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee

Bottom Line:

Overall, we think that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives users the most value for their money, and despite having an annual fee, it is really very affordable.

Coupled with the travel protection bonuses and the potential to earn on all of your travel purchases, cardholders can really stand to reap a lot of great benefits at a surprisingly low cost.

 

1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

 

Best For: Overall Travel Rewards

Capital One’s Venture Rewards card takes the number one spot as our pick for the best card for overall travel rewards.

Not only are there no foreign transaction fees with this card, but credit for TSA and Global Entry fees, and exclusive access to music, sporting, and culinary events like the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

With this card you can earn 5x miles per dollar for hotels and rental cars if booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other eligible purchases.

Within 3 months from account opening, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000.

While you will need a credit score of at least 690 to open one of these cards and start earning 5x membership rewards points on travel purchases, the annual fee is only $95, which makes it a great deal for frequent travelers.

Pros:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Exclusive event access
  • Great trip prices through Capital One Travel

Cons:

  • Annual fee
  • Balance transfers only to airline loyalty programs

Bottom Line:

Capital One’s Venture Rewards card is the perfect travel card for people frequently on the go and right from account opening you can start earning miles to use for hotels, cars, and flights.

You can easily cover travel expenses with this card, and so long as travel is booked through Capital One, you’ll get discounted prices that are totally worth it.

 

Summary

We hope our list of the best travel credit cards has helped you decide which one is best for you!

Each of these cards comes with great benefits, but some are more suited to different types of travel. Be sure to think carefully about the benefits you would use the most before deciding which card to apply for!

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best travel credit cards:

  1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  3. The Platinum Card From American Express
  4. American Express Gold Card
  5. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  6. Citi Premier Card
  7. Bank Of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
  8. Chase Sapphire Reserve
  9. Chase Freedom Flex
  10. Discover it® Miles

What’s the best travel credit card, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Shawna
Shawna
Shawna Schofield is a writer from Chicago who loves tech and gaming. In the past she has collected everything from baseball cards to barbies and she considers herself to be a tasteful hoarder of potentially valuable items.

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