Traveling the world is an amazing experience. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing all the world has to offer. However, it can be a hassle to book the right hotels, plan for the best flights, and take care of your needed transportation. To help make your traveling experience as great as it can be, we compiled a list of all the cards that will reward you on your trip and make it even more worthwhile.
Editor’s Note: To maximize your rewards on travel stays, see our list of the Best Credit Cards for Hotel Stays.
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Types of Travel Credit Cards
You can redeem transferable points by moving them to a transfer partner, such as a hotel loyalty program or airline. Because of how flexible it is, this type of reward is considered to be the most valuable. Because of this, the majority of the best travel cards earn transferable points.
When you have an airline card, you can earn miles and many other airline-specific benefits such as in-flight discounts, elite-qualifying miles, free checked bags, and more.
Hotel cards are similar to airline cards, but you will be able to receive hotel-specific benefits like free award nights, complimentary elite status and others.
Check out our list of best hotel credit cards here.
If you have a fixed-rate card, you can earn rewards that are worth the same value. For instance, Bank of America Premium Rewards points are always worth $0.01 each. This type of card might be good for you if you are a casual traveler or aren’t the best at maximizing transferable points.
What We Considered
The factors that we considered to determine the best credit cards include:
- Welcome bonus
- Earning potential
- Annual fee
- Travel credits
- Point value
- Travel benefits
- Travel protections
- Rewards simplicity
- Additional benefits
Although this post is focused on travel-related spending, you should choose a card that has additional earning potential on things you usually purchase.
The Best Travel Credit Cards
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best card for travel and travel credits. However, keep in mind that there is a rather large annual fee. Despite this, though, the card offers lots of credits and valuable rewards that make up for this large fee.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
• 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
• 5X total points on air travel
• 3X points on other travel and dining
• 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
When redeeming your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 50% more value.
This card does carry a $550 annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees. However, you're able to earn a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year & up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
If you are a beginner, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card® is a great option for you and also offers a generous welcome bonus. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the easiest travel rewards to use. You can redeem them for travel and earn $0.0125 per point. Furthermore, you can transfer your points to a partner program to maximize your rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
• 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3X points on dining
• 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases
• 2X points on all other travel purchases
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit and when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
This card carries a $95 annual fee.
If you’re looking for a travel card with simple redemptions, check out the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. With this card, you are able to use your Venture miles to “get rid of” your travel purchases at a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile, with no blackout dates.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
You're able to earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees and receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card is great because there are no annual fees. Similar to the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, there is a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile, with no blackout dates.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card offers 20,000 Miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
You'll earn 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee.
This card comes with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees which is a great choice as your go-to travel card!
If you’re looking for a great travel card with luxury perks, check out the Platinum Card from American Express.
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
This card comes with an annual fee of $695 (See Rates & Fees), but you cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only. Terms Apply.
The best card for international travel is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Marriott is now the second largest hotel chain in the world which means that this card can help fund your trip no matter where you travel.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card offers 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
• Up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
• 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
• 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchase
• 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
You gain an automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
You'll receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year & an additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
This card does carry a $95 fee; there are no foreign transaction fees.
The best card for business travel is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card. This card is great because of the generous welcome bonus and you can receive bonuses when you spend on hotels and rental cars.
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles - equal to $500 in travel - once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Your miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy and you can earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase. And 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One TravelSM using a Spark Miles card
There is an annual fee of $95, however, there is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees and fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
The best card for commuters is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card. With no annual fee, you can receive 3 points for every dollar that you spend on flights, hotels, taxis, ridesharing, car rentals, and more.
If you travel frequently, opening a travel rewards credit card can be extremely beneficial. No mater if you are a beginner who just wants to help with the costs of a trip or you’re an expert traveler, there is a travel card that will fit your needs. Furthermore, make sure that you are choosing a card that aligns with your spending habits in order to maximize your rewards.