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16 Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

Sara Rathner

ALSO CONSIDER: Best credit cards of 2024 || Best rewards credit cards || Best airline credit cards || Best hotel credit cards

The best travel credit card is one that brings your next trip a little closer every time you use it. Purchases earn points or miles you can use to pay for travel. If you're loyal to a specific airline or hotel chain, consider one of that company's branded travel credit cards. Otherwise, check out our picks for general-purpose travel cards that give you flexible travel rewards without the restrictions and blackout dates of branded cards.

250+ credit cards reviewed and rated by our team of experts

80+ years of combined experience covering credit cards and personal finance

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Objective comprehensive ratings rubrics ( Methodology )

NerdWallet's credit cards content, including ratings and recommendations, is overseen by a team of writers and editors who specialize in credit cards. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times, MarketWatch, MSN, NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America" and many other national, regional and local media outlets. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity .

Show summary

NerdWallet's Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best for Max flexibility + big bonus

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card : Best for Flat-rate rewards

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card : Best for Travel portal benefits

Chase Freedom Unlimited® : Best for Cash back for travel bookings

American Express® Gold Card : Best for Big rewards on everyday spending

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card : Best for Bonus rewards + no annual fee

The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for Luxury travel perks

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card : Best for Business travelers

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card : Best for Triple points on multiple categories

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card : Best for Flat-rate rewards + no annual fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve® : Best for Bonus rewards + high-end perks

World of Hyatt Credit Card : Best for Best hotel card

Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card : Best for Travel rewards for rent payments

United℠ Explorer Card : Best for Best airline card

PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card : Best for Credit union benefits

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card : Best for Booking directly with airlines/hotels

Best Travel Credit Cards

Find the right credit card for you..

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Max flexibility + big bonus

Flat-rate rewards, travel portal benefits, cash back for travel bookings, big rewards on everyday spending, bonus rewards + no annual fee, luxury travel perks, business travelers, triple points on multiple categories, flat-rate rewards + no annual fee, bonus rewards + high-end perks, best hotel card, travel rewards for rent payments, best airline card, credit union benefits, booking directly with airlines/hotels, full list of editorial picks: best travel credit cards.

Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: Flat-rate rewards

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is probably the best-known general-purpose travel credit card, thanks to its ubiquitous advertising. You earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases. Miles can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent apiece for any travel purchase, without the blackout dates and other restrictions of branded hotel and airline cards. The card offers a great sign-up bonus and other worthwhile perks ( see rates and fees ). Read our review.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Our pick for: Flat-rate rewards + no annual fee

One of the best no-annual-fee travel cards available, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card gives you a solid rewards rate on every purchase, with points that can be redeemed for any travel purchase, without the restrictions of branded airline and hotel cards. Bank of America® has an expansive definition of "travel," too, giving you additional flexibility in how you use your rewards. Read our review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our pick for: Bonus rewards + high-end perks

The high annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives many potential applicants pause, but frequent travelers should be able to wring enough value out of this card to more than make up for the cost. Cardholders get bonus rewards (up to 10X) on dining and travel, a fat bonus offer, annual travel credits, airport lounge access, and a 50% boost in point value when redeeming points for travel booked through Chase. Points can also be transferred to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. Read our review. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our pick for: Max flexibility + big bonus

For a reasonable annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns bonus rewards (up to 5X) on travel, dining, select streaming services, and select online grocery purchases. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. The sign-up bonus is stellar, too. Read our review. 

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Our pick for: Booking directly with airlines/hotels

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card stands out among general-purpose travel cards because it pays its highest rewards rates on travel bookings made directly with airlines and hotels, rather than requiring you to go through the issuer's travel agency, where prices might not be competitive. The points are flexible, you get a good bonus offer, and the card comes with a few other nice perks. Read our review.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Our pick for: Bonus rewards + no annual fee

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card offers so much value, it's hard to believe there's no annual fee. Start with a great bonus offer, then earn extra rewards in a host of common spending categories — restaurants, gas stations, transit, travel, streaming and more. Read our review.

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Our pick for: Triple points on everyday categories

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card earns bonus points on select travel, supermarkets, dining, gas stations and EV stations. There's a solid sign-up bonus as well. Read our review.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Road trips

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is one of the most generous cards on the market if you're taking to the skies or the road, thanks to the quadruple points it earns on travel and purchases at gas stations and EV charging stations. It's also a solid card for everyday expenses like groceries, dining and streaming, and it comes with ongoing credits that can offset its annual fee:  $0 intro for the first year, then $95 .  Read our review .

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: Travel portal benefits

Capital One's premium travel credit card can deliver terrific benefits — provided you're willing to do your travel spending through the issuer's online booking portal. That's where you'll earn the highest rewards rates plus credits that can make back the bulk of your annual fee ( see rates and fees ). Read our review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Our pick for: Cash back for travel bookings

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® was already a fine card when it offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Now it's even better, with bonus rewards on travel booked through Chase, as well as at restaurants and drugstores. On top of all that, new cardholders get a 0% introductory APR period and the opportunity to earn a sweet bonus. Read our review.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our pick for: Luxury travel perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a hefty annual fee, but travelers who like to go in style (and aren't afraid to pay for comfort) can more than get their money's worth. Enjoy extensive airport lounge access, hundreds of dollars a year in travel and shopping credits, hotel benefits and more. That's not even getting into the high rewards rate on eligible travel purchases and the rich welcome offer for new cardholders. Read our review.

American Express® Gold Card

Our pick for: Big rewards on everyday spending

The American Express® Gold Card can earn you a pile of points from everyday spending, with generous rewards at U.S. supermarkets, at restaurants and on certain flights booked through amextravel.com. Other benefits include hundreds of dollars a year in available dining and travel credits and a solid welcome offer for new cardholders. There's an annual fee, though, and a pretty substantial one, so it's not for smaller spenders. Read our review.

Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card

Our pick for: Travel rewards on rent payments

The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card stands out by offering credit card rewards on rent payments without incurring an additional transaction fee. The ability to earn rewards on what for many people is their single biggest monthly expense makes this card worth a look for any renter. You also get bonus points on dining and travel when you make at least five transactions on the card each statement period, and redemption options include point transfers to partner hotel and loyalty programs. Read our review.

PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Credit union rewards

With premium perks for a $95 annual fee (which can be waived in some cases), jet-setters will get a lot of value from the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card . It also offers a generous rewards rate on travel purchases and a decent flat rate on everything else. Plus, you’ll get travel credits and a Priority Pass membership that offers airport lounge access for $32 per visit. Read our review.

United℠ Explorer Card

Our pick for: B est airline card

The United℠ Explorer Card earns bonus rewards not only on spending with United Airlines but also at restaurants and on eligible hotel stays. And the perks are outstanding for a basic airline card — a free checked bag, priority boarding, lounge passes and more. Read our review.

» Not a United frequent flyer? See our best airline cards for other options

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Our pick for: Best hotel card

Hyatt isn't as big as its competitors, but World of Hyatt Credit Card is worth a look for anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. You can earn a lot of points even on non-Hyatt spending, and those points have a high value compared with rival programs. There's a great sign-up bonus, free nights, automatic elite status and more. Read our review.

» Not a Hyatt customer? See our best hotel cards for other options.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Our pick for: Business travelers

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card starts you off with one of the biggest sign-up bonuses of any credit card anywhere: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠. You also get bonus rewards on travel expenses and common business spending categories, like advertising, shipping and internet, cable and phone service. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. Learn more and apply .

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How travel rewards work.

Modern-day adventurers and once-a-year vacationers alike love the idea of earning rewards toward their next big trip. According to a NerdWallet study , 68% of American adults say they have a credit card that earns travel rewards.

With a travel rewards credit card, you earn points or miles every time you use the card, but you can often earn more points per dollar in select categories. Some top travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® , offer bonus points on any travel spending, while the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card grants bonus points when you use the card at Marriott hotels, grocery stores, restaurants or gas stations.

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Not all points and miles earned on travel rewards credit cards are the same:

General-purpose travel credit cards — including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card , the American Express® Gold Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — give you rewards that can be used like cash to pay for travel or that can be exchanged for points in airline or hotel loyalty programs. With their flexible rewards, general-purpose options are usually the best travel credit cards for those who don't stick to a single airline or hotel chain.

Airline- and hotel-specific cards — such as the United℠ Explorer Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Card — give points and miles that can be used only with the brand on the card. (Although it's possible in some cases to transfer hotel points to airlines, we recommend against it because you get a poor value.) These so-called co-branded cards are usually the best travel credit cards for those who always fly one particular airline or stay with one hotel group.

How do we value points and miles? With the rewards earned on general travel cards, it's simple: They have a fixed value, usually between 1 and 1.5 cents per point, and you can spend them like cash. With airline miles and hotel points, finding the true value is more difficult. How much value you get depends on how you redeem them.

To better understand what miles are worth, NerdWallet researched the cash prices and reward-redemption values for hundreds of flights. Our results:

Keep in mind that the airline values are based on main cabin economy tickets and exclude premium cabin redemptions. See our valuations page for business class valuations and details about our methodology.

Our valuations are different from many others you may find. That’s because we looked at the average value of a point based on reasonable price searches that anyone can perform, not a maximized value that only travel rewards experts can expect to reach.

You should therefore use these values as a baseline for your own redemptions. If you can redeem your points for the values listed on our valuations page, you are doing well. Of course, if you are able to get higher value out of your miles, that’s even better.

HOW TO CHOOSE A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD

There are scores of travel rewards cards to choose from. The best travel credit card for you has as much to do with you as with the card. How often you travel, how much flexibility you want, how much you value airline or hotel perks — these are all things to take into account when deciding on a travel card. Our article on how to choose a travel credit card recommends that you prioritize:

Rewards you will actually use (points and miles are only as good as your ability to redeem them for travel).

A high earning rate (how much value you get in rewards for every dollar spent on the card).

A sign-up bonus (a windfall of points for meeting a spending requirement in your first few months).

Even with these goals in mind, there are all kinds of considerations that will influence your decision on a travel rewards credit card.

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Travel cards are for travelers

Travel cards vs. cash-back cards.

The very first question to ask yourself when choosing a travel credit card is: Should I get a travel card at all? Travel credit cards are best for frequent travelers, who are more likely to get enough value from rewards and perks to make up for the annual fees that the best travel credit cards charge. (Some travel cards charge no annual fee, but they tend to offer lesser rewards than full-fee cards.) A NerdWallet study found that those who travel only occasionally — say, once a year — will probably get greater overall rewards from cash-back credit cards , most of which charge no annual fee, than from a travel card.

Flexibility and perks: A trade-off

Co-branded cards vs. general travel cards.

Travel credit cards fall into two basic categories: co-branded cards and general travel cards.

Co-branded cards carry the name of an airline or hotel group, such as the United℠ Explorer Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card . The rewards you earn are redeemable only with that particular brand, which can limit your flexibility, sometimes sharply. For example, if your credit card's co-branded airline partner doesn't have any award seats available on the flight you want on the day you want, you're out of luck. On the other hand, co-branded cards commonly offer airline- or hotel-specific perks that general travel cards can't match.

General travel cards aren't tied to a specific airline or hotel, so they offer much greater flexibility. Well-known general travel cards include the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card . Rewards on general travel cards come as points (sometimes called "miles" but they're really points) that you can redeem for any travel expense. You're not locked into using a single airline or hotel, but you also won't enjoy the perks of a co-branded card.

Evaluating general travel credit cards

What you get with a general travel card.

The credit cards featured at the top of this page are general travel cards. They're issued by a bank (such as Chase or Capital One), carry only that bank's name, and aren't tied to any single airline or hotel group. With these cards, you earn points on every purchase — usually 1 to 2 points per dollar spent, sometimes with additional points in certain categories.

Issuers of general travel cards typically entice new applicants with big sign-up bonuses (also known as "welcome offers") — tens of thousands of miles that you can earn by spending a certain amount of money on the card in your first few months.

» MORE: NerdWallet's best credit card sign-up offers

What do you do with those points? Depending on the card, you may have several ways to redeem them:

Booking travel. With this option, your points pay for travel booked through the issuer's website, using a utility similar to Orbitz or Expedia. For example, if points were worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed this way, you could book a $400 flight on the issuer's portal and pay for it with 40,000 points

Statement credit. This lets you essentially erase travel purchases by using your points for credit on your statement. You make travel arrangements however you want (directly with an airline or hotel, through a travel agency, etc.) and charge it to your card. Once the charge shows up on your account, you apply the necessary points and eliminate the cost.

Transferring to partners. The card issuer may allow you to transfer your points to loyalty programs for airlines or hotel chains, turning your general card into something like a co-branded card (although you don't get the perks of a co-brand).

Cash back, gift cards or merchandise. If you don't plan to travel, you can burn off your rewards with these options, although you'll often get a lower value per point.

Airline and hotel cards sharply limit your choice, but they make up for it with perks that only they can offer, like free checked bags or room upgrades. General travel cards, on the other hand, offer maximum flexibility but can't provide the same kinds of perks, because the banks that issue them don't operate the airlines or hotels. Still, there are some noteworthy perks on general travel cards, including:

Travel credit. This is automatic reimbursement for travel-related spending. Some top travel credit cards offer hundreds of dollars a year in travel credit.

Trusted traveler reimbursement. More and more travel credit cards are covering the application fee for TSA Precheck and Global Entry, programs that allow you to move through airport security and customs more quickly.

Airport lounge access. Hundreds of lounges worldwide operate separately from airlines under such networks as Priority Pass and Airspace, and several general travel cards offer access to these lounges.

Points programs

Every major card issuer has at least one travel card with a points program. American Express calls its program Membership Rewards, while Chase has Ultimate Rewards® and Citi pays in ThankYou points. Wells Fargo has Wells Fargo Rewards, and U.S. Bank has FlexPerks. Bank of America® travel cards offer points without a fancy name. Travel cards from Capital One, Barclays and Discover all call their points "miles."

These programs differ in how much their points are worth and how you can use them. Some offer the full range of redemption options, including transfers to loyalty programs. Others let you use them only to book travel or get statement credit.

» MORE: Travel loyalty program reviews

Evaluating airline credit cards

What you get with an airline credit card.

Airline credit cards earn "miles" with each purchase. You typically get 1 mile per dollar spent, with a higher rate (2 or more miles per dollar) on purchases with the airline itself. (Some airline cards have also begun offering extra miles for purchases in additional categories, such as restaurants or car rental agencies.) These miles go into the same frequent-flyer account as the ones you earn by flying the airline, and you can redeem them for free flights with the airline or its alliance partners.

Co-branded airline cards typically offer sign-up bonuses (or welcome offers). But what really sets them apart are the perks they give you. With some cards, for example, the checked-bag benefit alone can make up for the annual fee after a single roundtrip by a couple. Common perks of airline cards include:

Free checked bags. This commonly applies to the first checked bag for you and at least one companion on your reservation. Some cards extend this perk to more people, and higher-end cards (with higher annual fees) may even let you check two bags apiece for free.

Priority boarding. Holders of co-branded airline credit cards often get to board the plane early — after the airline's elite-status frequent flyers but before the general population. This gives you time to settle in and gives you a leg up on claiming that coveted overhead bin space.

In-flight discounts or freebies. You might get, say, 25% off the cost of food and beverages during the flight, or free Wi-Fi.

Airport lounge access. High-end cards often include a membership to the airline's airport lounges, where you can get away from the frenzy in the terminal and enjoy a complimentary snack. Some less-expensive airline cards give you only limited or discounted lounge access; others give you none at all.

Companion fares. This perk lets you bring someone with you for a lower cost when you buy a ticket at full price.

A boost toward elite status. Miles earned with a credit card, as opposed to those earned from actually flying on the airline, usually do not count toward earning elite status in an airline's frequent-flyer program. However, carrying an airline's high-end card might automatically qualify you for a higher tier within the program.

The biggest U.S. airlines — American, United and Delta — offer an array of credit cards. Each airline has a no-annual-fee card that earns miles on purchases but provides little in the way of perks (no free bags or priority boarding). Each has a high-end card with an annual fee in the neighborhood of $450 that offers lounge access and sumptuous perks. And each has a "middle-class" card with a fee of around $100 and solid ongoing perks. Southwest offers three credit cards with varying fees; smaller carriers may just have a single card.

» MORE: NerdWallet's best airline credit cards

Choosing an airline

Which airline card you get depends in large part on what airline you fly, and that's heavily influenced by where you live. Alaska Airlines, for example, has an outstanding credit card, but the airline's routes are concentrated primarily on the West Coast. So it's not a great option for those who live in, say, Buffalo, New York, or Montgomery, Alabama.

If your local airport is dominated by a single airline, then you're probably flying that carrier most (or all) of the time by default. Delta, for example, is the 800-pound gorilla at Minneapolis-St. Paul and Salt Lake City. United has the bulk of the traffic at Newark and Washington Dulles. American calls the shots at Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth. That airline's credit card may be your only realistic option. If you're in a large or midsize market with frequent service from multiple airlines, you have more choice.

» MORE: How to choose an airline credit card

Evaluating hotel credit cards

What you get with a hotel card.

Hotel credit cards earn points with each purchase. As with airline cards, you typically get more points per dollar for purchases from the co-brand partner, and some cards also give bonus points in additional categories. (Hotel cards tend to give you a greater number of points overall than airline cards, but each individual point is generally worth less than a typical airline mile.) Similar to the airline model, the points you earn with the card go into the same loyalty account as the points you earn from actually staying at a hotel. You redeem your points for free stays.

Hotel cards usually offer a sign-up bonus, but like airline cards, they really make their bones with the ongoing perks. Common perks on hotel cards include:

Free nights. Several cards offer this perk, which can make up for the card's annual fee. You may get a free night automatically every year, or you may unlock it by spending a certain amount within a year. In the latter case, it comes on top of the points you earn for your spending.

Upgrades and freebies. Cardholders may qualify for automatic room upgrades when available, or free or discounted amenities such as meals or spa packages.

Early check-in/late check-out. No one likes having to cool their heels in the hotel lobby waiting for 3 o'clock to check in. And no one likes have to vacate their room by 11 a.m. when their flight doesn't leave till evening.

Accelerated elite status. Some hotel cards automatically bump you up a level in their loyalty program just for being a cardholder.

» MORE: NerdWallet's best hotel credit cards

Choosing a hotel group

If you decide to go the hotel-card route, you'll need to decide which hotel group gets your business. Hotels aren't as market-concentrated as airlines, so if your travels take you mostly to metropolitan areas, you'll have a decent amount of choice. Keep in mind that even though there are dozens of nationally recognizable hotel brands, ranging from budget inns to luxury resorts, many of them are just units in a larger hotel company, and that company's card can unlock benefits across the group.

Marriott, for example, includes not only its namesake properties but nearly 30 other brands, including Courtyard, Fairfield, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and Westin. The Hilton family includes DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Waldorf-Astoria. InterContinental includes Holiday Inn, Candlewood, Staybridge and Crowne Plaza. Wyndham and Choice have more than 15 mid-tier and budget-oriented brands between them.

HOW TO COMPARE TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS

No travel rewards credit card is going to have everything you want. You're going to be disappointed if you expect to find a high rewards rate, a generous sign-up bonus, top-notch perks and no annual fee. Each card delivers value through a different combination of features; it's up to you to compare cards based on the following features and choose the best travel credit card for your needs and preferences.

Most of the best travel cards charge an annual fee. Fees in the range of $90 to $100 are standard for travel cards. Premium cards with extensive perks will have fees of $450 or more. Weigh the value of the rewards and perks you'll get to make sure they'll make up for the fee.

Can you find good cards without an annual fee? Absolutely! There are no-fee options on our list of the best travel credit cards, and we've rounded up more here . Just be aware that if you go with a no-fee travel card, you'll earn rewards at a lower rate, your sign-up bonus will be smaller, and you won't get as many (if any) perks.

Rewards rate

Rewards can be thought of in terms of "earn rate" and "burn rate".

The earn rate is how many points or miles you receive per dollar spent. Some general travel cards offer flat-rate rewards, meaning you get the same rate on all purchases, all the time — 2 miles per dollar, for example, or 1.5 points per dollar. Others, including most co-branded cards, offer a base rate of maybe 1 point per dollar and then pay a higher rate in certain categories, such as airline tickets, hotel stays, general travel expenses or restaurant meals.

The burn rate is the value you get for those points or miles when you redeem them. The industry average is about 1 cent per point or mile. Some cards, particularly hotel cards, have lower value per point on the "burn" side but give you more points per dollar on the earning side.

When comparing rewards rates, don't just look at the numbers. Look at the categories to which those numbers apply, and find a card that matches your spending patterns. Getting 5 points per dollar seems great — but if those 5X points come only on purchases at, say, office supply stores, and you don't spend money on office supplies, then you're getting lousy value.

Sign-up bonus

Travel cards tend to have the biggest sign-up bonuses — tens of thousands of points that you earn by hitting a certain amount of spending. But there's more to consider when comparing sign-up bonuses than just how many points or miles you earn. You must also take into account how much you have to spend to earn the bonus. While cash-back credit cards often require just $500 to $1,000 in spending over three months to unlock a bonus, travel cards commonly have thresholds of $3,000 to $5,000.

Never spend money you don't have just to earn a sign-up bonus. Carrying $3,000 in debt for a year in order to earn a $500 bonus doesn't make economic sense — the interest you'll pay could easily wipe out the value of the bonus.

Finally, keep in mind that the biggest bonuses will come on cards with annual fees.

Foreign transaction fees

A good travel card will not charge a foreign transaction fee. These fees are surcharges on purchases made outside the U.S. The industry standard is about 3%, which is enough to wipe out most if not all of the rewards you earn on a purchase. If you never leave the U.S., then this isn't much of a concern, but anyone who travels abroad should bring a no-foreign-transaction-fee card with them.

Some issuers don't charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards. Others charge them on some cards but not all.

International acceptance

Not all travel credit cards are great companions for international travel. While Visa and Mastercard are good pretty much worldwide, you may encounter limited acceptance for American Express and, especially, Discover, depending on the destination. This doesn't mean world travelers should dismiss AmEx and Discover. Just know that if you take one of these cards with you overseas, you'd be smart to bring along a backup in case you run into acceptance problems. (Having a backup card is good advice within the U.S., too, really.)

Travel protections

Consider which travel protections — car rental insurance , trip cancellation coverage , lost baggage protection — are important to you.

"Rewards" are what you get for using a credit card — the points earned with each transaction and the bonuses you unlock with your spending. "Perks" are goodies that you get just for carrying the card. There's a very close correlation between the annual fee on a card and the perks you get for carrying it. Cards with no annual fee are all about rewards and go very light on perks. Premium cards with annual fees of $450 or more are laden with perks (although sometimes their rewards aren't too special). Midtier cards (in the $100 range) tend to have solid rewards and a handful of high-value perks.

Assuming you take advantage of them, the perks often make up for the annual fee on a card quite easily. This is especially true with co-branded cards. Free checked bags can pay for an airline card several times over, and a free night is usually worth more than the fee on a hotel card. When comparing the perks of various cards, be realistic about which ones you will and won't use. Sure, that card may entitle you to a free spa package the next time you're at a five-star hotel, but how often do you stay at five-star hotels?

SHOULD YOU GET A TRAVEL CARD? PROS AND CONS

Pros: why it's worth getting a travel card.

The sign-up bonus gives you a big head-start on travel. Bonuses on the best travel credit cards typically run $500 or more — enough for a roundtrip ticket in many instances.

Perks make travel less expensive and more relaxing. You won't have to worry about cramming a week's worth of clothes into a carry-on if your travel credit card gives you a free checked bag (or automatically reimburses you for the bag fee). Hate the crush of travelers in the terminal? Escape to the airport lounge. Renting a car? Use a travel card that provides primary rental car insurance.

Rewards get you closer to your next trip with every purchase. Spending money on the mundane activities of daily life has a silver lining when you know that every $1,000 you spend will knock $10 or $20 off the cost of that future beach vacation or trip home to see Mom and Dad.

No foreign transaction fee can mean big savings. Take just any old credit card with you on vacation outside the U.S., and $1,000 worth of purchases can cost you $30 off the top due to the foreign transaction surcharge. Good travel cards don't charge this fee.

"Double dipping" gives you more points on travel purchases. Buy a plane ticket or book a hotel room, and you'll earn loyalty points or miles regardless of how you pay. Use the right credit card, though, and you'll earn even more points and miles on top of those.

Strategic redemption can multiply your value. With cash-back credit cards, 1 cent is worth 1 cent, and that's just how it goes. The points and miles on many travel credit cards have variable value based on how you redeem them — booking travel with them vs. transferring them to a partner, booking domestic vs. international flights and economy vs. business class, staying at budget hotels vs. high-end resorts, and so on.

Cons: Why a travel card might not be for you

The best cards charge annual fees. In many cases, the value you get from a credit card more than makes up for the annual fee. But some people are dead set against paying a fee under any circumstances. If that's you, your options in travel cards will be sharply limited, and you won't get the perks that provide a big portion of the value on many cards.

Sign-up bonus spending requirements can be steep. A bonus worth $500, $600 or $700 is attractive, but only if you can afford to earn it with spending you were going to do anyway. If you have to amass thousands of dollars in debt and then pay interest on it, it's not worth it.

Travel cards aren't ideal for infrequent travelers. In the first year with a travel card, you're probably going to come out ahead: You can earn a big sign-up bonus, and several popular cards waive the first year's annual fee, too. In subsequent years, though, you'll break even on that fee only if you use the card enough to make up for it (with the rewards you earn and redeem and the perks you use). Infrequent travelers are more likely to get more total rewards from a cash-back card with no annual fee.

Cash back is simpler and more flexible. Some travel cards allow you to redeem your rewards only for travel. Others give you poor value unless you redeem for travel. Still others have complicated redemption options, making it hard to get the most out of your rewards. With cash-back credit cards, you can use your rewards on anything, you know exactly how much your rewards are worth, and redemption is usually simple.

Rewards cards tend to charge higher interest rates. If you regularly carry a balance from month to month, a travel credit card — or any rewards credit card — probably isn't your best choice. The interest you pay is eating up the value of your rewards. You're better off with a low-interest card that reduces the cost of carrying debt.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TRAVEL CARD

Maximize your rewards with the following tips:

Plan your credit card application around a big purchase to earn the sign-up bonus.

Seize every opportunity to pick up the tab, especially if your travel credit card pays bonus rewards on dining; your friends can pay you back while you collect rewards.

Redeem rewards for travel instead of gift cards, merchandise or (in most cases) cash back to get the best value.

Join the loyalty program associated with a co-branded card — a frequent-flyer or frequent-guest program.

Shop for essentials in your card’s online bonus mall or through its exclusive offers, if available, to get extra rewards.

OTHER CARDS TO CONSIDER

It’s worth considering whether a travel credit card is even right for you in the first place. A NerdWallet study found that cash-back credit cards often earn more money — even for many travelers.

If you carry a balance from month to month, the higher interest rates typically charged by rewards cards can cancel out any rewards earned. If you have a good credit score, you're better off with a low-interest credit card that can save you money on interest.

A good travel credit card shouldn't charge foreign transaction fees, but there are good non-travel cards that also don't charge them. See our best cards with no foreign transaction fee .

If you value transparency and flexibility in your rewards, you can't go wrong with a cash-back card — and you can still use the rewards for travel, if you want.

Finally, if you're still not sure what's right for you, take a look at our best rewards credit cards for options beyond travel and cash back.

NerdWallet's Sam Kemmis contributed to this article.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card , see this page . To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express , see this page .

Last updated on July 3 , 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best travel rewards credit cards based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of travelers. Factors in our evaluation include each card's annual fee, foreign transaction fees, rewards earnings rates, ease of use, redemption options, domestic and international acceptance, promotional APR period, bonus offers, and cardholder perks such as automatic statement credits and airport lounge access. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

Travel credit cards earn points (sometimes called miles) each time you buy something. The standard earning rate is 1 to 2 points per dollar spent, and many cards give you extra points for certain purchases, particularly travel expenses. The value of a point depends on the card that earned it and how you redeem it, but a good rule of thumb is to assume each point is worth an average of about 1 cent.

Your points accumulate in a rewards account, where you can use them to pay for travel. Most cards let you book travel directly using a portal similar to those at online travel agencies or on airline and hotel websites, but instead of paying cash, you pay with your points. Depending on the card, you may also have the option of booking travel any way you want, paying for it with the card and then cashing in your points for a credit against those expenses.

Points and miles are just different names for the same thing: the currency used in a travel rewards program. Some travel credit cards call them points, some call them miles.

Airline frequent flyer programs have long used the term “miles” to refer to the rewards you earn for flying. That’s because at one time, you really did earn rewards according to how many miles you flew — the longer the flight, the more miles you earned. Nowadays, most domestic airlines give out “miles” based on how much you spend, not how far you fly, so they’re really just points. (There are a few exceptions, though, notably Alaska Airlines.)

Especially when it comes to redeeming your rewards, there’s no difference between points and miles. The number of points or miles you need is based mostly on the cost of what you’re redeeming them for. It takes more than 500 miles (value about: $5) to get a free 500-mile flight!

The value of a point or mile depends on the card you earned it with and how you redeem it. A common rule of thumb is to assume that each point or mile is worth an average of 1 cent, although you can certainly get a much higher (or lower) redemption value. See our travel loyalty roundup page for NerdWallet’s current valuations for airline miles and hotel points.

Travel credit cards fall into two main categories: co-branded and general-purpose.

• Co-branded travel cards carry the name of an airline or hotel chain. The rewards you earn on the card can typically be redeemed only with that brand (or maybe its partners). Co-branded cards limit your flexibility, but because they are issued in partnership with an airline or hotel, they can give you special perks, like free checked bags or room upgrades.

• General-purpose travel cards are issued by a credit card company and are not directly tied to any particular airline or hotel. They earn points in the issuer's own program, such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards® or Citi ThankYou. These points are a lot more flexible, as you can use them to pay for a range of travel expenses, including flights on any airline or stays at any hotel. However, they don’t offer the airline- or hotel-specific perks of co-branded cards.

Travel cards — like rewards cards in general — typically require good to excellent credit for approval. Good credit is generally defined as a credit score of 690 or better. However, credit scores alone do not guarantee approval. Every issuer has its own criteria for evaluating applications.

Business travel can earn credit card rewards just like leisure travel. Credit cards that earn rewards for travel purchases don't distinguish between one or the other — meaning, if a card pays 3X points on airfare, for example, it's going to pay it no matter why you're buying the ticket. There are also travel credit cards specifically designed for business operators, with benefits and perks better aligned with their needs.

Where things get complicated is when you're not arranging the travel yourself. With credit card points, the rewards go to the cardholder. So if you arrange travel through your employer and the cost goes on the "company card," then the company card gets the points. Put it on your own card and get reimbursed later, and you get the points. (And if you have a company card with your name on it? That may come down to company policy.)

When redeeming travel rewards, you want to get as much value as possible. If you can get more value by using your rewards than by using cash, then it's smart to do so. (And of course, the reverse also applies.) NerdWallet has calculated the baseline values of most major credit card points, airline miles and hotel points. When you get a value that exceeds these baselines, go ahead and use your rewards. If not, consider using cash.

For example, say you could book a trip by paying $400 cash for a ticket or by redeeming 50,000 points or miles. In that case, your points would be getting you a value of 0.8 cents apiece (50,000 x 0.8 cents = $400). If the baseline value of each point is 1 cent, then you're better off paying cash and saving the points for when you can redeem them for 1 cent or better.

That said, you don't want to be overthinking it and hoarding points indefinitely in search of the deal to end all deals. Like any other currency, travel rewards lose value over time. That flight that costs 50,000 points today might cost 55,000 next year. Do you have enough points to get you where you want to go, when you want to go, in the way you want to get there? If so, don't let fractions of a penny stop you from booking your trip. It's your money, and you get to decide how to spend it.

A number of travel credit cards come with "travel credits," which reimburse you for specific expenses. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® , for example, has a $300 annual travel credit; several cards offer credits toward things like airline fees or hotel bookings; and a bunch of cards have a credit for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry .

The less restrictive a credit is, the easier it is to redeem. The easiest travel credit to redeem is one that:

Applies to a broad range of expenses. Some credits are very fickle. You may get $200 a year in "airline credit," but it applies only to incidental fees (not airfare) on a single airline that you have to choose ahead of time. A card may offer hundreds of dollars in credit toward travel, but you have to go through the issuer's booking portal, where rates may be more expensive and options more limited. Other credits, however, are broad and open-ended: $300 on any travel expense, $100 toward any airline booking, and so on.

Shows up automatically on your statement. Your issuer's system should be able to recognize qualifying expenses and then apply the credit to them without you having to do anything. If the only way to receive the credit is by calling a phone number or submitting receipts or other documentation, that makes it harder to redeem, which in turn makes it less likely that you'll redeem (and that may be the point).

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Travel credit cards help you earn valuable points and miles on your purchases. For maximum value, some cards earn rewards not only on travel, but also everyday purchases like dining, groceries and gas. You can redeem these rewards for free or discounted flights, hotel stays or to cover other travel-related expenses.

The best travel cards also come with additional features. Even no-annual-fee travel cards are likely to offer perks like sign-up bonuses, intro APR offers and travel insurance. But for top-of-the-line benefits like airport lounge access, elite status and travel credits, expect to pay an annual fee.

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Bankrate's Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

  • Best starter travel card:  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for flat-rate rewards:  Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for luxury travel:  The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Best for no annual fee:  Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card  ( See Rates & Fees )
  • Best for foodies:  American Express® Gold Card
  • Best for everyday spending: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
  • Best for intro APR:  Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  • Best for point values:  Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for practical perks:  Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for pairing:  Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for hotel bookings: Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card
  • Best no-annual-fee hotel card:  Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Best for luxury hotel perks: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Best for transfer partners:  Bilt Mastercard®
  • Best for gas:  Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
  • Best for companion tickets:  Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Best starter airline card:  Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Best for savers: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Best for first-year value:  Discover it® Miles
  • Best for fair credit:  Credit One Bank Wander® Card
  • What to know about travel credit cards
  • Tips for choosing the best travel card

Travel credit card perks

How do credit card points and miles work.

  • Expert advice on travel cards

How we assess the best travel credit cards

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Ask the experts

Credit range

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best starter travel card

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Bankrate score

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

Intro offer

Earn 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 Travel℠.

60,000 bonus points

We calculate this number by multiplying the card's intro offer by Bankrate's valuation of this issuer's rewards program , showing you how much your points or miles are worth in dollars.

Rewards rate

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠. 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries. 2x on all other travel purchases. 1x on all other purchases.

Regular APR

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

  • 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.
  • 3x 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.
  • 2x 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • 1x 1x on all other purchases.

What we love: This popular card comes loaded with features that can make it easy even for occasional travelers to offset the modest $95 annual fee without eating into hard-earned rewards. Plus, its rewards program is one of the best, giving you some of the most valuable travel redemptions — through both Chase and transfer partners — and Chase card pairing opportunities if you want to build your card portfolio eventually. Learn more: Why expert Margaret Weck loves using the Chase Sapphire Preferred Alternatives:   If you’re looking for an even simpler travel card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a terrific option. Its flat rewards rate makes it easy to know exactly how much you’ll earn with every purchase and though it can’t match the Sapphire Preferred’s redemption flexibility, it offers more redemption options than the typical travel rewards card. 

  • You earn Ultimate Rewards points with this card — some of the most valuable and flexible rewards around, especially if you pair it with Chase’s cash back cards in the future.
  • The card touts significant long-term benefits like anniversary bonus points and travel credits, as well as travel protections like trip cancellation insurance and a car rental collision damage waiver.
  • Doesn’t offer airline- or hotel-specific perks like free checked bags, elite status or free night stays.
  • The sign-up bonus is decent, but the card has previously offered higher, chart-topping bonus points.
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Best for flat-rate rewards

Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

New Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles once they spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Earn 75,000 miles

5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

2 Miles - 5 Miles

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

  • 5 Miles 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 Miles 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

What we love: It’s a great option for travelers looking for a straightforward rewards program and flexible redemption options. You'll earn unlimited miles on all eligible spending and can redeem not only for travel bookings, but also as a statement credit to cover travel purchases made in the past 90 days. Learn more: Why expert Jacqueline DeMarco loves the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Alternatives: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a higher rewards rate in some everyday spending categories and potentially more valuable points. Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each if you redeem for travel through Chase, while Capital One miles are only worth 1 cent each when you redeem for travel. Plus, Chase rewards are more helpful for occasional travelers since you can redeem as cash back at 1-cent-per-point value.

  • Carries solid perks given its low annual fee, including expedited airport purchase security and hotel experience credits, lost luggage reimbursement and more.
  • Zero foreign transaction fees make this an excellent choice for international travelers.
  • You can’t offset the annual fee with annual travel credits or bonuses alone as you can with some rival cards.
  • The card’s sign-up bonus carries a high spending requirement, so it may be tough to earn if you don’t have large purchases on the horizon.
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Best for luxury travel

Image of The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 80,000 points

Earn 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. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

See Pay Over Time APR

  • 5X Earn 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 Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

What we love: Luxury travelers and big spenders will appreciate the bevy of travel benefits, including annual statement credits worth around $1,700, elite hotel loyalty status and access to perhaps the most comprehensive airport lounge access available with a credit card. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Platinum Card® from American Express Alternatives: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a taste of luxury at a lower cost than many premium travel cards. You can unlock a generous rewards rate on both travel and general purchases, complimentary access to popular airport lounge memberships and valuable annual travel credits and anniversary miles.

  • Comes with a generous welcome offer and a longer time period to earn it compared to most rewards cards.
  • A robust line-up of airline and hotel partners and related perks make this card truly valuable for travelers.
  • The $695 annual fee may not be worth it if you don’t spend much on travel frequently or can’t take full advantage of the card’s luxury — and often niche — perks.
  • Redeeming and maximizing the card’s credit and benefits requires some legwork and can be a bit confusing.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for no annual fee

Image of Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel

20,000 miles

5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

1.25 Miles - 5 Miles

  • 1.25 Miles 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

What we love: This card offers some of the same advantages as the Capital One Venture, without the burden of an annual fee. It gives you the chance to earn flat-rate miles on your everyday spending and the option to transfer miles to over 15 loyalty program partners to even cover travel purchases outside Capital One — a unique level of redemption flexibility for a starter travel card. Learn more: Reasons to get the VentureOne Rewards Card Alternatives: A general-purpose flat-rate credit card that offers 2X points or 2 percent cash back on all purchases may bring more value if you don’t travel often and aren’t ready to upgrade to a travel rewards credit card with an annual fee. However, the Discover it® Miles earns a flat-rate 1.5X miles that can also be redeemed for cash back at 1-cent per mile, which is unusual for travel rewards.

  • The welcome offer is generous for a no-annual-fee travel credit card.
  • Booking hotel stays and rental cars through Capital One Travel nets you an impressive 5X miles.
  • Unlike several no-annual-fee travel cards, redeeming for non-travel purchases waters down your rewards’ value.
  • Capital One has no major U.S. carrier in its line-up of travel partners.
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies

Best for foodies

Image of American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • 3X Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

What we love: Few credit cards are more rewarding for traveling foodies than the American Express Gold Card. Both the food-related annual credits and the rewards rates at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and on flights booked directly with airlines or via the Amex travel portal are some of the best on the market. In fact, the up to $240 in credits each year alone nearly make up for the annual fee. Learn more: Why the Amex Gold is worth the annual fee Alternatives: If the Amex Gold Card’s annual fee sounds high, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card . It carries key travel perks, high travel and dining rewards rates, and a much lower annual fee.

  • This card features one of the best rewards return rates available on dining, groceries and food deliveries.
  • There is no preset spending limit, so you can enjoy extended purchasing power, and you also have the option to pay off purchases with Pay Over Time if necessary.
  • Although the card touts a solid collection of travel perks, it doesn’t include popular premium card perks like airport lounge access or trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
  • Only eligible airfare earns more than 1X points, while rival cards often earn similar (or higher) reward rates on hotel stays and other travel purchases as well.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.

Best for everyday spending

Image of Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

70,000 bonus points

Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com. Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations. Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

21.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

  • 10X Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • 3X Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • 1X Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

What we love: This card’s high rewards rate in everyday bonus categories makes it an especially good choice for occasional travelers and people looking for a standalone rewards card. Its practical bonus categories mean you can earn rewards quickly, even if you don’t actually spend a ton on travel. Alternatives:   As long as you don’t mind buying groceries online, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be an even more lucrative everyday rewards card. That’s thanks mostly to its high point redemption value (1.25 cents per point when you use points to book travel with Chase, versus just 1 cent per point when you book with Citi using the Strata Premier).

  • It’s one of the only travel cards that offers a high rewards rate on groceries, dining and gas, so it should work well whether it’s your standalone card or just one part of your card stack.
  • Its annual hotel benefit carries enough value to potentially offset the annual fee on its own.
  • The annual hotel benefit, though generous, isn’t very flexible: You’ll only get the $100 discount if you book a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through CitiTravel.com.
  • Based on Bankrate’s latest point and mile valuations, Citi ThankYou rewards carry a lower average redemption value than Chase, Amex and Capital One rewards.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Best for intro APR

Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

25,000 points

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.

19.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • 1.5X Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.

What we love: This entry-level travel card keeps things simple for occasional travelers. It offers simple flat-rate rewards and lets you redeem for a broad mix of travel options not typically available on many travel cards, such as cash back toward purchases with travel agencies,  zoos, art galleries and more. It’s even more valuable if you’re a Bank of America customer and can qualify for a rewards boost through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards® program. Learn more: Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card worth it? Alternatives: The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is another great starter travel card, but, unlike many cards in this category, it lets you transfer your miles to airline and hotel partners, potentially for a higher redemption value.

  • Its easy-to-earn sign-up bonus and intro APR offers give this card good short-term value.
  • No annual fees or foreign transaction fees sweeten this offer.
  • It only offers 1.5X points on purchases, and you can’t transfer points can’t to airline partners for more rewards value, so it may not be as lucrative as competing cards.
  • The top tiers of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards® program may be out of reach for many cardholders.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Best for point values

Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 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 Travel℠.

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠. Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

22.49% - 29.49% Variable

  • 10x Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • 5x Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.
  • 3x Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
  • 1x Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

What we love: Rewards-savvy travelers will be hard-pressed to find a card with better rewards potential than the Sapphire Reserve. Points are worth 50 percent more through Chase Travel, and potentially more with the right transfer partner. It’s a stellar partner for Chase’s cash back cards and stacks on even more value with enough perks to recoup the annual fee without relying on hard-earned rewards. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Alternatives: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers some of the same key perks as the Sapphire Reserve at a much lower cost. Along with a generous rewards rate on both Capital One Travel and general purchases, the card boasts valuable, practical benefits like competitive airport lounge access , up to $300 in annual Capital One Travel credits and 10,000 bonus miles every year on your account anniversary.

  • You can kickstart your rewards bank with one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses on the market.
  • Its top-tier benefits include up to $300 in annual travel statement credits, Priority Pass airport lounge access, exhaustive travel protections and stand-out partner perks.
  • The card’s cost could be a deterrent for some new cardholders, especially if they plan on encountering adding multiple authorized users.
  • You won’t get as many luxury hotel and airport lounge perks with this card as you would with some of its rivals.
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

Best for practical perks

Image of Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

75,000 miles

10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

2 Miles - 10 Miles

  • 10 Miles 10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 Miles 5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel

What we love: This is the perfect middleground for travelers who want the practical benefits from luxury travel cards without dealing with bloated features and an annual fee upwards of $500. It offers complimentary lounge access, high-earning bonus rewards categories, anniversary credits and bonus miles, which can easily make the card worth it for frequent travelers. Learn more: Capital One Venture X Benefits Guide Alternatives: If a higher annual fee is no issue, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s a top choice for frequent travelers thanks to its impressive welcome offer and luxury perks like annual travel credits, lounge access and hotel elite status. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be better if your luxury travel experience calls for racking up more rewards.

  • Offers anniversary bonus miles and a chance to earn credits worth hundreds of dollars starting at your first account anniversary.
  • Comes with complimentary lounge access at over 1,300 lounges for you and two guests per visit.
  • To earn the anniversary credit, travel must be booked through the Capital One Travel portal. That’s not as flexible as some other cards, which offer credits that cover any travel purchases, regardless of how you book.
  • Lacks some perks found on other premium travel cards like airline or hotel elite status, which can get you benefits like free checked bags or room upgrades.
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more

Best for pairing

Image of Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Up to $300 cash back

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

20.49% - 29.24% Variable

  • 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.
  • 3% 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service.
  • 1.5% 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

What we love: Not only does it earn 1.5 percent cash back on general spending, but it also has a bonus cash back rate for drugstores and dining at restaurants. And if you pair it with one or two premium Chase travel cards, you could pool your rewards for better travel redemption value.  Learn more: Why I love the Chase Freedom Unlimited Alternatives: If you want to take advantage of even more rewarding cash back categories and remain in the Chase family, consider the Chase Freedom Flex® .

  • You can pool rewards with other Chase cards to maximize your earnings.
  • The additional rewards rate offer can add even more cash back to your pocket for the first year.
  • The welcome offer isn’t as competitive as other cards’ offers.
  • Maximizing rewards with this and other Chase cards can get complicated for people who like simple rewards programs.
  • Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.

Best for hotel bookings

Image of Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.

Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels. Earn unlimited 4X points on airlines. Earn unlimited 3X points on other travel and restaurants. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • 5X Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels
  • 4X Earn unlimited 4X points on airlines
  • 3X Earn unlimited 3X points on other travel and restaurants
  • 1X Earn 1X points on other purchases

What we love: It offers a great rewards rate on hotel bookings and gives you a chance to earn a $50 annual statement credit with a $50 minimum airline purchase. Add in a solid rate on airline purchases, other travel and restaurants and this card carries great value as a standalone mid-tier card for occasional travelers. Alternatives: If you want to earn travel rewards but don’t actually spend much on hotels and airfare, the lower-tier Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is also worth a look. Though it earns also rewards on travel, it boasts a great mix of other practical everyday categories (including gas stations).

  • You can transfer points to Wells Fargo’s new list of airline and hotel partners, including popular programs like British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges and more, which could boost the redemption value of your rewards.
  • The $50 annual statement credit offsets more than half the card’s $95 annual fee and should be a cinch to earn if you fly at least once per year.
  • Wells Fargo only offers one other card that earns travel rewards (the Autograph), and there is some category overlap between the two, so they may not be as lucrative as some competing card stacks.
  • The card doesn’t carry some popular travel perks available on other mid-tier travel cards, such as credits for expedited airport security screening or rideshares.
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines, 3X points on other travel and restaurants, and 1X points on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Book your travel with the Autograph Journey Card and enjoy Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Earn a $50 annual statement credit with $50 minimum airline purchase.
  • Up to $1,000 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.

Best no-annual-fee hotel card

Image of Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Earn 70,000 points

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

20.99%-29.99% Variable

  • 7X Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

What we love: This card earns rewards in a terrific mix of everyday bonus categories, so it should be easy to rack up Hilton points even if you don’t spend a ton on hotel bookings. Since it charges no annual fee and provides a few Hilton Honors benefits like Silver status, it’s also a great fit if you’re new to hotel cards and want a single no-annual-fee option instead of juggling multiple rewards cards. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Hilton Honors American Express Card Alternatives: The American Express® Green Card could be more flexible since it lets you earn and redeem rewards on a much wider variety of travel purchases, including airfare and bookings with several hotel brands, not just Hilton. You can transfer points to the Hilton Honors program as well, but the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card may be better if you prefer upgraded Hilton-specific rewards, loyalty status and other perks.

  • Comes with automatic Silver Elite status, which includes a free fifth award night when you book at least four consecutive nights with points.
  • Earns rewards in three of the average person’s biggest spending categories, making it a terrific standalone option for earning Hilton points.
  • A higher-tier Hilton card would earn more on Hilton bookings and could be more lucrative for frequent guests, even with an annual fee.
  • You can only redeem points with Hilton and its partners, which limits the rewards value you earn on the everyday categories compared to a general-purpose cards’ rewards.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors™ Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors™ Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • No Annual Fee.

Best for luxury hotel perks

Image of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • 6X Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®
  • 3X 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X 2X points on all other eligible purchases

What we love: Frequent Marriott guests looking for luxury card-level perks and elite status should be able to justify this premium card. Along with a terrific rewards rate on Marriott bookings and an annual free night award, you could enjoy generous annual credits for restaurant purchases and Marriott property stays, airport lounge access, elite night credits and more. Learn more: Best Marriott credit cards Alternatives: If you’re looking for top-tier travel perks but want the flexibility to earn and redeem rewards for stays at any hotel chain, consider an elite travel card from Chase or Amex, which can come with generous travel benefits, airport lounge access and the ability to transfer points to Marriott. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is another lucrative alternative.

  • Outperforms other Marriott cards with its boosted rewards on travel-related categories and 21X points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, thanks to the automatic Platinum Elite status.
  • It’s one of the only hotel cards that includes complimentary Priority Pass lounge access, top travel protections and credits for expedited airport security screening.
  • Unlocking some of the card’s best perks — like Five Suite Night Awards — requires a $60,000 annual spend, which may be tough to reach even for frequent Marriott guests.
  • Unless luxury perks are at the top of your wishlist, the annual fee may not be worth it and a lower-tier hotel card may offer more value overall.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.

Best for transfer partners

Image of Bilt Mastercard®

Bilt Mastercard®

Intro offer is not available for this Wells Fargo credit card.

3x points on dining. 2x points on travel. 1x points on other purchases. Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year. When you make at least 5 posted transactions in a statement period using your Bilt Mastercard, you'll earn points on rent and qualifying net purchases.

1X Points - 3X Points

  • 3X Points 3x points on dining
  • 2X Points 2x points on travel
  • 1X Points 1x points on other purchases
  • 1X Points Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year. When you make at least 5 posted transactions in a statement period using your Bilt Mastercard, you'll earn points on rent and qualifying net purchases.

What we love: Not only is this card is a terrific choice for renters since it earns rewards and waives transaction fees when using it to pay rent, it’s also great for rewards strategists considering the extremely robust travel rewards program. You can earn rewards on travel and dining and your points carry a high value whether you redeem through the Bilt travel portal or one of the many airline and hotel transfer partners. Alternatives: If you like the Bilt card’s travel rewards program but don’t see yourself renting long term, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns generously on both travel and dining and also boasts high-value points and transfer partners. If the way you pay rent doesn’t incur credit card payment fees, a flat-rate card may also be worth weighing. 

  • It’s the only card that helps you avoid the fees typically associated with paying rent with a credit card.
  • Offers a solid collection of travel perks for a no-annual-fee card, including trip cancellation and interruption protection, trip delay reimbursement and other high-level travel protections.
  • You can only use rewards to cover rent, toward a future home down payment or for travel and shopping. Cash back isn’t an option.
  • There is no sign-up bonus. Most competing travel cards — even those with no annual fee — offer at least a $200 bonus.
  • Select "Apply Now" to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year.
  • 2x points on travel.
  • 3x points on dining.
  • 1x points on other purchases.
  • Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period.
  • When renting at a Bilt Alliance property, you can choose to have your rent payments automatically reported by Bilt to the three major credit bureaus each month; Experian™, TransUnion™, and Equifax™.

Best for gas

Image of Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

20,000 bonus points

Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services and phone plans. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • 3X Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services and phone plans.

What we love: The Wells Fargo Autograph card is a great option for occasional travelers and households on the go looking to earn rewards while avoiding an annual fee and reduced redemption value for cash rewards. It’s one of a few entry-level travel cards to offer high, year-round bonus rewards for gas, dining, transit and other key travel needs. Learn more: Is the Wells Fargo Autograph worth it? Alternatives: If you’re looking for ways to maximize the value of your rewards, you should consider a travel card that lets you transfer your points to airlines or hotels, like the Bilt Mastercard® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

  • While some issuers only reward travel purchases made directly with airlines or through issuer portals, this card lets you shop around for the best deal on third-party travel sites and still earn extra rewards.
  • Carries decent perks such as rental car collision damage waiver coverage, roadside assistance and Visa Signature® Concierge benefits, like access to Visa’s Luxury Hotel Collection (terms apply).
  • Unlike with traditional travel cards, you cannot transfer your points to airlines or hotels
  • The travel perks and intro APR are weak compared to competing travel-oriented cards’ offers.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.

Best for companion tickets

Image of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 85,000 miles

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

  • 3X Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • 2X Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1X Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

What we love: The annual companion certificate on Main Cabin domestic flights (taxes and fees apply) comes with this card after the first year is valuable enough to justify the annual fee even if you’re just looking for great Delta perks to make travel smoother with a partner. Plus, the companion certificate is easier to obtain than other airline cards’ since it carries no spending requirement that must be met beyond the card’s annual fee. Alternatives: The American Express® Green Card could be a great alternative since it charges a lower $150 annual fee, lets you earn and redeem rewards on travel with any eligible airline (not just Delta) and offers credits for Loungebuddy lounge access and Clear Plus. You can even transfer points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Boasts several valuable travel perks, including priority boarding, a free first checked bag and specialized annual credits for select rideshare services and reservations with Delta Stays and Resy.
  • Gets you closer to Medallion Status and discounts on in-flight purchases, complimentary upgrades, and more.
  • Its rewards rate on non-travel purchases is lacking — a general-purpose travel card could potentially offer better rewards value and flexibility for rewards travel outside Delta.
  • No longer offers complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge access as of this year, although airport lounge access is a staple perk for premium travel cards.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $20 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Receive Zone 5 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members.
  • $350 Annual Fee.

Best starter airline card

Image of Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 50,000 points

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

  • 2X Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
  • 1X Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

What we love: This card’s anniversary bonus offers enough value to nearly offset the annual fee on its own, so it should be a terrific low-stakes option whether you’re new to airline cards or a regular Southwest flyer looking for a low-maintenance card. Plus, its sign-up bonus value is on par with the value you’ll get with much pricier airline and travel cards. Learn more: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus benefits guide Alternatives: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card could offer better value overall, despite its $149 annual fee. It carries an annual $75 Southwest travel credit and 7,500 bonus points each year on your account anniversary — more than enough value to justify the higher fee.

  • You’ll automatically earn 3,000 Rapid Rewards points each year after your account anniversary, which could offset much of the card’s already-low annual fee.
  • Delivers the same hefty sign-up bonus as higher-tier Southwest cards.
  • Unlike several travel cards, it doesn’t carry rewards categories for popular everyday purchases like gas or dining.
  • It may not be the best Southwest value for frequent flyers since it poses a 3 percent foreign transaction fee and doesn’t offer perks like upgraded boardings or elite status benefits.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best for savers

Image of Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

  • Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

60,000 points

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

21.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • 2X Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
  • 1.5X Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

What we love: If you do your banking with Bank of America and qualify for Preferred Rewards status, this card could provide an exclusive 25 percent to 75 percent rewards rate boost. The  rewards rates — 2X points on dining and travel, with 1.5X points on all other purchases — could increase to an incredible 3.5X on travel and dining with an unrivaled flat 2.62X points rate. Learn more: Why expert Sara Coleman loves the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Alternatives: The similarly-priced Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best alternatives thanks to its stellar travel protections, yearly bonus rewards and stronger rewards program. However, flat-rate cards like the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card or the Discover it® Miles card could be lucrative if you don’t think the $95 annual fee is worth it.

  • The $95 annual fee is relatively affordable for this card category thanks to the up to $100 in yearly airline incidental statement credits.
  • You can smooth out your travel experience with great benefits like credits toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Attaining the highest rewards rate is not an easy feat, since you’ll need to hold significant funds in Bank of America accounts.
  • This card does not offer a few popular premium travel perks like lounge access.
  • Low $95 annual fee.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn 2.5-3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87 - 2.62 points on all other purchases, for every $1 you spend.
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
  • Travel Insurance protections to assist with trip delays, cancellations and interruptions, baggage delays and lost luggage.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Best for first-year value

Image of Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

  • Unlimited Bonus: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

Discover Match®

Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

  • 1.5X Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

What we love: In addition to the exceptionally valuable Discover Match® , this card combines solid flat-rate rewards with consumer-friendly terms, like minimal fees and an equal value for both travel and cash back redemptions. Travelers who value simplicity will appreciate this card’s straightforward rewards and adaptability — even when you aren’t traveling. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Discover it® Miles Alternatives: The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card carries a more straightforward and still easy-to-reach welcome bonus. The VentureOne card also gives you the option of transferring miles to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, which could increase the redemption value of your rewards.

  • All miles earned in your first year will be matched at the end of the year, which could make it one of the most valuable first-year offers for no annual fee.
  • Miles don’t lose value when they’re redeemed for cash back, which gives it a leg up over many travel rewards programs for occasional travelers.
  • You’ll miss out on pretty standard travel perks like travel insurance, and car rental damage protection.
  • The rewards structure lacks flexibility; you won’t be able to transfer your miles or use them to book travel.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 18.24% - 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Best for fair credit

Image of Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Intro offer is not available for this Credit One Bank credit card.

Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site. Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.

29.74% Variable

  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • 5X Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • 1X Earn 1x points on all other purchases

What we love: The Credit One Bank Wander® Card is a solid option if you want to earn points on travel but have trouble qualifying for mainstream travel cards. Not only is this card accessible with only fair credit, but its rewards program boasts generously high rewards rates in key travel categories. Learn more: Best travel cards for people with bad or fair credit Alternatives: If you don’t mind putting down a refundable security deposit, consider a no-annual-fee secured card like the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card *. It’s a unique secured card that lets you build credit while earning rewards in a category of your choice (with travel just one of many popular options) as well as grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

  • It’s one of the only travel rewards cards available with a fair credit score, making it a decent option if you want to earn travel rewards as you work on your score.
  • Provides 5X points in travel, dining and gas, plus 10X points on eligible hotel and rental car bookings through Credit One Bank — rare and impressive rates with only fair credit.
  • Its annual fee is high compared to other cards you can get with a fair credit score , so it may not be the best fit if you prioritize building credit over earning rewards.
  • Other travel cards may offer better perks, fewer redemption restrictions and more value, so it may be worth working on your score with a lower-cost card before committing to the costly annual fee.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees

Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit  AmericanExpress.com/benefitsguide  for more details. Underwritten by Amex assurance company.

The information about the American Express® Green Card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuers.

Compare Bankrate's best travel credit cards of 2024

What are travel credit cards.

Travel credit cards allow cardholders to earn points or miles on a variety of purchases (typically travel-related), which are redeemable for travel bookings, statement credits, gift cards and more.

The best travel credit cards do more than help you foot the bill for your next flight — travel cards also offer perks to upgrade your entire travel experience. Trip insurance , annual travel credits, concierge services and lounge access are all common benefits. Airline and hotel co-branded credit cards sometimes offer specific discounts and perks for loyalty program members.

Pros and cons of travel credit cards

Although a well-chosen travel card can pay huge dividends, it might not be the right move for every traveler. Before you apply, take time to weigh the benefits versus the drawbacks of travel credit cards .

Tips on choosing the best travel credit card for you

The right travel credit card for you will carry features and benefits that give you the best value. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the steps to choosing the best travel card.

How to choose a travel credit card

1. know how you prefer to travel.

Knowing whether your travel expenses lean toward airfare, hotel stays or a mix of other travel will help you decide whether you should get an airline card, hotel card or general-purpose travel card. A co-branded airline or hotel credit card may be a good fit if you mostly travel with a certain brand and want exclusive privileges to enhance your experience. A general-purpose travel card is better if you prefer to keep your travel options open.

2. Prioritize redemption value

You may have to pick between simplicity and maximum value when comparing cards and rewards programs. Many travel cards offer a standard point or mile redemption value of 1 cent when you redeem toward travel through the issuer portal, but some cards can get you a higher redemption value when you transfer rewards to airline or hotel partners. However, it's common for many travel reward programs to reduce the redemption value toward non-travel options or limit these redemption options altogether. If you prefer simplicity over maximizing rewards, you may want to consider cards that allow you to redeem points or miles at an equal 1-cent value toward general travel purchase credits, cash back or other non-travel options.

3. Match your card to your spending habits

Take a look at your typical spending and find which travel categories and non-travel categories you spend the most in to help you choose a card that offers a high rewards rate for your regular spending. Just make sure you factor in rewards spending caps.

4. Note what's worth the extra money

High rewards rates and valuable travel perks are the biggest reasons to get a travel card, but many of the best cards carry a high annual fee. You could stick with a no-annual-fee travel card (or at least one with around a $99 fee) if you're mainly focused on earning rewards, but you may have to pay up to $500 or more for luxurious perks like airport lounge access, comprehensive travel insurance and hundreds of dollars in annual travel credits .

5. Look toward your next trip abroad

If you travel overseas, check to see if the card you're considering charges a foreign transaction fee. And since some credit cards aren't as widely accepted as others, you'll also want to make sure your credit card will work when traveling overseas . For example, merchants may not accept Discover and American Express cards as widely as Visa and Mastercard. If a trip is coming up in the next three to six months, keep an eye out for the big sign-up bonuses travel cards are known for. As a rule of thumb, the higher the annual fee, the higher the sign-up bonus should be.

Co-branded travel cards vs. general travel cards

Experts typically divide travel credit cards into two categories: co-branded travel cards and general travel cards. Co-branded cards are linked to a particular airline or hotel, while general travel cards offer more flexible reward opportunities. Here’s why and when you might want one or the other.

  • Co-branded cards
  • General travel cards

Co-branded travel cards tend to offer higher rewards rates on eligible travel purchases in exchange for limiting your reward redemption options to just one airline or hotel program . These cards may also feature more specific perks associated with the respective hotel or airline, such as free award nights, complimentary airline elite status or priority boarding — which general-purpose travel cards don’t often carry).

However, you won’t be able to use your rewards with a wide variety of different hotels and airlines like general-purpose cards allow. Plus, despite co-branded travel cards’ typically higher rewards rates, many brand-specific rewards tend to be worth less than the potential value of general-purpose cards’ points and miles.

When to get a co-branded travel card : When you often fly or stay with a specific airline or hotel and want to maximize your benefits with that brand.

General travel cards earn rewards on various travel categories and aren’t limited to a particular airline or hotel. Such cards may lack some of the dedicated perks you’ll find on a co-branded travel card, such as in-flight discounts, but make up for it with rewards flexibility and broader perks like general travel credits, expedited security screening and wider airport lounge access. 

The top travel cards even let you transfer your points or miles to airline and hotel loyalty programs, often at a 1:1 rate. Redeeming with some airlines and hotels can even make your rewards more valuable than they would be if you redeemed with the card issuer.

When to get a general travel card : When you have no preferred airline or hotel and want the additional flexibility a general travel card offers. 

Who should get a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is almost always worth it for frequent travelers or anyone who wants to earn rewards toward their next vacation.

If you can save up airline miles, rack up points for free nights at hotels or get discounted travel through your credit card issuer, you’re on your way to significant travel savings. However, the right travel card for you will depend on your travel habits.

Frequent travelers

Naturally, the ideal candidate for a travel card is someone who travels a lot or plans to book several flights and hotel stays per year. However, in some cases, you don’t have to be a frequent traveler to reap the benefits of a travel rewards card. A number of cards offer good rewards rates on general purchases.

Travel beginners

If you’re new to travel rewards, a good place to start is with a travel card that makes it easy to earn and redeem points, without requiring you to navigate a complex rewards program or worry about tiered rewards rates or varying point redemption values. 

Brand loyalists

If you tend to book travel with the same brands frequently or already belong to an airline or hotel loyalty program, a co-branded travel card can offer terrific value.  Airline- and hotel-specific rewards cards often earn a top rate on bookings with the brand as well as exclusive perks like lounge access and automatic elite status. 

Business travelers

Some of the most valuable travel credit cards are business cards . Whether you're a freelancer on the go or the CEO of a Fortune 500, the right travel credit card can help you earn high rewards rates on everyday business purchases. 

International travelers

If you frequently travel abroad, a card with no foreign transaction fees is a great way to help you avoid extra costs on overseas purchases. Plus, if you hate waiting in line at airport security or customs, a lot of travel cards offer statement credits to reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.

Luxury travelers

Luxury travel cards often charge a pretty penny but also offer a ton of value via perks like lounge access and annual travel credits. These perks not only make travel more comfortable, but also often carry enough value to offset the card’s cost on their own.

Still unsure if a travel credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

Here’s how a Bankrate editor chose his travel card

Here’s how a bankrate editor chose his travel card.

With all of this advice in mind, let’s see how a credit card expert made their pick. Here’s Bankrate editor Nouri Zarrugh on how he chose his travel card:

When it comes to earning rewards, I’ve always stuck with cash back cards, preferring the simplicity of knowing exactly how much my rewards are worth and the ease of redeeming for statement credits. Recently, though, I decided I wanted to travel a bit more frequently, and I figured a new travel rewards card could be a great tool to help me earn free trips. When choosing the right card for me, a few major points of consideration stood out: Cost: I didn’t feel like I traveled enough to justify a huge annual fee. Simplicity : I wanted to stick with a single, streamlined travel card and not worry about juggling multiple rewards programs or rewards rates. Perks : While I didn’t need anything too fancy, I thought it might be nice to have a perk like TSA Precheck included, since I hate waiting in long airport security lines. To my surprise, the card that stood out most was the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Though it carried an intimidating annual fee of $395 ( See Rates & Fees ), I found this cost was more than worth it once I dug into the details. In fact, its benefits were so valuable, I barely needed to worry about offsetting the cost.  Two of its annual perks — a $300 Capital One travel credit and 10,000 bonus miles every year on my account anniversary — are valuable enough to offset the fee on their own. This means as long as I take one flight a year, I can basically break even on the card. Any rewards or perks I get beyond that feel like pure upside. It’s a huge bonus, then, that the card also includes practical benefits like Priority Pass lounge access and a credit of up to $100 toward the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While I’ve never frequented airport lounges, I see these privileges as essentially free considering the value of the annual travel credit and bonus miles. So, I figure, why not take advantage?  For me, the Venture X strikes the perfect balance: A flat rewards rate that makes it easy to earn miles on everything I buy; flexible redemption through Capital One or via transfer to airlines and hotels, and practical perks I know I’ll use when I travel. I never imagined I’d have a $395 travel card in my wallet, but for me, it’s at worst a coupon for a flight every year, which can nudge me to take that next trip. — Nouri Zarrugh, Editor, Bankrate

Travel benefits may differ from card to card, but some of the most popular travel cards available often feature a few key perks. 

Travel insurance

Travel cards may offer various travel insurances , such as trip delay protection, trip cancellation insurance, lost baggage insurance or car rental insurance. These benefits aren’t worth anything until you need them, but you’ll be glad you have them when your flight is canceled or your luggage gets lost.

Travel credits

Credits toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry are a popular and common benefit on many travel cards. You can typically use this credit once every four years, which roughly corresponds to how long a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership lasts. Some cards may also provide an annual credit toward Clear Plus — another expedited security membership. Higher-end travel cards often offer annual statement credits toward travel purchases, and many of these credits nearly offset these cards’ annual fees. 

In-flight perks

Co-branded airline cards typically offer some airport and in-flight benefits on top of their reward-earning capabilities. These can include discounts on in-flight purchases (usually 25 percent back on refreshments and WiFi), free checked bags, flight seating upgrades or priority boarding. 

Free hotel award nights

Co-branded hotel cards may include free hotel award nights annually as part of their benefits. Some cards also add an extra complimentary awards night to your stay if you’ve booked a certain number of consecutive nights. These nights are typically capped at a certain value (sometimes based on the card or your elite status), and may be valuable enough to make up for some cards’ annual fees.

Airport lounge access

One of the most popular (and valuable) travel benefits featured on high-end and luxury travel cards is complimentary access to airport lounges. The lounges you gain access to depend on the card, though co-branded cards will often grant access to the lounge corresponding to the card’s airline. The Amex Platinum card currently offers the best airport lounge access .

If you want to add a credit card to your portfolio for your travel needs, knowing what cards are popular and why people like them can help steer your decision. We regularly stay abreast of these conversations online and noticed two travel cards come up regularly: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express .

These cards shine because they offer some of the best rates on travel purchases and the most comprehensive set of benefits and perks . Despite their annual fees, what you get in return can far outweigh your costs. And the conversation around these two cards isn’t new: Is the effort of maximizing their perks worth it?

What people say about travel credit cards perks

The Sapphire Reserve is often referred to as the gold standard in travel benefits and protections, and the value of its trip insurance is a big part of that. A member of the Rick Steves Forum remarks on the value of the insurance: “It has pretty extensive coverage wherever I travel … my entire trip is covered as long as I charged any portion of the trip to my card.” This feature is unique to the Sapphire Reserve and sets it apart from other premium cards, which require you to charge your entire trip purchase to the card to have active coverage.

But using trip insurance isn’t always a simple process. As a user in the r/CreditCards forum on Reddit cautions: “Credit card travel insurance in general is very specific on what it covers, and people tend to overestimate just how useful the coverage actually is,” they write. “These are named peril policies, so unless you see your exact situation as a covered hazard the policies won't pay out.”

The Platinum Card from American Express gets a lot of buzz for reasons similar to the Sapphire Reserve. The card gives so many benefits, credits and additional perks that it’s often called a coupon book for luxury travel. But for many people, the value comes down to whether they’re willing to do the work to maximize its features. Another r/CreditCards member says they use the card’s Hilton and Marriott status boosters, rental car company loyalty program automatic status features, Centurion lounge access, hotel and airline incidental credits, membership credits and more. Using all these features helps them offset the annual fee.

While some people love maximizing the card’s features to extract  as much value as possible, others, like this Redditor, think it’s too much work:

“The only benefit the Platinum card really adds is Centurion but only to the [cardholder] … I believe the Platinum is worth [it] at least the first year for the [sign-up] bonus but then it doesn't get much use after that. Trust me the credits are really annoying to use.” — r/CreditCards user

These two premium cards stand out from the rest because they offer the most comprehensive features available to suit your travel needs and protect you from any issues that arise. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an exceptional option to protect you from travel issues, but make sure you know the fine print. While the Amex Platinum may not be as ideal for travel protections, the credits offered more than offset its annual fee if you can put in the effort to fully maximize them.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned cardholder, your travel card should always work in your favor by offering the features and benefits you’ll actually use and that make your travels more enjoyable. But whether you’re willing to put in the effort to maximize a card’s value is something you’ll need to decide for yourself.

*The quotes and citations included on this page have been verified by our editorial team and are accurate as of the posting date. Be sure to check the issuer's website/terms and conditions for all up to date content. Outlinked content may contain views and opinions that do not reflect the views and opinions of Bankrate.

Credit card points and miles are two of the key types of credit card rewards , along with cash back. You’ll earn points and miles by making purchases with your credit card, but you can typically redeem these rewards for travel, gift cards and more — not just statement credits.

Points and miles tend to be more flexible than cash back, but since their value depends on how you redeem them — and, in the case of travel redemptions, where you’re going, when you book, your fare class and more — it may take a bit more effort to make the most of them.

What are your points and miles worth?

Since many airlines and hotels use dynamic pricing models that continually optimize airfare and room prices, it can be hard to know exactly how much your rewards are worth without doing a little math.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a travel hacker to get a sense of this idea. Before you redeem, you can check your reward redemption value by dividing the cost of a plane or hotel booking in cash by its cost in points or miles. This calculation will result in the cash value of your points or miles.

You can also compare this value to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations to determine if you’re getting a good deal on your redemptions. Bankrate collected data on hundreds of bookings across dozens of airline, hotel and credit card rewards programs and estimated how much each program’s rewards are worth on average .

  • Airline rewards values
  • Hotel rewards values
  • Credit card program rewards values

The table below shows Bankrate’s estimated reward redemption value for a variety of popular airline loyalty programs. You’ll notice how widely the value varies between airlines, with some offering close to 3 cents per point in average redemption value and others struggling to meet a 1-cent-per-point value.

Keep in mind, however, that these values are averages based on a variety of fare classes, destinations, booking periods and more. For example, while Bankrate estimates Delta SkyMiles carry an average redemption value of around 1.2 cents per mile, they could be worth more or less depending on the details of your booking. 

*Based on weighted average of median point/mile values across economy and first/business class fares.

Like airline miles, hotel points fluctuate in value. The table below shows Bankrate’s estimated point values for some of the most popular hotel brands. 

As you can see, hotel points tend to be worth less than airline and credit card rewards on average, often carrying less than 1 cent per point in redemption value. That said, hotel loyalty programs sometimes offer more favorable exchange rates when you transfer rewards from a credit card rewards program. For example, you may be able to turn 1,000 credit card points into 2,000 hotel points (a 2:1 transfer ratio). 

*Based on median point values across budget, mid-tier and luxury hotel bookings.

Unlike hotel and airline rewards programs, credit card reward programs typically earn points or miles that offer a consistent redemption value when you use them with the issuer. Though the redemption value of your rewards may vary based on how you redeem, each redemption method should offer a consistent baseline value. 

Some credit card rewards programs may also allow you to transfer your points or miles to airline and hotel loyalty programs, which could boost their value considerably. For each major credit card rewards program, we estimate a baseline redemption value (assuming you book for travel with the issuer) and a Bankrate’s Value, which averages the program’s best-value transfer partners.

*Based on an average of the issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (if available).

When to use rewards vs. cash

To demonstrate when it’s best to use your reward miles versus paying in cash, we set up this example:

We estimate American Airlines AAdvantage miles are worth 1.0 cents. If you book a seat in the main cabin on a one-way flight from Boston to Miami, and it costs either $139 or 21,500 miles, your miles are only worth $0.006 ($139 / 21,500 miles = $0.006). Since your miles for this flight are worth less than 1.0 cents, you may want to save your miles and pay cash for this flight.

But if you book a first-class seat on the same flight for $433 or 31,500 miles, your miles are now worth $0.013 ($433 / 31,500 = $0.013). Since 1.3 cents is higher than our latest valuation, you’re coming out ahead if you use your miles to pay for this flight.

Bankrate experts share their advice on using travel credit cards

It’s important to know how to maximize your rewards and perks. Otherwise, a travel card could end up being a money pit. Here are a few pointers from our experts for making the most of your travel card: 

Combine cards to maximize rewards

Knowing how much you spend in different categories and which merchants are eligible for rewards will help you earn more and build an optimized stack of rewards cards. A flat-rate card is often a great starting point to earn the same rate on every purchase you make. As you build out a rewards strategy, you can incorporate a card with bonus categories to earn even more in your highest spending areas.

Expert Insight:

“For a long time, I’ve used a combination of Chase credit cards known as the Chase trifecta for all my family’s spending…. [I] don’t typically use my Sapphire Reserve for everyday spending and bills. Since it only offers 1X points on non-bonus category spending, I use my Freedom Unlimited to make sure I earn a minimum of 1.5 percent cash back on everything I buy.” “I use each card strategically to earn as much in rewards as possible, then I pool them in my Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them for airfare, excursions, hotels and more.” — Holly D. Johnson — Award-winning personal finance writer and Bankrate contributor: Why I love the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Maximize your rewards value with transfer partners and issuer travel

Save your rewards for the most valuable redemption options. Travel points and miles often lose value toward non-travel options like cash back, so you’ll want to redeem your rewards for travel through the issuer portal for at least 1 cent per point or mile. However, transferring your rewards to the right airline or hotel partner program is usually worth the extra effort since it could net you even more value.

Expert Insight

“When I redeem my points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the most I can get is 1.25 cents apiece, which is pretty good. However, if I transfer them to a partner airline’s loyalty program, I will often get much more. For example, I can transfer my points to United Airlines MileagePlus and use them to pay for flights. When I do, I generally get a value of 2 or more cents per point — in line with Bankrate estimates that Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around 2 cents apiece on average when used with the right transfer partner.” — Margaret Wack — Personal finance expert and Bankrate contributor: Why I love the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Make the most of your travel perks

Travel benefits are one of the main reasons to get a travel card, and are often key to making up a card’s annual fee. Be sure to read the fine print to make sure you can take full advantage of these offers . For example, one card’s travel credit may apply to any travel purchase, including airfare, while another card’s may only cover costs like baggage fees or in-flight purchases. 

“This is the year to take inventory of your credit cards and make sure they’re serving you well. If you’re paying an annual fee, look for a card with recurring benefits. Whether it’s annual award nights, waived luggage fees or elite status benefits, these perks can offset your annual fee and make your travels more pleasant … Despite putting minimal spending on my Hilton Honors Amex Aspire card, I keep renewing it every year. That’s because the card provides automatic Hilton Diamond elite status, which can easily offset the $550 annual fee. Recurring card benefits like [these] can save you a lot on travel and are worth considering when shopping for a new credit card.” — Ariana Arghandewal — Travel rewards expert and Bankrate contributor: Five benefits you need from a travel credit card

Plan for the sign-up bonus

The best travel cards come with generous welcome offers, but these bonuses may require a high spend in a short timeframe. That’s why it’s important to consider whether the spending requirement fits with your typical spending habits or whether you need to plan purchases to meet the requirement. Just be sure not to overextend yourself or take on debt you can’t pay back just to earn a bonus — interest and fees can easily eat through any value you’d get.

“Keep in mind that credit card sign-up offers change often. So if you’re interested in a particular card but not blown away by its current offer (there are some for 100,000 points or more that aren’t always worth the trouble), it could be worth your while to wait for a better one.” — Ariana Arghandewal — Travel rewards expert and Bankrate contributor: 6 ways to get bigger credit card bonuses

Look out for limited-time offers, partner perks and other benefits

Keeping an eye out for limited-time offers like extraordinarily high sign-up bonuses, perks with partner services (like rideshares or delivery services) and other reward-earning opportunities is a great way to squeeze the most value from your travel card. Issuers sometimes provide shopping and travel portals and card-linked reward programs for select purchases (like for pre-paid dining or participating merchant spending), which can help you bank extra rewards.

“Keep an eye on your email inbox and rewards portal for any limited-time promotions your issuer may be offering. Many American Express cards feature Amex Offers, which lets you access perks like statement credits for spending a certain amount on specific hotels and other retailers.  Other cards, like the Capital One Venture X, also have occasional promotional offers, such as a credit for 5 percent back on VRBO rentals.” — Lori Zaino — Travel expert and Bankrate contributor: How to maximize credit cards for cheaper accommodations this holiday season

Track your spending and rewards each account statement

Track your favorite stores’ and services’ merchant category codes (MCCs) to fine-tune your spending habits for maximum rewards. If you notice your expenses changing, this practice may also help you notice whether you need to change which rewards cards you carry.

“The first step to optimizing your spending is to take the time to collect the MCCs of stores you frequently shop at. During the process, you might find that some stores in the same chain may have different MCCs, depending on their primary inventory. Even different counters or sections in the same department store may carry different MCCs. You can use this to your advantage if you know one location near you will provide a better cash back rate than the other. These “loopholes” can provide great opportunities to reap cash back on purchases that typically wouldn’t earn rewards.” — Garrett Yarbrough — Writer and credit cards expert at Bankrate: Merchant category codes: How to earn more cash back

Our data: What credit score do you need for the best travel cards?

It’s no secret that your credit score heavily influences which cards you’re likely to get approval for. But how good does your credit need to be to get the best credit cards for travel? We analyzed our data of Bankrate readers who applied for credit cards on our pages in 2023 and compared the approval rates of readers’ different credit tiers.

We found that, on average, 61.9 percent of users with excellent credit were approved for travel cards on our site. Then, an average of 39.5 percent and 19.5 percent of users with good and fair credit, respectively, got approval for travel credit cards they applied to.

If you have fair or bad credit, you still have options for travel credit cards. For example, the Credit One Bank Wander Card caters to people with fair credit — 57 percent of people with fair credit who applied on our site in 2023 were approved for this card , according to our data.

Obviously, the better your credit, the more likely you are to get the card you apply for , but other factors can affect your application. Issuers may also consider your income, recent credit applications, homeownership status and monthly rental or mortgage payment. Keep these other factors in mind with your credit score when you apply for credit cards.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email , find us on Facebook , or Tweet us @Bankrate .

When evaluating the best travel cards, we consider a mix of factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether cards offer features that fit the priorities of a diverse group of cardholders, from earning rewards in popular categories to scoring a large sign-up bonus or high-value perks. Whenever possible, we also feature cards that are available at various credit levels and price points. 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular cards and scored each based on its rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup of the best travel cards.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the key factors in our rewards card scoring methodology — our primary scoring category for travel cards — and details we considered when putting together our list of the best travel cards.  

  • Flexibility 15%
  • Customer experience 5%

Great rewards value

The primary criteria for a rewards-earning card’s rating is its rewards value. This includes the card’s average rewards rate, estimated annual rewards earnings, sign-up bonus value and reward redemption value.

To estimate a card’s average annual rewards earnings, we first calculate its average rewards rate based on how much it earns in different bonus categories and how closely its categories align with the average person’s spending habits. In other words, we assess whether the card earns rewards at a high rate in the most popular spending categories. 

We use consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to get a reliable third-party measure of people’s spending habits. The most recent BLS data estimates average total spending in 2022 was $72,967 per consumer. We then narrow our focus to which purchases are likely to be put on a credit card and earn rewards, subtracting expenditures like housing, vehicle purchases and education. This gives us a total “chargeable” annual spend of around $25,500.  

This includes the following spending by category:

  • Groceries: $5,700
  • Dining out: $3,600
  • Entertainment: $2,400
  • Gas: $3,100
  • Apparel and services: $1,900

Using this data, we assign a weighting to each of a card’s bonus categories. For example, a card’s grocery rewards rate receives a 22 percent weighting based on how much of the average person’s budget is spent on groceries.

We also estimate the redemption value of points or miles from various issuer, airline and hotel rewards programs.

This weighting and rewards valuation allows us to estimate a card’s average annual rewards earnings — how many points or miles you’d earn with a given card if your spending was about average and you used the card for all of your purchases — as well as what those points are worth. We also use point valuations to determine a card’s sign-up bonus value

With these calculations complete, we assign each card a score based on how its average rewards earnings, sign-up bonus value, rewards rate and redemption value stack up against other rewards cards.

The better these values, the higher its score will be, making it more worthy of inclusion in our list and increasing its potential ranking.

Reasonable rates and fees

We also score cards based on how much it costs to keep them in your wallet or carry a balance. 

To start, each card is scored based on whether it offers an intro APR and how its ongoing APR compares to the rates available on other rewards cards. However, the latter rating only has a slight influence on the card’s score and whether the card is included in our list, since rewards card users generally try to avoid carrying a balance.

More important to both a card’s score and its inclusion in our list is how its annual fee influences its overall value. We consider a card’s annual fee in two ways — how it ranks relative to the fees you’ll find on other cards in the category and how it impacts a card’s overall rewards value. 

Cards with an annual fee will always be at a slight disadvantage in our scoring system since annual fees inherently cut into your rewards value. However, if a card offers terrific value via its ongoing rewards and perks, it can earn a high score and a spot in our list even if it carries a high annual fee. After all, the highest rewards rates and most valuable perks are often found on cards with annual fees. 

With this in mind, we rate a card based primarily on how its ongoing rewards value and ongoing perk value (such as annual credits or bonuses) stack up against those of other cards in the category when you subtract annual fees.

That said, we strive to include as many no-annual-fee options in our list as possible since many people would rather not worry about offsetting fees, even if a card carries impressive rewards and perks.

Redemption flexibility

Rewards cards may make it easy to earn a lot of points, miles or cash back, but how easy is it to use those rewards? After all, if it takes a ton of effort to redeem rewards or you can only redeem rewards in a couple of ways, a card may be more trouble than it’s worth. 

As such, we rate each card’s flexibility based on the restrictions it imposes on earning and redeeming rewards. We factor this rating into a card’s overall score and consider it when deciding on a card’s inclusion in our list. 

Flexibility factors include whether a card only allows you to earn a high rewards rate on only a small amount of spending or requires you to meet a certain earning threshold before you can redeem rewards. We also examine whether your points are worth less when you opt for some redemption options over others and whether a card gives you the flexibility to transfer rewards to travel partners.

Valuable perks

We also score each card’s set of features – its perks and benefits — against five tiers of features to provide a rating. 

We break down these tiers as follows:

  • Tier 1 includes fewer features than even standard credit cards (for example, an ultra-streamlined card that offers basic utility and next to nothing in the way of ancillary benefits). 
  • Tier 2 includes the benefits you’d expect on standard Visa or Mastercard credit cards, such as free access to your credit score, car rental insurance and $0 liability for fraudulent charges. 
  • Tier 3 includes “prime card” or better-than-average card features like cellphone insurance, lost luggage insurance, concierge services and purchase protection. 
  • Tier 4 includes luxury features such as airport lounge access, elite status with an airline or hotel and credits for expedited security screening membership programs. 
  • Tier 5 includes the sort of exemplary benefits you’ll find on top-tier luxury cards, such as high-value travel credits, cardholder memberships and other unique and valuable perks.

In evaluating the best cards, we tend to favor cards that offer at least Tier 3 benefits, unless they include other unique features that could make up for less-impressive perks.

And since this list focuses on travel cards, we tend to favor cards that carry travel-centric features like travel insurance, airport lounge access and credits for expedited security screening, instead of more general perks like food delivery credits or shopping discounts.

More information on travel credit cards

Frequently asked questions about travel credit cards, are travel credit cards worth it.

Travel cards can be well worth it since they often have exclusive travel perks like credits for airfare, hotel stays, expedited airport security services and more, as well as complimentary airport lounge access and airline or hotel privileges. However, many of the best travel credit cards come with annual fees. It’s important to at least offset the cost of these cards by taking advantage of the various travel perks and features included on the card. 

What credit score do you need for a travel credit card?

It’s possible to get a travel credit card with bad or fair credit, but most travel rewards cards are geared toward people with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of at least 670, or a VantageScore of at least 661).

Do travel miles or points expire?

Even though many major credit cards earn rewards that don’t expire, you may lose your points and miles if your account closes or isn’t in good standing. However, some co-branded cards’ rewards may expire if you don’t earn or redeem rewards within a certain timeframe (typically 12 to 36 months after the rewards are earned).

Check out our guide to credit card rewards expiration for a thorough breakdown of several popular issuers’ policies.

Are points or miles better on a credit card?

Whether points or miles offer better value will depend on the specific rewards program and how you redeem rewards. One airline loyalty program may earn miles that offer less than 1 cent each in average redemption value while another program’s points may offer close to 3 cents each on average. Similarly, a hotel card’s points may be worth less than half of a credit card issuer’s rewards points. Some programs offer points with only average baseline redemption value but high value when transferred to a partner airline or hotel. 

Ask the experts: Is it a good idea to have multiple travel credit cards?

best travel reward card 2022

Thomas Nitzsche

best travel reward card 2022

Stephanie Zito

best travel reward card 2022

Erica Sandberg

best travel reward card 2022

Financial Educator, Debt and Credit

Whether you should have multiple travel credit cards depends on several factors, including your brand affinity, frequency of travel and ability to pay off your cards in full each month. As a credit counselor, I see many people carrying credit card debt at high interest rates while continuing to make charges to the account for the sake of earning rewards. They lose far more than they earn each month. Having more than one travel credit card could make sense for you if you’re able to maximize your earnings by strategizing spending across each card. Just take into account annual fees and actual interest paid.

Contributor, Personal Finance

If you’re up for managing multiple cards and their benefits, then there are definitely big reward payouts to be had. But if the thought of multiple cards is overwhelming, it’s also a good strategy to have one or two more flexible cards and focus on maximizing your earnings and redemptions until it becomes second nature.

best travel reward card 2022

Contributor, Credit Cards

Definitely! I currently have two travel credit cards. In addition to the Chase card that I use for my United Airlines purchases, I have the Capital One Venture card for all other airlines. I earn a solid amount of miles on everything I buy with it, so it's an easy go-to for non-travel related expenses.

Article sources

We use primary sources to support our work. Bankrate’s authors, reporters and editors are subject-matter experts who thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate, timely and relevant.

Global entry: Trusted traveler enrollment program . U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Accessed on June 12, 2024.

Discover International acceptance . Discover. Accessed on June 5, 2024.

“ Consumer Expenditures 2022 ,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed on June 12, 2024.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.

  • Best Overall
  • Best for Beginners
  • Best for No-Annual-Fee
  • Best for Boutique Hotels
  • Best for Daily Spend
  • Best for Students
  • Low-Cost Lounge Access
  • Best for Dining and Groceries
  • Best for Travel Insurance
  • Best for Luxury Travel
  • Choosing the Best Card for Travel
  • Why You Should Trust Us

The Best Travel Credit Card of July 2024: Find and Maximize the Best Cards for Flights and Hotels

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us and terms apply to offers listed (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate credit cards to write unbiased product reviews .

The information for the following product(s) has been collected independently by Business Insider: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students. The details for these products have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Introduction to the Best Travel Credit Cards

Whether you're just dipping your toe into the world of rewards credit cards or you've already flown thousands of miles on points alone, we can tell you: There's an ideal travel credit card for everyone.

There's a card designed for people seeking free flights, hoping for free hotel stays, or just doing whatever it takes to realize their dreams of relaxing in an overwater bungalow. There are even no-annual-fee travel credit cards that won't cost you anything to maintain.  Let's take a look at the best choices available for you right now. 

Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

  • Best overall travel credit card : Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best travel credit card for beginners : Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best no-annual-fee travel credit card : Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card ( rates and fees )
  • Best for spending at hotels : Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card
  • Best for travel rewards on everyday spending : Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
  • Best travel card for students : Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Most affordable premium travel credit card : Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Best travel credit card for earning travel credit on dining and groceries : American Express® Gold Card
  • Best premium card for travel bonus categories : Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for luxury travel benefits and airport lounge access : The Platinum Card® from American Express

Compare the Best Credit Cards for Travel

Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠. Earn 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries. Earn 2x on all other travel purchases. Earn 1x on all other purchases.

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

Earn 60,000 bonus points

Good to Excellent

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. High intro bonus offer starts you off with lots of points
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong travel coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Doesn't offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit

If you're new to travel rewards credit cards or just don't want to pay hundreds in annual fees, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a smart choice. It earns bonus points on a wide variety of travel and dining purchases and offers strong travel and purchase coverage, including primary car rental insurance.

  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Capital One Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Earn 5x miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase.

19.99% - 29.99% variable

Earn 75,000 miles

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. $50 experience credit and free upgrades on Capital One Lifestyle Collection bookings
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Other credit cards offer higher rewards in certain categories of spending

If you want an easy, no-fuss travel rewards credit card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great fit. For a moderate annual fee, it offers plenty of value, useful benefits, and a substantial welcome bonus.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase-or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Capital One Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase.

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (intro fee of 3% for the first 15 months, then 4% of the amount of each balance transfer at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time)

19.99% - 29.99% Variable

Earn 20,000 miles

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Versatile rewards
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases with no bonus categories to track
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Lower earning rate than some other no-annual-fee rewards cards
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited benefits

The VentureOne Rewards Card is a slimmed-down version of the popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It's one of the few no-annual-fee cards on the market that gives you the option to redeem miles for cash back or transfer them to travel partners.

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

  • Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines, 3X points on other travel and restaurants, and 1X points on other purchases.

21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable

Good or Excellent

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip cancellation and lost baggage protection
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Airline and hotel transfer partners available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Welcome bonus
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous cellphone protection
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Low annual fee
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Transfer partner network not as diverse or robust as competitors

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card is a true travel credit card, with benefits that rival many of the best travel rewards credit cards currently on the market. This card has a low annual fee on par with that of popular competing credit cards and Wells Fargo's newly announced Points Transfer program allows cardholders to juice maximum value from every point they earn.

  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Book your travel with the Autograph Journey Card and enjoy Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Earn a $50 annual statement credit with $50 minimum airline purchase.
  • Up to $1,000 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.

Citi Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com. Earn 3X points per $1 on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and EV charging stations. Earn 1X point per $1 on all other purchases.

21.24% - 29.24% variable

Earn 75,000 bonus points

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Earn 3x points on most travel, restaurants, gas/EV charging, and supermarkets
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Earn 10x points on hotels, rental cars, and attractions booked via Citi Travel
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. $100 annual hotel credit on a single stay of $500 or more
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No foreign transaction fees
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Trip delay/interruption benefits and lost/damaged baggage coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Has an annual fee
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Citi Travel rates often are higher than retail cost of travel

Bank of America Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on purchases.

  • 0% intro APR for your first 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account

17.99% - 27.99% Variable

25,000 online bonus points

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous welcome bonus for a student credit card
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Earns flexible points you can use toward a wide variety of travel purchases
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Other travel rewards cards have higher earning rates
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Few travel-related benefits compared to other travel cards

A good student credit card should offer rewards and useful benefits to those with limited credit history and the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students hits several of those notes. However, while the card is marketed to students, those without established credit may have difficulty getting approved.

  • The information related to the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening (redeemed as a $250 statement credit toward travel and dining purchases)
  • Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases everywhere, no expiration on points
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Capital One Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn unlimited 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2 miles on all other purchases.

Earn 75,000 bonus miles

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Excellent welcome bonus and miles earning
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Premium perks including airport lounge access and credits for certain purchases
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Visa Infinite benefits including travel and shopping protections
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. High annual fee
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Annual travel credits only apply to Capital One Travel purchases

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is one of the best credit cards for frequent travelers, with top-notch benefits and a wide range of built-in protections. It comes with a generous welcome bonus and credits that can help offset the annual fee — which is much lower than similar premium cards.

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more

American Express American Express® Gold Card

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases.

See Pay Over Time APR

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Great rewards for dining and for shopping at US supermarkets
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Monthly statement credit for eligible dining purchases recoups some of the annual fee
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Underwhelming welcome bonus

Foodies and travelers alike will appreciate the American Express Gold's generous welcome bonus and Membership Rewards points earning. Its Uber Cash credits are useful for rides and Uber Eats, and monthly dining credits with participating merchants like GrubHub and Seamless are easy to use.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 5x points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

22.49% - 29.49% Variable

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong travel insurance
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Very high annual fee

If you're new to rewards credit cards you may want to start elsewhere, but if you know you want to earn Chase points and you spend a lot on travel and dining, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the most rewarding options.

  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year) and on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Earn 1X Points on other purchases.

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Bonus categories leave something to be desired
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards

If you want as many premium travel perks as possible, The Platinum Card® from American Express could be the right card for you. The annual fee is high, but you get a long list of benefits such as airport lounge access, travel statement credits, complimentary hotel elite status, and more.

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.

Best Travel Credit Card Reviews

The best travel rewards credit cards offer valuable rewards, easy-to-use benefits, and helpful features like travel coverage. Our team of credit card experts at Business Insider chose the best options available on the market in 2024, and reviewed each one below.

Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our top pick for a well-rounded travel rewards credit card. Even infrequent travelers can benefit from the slew of premium perks on this card, typically found on cards with far higher annual fees. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stands out for its travel protection benefits. When you pay for travel expenses with this card and meet certain requirements, you can request reimbursement for unexpected expenses that may arise when your flight is delayed or if your baggage is delayed or lost.

You'll also have primary rental car insurance, meaning you won't have to file claims through your personal car insurance plan or pay for coverage from the rental car company. This card also offers a 10% anniversary points bonus, and up to $50 in annual statement credits for hotel purchases made through the Chase Travel℠ Portal. 

The rewards rate on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn't shabby either. You'll earn 5 points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 2 points on all other travel purchases; and 3 points on dining, online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), and select streaming services. You'll earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are some of the easiest points to use in various ways. You can redeem them for travel directly through the Chase Travel Portal for a 25% boost in value, where 1 point will be worth 1.25 cents apiece. You can also transfer your points to Chase's airline and hotel transfer partners , which include United Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott, and many other airlines and hotel chains around the world. Cardholders can also use points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, and more.  

What the experts love: High welcome bonus offer, earns bonus points on travel, dining, and online grocery purchases, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents apiece for travel or through Chase for 25% value bonus

What the experts don't love: Doesn't offer some of the travel perks you'll get with competing cards, such as airport lounge access and a statement credit for Global Entry

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card review .

Best for Beginners: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great "set it and forget it" card, in the sense that you don't have to worry about various bonus categories for earning rewards. You'll earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also offers one of the most straightforward ways to redeem travel rewards: You can use your miles to cover recent travel purchases from your card statement at a rate of 1 cent per mile. 

You also have the option to transfer Capital One miles *** to more than a dozen frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, including Air Canada Aeroplan, Etihad Guest, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Capital One also added new partners including British Airways and Turkish Airlines, and improved the transfer ratio to 1:1 for most partners. 

The selection of transfer partners is best suited to someone who wants to travel internationally and who doesn't mind spending some time researching the best ways to redeem miles with the different frequent flyer program options. But the upside is that you can always use your miles to cover your travel purchases. You also get up to a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

What the experts love:  The ability to use your miles to cover your recent travel expenses; it earns at least 2 miles per dollar on every purchase.

What the experts don't love: Other cards offer higher rewards on certain spending categories such as travel and dining.

Read more: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

Best for No Annual Fee: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is our top choice for a no-annual-fee travel card ( rates and fees ), and it's got many of the same perks as its bigger sibling, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

New cardholders can earn a respectable 20,000 miles after spending $500 on purchases within three months from account opening (worth at least $340 in travel according to Business Insider's valuations). While the card only earns 1.25 miles per dollar on most purchases (plus 5x on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel), it's still a compelling choice if an annual fee isn't for you ( rates and fees ).

You'll get the same access to Capital One's airline and hotel partners as you would with annual-fee cards, and a handful of benefits including car rental insurance***, travel accident insurance***, and purchase assurance***. This is also a solid pick if you're looking for a zero-interest credit card  with a 0% introductory APR offer, because new cardholders receive a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (intro fee of 3% for the first 15 months, then 4% of the amount of each balance transfer at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time), then a 19.99% - 29.99% Variable APR ( rates and fees ).

What the experts love: No annual fee, access to transfer partners, generous intro 0% APR offer

What the experts don't love: Few travel benefits, lower earning rate

Read more: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review

Best for Boutique Hotels: Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card earns one of the highest rates of return on hotel bookings for a credit card that isn't co-branded with a specific hotel chain. 

This card has a $95 annual fee, inviting direct comparisons to two other cards on this list: The Sapphire Preferred Card , and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card . In exchange, cardholders earn at least 3x on restaurants and travel purchases. Airline purchases earn 4x, and hotel purchases earn 5x.

When launching this card, the card issuer simultaneously announced brand-new Wells Fargo Autograph transfer partners : Choice Privileges, Aer Lingus AerClub, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, avianca lifemiles, and British Airways Executive Club. Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card cardholders can redeem rewards at the standard redemption rate of 1 cent per point for cash back, or transfer their rewards to any travel partners above for additional value.

What the experts love: High bonus rates on hotels and flights

What the experts don't love: Limited transfer options (for now)

Read more: Wells Fargo Autograph Journey credit card review

Best Travel Rewards on Everyday Spend: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card isn't as flashy or well-known as some other travel cards, but that doesn't mean you should overlook it, especially if you spend a lot on its bonus categories. Cardholders earn an impressive 3x points on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Along with a solid welcome bonus offer of 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening (worth $1,200 based on Business Insider's valuations), you'll receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) booked through thankyou.com once per calendar year.

While it isn't the best for travel protections, the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is the only card currently available to new applicants that unlocks the ability to transfer your ThankYou points to Citi's full list of airline and hotel partners , including JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, and Wyndham.

What the experts love:  Strong rewards earning in useful everyday categories, access to Citi's transfer partners

What the experts don't love: Lack of travel protections like car rental insurance, few travel perks compared to similar rewards cards

Read more: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card review

Best for Students: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a fairly unique offering, as there aren't many student credit cards specifically geared toward travel. New cardholders can earn 25,000 online bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening (redeemed as a $250 statement credit toward travel and dining purchases). That's a decent offer for a no-annual-fee card, and the earning structure is simple, too — 1.5x points per dollar on every purchase, with no bonus categories to keep track of.

There's also a 0% intro APR for your first 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account (then a 17.99% - 27.99% Variable APR) which can be handy if you have big purchases (like textbooks or supplies) you want to pay for over time. 

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students is a good choice if you prefer a straightforward card without having to worry about award charts or transfer partners. It's also a safe bet if you want to use it while traveling internationally — it doesn't charge pesky foreign transaction fees, so you won't be on the hook for extra charges if you use it overseas.

However, you won't find many extras — like travel benefits or purchase protections — with this card. If you're looking for better benefits, be sure to check out our guide to the best student credit cards for all the top options.

What the experts love: Impressive welcome bonus offer for a student credit card, good flat-rate rewards earning

What the experts don't love: No flashy extra perks or shopping benefits

Read more: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students review

Cheapest Airport Lounge Access: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was unveiled in late 2021 and offers a massive welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening — worth at least $1,275 in travel, based on Business Insider's valuation of Capital One miles .

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is loaded with premium benefits that can more than offset the $395 annual fee ( rates and fees ). For context, this annual fee is significantly lower than that of other premium travel cards which offer airport lounge access. 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card cardholders also receive $300 per year in credits toward travel booked through Capital One; Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, and Capital One airport lounge access (even for authorized users, for free); a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary (worth $100 in travel); and Visa Infinite travel and purchase benefits.

As with other cards that earn Capital One miles , you can transfer rewards to over a dozen airline and hotel partners to book award travel, or use miles to book through the Capital One Travel Portal .

What the experts love:  Between $300 a year in travel credit and a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary, you can offset the annual fee entirely — and that's not even considering other benefits like lounge access.

What the experts don't love:  The $300 travel credit is more restrictive than other cards' — it only applies to travel booked through Capital One.

Read more: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review

Best Travel Rewards from Dining and Groceries: American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is an ideal travel card for anyone who frequently eats out and/or shops at U.S. supermarkets. You'll earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points on these purchases (though note the $25,000 calendar year annual cap for U.S. supermarkets; after that, you'll earn just 1 point per dollar, but that's a pretty high cap). The card also earns 3x points on flights booked directly with the airlines or through AmexTravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

While the $250 annual fee is on the high side, you can offset it thanks to an annual statement credit. You can get up to $120 in annual dining credits**, but it's divided into up to $10 in credits each month, and the credit only applies at select restaurants and delivery services, including Grubhub, Seamless, Milk Bar, Wine.com, and Goldbelly, and participating Shake Shack locations.

You'll also get up to $120 Uber Cash ($10 per month) credit each calendar year (this is only applicable to U.S. Eats orders and rides, and the Gold Card needs to be added as a method of payment to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit).

What the experts love: "4x points on restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then 1x) is great — usually, a card favors one or the other," says Rathner. Plus, the card offers monthly dining credits.

What the experts don't love: Wilson notes that other cards offer similar benefits for a lower annual fee, and Rathner notes that the card's travel and dining credits come with some important limitations — so read the fine print. 

Read more: American Express® Gold Card review

Best for Premium Travel Insurance: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a $550 annual fee, which means it's not for everybody, but if you're serious about maximizing your rewards and you travel frequently, it could be worth it. It offers a bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. 

Not only do you get up to $300 in statement credits toward travel each year (and Chase has a very generous definition of travel — including everything from airfare to highway tolls), but you also earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (excluding the $300 travel credit) and 3x points on all other travel and dining. You also get airport lounge access through the Priority Pass network , which has more than 1,300 locations worldwide.

New benefits also include access to Chase Sapphire lounges in JFK , LaGuardia , Boston , and Hong Kong, as well as the Chase Sapphire Terrace at Austin Airport . You'll also receive benefits with DoorDash  and Instacart that can save you money on delivery (activation required).

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is currently offering cardholders two years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership (valued at $199 per year) for member-exclusive pricing, priority pickup, and more (activation required). 

When it comes to redeeming points, you can book travel through Chase and get 1.5 cents per point (a 50% bonus over the standard 1-cent-per-point rate), or you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to travel partners like Hyatt, British Airways, and United.

Plus, like the less-expensive Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers some of the best credit card travel insurance around. This includes primary car rental insurance, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation protection, and lost baggage insurance.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card was previously our pick for the best travel card overall, before the annual fee increased from $450 to $550. While the Reserve did add some additional benefits, the Reserve no longer makes as much sense for casual travelers. As a result, we now recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as the best travel credit card for most people. 

What the experts love:  Earns 3x points on travel and dining purchases made outside of Chase Travel Portal, annual $300 travel credit, points are worth 1.5 cents apiece for travel booked through Chase

What the experts don't love: You have to squeeze every drop of value out of this card to make that jaw-dropping $550 annual fee worth your while.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve® review

Best Luxury Travel and Airport Lounge Access: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has one of the highest rewards card annual fees —  $695 — but it can still be well worth it if you can put all of its statement credits and generous welcome bonus offer to use.

You'll earn 5x points on flights when you book directly through the airline or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), which makes the card a great choice for purchasing airfare. The card offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance, plus some of the best purchase protection, so it's a good option for buying expensive items (and don't forget to see if you can take advantage of an Amex Offer ** for bonus points or cash back).

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers more airport lounge access than any other personal travel card — in addition to Priority Pass membership**, you get access to Amex Centurion Lounges , Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta), and more. 

The card's annual statement credits can go a long way toward offsetting the high annual fee. You get up to $200 in statement credits toward airline incidental fees** like checked bags and inflight purchases; up to $100 each year in credit toward Saks Fifth Avenue purchases**; and up to $200 in annual Uber credits (including Uber Eats)**. 

Just keep in mind that you're limited to one designated airline you choose each year in your Amex account for the airline incidental fee credit, and both the Saks and Uber credits are divided into portions. You'll get up to $50 in statement credits toward Saks purchases from January to June, and another credit of up to $50 for Saks purchases from July to December.

With the Uber credit, you get up to $15 each month, and a $20 bonus in December for a total of $35 that month.

What the experts love:  Lots of luxury benefits, including airport lounge access and statement credits with Uber and Saks

What the experts don't love: This card's $695 annual fee, and minimal bonus categories

Read more: The Platinum Card® from American Express review

How to Choose the Best Travel Credit Card

While it takes more effort to redeem points or miles compared to cash back, the upside is that you can get much more value for your points compared to simply cashing in your rewards for a statement credit or check at a rate of 1 cent per point.

In fact, it's possible to receive double, triple, or even more than that amount when you're strategic about how you redeem your rewards, particularly if you book expensive luxury hotels or first-class flights. 

In this guide, we've focused mostly on the best travel credit cards that earn transferable points. Transferable points include popular currencies such as:

  • Amex Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards
  • Capital One miles

You can transfer these points to both airline and hotel partner loyalty programs. You can even redeem your points to offset the cash price of your travel at a flat rate.

Best Travel Credit Card Frequently Asked Questions

If you want a single credit card that does it all and don't mind paying a generous annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a great choice. It comes with the best travel insurance available on the market, as well as a $300 travel credit each year that can be used on most types of travel.

The best travel credit card overall is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but the best card for your particular situation will depend on what benefits you care about the most, as well as how you feel about paying a high annual fee. 

We'd recommend opening a travel card that earns Amex or Chase points, because these are among the easiest rewards to redeem and you have various travel partners to utilize. But if you've investigated your options and are confident that you can get value out of their rewards, credit cards that earn Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou points can make sense as well.

There are two main types of travel credit cards: Cards that earn transferable points, and airline/hotel co-branded credit cards. Transferable points currencies include Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Airline credit cards and hotel credit cards earn points or miles within a respective hotel or airline program; you don't have the option to redeem your rewards with a wide variety of travel partners (or if you do, the transfer ratio usually isn't great).

To pick the right travel credit card for you, you'll want to evaluate its welcome bonus offer, ease of use, benefits, and annual fee. The best one for you will ideally have a combination of an attractive sign-up bonus , lots of options for earning and redeeming rewards, benefits that save you money, and a low or no annual fee.

Travel credit cards with annual fees are worth it if you're able to get significant value out of their benefits and rewards. Before you apply for a card , make sure you'll actually use all the features that contribute to the card's annual fee. For example, if a card offers an annual statement credit of up to $200 toward travel but you can't use it, you're probably not getting what you pay for.

Travel credit cards work by earning you points (or miles) on every purchase you make, with the goal of helping you earn enough rewards to book free travel . The best travel cards earn points that you can transfer to various airline and hotel partners — like Amex, Chase, or Citi points. 

A great way to work toward getting a free flight is by applying for a travel credit card and earning its welcome bonus offer. Domestic award flights in economy class typically require about 25,000 points, so depending on the welcome bonus offer, you could have enough rewards for a flight right out of the gate. 

Why You Should Trust Us: How We Chose the Best Travel Credit Cards

Business Insider evaluated dozens of travel credit cards currently available to new applicants and narrowed down the list to the best options based on the following factors:

  • Welcome bonus offer — Do new cardholders get a valuable incentive to sign up and meet a minimum spending requirement?
  • Ongoing rewards — How many points or miles do you earn on your purchases?
  • Benefits — Beyond rewards, does the card offer valuable perks such as statement credits for travel, primary car rental insurance, and airport lounge access?
  • Annual fee — Is there an annual fee, and if so, is it affordable or easy to offset with card perks?
  • Overall value — Does the card justify its annual fee by offering useful benefits and valuable rewards, and is it worth it?

Read our guide to how we rate credit cards for a closer look at our methodology.

best travel reward card 2022

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

**Enrollment required.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Trip Delay Insurance, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, and Cell Phone Protection Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. Global Assist Hotline Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers. If approved and coordinated by Premium Global Assist Hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers. Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection, and Baggage Insurance Plan Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

***Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details. Travel Accident Insurance is not guaranteed, it depends on the level of benefits you get at application.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

best travel reward card 2022

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On this page

  • Our top picks
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Types of travel cards

  • Pros and cons
  • How to make the most of a travel card
  • Alternatives to travel cards
  • Our methodology
  • Frequently asked questions

The Best Travel Credit Cards of 2024

June 27, 2024

How we Choose

Whether you’re an occasional traveler looking to save on your next vacation or a frequent traveler looking for premium travel perks, there’s a travel rewards card for you. We’ll break down our top picks for the best travel rewards credit cards.

Best travel credit cards of 2024

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best welcome bonus
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card : Best for flat-rate rewards
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for luxury travel
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card : Best first travel card
  • American Express® Gold Card : Best for foodies
  • Citi Strata Premier℠ Card : Best for occasional travelers
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card : Best for intro APR
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® : Best for point value
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card : Best for annual credits
  • Discover it® Miles : Best for no annual fee
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® : Best for pairing with Chase cards
  • Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card : Best for hotels
  • Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card : Best for gas and transit
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card : Best for travel credits
  • Credit One Bank Wander® Card : Best for fair credit
  • United Quest℠ Card : Best for United MileagePlus members

Additional Options:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Best for budget flyers
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Best hotel credit card
  • American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®: Best no-annual-fee airline card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards rate

At a glance, overall rating, why we like this card.

This card has one of the highest sign-up bonuses you’ll find with a mid-level travel card. Plus, it offers generous rewards for your travel and dining purchases and additional benefits like a 25% boost in points value when you redeem your rewards through the Chase Travel℠ portal.

  • You'll find more benefits with this card than with other mid-level travel cards, including an anniversary boost and a hotel credit.
  • Instead of the typical 1-cent–per-point value you might find on rival travel cards, you can enjoy 25% more value when you book travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • Bonus categories are limited to travel and dining, so you have little flexibility in how you earn rewards.
  • The card lacks attractive travel perks like airport lounge access or security precheck credits.

Bottom Line

If you are hoping to fast-track your way to your next trip, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers ample opportunities to earn rewards, along with a generous sign-up bonus.

  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Rates & Fees

Capital one venture rewards credit card.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a great flat rate of 2X miles for all purchases and gives you ultimate flexibility for redemption, including for travel purchases booked outside of the Capital One portal non-travel rewards, such as gift cards (though you may get a lower value). You can also enjoy additional benefits, like an up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, that can help offset the $95 annual fee.

  • Simple earning structure and flexible redemption options
  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Lack of large domestic travel transfer partners
  • Low redemption value unless using select airlines

The Capital One Venture Card is a top-notch travel card that offers simplicity and valuable perks without the pricey annual fees associated with many premium cards in this category or skimping on rewards.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

See if you’re pre-approved for this card using our CardMatch tool .

This popular premium card from American Express comes fully-loaded with travel benefits, including luxury lounge access, Hilton Honors gold status (enrollment required), no foreign transaction fees and an impressive list of travel benefits that will help offset the $695 annual fee.

This card currently touts a generous welcome offer: You can earn 80,000 points if you spend $8,000 in your first six months of card membership, which we estimate to be worth around $800 when you book through AmexTravel (where points are worth around 1 cent each).

  • Extensive list of travel credits and premium perks
  • Ability to transfer points to a host of airline partners, including Delta Airlines
  • Limited amount of bonus categories
  • Expensive annual fee

For frequent travelers or those looking to make their dream vacation a reality, the Amex Platinum checks every box and provides generous travel credits to offset its high annual fee.

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

This card is ideal as a first travel card because you don’t have to strategize to offset an annual fee every year, but can still enjoy terrific travel benefits. You can redeem for various travel purchases like hotels, rental cars and flights either through Capital One’s travel portal or other travel websites. Plus, you can transfer your rewards to partner loyalty programs — adding more flexibility in your travel.

  • No need to offset the cost of an annual fee
  • Low minimum spend for sign-up bonus
  • Lower rewards rate and less perks than cards with an annual fee
  • Reduced value of your miles when you use the rewards for non-travel redemption options, such as statement credits or gift cards

This card offers a straightforward earning structure and an attainable sign-up bonus, allowing cardholders to rack up miles while not worrying about an annual fee.

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

The Amex Gold card offers an industry-leading 4X points at restaurants (including U.S. takeout and delivery) and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) as well as 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com.

It also features dining benefits, such as an up to $120 in yearly statement credits on select restaurants, including Grubhub and The Cheesecake Factory, and up to $120 in Uber cash annually. In addition to the foodie-friendly rewards rate, this card offers a valuable introductory offer and travel perks like baggage and car rental insurance when you book with your Gold card.

  • If you spend a lot on food and dining, its industry-leading rewards rate on restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases is hard to beat.
  • Like the Amex Green card, you can transfer points to multiple air travel partners, including Delta Airlines, and hotel partners, like Hilton Honors.
  • Its annual fee is pricier than what’s on some travel credit cards.
  • You must redeem travel rewards through amextravel.com.

The Amex Gold is one of the best cards on the market with its generous rewards rate and lucrative introductory offer. If food and travel account for a large portion of your spending, this card’s value more than covers the $250 annual fee.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Thanks to its high rewards rate in a terrific mix of everyday spending categories — not just travel — this card makes it easy to earn points even if you don’t spend a ton on travel. It’s hard to find a card that offers such a high rewards rate in all three of groceries, dining and gas, so this card makes a great centerpiece for a travel rewards strategy.

  • Even if you only spend modestly on travel, this card’s annual fee should be easy to offset thanks to its everyday rewards and valuable annual hotel benefit.
  • You can pair this card with one or both of Citi’s no-annual-fee rewards cards and enjoy a terrific rewards rate on everything from travel and groceries to gas, dining and more based on your spending habits.
  • The annual hotel benefit, though valuable, isn’t the most flexible perk. If you spend less than $500 each year on a single hotel booking, you’ll miss out on the benefit entirely.
  • Competing travel cards offer higher rewards rates on general travel, higher point redemption values and more flexible, airfare-centric perks that may be a better fit for frequent flyers.

If you want to earn travel rewards but don’t actually spend much on travel, this may be the most lucrative standalone rewards card you can get.

  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a great choice for infrequent travelers who want ultimate flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. Cardholders can redeem points for statement credit to pay toward travel expenses, like flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees. Additionally, you can redeem for dining purchases.

You can also take advantage of its sign-up bonus — 25,000 online bonus points if you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days, redeemable for a $250 statement toward travel and dining made on your credit card within the last 12 months, including on third-party sites like Expedia or Travelocity.

  • Ultraflexible redemption policy that can cover some purchases outside travel
  • Can redeem rewards as a statement credit months after the initial travel or dining purchase
  • Rewards rate for travel purchases not as lucrative as others in this category
  • Not the most valuable sign-up offer

Despite the fact that cardholders won’t be able to weigh spending toward a particular category to maximize their points, this card is a great fit for occasional travelers who still want to earn rewards but without having to pay an annual fee.

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

For those looking for a premium credit card with generous travel perks and a top-tier sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is considered to be one of the best options on the market. And with no blackout dates, expiration dates for points or point limits, the card offers major redemption flexibility.

The sign-up bonus is worth a whopping 60,000 points or $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠ after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, so you are getting more than a cent per mile value. With the $300 annual credit for travel purchases, generous earning structure and impressive list of additional perks, seasoned travelers have plenty of opportunity to offset the steep $550 annual fee.

  • Wealth of travel perks and rewards categories
  • Increase your point value by 50% by redeeming them for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Required spend of $300 on travel annually before travel category rewards rates apply
  • Lower rewards value for merchandise

While the price of admission for Chase’s premium travel card is steep, the bonuses and wealth of luxury travel perks will be worth it in the long run for experienced travelers.

  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Venture X is an instant top contender in the premium card market with its fully-loaded annual benefits that can be worth over $400. Yearly perks like bonus miles on your account anniversary (equal to $100 in travel) and a $300 travel credit when you book travel through Capital One Travel, can help cover the annual fee. Compared with other high-end travel rewards credit cards, the $395 annual fee is modest, and many travelers will come out well ahead.

  • You can enjoy a fairly simple rewards structure with unlimited 2X miles in all purchase categories, in addition to bonus rewards in Capital One travel categories.
  • The card offers statement credit for Global Entry and TSA Precheck, which adds to your overall savings.
  • The sign-up bonus is generous, but it requires a high spend.
  • While not unusual, you'll need excellent credit to be eligible for this premium card.

Travel rewards cards packed with this many features typically come with sky-high annual fees, but the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card delivers with luxury benefits and a more down-to-earth annual fee.

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

For a no-annual-fee card, Discover offers simplicity. You’ll be able to earn unlimited miles and have flexible redemption options like statement credits towards travel purchases or as cash deposits into your bank account. Plus, cardholders have a unique opportunity at the end of their first year when Discover will match every mile you earn.

  • Appealing welcome offer that can essentially double all the miles earned at the end of the first year
  • Competitive redemption value for cash back at 1 cent per mile
  • Rewards earning potential takes a significant hit after your first year
  • Can’t transfer miles to airline frequent-flyer programs

The Discover it® Miles card offers an impressive list of high-end travel perks and a generous first-year welcome offer for travel credit card newbies, but earning benefits drop off substantially after the first 12 months.

  • Unlimited Bonus: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 18.24% - 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Its flat rate and bonus categories, especially for the first 12 months, make it a great companion for premium Chase cards. If you want to rack up as many Chase Ultimate Rewards points as possible and then use them toward your next trip, then this card can help you get there. Plus, its welcome offer can help boost rewards.

  • Its bonus earnings for the first 12 months boost your rewards and this card’s upfront value.
  • You can pool this card’s rewards with certain Chase travel cards to get more redemption and transfer flexibility.
  • Other cards have better travel benefits or welcome offers if you want as many rewards and perks as possible.
  • You won’t get the full potential of this card without pairing it with a premium Chase card, which comes with annual fees.

This card’s true potential lies in pairing it with certain Chase travel cards. Make sure you use it to pool your Ultimate Rewards points for more value when redeeming for travel.

  • Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Though it boasts a terrific rewards rate on hotel bookings and airfare, it’s flexible enough to offer great value even for occasional travelers. You can redeem points for both cash back and travel, earn bonus rewards on restaurants and score an especially easy-to-earn annual credit.

  • You can offset over half the card’s cost just by taking advantage of the $50 annual statement credit you’ll get with a $50 minimum airline purchase. That’s easy to earn even if you only fly once per year.
  • Wells Fargo now offers a decent list of airline and hotel partners, making the card easily the issuer’s most appealing option for occasional or semi-frequent travelers.
  • You’ll miss out on some of the more popular travel and airline credit card perks, like TSA PreCheck credits, free checked bags and priority boarding, which may be more valuable to frequent travelers than an annual statement credit.
  • While you can stack and pool points with the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card, it only offers one lucrative category not already covered by the Autograph Journey: gas stations.

This is a solid mid-tier card for semi-frequent travelers looking for flexible redemption and a balance of everyday and travel-centric rewards.

  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.
  • Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines, 3X points on other travel and restaurants, and 1X points on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Book your travel with the Autograph Journey Card and enjoy Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Earn a $50 annual statement credit with $50 minimum airline purchase.
  • Up to $1,000 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

It offers one of the best rewards rates you can get on everyday travel – including airfare, hotels, gas stations and transit – without paying an annual fee. And since it also rewards dining (another key everyday spending category), it makes for a terrific standalone rewards card.

  • It has no annual fee and a high rewards rate for everyday spending categories.
  • It earns bonus rewards in common spending categories like gas stations and restaurants as well as in harder-to-find categories like phone plans, making it an especially versatile option.
  • Though the card earns bonus rewards in a great mix of everyday categories, it offers a lackluster rate on grocery purchases, which could limit its standalone value.
  • Unlike some competing no-annual-fee travel cards, the Autograph doesn’t let you transfer points to airline or hotel loyalty programs, limiting the potential value of your rewards.

This card could be a great fit for occasional travelers who want to earn rewards on everyday spending and have the flexibility to redeem for cash back.

  • Select "Apply Now" to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card is ideally suited for entry-level travelers. Even if you only fly occasionally with Southwest airlines, you can easily boost rewards and receive a generous welcome offer. The perks for this card rival those found in higher-tier cards, such as getting the first two checked bags for free and two EarlyBird Check-In® each year.

  • Can almost cover the annual fee with 3,000-point anniversary bonus
  • Valuable perks on a domestic airline with a reputation for being customer-friendly
  • Does not include certain perks often found with travel cards, such as priority boarding or a fast track to elite status
  • Lacks airline partners and international travel options

For those already integrated into the Southwest ecosystem, this card offers generous bonus opportunities and access to unique, customer-friendly perks for a reasonable annual fee.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

This card from Bank of America offers great value for a $95 annual fee card, especially if you already bank with them. If you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you’ll be rewarded with an additional 25 percent to 75 percent redemption bonus on all your earnings.

In addition, this card offers some of the strongest travel insurance benefits you can get, up to a $100 annual statement credit that you can use for airline incidental expenses, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and a points program that rewards spending in a variety of categories.

  • The $100 annual statement credit you can use towards airline expenses and the application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry more than offset the $95 annual fee.
  • Preferred Rewards members receive some of the highest rewards rates among any travel or cash back credit cards.
  • If you’re not a Preferred Rewards member, the benefits of the card are not as robust compared to other cards with similar annual fees.
  • The $100 airline incidental credit only covers qualifying incidentals and not actual flight costs.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card combines the benefits of a cash back card and premium travel card and is an especially good value for those with existing Bank of America accounts.

  • Low $95 annual fee.
  • Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn 2.5-3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87 - 2.62 points on all other purchases, for every $1 you spend.
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
  • Travel Insurance protections to assist with trip delays, cancellations and interruptions, baggage delays and lost luggage.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Credit One Bank Wander® Card

This is one of the only travel cards accessible to people with fair credit. It also offers a high rewards rate on a great mix of travel spending, including gas, airfare, hotels, resorts and bookings made through travel agencies. This will be especially appealing if you prefer booking directly with airlines and hotels to maximize loyalty rewards and elite status.

  • People with fair-to-excellent credit can earn high rewards on eligible travel and everyday purchases like dining and gas.
  • Frequent travelers can earn generous rewards even while working toward elite status with airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • It offers fewer perks compared to other mid-level travel cards with a similar annual fee and high variable APR.
  • Points aren’t transferable and remain fixed at a value of 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back, which could prove limiting for frequent travelers who know how to maximize points for greater value.

This could be a top pick for travelers who struggle to qualify for cards with more travel perks and transfer partners.

  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees

United Quest℠ Card

United Quest℠ Card

If you like to regularly travel on United Airlines (or their partner airlines) then this card is worth a look. Not only do you earn enhanced bonus miles for United purchases, other travel and select everyday purchases, you also get an impressive amount of airline-specific perks. This includes anniversary credits and free first and second checked bags for you and one companion.

  • Impressive sign-up bonus and anniversary credits
  • Easy to earn miles with popular bonus categories like dining and select streaming purchases
  • High annual fee for infrequent United flyers
  • No airport lounge access

The United Quest Card is a terrific option for semi-frequent United travelers, but cardholders should plan to redeem United miles at least twice a year to take full advantage and offset the annual fee.

  • Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 PQP after qualifying purchases
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel, dining and select streaming services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $360 per roundtrip (terms apply) - and priority boarding
  • Up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits each year (terms apply)
  • Earn up to 6,000 Premier qualifying points per calendar year (25 PQP for every $500 you spend on purchases)

The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Card, the American Express® Green Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

*All information about the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Comparing the best travel credit cards of 2024

Editor’s picks: best travel credit card details, best welcome bonus: chase sapphire preferred® card.

  • Best features : This card packs in plenty of value that is rare for only $95 a year. It comes with a high sign-up bonus, generous rewards program and competitive redemption values.
  • Biggest drawbacks : You may need to look beyond the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you prefer luxury features like TSA PreCheck, priority boarding, travel credits and lounge access.
  • Alternatives: The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card  has a similar annual fee and a generous welcome offer too. Travelers who want to book travel outside of credit card portals and who spend a lot on gas and in-store grocery purchases may get better value out of the Strata Premier card.
  • Bottom line : A modest annual fee, impressive sign-up bonus and ultra-flexible rewards redemption give this card great short- and long-term value for travelers who don’t need a ton of luxury perks.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for flat-rate rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Best features : For a reasonable annual fee, this popular Capital One credit card offers standout rewards with an easy rewards structure and versatile redemption options. You can transfer miles to over 15 loyalty programs or redeem for statement credit toward travel.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Capital One doesn’t have many domestic travel transfer partners. This can make it harder to maximize the value of your miles when booking domestic flights.
  • Alternatives : If you’re looking to earn at a flat-rate but aren’t too pleased with the Venture card’s $95 annual fee ( See rates and Fees ), the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a suitable alternative. Although cardholders only earn 1.25X miles on all purchases, the card still comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles for spending $500 in the first three months. This is a smaller bonus and a lower rewards rate than the Venture card, but it’ll also be easier to obtain, making this an ideal option for modest spenders.
  • Bottom line : This card is a great option if you’re looking for an easy way to earn high travel rewards on all purchases. But if you’re after top-drawer travel perks, you may want to look elsewhere.

Read our Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for luxury travel: The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Best features : This premium card comes fully-loaded. You can enjoy luxury lounge access, elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy hotels (upon enrollment) and even travel consultants to help plan your trip. A laundry list of travel credits can also help offset the card’s annual fee.
  • Biggest drawbacks : The card only earns bonus rewards on flights and prepaid hotels. You might earn more with cards that offer bonus points or miles on both travel and everyday essentials. Plus, some of the credits – like the card’s luxury fitness credit or Walmart+ credit – don’t have broad appeal, making it harder to offset the high $695 annual fee.
  • Alternatives : Unlike the Platinum card, the American Express® Gold Card lets you earn high bonus rewards for purchases made in categories beyond travel, including restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases. It also comes with a lot of the same benefits as the Platinum card, such as car rental insurance, purchase protection and Hotel Collection benefits, all for a much smaller $250 annual fee.
  • Bottom line : If you can take advantage of its many perks, this card should tick all the right boxes for big spenders and frequent travelers looking for luxury travel perks, particularly complimentary airport lounge access.

Read our American Express Platinum Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best first travel card: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Best features : The VentureOne card is a basic travel card for beginners who want to earn flexible rewards but aren’t ready to commit to an annual fee ( See rates and Fees ). VentureOne cardholders can earn bonus miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.25X miles on every other purchase. You can transfer these miles to numerous airline and hotel partners.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Other no-annual-fee travel cards offer better perks and higher rewards rates than the VentureOne’s 1.25X miles.
  • Alternatives : The Bilt Mastercard® is a unique no-annual-fee card that earns points on rent payments without the processing fees. But the card is also a great beginner travel card, offering bonus rewards on travel and dining (points are transferable too). Plus, if you wait until the first of the month, your patience will be rewarded with double points on all non-rent purchases for 24 hours (on up to 10,000 bonus points). That’s a whopping 6X points on dining, 4X points on travel and 2X points on all other non-rent purchases. You must use the card 5 times each statement period to earn points.
  • Bottom line : Budget-friendly travelers can get a decent amount of value out of this starter travel card, but if transferring rewards to travel partners isn’t a priority for you, a flat-rate cash back card may be more lucrative.

Read our Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for foodies: American Express® Gold Card

  • Best features : Traveling foodies, rejoice – this card offers an industry-leading 4X points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. You’ll also earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then one point per dollar) and 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com. Trips with common carriers that are booked with your Gold card are covered for baggage insurance worth up to $1,250 for carry-on bags and $500 for checked bags.
  • Biggest drawbacks : The annual fee is $250, pricier than other travel rewards cards with mid-level travel perks. And unless food is a significant portion of your spending, the card’s rewards rate and food delivery credits may not be the best fit.
  • Alternatives : The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card  comes close to matching the Amex Gold with its rewards rates, but its annual fee is much lower (just $95).
  • Bottom line : If you’re a frequent traveler who makes dining out a staple of their vacations and staycations, you’ll get a lot of value with this card.

Read our American Express Gold Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for occasional travelers: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

  • Best features: Along with its practical everyday bonus categories, this card stands out with its annual hotel benefit, which can offer enough value to offset the annual fee on its own.
  • Biggest drawbacks: Citi points don’t offer an especially high travel redemption value and the annual hotel benefit, while generous, carries a high spending requirement.
  • Alternatives: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be a better option for frequent travelers thanks to its high rewards rate on general travel booked via Chase Travel, its more flexible annual hotel credit and its high base point redemption value (1.25 cents per point via Chase Travel).
  • Bottom line: This is one of the best travel cards out there if you’re more focused on everyday rewards than luxury perks.

Read our full   Citi Strata Premier℠ Card review  or or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for intro APR: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • Best features : This card will appeal to infrequent travelers who don’t typically book through travel portals. Instead, you can redeem your points for any travel and dining purchases made on your credit card within the last 12 months. And if you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn up to 25% to 75% more points on every purchase.
  • Biggest drawbacks : The best rewards are reserved for Bank of America customers with savings or investment accounts. If that’s not you, you can likely find another card that rewards your travel purchases at a higher rate.
  • Alternatives : The Capital One VentureOne also does not charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee ( See rates and Fees ), but even casual travelers can benefit from its valuable purchase and travel protections.
  • Bottom line : The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a solid choice for occasional travelers focused on earning some rewards and avoiding an annual fee.

Related : Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card worth it?

Read our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for point value: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Best features : This top-of-the-line card comes with a wealth of travel perks, including a sign-up bonus worth $900 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠ (60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months). In addition to the $300 travel credit, you can try out services like Instacart+ and DashPass for free for one year.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Despite the annual credit and elevated bonus categories, the card’s $550 annual fee might be challenging to offset every year.
  • Alternatives : If you’re looking for a card with annual credits and luxury lounge access, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a wider network but carries a slightly higher annual fee of $695.
  • Bottom line : Frequent travelers who can take full advantage of the Sapphire Reserve card’s perks and bonus categories can also enjoy the card’s boosted value on travel redemptions.

Related : Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Ch ase Sapphire Reserve

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for annual credits: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Best features : Cardholders can take advantage of this card’s yearly credits to help offset its annual fee and enjoy additional perks like lounge access. And when you book through Capital One Travel, you’ll earn some of the highest rewards available for hotels, rental cars and flights.
  • Biggest drawbacks : You’ll have to book your travel through Capital One Travel instead of directly through an airline or hotel to get the best value out of this card.
  • Alternatives: The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best travel cards for lounge access and other luxury perks. Frequent travelers who can take advantage of all those perks can easily offset the card’s high annual fee.
  • Bottom line : The Venture X should appeal to both frequent travelers who want to earn more than just 1 mile per dollar on all non-travel purchases and luxury travelers who want to enjoy premium travel without paying the typical sky-high annual fees.

Read our Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for no annual fee: Discover it® Miles

  • Best features : The Discover it® Miles offers simplicity and flexibility without the annual fee. All purchases earn a fairly average 1.5X miles. But Discover sweetens the deal by matching all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Instead of travel, you can also redeem rewards online with Amazon or when you pay with PayPal (though redemption value might be lower).
  • Alternatives : The  Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card  is another solid no-annual-fee travel card ( See rates and Fees ). It not only offers a flat rate of 1.25X miles on every purchase, but also 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. That could make it easier for frequent travelers to earn rewards. It also has a number of travel and consumer protections that you won’t find with most entry-level travel cards, including the Discover it ®  Miles.
  • Bottom line : This card skips the annual fee and the generous first-year welcome offer is ideal for budget-friendly travelers or someone looking for their first travel credit card.

Read our  Discover it ®  Miles review  or jump back to this  card’s offer details .

Best for pairing with Chase cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Best features: Its 1.5% rate on general purchases makes it a great catch-all card as part of your overall travel rewards strategy. You can use this card with certain Chase cards to get more Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most valuable credit card points.
  • Biggest drawbacks: It has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you were planning to use this card abroad on your travels, it can be more costly.
  • Alternative(s): The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of Chase’s premium travel cards, with solid earning rates on dining and travel. For a modest $95 annual fee, it comes with top-of-the-line travel benefits, increases points redemption value through the Chase travel portal and can transfer points to Chase travel partners.
  • Bottom line: If you already have a Chase travel card — or are planning to get one in the future — this card is a must-have for maximizing travel rewards.

Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited® review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for gas and transit: Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

  • Best features: This card’s mix of bonus categories should be a terrific fit if you’re looking for a low-cost way to earn rewards on both everyday travel and big trips. You’ll earn rewards at a great rate on everything from gas and transit to airfare and hotels, without worrying about maximizing point values or offsetting an annual fee.
  • Biggest drawbacks: Its list of perks is just okay, even for a no-annual-fee travel card. You’ll miss out not only on benefits like expedited security screening and lounge access, but also the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Alternatives: Though it may earn rewards at a lower rate, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card could be a great alternative. Its streamlined, flat-rate rewards program is a great fit if you’re new to earning miles, and the card gives you the flexibility to transfer miles to Capital One airline and hotel partners, which could boost their redemption value.
  • Bottom line: The Autograph card is a great option if you want to earn rewards on everyday travel and need the flexibility to redeem for both travel and cash back.

Read our Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for travel credits: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

  • Best features : Along with perks like an annual credit up to $100 for airline incidentals, which includes seat upgrades and airline lounge fees, this card offers a credit of up to $100 to cover the cost of a TSA Precheck or Global Entry application. That perk isn’t always included on travel cards at the $95-annual-fee level. You can also redeem for cash back as a deposit into Bank of America® checking or savings accounts or for gift cards and purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Unlike many travel rewards cards with an annual fee, this card doesn’t let you transfer rewards to partner airline or hotel loyalty programs to squeeze more value out of your points. Plus, the card’s best rewards rates are reserved for people with large savings or investment accounts with Bank of America.
  • Alternatives: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has greater flexibility for travelers who want to transfer their points to airline or hotel travel partners. It also comes with better redemption value if you book travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal and travel protections.
  • Bottom line : This card could be a good fit for heavy packers who can take advantage of the airline incidental fee credits or people who already have a Bank of America account. Those who are loyal to one airline or don’t bank with Bank of America may not find much value in this card.

Read our Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for fair credit: Credit One Bank Wander® Card

  • Best features : Even people with fair credit can take advantage of the card’s bonus rewards in a variety of travel categories. Many travel cards only earn generous bonus rewards for airline or hotel purchases or for travel booked through the issuer’s travel portal. But the Wander card is more flexible, giving you more freedom to book travel the way you like.
  • Biggest drawbacks : There are no transfer partners, so your points are worth a maximum of 1 cent each. Plus, the card has fewer perks compared to other mid-level cards with a similar annual fee.
  • Alternatives : Your options are limited if you’re looking for another travel card open to people with fair credit. But many Capital One cards like the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® * or the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could help you rack up a lot of rewards that you can use to help cover the cost of travel. You can also take advantage of convenient and cost-saving features found in the Capital One Travel Portal.
  • Bottom line : This card is a solid pick for credit-builders who also want to earn travel rewards.

Read our Credit One Bank Wander® Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for United MileagePlus members: United Quest℠ Card

  • Best features : Even semi-frequent United flyers can come out ahead with this mid-tier airline credit card, thanks to all the ways the card’s perks can offset its $250 annual fee. That includes multiple anniversary credits, priority boarding, checked baggage fee waivers and the up to $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Unlike other airline cards with a high annual fee, the United Quest doesn’t offer complimentary lounge access. Plus, the sign-up bonus has a high spend requirement: You’ll need to spend $4,000 in the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles plus   500 Premier Qualifying Points.
  • Alternatives : If the annual fee doesn’t fit your budget, the United℠ Explorer Card is worth a look since it has a $0 intro annual fee (then $95 annually), but still carries a generous sign-up bonus, priority boarding, purchase and travel protections and an up to $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • Bottom line : The United Quest Card packs in a lot of perks and value, making it a solid pick for loyal United travelers looking for an enhanced travel experience.

Read our United Quest℠ Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details .

Best for budget flyers: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Best features : This entry-level airline card has some of the same popular features as more expensive Southwest consumer travel cards, including a chance to earn the Southwest Companion Pass® – one of the most coveted perks in all of travel rewards. If you earn 135,000 points in a year, you can pick a companion to fly with you for free (except for taxes and fees) for up to two years on any Southwest flight that you purchase with cash or points.
  • Biggest drawbacks : Unlike some other airline cards, this no-frills card doesn’t earn bonus points in popular everyday categories like gas or grocery stores. Plus, the card’s anniversary bonus of 3,000 points is lower than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s bonus.
  • Alternatives : The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card may be a better fit for budget travelers. It comes with a $0 intro annual fee for the first year (then $150) and a chance to earn bonus miles faster thanks to practical bonus categories including restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. It also has a number of convenient features like priority boarding and a chance to earn a $200 Delta flight credit. Plus, Delta and its partner network are much more extensive than Southwest.
  • Bottom line : The Rapid Rewards Plus card is a decent choice for occasional Southwest flyers looking for a cheap rewards travel card. But if you fly Southwest frequently and want to double your anniversary points while avoiding foreign transaction fees, consider upgrading to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and its higher annual fee of $99.

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card review .

Best hotel credit card: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

  • Best features : This card offers great long-term value for frequent travelers who stay at the world’s largest hotel chain a few nights or more per year. You get plenty of chances to offset the $95 annual fee, including a free night every year after your account anniversary (up to 35,000 points) and a high rewards rate in the popular, practical bonus categories of travel, grocery, gas and dining purchases, as well as a flat rate of 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Biggest drawbacks : You can only use your rewards with Marriott hotels. So if you don’t frequent the brand, you’ll be better served by a different hotel credit card or a general-purpose travel rewards card, which offers greater flexibility in how you redeem your rewards.
  • Alternatives : If you’re not loyal to one hotel chain, the Chase Sapphire Preferred should give you more redemption options. It earns bonus points on travel, dining and select online grocery purchases – points that can be redeemed in a variety of ways, including for travel, or transferred to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. And when you redeem for travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal, your points have 25% more value.
  • Bottom line : Travelers who stay at Marriott frequently enough to offset the $95 annual fee will appreciate this card. But depending on your spending habits and the hotel features that matter most to you, you may get greater value with another Marriott card .

Read our Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card review .

Best no annual fee airline card: American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Card

  • Best features : This no-annual-fee airline card gives households a chance to earn miles on more than just travel. You’ll earn 2X miles not only on eligible American Airlines purchases, but also at grocery stores, which increases the card’s earning potential for the average consumer. The MileUp card also has a low spend threshold for its sign-up bonus: Spend just $500 in your first three months and you’ll earn 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit.
  • Biggest drawbacks : This card lacks a number of cost-saving perks found with other airline cards, including a free first checked bag for you and additional passengers and a chance to earn travel credits for your spending. Depending on how often you fly and how many people you travel with, you could actually save more money with a travel card that charges an annual fee.
  • Alternatives : The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has a similar rewards rate and charges no annual fee for the first year, then $150 thereafter. That gives you time to test out perks you won’t find with the MileUp card, like priority boarding, a first checked bag free for you and eight additional passengers and a chance to earn a $200 flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year.
  • Bottom line : This card is worth a look if you’re loyal to American Airlines but only fly occasionally and are looking for a no-annual-fee credit card . But if you want the flexibility to fly with different carriers while still earning high rewards, you may get better value out of a general-purpose travel rewards card.

Read our American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp review .

How do travel credit cards work?

Travel rewards credit cards let you earn points or miles you can redeem for travel purchases. Some offer a flat rate on general purchases, but many offer bonus rewards for typical travel purchases or everyday spending categories, like restaurants, gas or even groceries.

Earning points or miles is usually as easy as swiping your card, and some cards provide limited-time offers and sign-up bonuses to add more incentives. The basics of points and miles cards are pretty much the same. You earn and accumulate rewards by making purchases with your card, and redeem for a discount on your next trip.

Your redemption options will vary by card. Most require that you redeem points or miles for travel purchases. (Some let you redeem for gift cards or cash back, but it might be at a lower value.) You can typically redeem points or miles by booking future trips through a designated portal, like Amextravel.com or Chase Ultimate Rewards, or transferring rewards to an issuer’s travel partners to book flights or hotel stays. Some allow you to redeem for a statement credit on travel purchases made within a certain time frame.

Your redemption options will vary by card. Typical options include:

  • Booking new travel
  • Transferring points or miles to a travel partner
  • Statement credit for past travel purchases

Redeeming for travel often yields the best value, while non-travel options like gift cards might have a lower redemption value. You can typically redeem points or miles by booking future trips through a designated portal, like Amextravel.com or Chase Ultimate Rewards, though some let you redeem directly with the airline or third-party travel agency.

General travel credit cards + –

General travel or general-purpose credit cards aren’t tied to or co-branded with a particular airline or hotel. They are best for any traveler who values flexibility in how they earn and redeem rewards.

Depending on the card, you can earn higher points not only on travel-related purchases, but also in popular categories like groceries, gas and dining. You can redeem the points you earn in many different ways, like statement credits and travel. A 1-cent-per-point value is typical, but points may be worth less when used for non-travel options or more if transferred to the right travel partner.

Transferring your points over to an airline or hotel loyalty program can help you strategize so you can get the most out of your points. However, average point values vary from program to program, so you’ll need to test out different routes and carriers to see how far your points can take you before you transfer points between loyalty programs.

Some of the most popular rewards programs for general travel credit cards include:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Capital One Travel
  • Citi ThankYou Points

Is a general travel credit card worth it?

Co-branded cards usually feature high-value airline or hotel perks. Examples like automatic hotel elite status, companion passes or free checked bags could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

But general travel cards give you more flexibility to choose how you travel and where you stay. Plus, plenty of general travel cards come loaded with valuable benefits not tied to specific airlines and hotels — especially if you’re willing to pay an annual fee.

Most general travel cards carry higher rewards rates compared to airline cards with similar annual fees, which gives you a chance to earn more rewards faster. And you’ll have a number of redemption options that make each of your points worth at least 1 cent, which is worth more than the rewards you’ll earn with most hotel rewards programs and some airline rewards programs.

Here’s a look at some of the top features your general travel card may offer:

  • Annual travel credits : Premium cards like the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire Reserve reward cardmembers with annual travel credits worth hundreds of dollars, which you can use to offset previous travel costs or book new travel through the card’s travel portal.
  • Airport lounge access : A number of mid-level and premium travel cards offer discounted or complimentary airport lounge access for you and your guests. Users can enjoy amenities like complimentary food and drinks, showers or even spa treatments. Popular airport lounge networks include Priority Pass lounges and the exclusive American Express Global Lounge Collection.
  • Luxury hotel benefits : Your card issuer may offer Visa or Mastercard’s luxury hotel collection benefit. This perk can lead to room upgrades, free breakfast, food or beverage credits and late check-out. This is typically offered with credit cards with Visa Signature or Infinite benefits or cards with Mastercard World or World Elite benefits, though you’ll have to check with your card issuer to be certain.
  • Car rental elite status : With the right general travel rewards card, you can not only rent a car but also get discounts and status upgrades that let you skip the lines when renting and returning, as well as vehicle upgrades based on availability and other exclusive perks.

Airline travel credit cards + –

Airline credit cards are co-branded cards that carry the name of the card issuer and a particular airline. They’re a great fit for travelers who regularly fly with a particular airline and can take advantage of the perks found within its rewards program.

Some of the most popular airline rewards programs include:

  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American Airlines Aadvantage
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • United MileagePlus

Like general travel cards, airline rewards cards can earn rewards on a variety of purchases, but your redemption options are more limited. To get the best value, you’ll typically want to redeem your rewards for flights with the airline or one of its partners.

Is an airline credit card worth it?

They offer less flexibility and might have an annual fee, but airline cards can make your travel experience easier and save you a lot of money, even after you factor in the cost of an annual fee.

Here’s a look at some of the top airline credit card benefits:

  • Free checked bags :   Avoid paying a fee for your first checked bag and a travel companion’s bag. Many airlines charge $30 to $35 per checked bag, per trip, so the savings can add up, especially if you’re traveling with a large family.
  • Fast track to elite airline status : Frequent flyers looking for an enhanced flying experience will have to spend thousands of dollars and spend a lot of time in the air to unlock the top-of-the-line perks that come with elite status. But the right airline credit card can cut down on the eligibility requirements and may even come with automatic elite status or welcome offers and additional credits that get you elite status faster.
  • Travel companion pass : Earning an airline companion pass takes some work, but if you qualify you can bring a passenger along on a future flight for free (though you’ll still have to pay taxes and fees). Some airlines even offer companion passes that let you bring a guest with you on any flight you book for a year or more.
  • Priority boarding : This perk helps you quickly board a plane and get your carry-on stowed away in an overhead bin before it fills up.
  • In-flight discounts : This perk helps you save on drinks, snacks and other extras purchased on your flight. You’ll typically enjoy a discount of 20% to 25% off.

How to choose an airline

It’s best to select a card co-branded with an airline that you will use frequently, which typically means choosing an airline that flies out of an airport close to where you live, or one that you use the most. Smaller hubs may have limited options, but you should check to make sure that the airline you want has routes at your preferred airport. For example, Southwest does not fly out of Newark Airport, so if Newark is your primary airport another co-branded airline card might be a better fit.

Hotel travel credit cards + –

Hotel credit cards are co-branded cards that earn points you can redeem for stays with a specific hotel chain. Some of the most popular hotel rewards programs include:

  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Hilton Honors
  • IHG One Rewards Club
  • World of Hyatt

Is a hotel credit card worth it?

Like airline credit cards, hotel credit cards can pack in a lot of brand-specific perks to reward your loyalty. Some cards offer supersized rewards rates, typically for hotel-related purchases. These earning rates can make it easier to quickly rack up points for future visits.

On top of the high-earning potential, hotel travel cards may also come with some of the following benefits:

  • Free night : Many hotel cards automatically reward you with a free night at select properties every year on your anniversary. Others give you a chance to earn a free night after you spend a certain amount on the card.
  • Room upgrades : Your card could automatically qualify you for room upgrades when available, giving you more space or better views.
  • Elite hotel status : Some of the best hotel cards come with automatic elite status, making you eligible for exclusive perks, while others put you on a fast track to achieve higher levels of elite status.

How to choose a hotel

While you should pick an airline card based on frequency and availability, choosing a hotel card might come down to personal preference. You’ll find most hotel chains concentrated in mid-to large-size cities, so you can select a hotel group that works best for your needs. Hotel chains often include a price range from luxury to budget friendly. For example, Marriott includes both Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Ritz-Carlton in its suite of hotels. So, whether you splurge on one trip or save costs on another, you can still earn rewards.

However, if you happen to travel a lot to very remote cities, you might want to ensure that your preferred hotel chain has a location there.

Business travel credit cards + –

Business travel cards are a terrific option if you own a company or work as a freelancer and travel often for work. They can be co-branded or a general travel card.

Some of the more popular business cards include:

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express review
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Is a business travel card worth it?

Business travel cards offer a competitive rewards structure similar to other travel cards, but you can typically earn bonus rewards in business categories, like purchasing software and office supplies. Not only can business travel cards help keep your work and personal expenses separate, but they can also help you cut down on business costs.

You might see these benefits on a business travel card:

  • Bonus rewards on large purchases : Some cards will offer an elevated rewards rate for big purchases, so you can earn miles or points for big-ticket items.
  • No fee for employee cards : You can rack up even more points or miles when you add employees as authorized users at no additional cost. This action can also be a great way to track company spending.
  • Account management tools: To help manage your company budget, business travel cards might come with apps or programs that could ease record keeping, like the ability to upload receipts quickly or link to a spreadsheet.
  • Travel and hotel perks : Like other travel cards, you can often enjoy annual benefits, like a hotel reward night, lounge access or statement credits.

Co-branded travel cards versus general travel cards

The biggest difference between co-branded cards and general travel cards is flexibility. Co-branded cards are ideal for brand loyalists who prefer to commit to one particular airline or hotel group. They often come with perks that you might not find on general travel cards (like elite status or free checked bags), but how you earn and redeem rewards is limited to that specific brand.

For instance, you might feel locked in to book a pricier room with a co-branded hotel card even if there are more affordable options.

With general travel cards, you have more freedom to select flights or hotels that fit into your schedule and price range, but you might lose out on some perks. If you prefer flexibility, a general travel card might work better for you. If you enjoy more elite perks or are a fan of a particular brand, you might consider a co-branded card.

Pros and cons of travel credit cards

  • Travel for less: Money-saving benefits, such as high travel reward rates, sign-up bonuses and travel credits, can help bring down the overall cost of travel.
  • Generous perks: The best travel cards feature perks like room or seat upgrades, free hotel stays, statement credits and lounge access that might enhance your overall travel experience.
  • Fast track to elite status: Elite status, which offers maximum program benefits for airlines or hotels, often takes time to earn. Some travel rewards cards help cut down on the qualification period, or they offer automatic elite status, which means you can start earning elite status benefits sooner.
  • Earn points as a loyalty member along with rewards : If you are a loyalty member, then you can earn loyalty points with that hotel or airline brand as well as travel reward points when you book with a travel credit card.
  • No foreign transaction fees : Most travel cards don’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which can help cut down costs when traveling abroad.
  • Complex rewards programs: Keeping up with the travel rewards card program rules can be confusing, especially when redeeming or transferring points to a travel partner. It takes careful planning and calculation to ensure you are maximizing the value for your rewards.
  • Limited redemption outside of travel: Travel cards typically provide the best value when redeeming for travel. While some cards offer redemptions for non-travel options, such as statement credits or gift cards, these are typically worth less.
  • High annual fees: Determining whether an annual fee is worth it can be difficult, and many of the best travel credit cards have yearly costs starting from $95 to $100. Premier travel cards could have annual fees in the $200 to $700 range.
  • Higher interest rates : Typically, travel cards carry a higher ongoing APR, so if you carry a balance every month, then a low-interest credit card or balance transfer card might be a better fit.
  • Typically best only for frequent flyers : Since most travel cards offer the most elevated bonus rates for travel, such as flights, hotels and car rentals, you won’t reap its maximum benefits unless you fly often.

Who should get a travel credit card

  • Frequent flyers . If you spend lots of time up in the air or staying at hotels, you can absolutely benefit from the rewards and perks that come with a travel credit card. But if you’re new to travel or only travel occasionally, look for no-annual-fee cards or ones with simple rewards categories. All globetrotters can appreciate the lack of foreign transaction fees many travel cards offer.
  • Brand loyalists . Fans of particular airlines and hotel chains can reap some serious rewards with their go-to brands. Loyal customers can rack up an incredible amount of hotel points or flight miles using a card like the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.
  • Luxury travelers . Vacationers looking for top-shelf travel perks may have to pay to carry their card, but The Platinum Card from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer benefits that can easily offset their annual fees. You’ll find high-end earnings rates on your purchases to back it up. Take advantage of exclusive add-ons, like access to airport lounges, free checked bags, specialty offers and more.
  • Road trippers . Some travel cards earn rewards on purchases at gas stations and hotel stays, which can be valuable if you’re on the road a lot. A hotel credit card like one in the Hilton Honors program or Marriott Bonvoy may be a great choice if you regularly take cross-country trips and stay at hotels.

Who should skip a travel credit card

  • Fans of low-maintenance credit cards. While flat-rate travel cards are available, travel cards with fixed bonus categories or a tiered rewards structure often have the best rewards rates. The card that’s most fitting for you will depend on your spending habits. If you aren’t ready or willing to strategize to get the most out of your travel card, a more straightforward rewards credit card may be a better fit.
  • Someone looking for flexibility . Cash back credit cards are usually more versatile and might work best for infrequent travelers or people with higher non-travel-related expenses. They can help you maximize your earnings on everyday categories like supermarkets, gas, transit, streaming services or online purchases. Mostly, redeeming can be far less complicated and far more flexible. Depending on the credit card, redemption options may include statement credit, direct deposit, check and travel.
  • Someone prone to overspending . The best travel rewards credit cards can help you save a lot of money but only if you avoid a balance. Since rewards cards typically come with higher interest rates, paying your balances in full can save you money and create the best value. If you can’t, you run the risk of losing more money to interest charges than you earn in rewards. You may even fall into credit card debt. If you aren’t able to pay your balances in full, consider a low-interest credit card .

Do you know how much your points or miles are worth?

Choosing a card based solely on the number of miles or points you stand to earn can be a costly mistake. Redemption values can vary, and points and miles do not always transfer on a 1-to-1 basis, meaning 1,000 “miles” earned do not always translate to 1,000 miles of travel.

For example, the Citi Strata Premier card has a sign-up bonus of 70,000 points after spending $4,000 in your first three months of account opening. With the Strata Premier card, most redemption options have a baseline value of 1 cent, so this offer can be worth at least $700. But based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations , we estimate that the right high-value transfer partner could boost your point value up to 1.9 cents on average. That could make your sign-up bonus worth an incredible $1,330.

Compare that to a card like the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, which offers a sign-up bonus of 140,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. Since IHG Rewards are estimated to be worth 0.7 cents on average based on our points valuation, that comes out to a value of $980 dollars.

Understanding the true value of your rewards program can help you to maximize value and select the card that offers the best rewards for your spending habits.

How to calculate the value of your points and miles

To find the value of your points and miles, divide the cost of paying cash for the booking (such as the plane ticket or hotel room) by the number of points or miles required. Then compare this number to Bankrate’s points and miles valuation for the airline, hotel or credit card rewards program.

For example, if a flight on Southwest Airlines costs $800 out of pocket or 50,000 miles, the value is 1.6 cents per mile ($800 divided by 50,000 miles equals $0.016 or 1.6 cents). Since this is slightly higher than our estimated value of 1.5 cents per mile, you’re getting a good deal if you book this flight.

But if you redeem for a gift card instead and find a $25 card costs 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards miles, your value drops to 0.25 cents per mile ($25 divided by 10,000 miles equals $0.0025 or 0.25 cents). Since this is far below the 1.5-cent-per-point value you should look for, you’re better off using cash for this gift card and saving your points for a better deal.

How to compare travel credit cards

Deciding which travel credit card is best for you can be difficult. Many cards have similar redemption options, earn rewards in the same categories or cost more than you’re willing to pay for an annual fee. The right card for you will provide value with both perks and rewards rates that match your needs and align with purchases you already make.

To find the right one, you may find it helpful to compare several cards at once so you can see which one offers the best value for your personal finances and travel habits.

  • Are you an occasional or frequent traveler? Frequent travelers typically have an easier time taking advantage of the numerous perks found with a travel card. If you travel less frequently, then a cash back card may make more financial sense.
  • Are you loyal to a certain airline or hotel? If you’re a fan of a particular airline or hotel chain, you can enjoy specific benefits with that company’s co-branded travel card, like companion pass or annual hotel credits. A general-purpose card, however, gives you flexibility to choose any travel partner when traveling.
  • What travel perks and protections matter most to you? Higher rewards status with hotels or airlines, access to airport lounges or automatic elite status are a few examples of travel perks a card might offer. You can also have more peace of mind with any travel protections that a travel card might provide, like trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost baggage insurance and 24/7 global assistance. Make sure to look for a card that has the features that matter most to you.
  • Do you have to change your spending habits to earn and redeem rewards?  Rather than tailoring your spending to match a card’s bonus categories, you might choose a card that already rewards your typical spending habits. Also, watch out for restrictions like spending limits, which can hinder your ability to earn maximum rewards. And when redeeming, make sure your card provides the best value. Some travel cards don’t provide the best value when redeeming for non-travel-related options, such as gift cards or statement credits.
  • Does the card have sign-up bonuses and annual fees?  A card’s welcome offer can boost your first year earnings. Look for the spend requirement to ensure you can meet it without overspending. Additionally, a card’s annual fee can be a significant factor. Cards with high annual fees often offer some of the best rewards and perks, but if you can’t offset the fee every year it might not be worth it.
  • How does the card’s international acceptance and foreign fees measure up?  For people who frequently travel internationally, this detail can be a game changer. A card without a foreign transaction fee can help budget your trip. But you also want to make certain that the card has broad international coverage. Some cards, like Discover, while working on their international network, might be riskier to carry abroad.

How to make the most out of your travel credit card

Whether you’re planning a quick getaway or extended trip, your rewards from a travel credit card can either enhance your experience or save you money. If you have your eye on Walt Disney World or a small family gathering, you can use these strategies now to experience an elevated trip in the future.

  • Score a welcome offer . To make the most of your purchases and capitalize on travel rewards, seek out a welcome offer with an affordable spend requirement. Some of the top sign-up offers could be large enough to help you score free travel.
  • Take advantage of the card’s bonus rewards categories . Find a travel rewards card that offers bonus points for purchases you already make to supercharge your earnings. For example, if your weekly work plans include lunch outside of the office, you could earn 3 points for every $1 spent at restaurants as a Citi Strata Premier cardholder, maximizing your earnings potential.
  • Consider a travel card that earns transferable points . Transferable points are points earned with one travel card that can be redeemed with another participating program. Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, the right high-value transfer partner could be the best way to maximize your rewards earnings.
  • Don’t forget your credit card benefits . Your travel credit card could have hidden credit card perks that make travel more enjoyable and save you money, such as complimentary breakfast at hotels or free checked bags. In just one trip, a family of four could easily offset a card’s annual fee through baggage fees alone. Other benefits, such as lost baggage coverage, not only reimburse you for clothing, toiletries or medication you had to purchase because of delayed or lost luggage, but provide additional peace of mind while traveling.
  • Consider a credit card combination . Pair your travel card with another credit card that earns high rewards in areas you spend the most to maximize value. You may even be able to combine cards within the same rewards program. Chase, American Express, Capital One and Citi all offer some of the best credit card combinations that can help you rack up transferable rewards.
  • Skip the foreign transaction fees . Make sure to take along a card that skips this common overseas charge, typically 3% charge anytime you use the card internationally. You can avoid this by choosing a travel credit card that waives foreign transaction fees, such as the Capital One and Discover credit cards.

Alternatives to Travel Credit Cards

If you don’t want to commit to a travel card, but still want to earn travel rewards, then you have options.

  • A cash back credit card lets you earn cash rewards, which you can often redeem for a statement credit to cover travel and other purchases.
  • A card with a 0% intro APR might work better for people planning a large purchase. It can help you budget for a trip, as long as you can pay off the balance before the intro offer period ends.
  • A no-annual-fee card that also carries no foreign transaction fees might suit infrequent travelers. With this type of card, you can still save on trips abroad without worrying about added fees or offsetting costs every year.

In the news: What is credit card travel insurance?

Travel insurance, or trip insurance, is a policy providing reimbursement or resources if something goes wrong during your trip. The coverage of the trip insurance varies depending on if it’s provided through a credit card or purchased as a separate policy.

Credit cards may provide a form of trip insurance when you use your card to pay for trip-related expenses. Credit card travel insurance can cover everything from trip cancellation and trip interruption, to lost luggage and car rental loss and damage insurance.

In some cases, the coverage provided by the credit card may be enough to cover your needs for a travel-related event. But confirm the benefits before you travel and make sure it offers the right coverage, for example, if you are traveling internationally or need a “cancel for any reason” policy.

How we picked the best travel cards

Research methodology : We analyzed 300 travel rewards credit cards to identify the best offers currently on the market. The major factors we considered include:

  • Rewards rate : Does the card offer a competitive rewards rate for the travel category? For general purpose travel cards, this rate is generally between 1.25X to 2X rewards. For co-branded hotel or airline credit cards, we looked for a rate between 3X and 10X points on brand purchases, plus a competitive rate in other bonus categories.
  • Welcome offer : Annual fee travel credit cards, in particular, may offer a welcome bonus valued between $500 to $900. We considered the value of the sign-up bonus, alongside the required spend to receive it.
  • Additional travel perks : We considered whether the card offers additional travel benefits beyond base rewards. For instance, for airline credit cards, we considered whether they offered priority boarding, a free checked bag or lounge access. For hotel credit cards, we considered whether they offered upgrade opportunities for Wi-Fi and free hotel stays with a card anniversary. For premium travel credit cards, we considered whether the card touted travel credits, travel insurance and other benefits that justified the high annual fee.
  • Rates and fees : Travel credit cards do tend to carry annual fees and higher APRs than low-interest credit cards. However, we considered how a card’s APRs compared to the current credit card industry average and whether any fees could be avoided or recouped by its travel rewards and benefits.

All criteria used : Rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonus, point values, transfer partners, redemption options, redemption flexibility, annual fee, other rates and fees, travel credits, airport lounge access, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, concierge service, other travel benefits, travel portal functionality, credit needed, customer service, events or other perks

More information on travel credit cards

For more information on all things travel cards, continue reading content from our credit card experts:

  • Cash back vs. points
  • Trip cancelation reimbursement by credit card
  • No foreign transaction fee credit cards

Frequently asked questions about travel credit cards

What is the difference between points and miles on a credit card + –.

When you’re shopping for a travel credit card, you’ll likely have two rewards currencies to choose from: points and miles.

Credit card points are the more flexible of the two options, usually allowing you to redeem your rewards for flights or hotel stays with a number of brands. Some cards allow you to redeem points for cash back, gift cards or merchandise, but often at a lower value than a travel redemption.

Credit card miles usually refer to frequent-flyer miles with a particular airline, such as Delta or United. If you have a miles-earning card, this usually means you can only redeem your miles for flights with one particular airline, though there are exceptions. These types of cards are also called co-branded cards and often come with additional perks like free checked bags.

What credit score do you need for a travel credit card? + –

Travel credit cards often feature higher rewards rates and numerous benefits, which typically means the odds of approval are higher for someone with a good or excellent credit score — usually around a 670 FICO score or higher.

But someone with bad or fair credit still has options. Although the credit card may not be labeled specifically as a travel rewards card, cards like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card don’t require great credit and offer rewards in travel categories like hotels and rental cars.

Do travel points and miles expire? + –

Typically, rewards won’t expire for the life of the account. However, each card is different so it’s always best to read your card’s terms and conditions. For instance, some cards do have rewards that expire after a period of inactivity. In some cases, you could forfeit your rewards by missing a payment or canceling a card . Every card comes with its own set of rules, so always read the fine print.

How many miles do you need for a free flight? + –

The miles you’ll need for a free flight depend on the type of card you have, its rewards and redemption structure and whether it offers bonus value on travel redemptions.

For example, If you book through Amex, your points are worth 1 cent apiece on travel redemptions. That means if a flight costs $500, you’ll need 50,000 points to book. However, with Chase Ultimate Rewards, points are valued at 1.25 cents, so a $500 trip would need only 25,000 points.

What purchases are part of the travel category for travel credit cards? + –

How purchases are categorized depends on both the merchant and the issuer and may vary from card to card. Typically, bookings for airlines, hotel stays and rental cars will fall under travel. However, some cards, such as the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, broaden the category to include other types of purchases like timeshares, campgrounds and parking garages.

Check the issuer’s website or contact the issuer directly to get a complete list of what is considered travel for your specific card.

About the Author

Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski is a credit card expert, analyst, and multimedia journalist with over 10 years of experience covering business and personal finance. She has previously served as the Head of Content at Policygenius, Executive Editor of Credit.com, Deputy Editor at American Banker, Staff Reporter at TheStreet and a columnist for Inc. Magazine.

About the Editor

Robert Thorpe

Robert Thorpe

Robert Thorpe is an editor for CreditCards.com

About the Reviewer

Stephanie Zito

Stephanie Zito

Stephanie Zito is a professional traveler, humanitarian and credit card points collector sharing savvy travel tips she has learned firsthand from more than 20 years of circling the globe as a backpacker, expat and premium traveler in more than 125 countries and all seven continents.

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The Best Travel Credit Cards, For Beginners, Pros, and Everyone in Between

12 Best Travel Credit Cards Of 2024

Looking for the best travel credit card? That's easy—there’s just one issue: choosing which one to go with. There’s no shortage of travel rewards credit cards out there, and while having plenty of options is great for consumers, it can also make things a little confusing. The truth is, there’s no single consensus pick. However, there are some cards that stand out above the rest. Below, we’ve outlined our top choices and exactly why they made the cut—plus an idea or two on how to spend the welcome bonuses with some of our favorite hotels and airlines.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Compensation does not impact how or where cards appear on the site. We don't review or include all companies, or all available products. Moreover, the editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of Condé Nast Traveler's editorial team.

What are the benefits of a travel credit card?

For many, the driving factor in opening a travel credit card is the ability to earn points that can later be turned into free flights or hotel stays—but the best travel credit cards also offer perks like  free night certificates ,  elite status , trip delay protection, and annual travel credits that are pretty motivating, too.

Is a travel credit card worth the annual fee?

The answer is almost always yes, thanks to their generous rewards structures, flexible redemption options, and travel perks—provided you can use them. Going through a list of these features is a great place to start when looking for your perfect match, whether you’re just getting acquainted with the options or looking to add a second or third travel card to your rotation. Plus, some of the welcome bonuses are upwards of six figures, sweetening the deal even more and setting you well on your way to free flights and hotel stays.

What should I consider before choosing a card?

If you want to find the absolute best travel credit card for you, you’ll need to take into account a number of factors—where you live, where you want to go, and your  spending habits  included. All of this means that a card that's great for you may not be such a hot pick for someone else.

Below, I’ll walk you through 10 of the best travel cards available right now. Looking specifically for the  best airline credit cards  or  hotel credit cards ? We've got you covered there, too.

  • Best for beginners : Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for building credit : Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for airfare and lounge access : The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Best for groceries and dining : American Express® Gold Card
  • Best value : Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for flexible rewards : Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for varied bonus categories : Citi Premier Card
  • Best hotel card : Hilton Honors American Express Aspire
  • Best for cash back : Citi Double Cash Card
  • Best for rent : Bilt Mastercard
  • Best for retail : Chase Freedom Flex
  • Best business credit card : Chase Ink Business Preferred

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Reach your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card welcome bonus to book a night at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for beginners

Why we love it:  The Chase Sapphire Preferred has been a popular card for years, and with good reason. For a modest annual fee, it boasts a sizable welcome bonus, strong earning rates in popular spending categories, and the option to redeem points through the Chase portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point or transfer them to airline and hotel partners. It’s widely considered a top pick for those who are  venturing into the world  of points and miles for the first time. The Chase Sapphire Reserve , the preferred’s pricier, $550-a-year sibling, is not on this list, as many find its extra benefits don’t justify the added cost. But it is an option for those looking for a product that comes with lounge access.

How it earns points:  The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns two points per dollar on all travel purchases, as well as five points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase, three points per dollar on all dining and online grocery purchases, and three points per dollar on select streaming services. It earns one point per dollar on everything else.

Additional perks:  In the event of a  travel delay , the Preferred offers up to $500 per ticket in reimbursement for hotels, meals, and incidentals (this means if you booked flights for you and your partner on the same card, you’d each qualify for the stipend). It also offers a 10 percent anniversary points bonus and a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit.

Annual fee:  $95

Foreign transaction fees:  None

Current welcome bonus : Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer the points to World of Hyatt to book two nights at at a Category 7 property at standard rates, such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo or the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa .

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Read a   full review   of this card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for building credit

Why we love it:  Travel cards often require strong credit scores, so the Freedom Unlimited is a great way to build your credit with a free, easier-to-open card while earning rewards that can convert to travel rewards in the long term. While the Chase Freedom Unlimited is technically a cash-back card, if you pair it with a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points—such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred—you’ll be able to instantly convert your rewards into valuable travel points by moving them between accounts.

How it earns points:   You’ll earn five points per dollar on  travel booked  through Chase Ultimate Rewards, three points per dollar on drugstore purchases and dining, and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else.

Additional perks:  This fee-free card is understandably light on perks, but it does come with some shopping and auto insurance protections.

Annual fee:  None

Foreign transaction fees:  3 percent

Current welcome bonus:   Earn $200 in cash back (20,000 points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, five percent cash back on gas station and grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

How to spend it:  Transfer to British Airways to book a short-haul economy flight on Alaska Airlines, such as Seattle to Los Angeles.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Best for airfare and lounge access

Why we love it:  The Platinum Card from American Express is a heavy hitter. With its strong points-earning potential and perks, it takes the headaches out of traveling. This American Express card has access to not one, but two networks of domestic and international  airport lounges ; elite status with two top hotel chains; and so many credits, it’s hard to keep track—especially with a list that keeps on growing. And when it’s time to cash in points, cardholders have the option to transfer to numerous airline and hotel partners, including some of the  world’s top carriers .

How it earns points:  The Platinum earns five Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline or via Amex Travel on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year, as well as five points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. It earns one point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Additional perks:  Amex is all about offsetting this card’s high annual fee with a slate of compelling benefits and statement credits galore. It comes with an annual $200 credit to the airline of your choice to cover incidentals; up to $200 per year in Uber credit; up to $200 hotel credit on qualifying prepaid bookings of at least two nights through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts; a $300 Equinox credit to put toward gym membership; a $240 entertainment credit for eligible digital subscriptions; an $189 CLEAR Plus credit; a  Global Entry  or TSA PreCheck credit worth up to $100; up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits; cell phone protection; airport lounge access to both Amex’s own network of  Centurion Lounges  and Priority Pass; Gold Elite status with both Hilton and Marriott; and more. (Enrollment is required and terms apply to all of the aforementioned perks and statement credits.) The card comes with shopping, baggage, and rental car insurance, as well as access to sought-after restaurant reservations through a partnership with Resy.

Annual fee:  $695 ( see rates and fees )

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 80,000 points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within six months of account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer the points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book round-trip business class tickets to Japan on Virgin's partner ANA. You can fly from the West Coast to  Tokyo  or  Kyoto  for 90,000 miles or the Midwest or East Coast to the island country's major cities for 95,000 miles.

Read a  full review  of this card.

St Regis Hotel Mexico City

Use Amex points to enjoy a stay at the St. Regis in Mexico City.

American Express® Gold Card

Best for groceries and dining

Why we love it:  We all need to eat, and no matter how you do it,  you’ll be rewarded  if you hold the American Express Gold Card, which offers bonus points on both  restaurant  and supermarket spending. The card also comes with credits you can put toward takeout and delivery, as well as Uber. Gold Card users will also have access to Amex’s extensive transfer partner list when it comes time to put their hard-earned points to good use.

How it earns points:  The Gold Card earns four Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year, then one point per dollar). It also earns three points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline or with AmEx Travel, as well as one point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Additional perks:  The Gold Card comes with a dining credit of up to $120 that can be used on dining through GrubHub, Goldbelly, and more (enrollment required, terms apply), as well as a $120 Uber Cash and a $100 The Hotel Collection credit when you stay two nights or more (enrollment required, terms apply). It also provides shopping, baggage, and rental car protections. Annual fee:  $250 ( see rates and fees )

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 60,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within six months of account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer 63,000 points to Cathay Pacific to book a one-way business class ticket between the US and Helsinki on Finnair.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Why we love it:  Capital One’s first foray into the premium credit card space is a good one. On top of solid earning potential, the  Venture X  offers an array of easy-to-use perks that make it a solid competitor against top offerings from Chase and Amex—with a much lower annual fee. Points earned with the card can be transferred to Capital One’s solid list of transfer partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.

How it earns points:  The Venture X nets two miles per dollar on every purchase, with bonuses on travel. The card gets 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via the Capital One Travel portal, along with five miles per dollar on flights booked through the portal.

Additional perks:  The card comes with $300 annual credit good for bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal, a 10,000-mile bonus on every account anniversary, unlimited access for you and two guests to  Capital One Lounges and Priority Pass lounges  worldwide, and up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or  Global Entry .

Annual fee:  $395

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer to Air Canada's Aeroplan to book Lufthansa first class on a one-way flight to Europe of up to 6,000 miles long, such as Chicago to Frankfurt.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Best for flexible rewards

Why we love it:  Simplicity is the name of the game with the Capital One Venture Rewards card, the Venture X's predecessor. It’s a straightforward card for those who don’t spend a ton of money in any one category and who want to avoid a hefty  annual fee . Use your miles to wipe travel purchases off your statement or transfer them to one of 17 loyalty partners, including AirFrance-KLM and Turkish Airlines.

How it earns points:  The Venture card earns two miles per dollar on all purchases, plus five miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Additional perks:  The Venture card doesn’t have the perks of a more expensive premium card, but cardholders do get a $100  TSA PreCheck or Global Entry  credit every four years.

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer the miles to Turkish Airlines' Miles&Smiles program to nab four round-trip business economy class tickets between anywhere on the US mainland and Hawaii on Turkish Airlines' partner United.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca on the blue cloudless sky background.

A trip to Casablanca is in reach with the Citi Premier card.

Citi Premier Card

Best for varied bonus categories

Why we love it:  The Citi Premier often flies under the radar—but it shouldn’t. The card boasts a slew of easy-to-maximize bonus categories, earning customers extra points on dining, groceries, gas, air travel, and hotels. And while Citi’s lineup of transfer partners doesn’t get as much attention as Chase or Amex, it still features top-notch choices for booking flights, both  domestic  and international (JetBlue TrueBlue and Qatar Airways Privilege Club are among Citi’s list of partners).

How it earns points:  The Premier earns three Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, as well as three points per dollar spent on airfare and hotels. It earns one point per dollar on everything else.

Additional perks:  The card offers a once-a-year credit of $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more when booking through the Citi ThankYou portal, as well as access to ticket pre-sales and cardmember-only events.

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 60,000 points once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer the points to Etihad Guest to book round-trip business class tickets between New York and  Casablanca  on Royal Air Maroc. You’ll be well on your way to the 88,000 requisite points after you spend the money required to trigger the welcome bonus.

Grand Wailea A Waldorf Astoria Resort

A weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea on Maui could be in your future.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

Best hotel card

Why we love it:  You won’t find a more lucrative hotel card than the Hilton Honor American Express Aspire, which gives cardholders its top-tier Diamond status, an uncapped free night reward, resort credits, and sky-high earning rates. But the best part is, it’s more than just a hotel card. It also offers airfare credits and bonus points at US restaurants, providing a more well-rounded travel experience.

How it earns points:  The Aspire earns 14 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent with Hilton hotels and resorts, as well as seven points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or via Amex Travel, on car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies, and at US restaurants. It earns three points per dollar on everything else.

Additional perks:  Cardholders automatically receive Hilton’s highest elite status, Diamond, as well as one free night every year after renewal that can be redeemed at most Hilton properties. Each account year, cardholders are also eligible for up to $400 in statement credits toward purchases at Hilton Resorts, as well as $200 worth of statement credits for airfare purchases.

Annual fee:  $550

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 180,000 bonus points once you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Combine 120,000 points with the card’s free night certificate for a weekend at the  Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal .

Citi Double Cash Card

Best for cash back

Why we love it:  Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Citi Double Cash Card is actually a cash-back card, but if you have a second card—like the Citi Premier—that earns ThankYou points, you’ll be able to convert your  cash back  into travel rewards. It’s also easy to use, earning a flat two points per dollar on every dollar spent, no matter what the category.

How it earns points:  The Citi Double Cash card earns two points per dollar on all purchases—one point when you buy, and one point when you pay your bill.

Additional perks:  The card comes access to ticket pre-sales and cardmember-only events.

Current welcome bonus:  Earn $200 cash back once you spend $1,500 on purchases within the first six months from account opening.

Bilt Mastercard

Best for rent

Why we love it:  Bilt is a relative newcomer to the scene, and it’s shaking things up in the best way. It allows renters to earn points on their rent without paying credit card processing fees—and not just any points. Bilt’s points are transferable, and its list of transfer partners, including American Airlines AAdvantage, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and World of Hyatt, is unmatched in the industry. The card also earns on travel and dining, and while it doesn’t have a sign-up bonus, it does unveil fun new bonuses each month for Rent Day, or the first of the month, in addition to the ability to double your points earned on that day. And all of these benefits come without an annual fee.

How it earns points:  The Bilt Mastercard earns three points per dollar on dining, two points per dollar on dining, and one point per dollar on everything else, including rent. Those bonuses double for purchases aside from rent made on the first day of each month.

Additional perks:  The card comes with trip delay and interruption protection of up to $5,000, trip delay reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver, and a $5 Lyft credit when you take three rides in a calendar month.

Current welcome bonus:  None

Chase Freedom Flex

Best retail card

Why we love it:  Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Freedom Flex Card is actually a cash back card whose points can convert to Ultimate Rewards if you have another card that earns them. Its unique earning structure allows you to earn a bonus in a rotating category each quarter, many of which are categories not often covered by other cards—such as Amazon purchases, department stores, or PayPal purchases.

How it earns points:  You’ll earn five points per dollar on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter. You’ll also earn five points per dollar on  travel booked  through Chase Ultimate Rewards, three points per dollar on drugstore purchases and dining, and one point per dollar on everything else.

Additional perks:  Like its sister card, the Freedom Flex comes with some shopping and auto insurance protections, as well as cell phone protection.

Current welcome bonus:  Earn $200 in cash back (20,000 points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, five percent cash back on gas station and grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

How to spend it:  Transfer the points to Southwest Rapid Rewards for a domestic winter getaway to a Sun Belt state.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

Best business credit card

Why we love it:  For small business owners, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a great card to have in the rotation. For a modest $95 annual fee, it earns three points per dollar on travel, as well as on a host of useful business categories ranging from shipping to advertising and beyond. It also comes with a sky-high welcome bonus right now, making it a great opportunity to jump-start or boost your balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

How it earns points:  The Chase Ink Business Preferred earns three points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year combined on shipping purchases; internet, cable, and phone services; advertising purchase with social media sites and search engines; and travel. It earns an uncapped one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Additional perks:  The card comes with an auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, purchase protection, cell phone protection, and extended warranty protection.

Current welcome bonus:  Earn 100,000 points once you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

How to spend it:  Transfer the points to Iberia to fly round trip in business class to Madrid from Boston, Chicago, or New York on off-peak dates for just 68,000 miles or from West Coast hubs for 95,000 miles.

See rates and fees for American Express cards listed: The Platinum Card ; The Gold Card , Aspire . All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Condé Nast Traveler; this card is no longer available through Condé Nast Traveler.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Credit cards

Best travel credit cards of July 2024

Robin Saks Frankel

Grace Pilling

Grace Pilling

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 10:20 a.m. UTC July 1, 2024

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The best credit cards for travel set themselves apart from other credit cards by offering an array of benefits that make it easier and more rewarding to explore the world. These travel credit card offerings provide generous rewards and perks tailored to the needs of those on the go.

We analyzed all of the available options in this category, from issuers both large and small, to curate a list of the very best travel credit cards of 2024. Here are our selections.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome bonus

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Regular APR

Credit score.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Editor’s take

  • Over $1,500 in travel and entertainment credits can offset the annual fee.
  • Comprehensive lounge access benefit.
  • Generous travel and purchase protections.
  • High annual fee and spending requirements.
  • Amex’s once-per-lifetime rule limits welcome bonus eligibility.
  • Annual statement credits have limited use.

Card details

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best travel credit cards

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. * : Best credit card for travel.
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. * : Best hotel card.
  • Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. * : Best cobranded airline card.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for airport lounge access.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card *: Best for simple redemption process.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best for high value with a low annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® : Best for increased redemption value.
  • Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card *: Best for high rewards on all types of travel.
  • American Express® Green Card * The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. *: Best for high rewards on travel and dining.
  • Bilt World Elite Mastercard® : Best travel credit card for renters.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint.

Why trust our credit card experts

Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of credit cards and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best card for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 85+ cards analyzed.
  • 20+ data points analyzed.
  • 5-step fact-checking process.

Best credit card for travel

Capital one venture x rewards credit card.

The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

  • High reward potential.
  • Wide selection of statement credits.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No hotel or airline-specific benefits.
  • Requires excellent credit.
  • High annual fee.
  • Annual fee: $395.
  • Rewards: 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
  • Welcome bonus: 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 19.99% to 29.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers .
  • Other perks and benefits: No foreign transaction fees, 10,000 mile card ownership anniversary bonus, $300 annual credit reimbursement for travel bookings made through Capital One Travel, $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursement credit, airport lounge access benefits, cellphone protection benefit, transfer miles to travel and hotel partners, Hertz President’s Circle Status.

Best hotel card

Ihg one rewards premier credit card.

The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Earn 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent at IHG hotels.
  • Free night after your account anniversary each year.
  • Redeem three nights, get a fourth consecutive night free.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Value per point may be low compared to competing hotel chains.
  • Potentially high APR.
  • Annual fee: $99.
  • Rewards: Earn 10 points per $1 at IHG Hotels and Resorts, another 10 points per $1 as an IHG One Rewards member, 6 points per $1 from IHG with Platinum Elite Status (a benefit of this card), 5 points per $1 on travel, dining and gas stations and 3 points per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.49% to 28.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. A balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies .
  • Foreign transaction fees: None.
  • Perks and benefits: Free night after your account anniversary, redeem three award nights and get a fourth consecutive night free, automatic Platinum Elite status, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, credit of up to $100 to reimburse Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS.

Best cobranded airline card

Aeroplan® credit card.

The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

  • Ability to spend your way to elite status is rare for a card at the $95 price point.
  • Generous rewards on everyday spending categories.
  • Discounts on award tickets.
  • Aeroplan charges high redemption rates on some award tickets compared to other Star Alliance carrier rates.
  • The annual fee may be hard to justify for those who don’t regularly fly Aeroplan to take advantage of the airline-specific perks.
  • Annual fee: $95.
  • Rewards: 3 points per $1 spent on dining, takeout and eligible delivery services, grocery stores and directly with Air Canada and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Earn 500 points for every $2,000 spent in a month (maximum 1,500 points per month).
  • Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.74% to 28.74% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. A balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies.
  • Foreign transaction fees: $0.
  • Perks and benefits: Aeroplan 25K status through the rest of the calendar year and next. Maintain status with $15,000 spent in a calendar year. Existing status holders can upgrade to 35K status with $50,000 in spending per calendar year, first checked bag free for cardmember and up to eight travel companions, $100 Global Entry, TSA Precheck or NEXUS application fee credit every four years, preferred pricing on award flights, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, secondary auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection.

Best for airport lounge access

Best for simple redemption process, capital one venture rewards credit card.

The information for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

  • Decent value for the annual fee.
  • Worthwhile collection of perks and travel protections.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • No low introductory APR period.
  • Rewards: 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 2 miles per $1 on other purchases.
  • Other perks and benefits: No foreign transaction fees, up to $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, extended warranty benefit, transfer miles to eligible loyalty programs.

Best for high value with a low annual fee

Chase sapphire preferred® card.

Earn 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 Travel℠.

  • Flexible points that can be transferred to 14 travel partners or redeemed through Chase Travel℠ at 1.25 cents each.
  • $50 annual statement credit toward Chase Travel hotel bookings.
  • Valuable travel protections.
  • Category bonuses are limited and not competitive against other travel cards.
  • Transfer partner list is limited compared to programs like Amex Membership® Rewards and Citi ThankYou®.
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Best for increased redemption value

Chase sapphire reserve®.

Earn 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 Travel℠.

  • Up to $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass Select lounge access.
  • Redeem points for 50% more value to book travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • Transfer points 1:1 to partners such as United Airlines and World of Hyatt.
  • Not ideal if you aren’t interested in transferring points.
  • May not qualify if you’ve applied for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months.
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

Best for high rewards on all types of travel

Wells fargo autograph journey℠ visa® card.

The information for the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card

60,000 bonus rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

  • Rewards: 5 points per $1 on hotels, 4 points per $1 on airlines, 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. An intro balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies for 120 days from account opening. After that, a fee of up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5, applies.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

Best for high rewards on travel and dining

American express® green card.

The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American Express® Green Card

Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Lower annual fee than some comparable cards.
  • Credits for CLEAR® Plus membership and airport lounges.
  • Fewer perks than more premium travel cards.
  • Complex rewards structure.
  • Some reward redemptions are a poor value.
  • Annual fee: $150.
  • Rewards: 3 points per $1 at restaurants, 3 points per $1 on travel including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. Welcome bonus: 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.
  • APR: See terms for Pay Over Time eligibility and program details.
  • Perks and benefits: Up to $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit, up to $189 CLEAR® Plus statement credit and additional travel protections.

Best travel credit card for renters

  • Bilt World Elite Mastercard®

Bilt World Elite Mastercard®

  • Earns rewards on rent payments.
  • No transaction fee for paying rent by credit card.
  • No annual fee or Foreign Currency Conversion Fee.
  • You must make five transactions per billing period to earn rewards.
  • No welcome bonus or intro APR period.
  • Restrictive definition of what counts as a travel purchase.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel (when booked directly with an airline, hotels, car rental agencies, and cruise lines), 1x points on rent payments without a transaction fee (on up to 100,000 points each calendar year) and 1x points on other purchases
  • Earn double points on the first of the month (i.e. 6X points on dining, 4X on travel and 2X on other purchases; except rent)
  • Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period
  • Cellular Telephone Protection
  • Purchase Security (theft and damage protection)
  • Concierge Service
  • Lyft Credits
  • No Foreign Currency Conversion Fee
  • Rewards & benefits terms
  • Select ‘Apply Now’ to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions.

Compare the best credit cards for travel

best travel reward card 2022

Why it’s the best

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. offers great value with its lineup of travel credits, including a $300 annual credit reimbursement for travel bookings made through Capital One Travel — Capital One’s online travel agency. If fully maximized it can negate much of the card’s $395 annual fee. Plus, the card earns a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus each year. For a premium card, the Venture X is priced well below its peers.

  • Comes with airport lounge access.
  • Miles earned on the card can be transferred to multiple travel partners.
  • Elite rental status with Hertz¹.
  • The travel credit is only for bookings made through Capital One.
  • Redeeming your earnings for cash is a poor value.
  • There’s a sizable annual fee.

Card details:

  • Rewards: Earn 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. earns rewards at a rapid pace, thanks to the automatic Platinum elite status granted to cardholders. The status, combined with the rewards earned from using the card at eligible IHG stays can earn you up to a whopping 26 points per dollar, fast-tracking you to free nights faster than you can say “InterContinental Hotels Group.”

  • Ultra-high rewards rate, especially on IHG spending.
  • Card offers a free anniversary night.
  • Robust travel protections and coverages.
  • The free anniversary night is capped at 40,000 points.
  • Points are relatively low value.
  • Travel coverage does not include auto rental insurance.

The Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. is one of just a small handful of airline credit cards to include elite status as a cardholder perk. The card also allows you to pay yourself back on eligible travel purchases at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, and Aeroplan miles can be used on more than 45 partner airlines, making it a must-have in the wallets of frequent globetrotters.

  • Offers elite status for the remainder of the year and the full calendar year.
  • Discounted pricing on reward flights.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions.
  • Elite status isn’t an ongoing perk.
  • Aeroplan doesn’t have U.S.-only flights.
  • There’s an annual fee.
  • Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, takeout and eligible delivery services, grocery stores and directly with Air Canada and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Earn 500 points for every $2,000 spent in a month (maximum 1,500 points per month).
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (terms apply, rates & fees ) offers the most widespread lounge access benefits of any card on the market. While the high price point may be prohibitive for some, consider that the card offers more than a $1,000 value in potential statement credits. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

  • Expansive airport lounge access.
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash annually, up to $200 airline incidental fee statement credit per calendar year (applicable to one qualifying airline of your choice) and an up to $240 digital entertainment statement credit. Enrollment required.
  • Hotel and rental car elite status with several brands.
  • Sky-high annual fee.
  • Statement credits can be hard to fully maximize.
  • Rewards rate is mediocre outside of flights and travel booked through Amex.
  • Annual fee: $695.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 Membership Rewards® points per $1 for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year, 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months of card membership.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an easy-to-use travel rewards card with a soft-on-the-wallet price. You can use your miles to book travel through Capital One, redeem them to cover a past travel purchase or transfer them to Capital One’s 15+ travel loyalty partners.

  • It’s easy to understand both earning the rewards and how to use them.
  • Application fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (up to $100).
  • Get Hertz Five Star rental card elite status¹.
  • No lounge access.
  • The highest rewards rate is for bookings through Capital One Travel.
  • Other cards may offer even higher rewards in areas where you spend the most.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 2 miles per $1 on other purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining and a straightforward redemption program. It’s an excellent choice for both frequent and aspiring travelers looking to maximize their everyday spending. Plus, rewards on this card are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Travel℠. You’d be hard-pressed to find another travel card that packs more punch in an affordable package.

  • Annual bonus point award equal to 10% of total purchases made in the past year.
  • Can transfer points 1:1 to Chase’s travel loyalty partners.
  • Extensive travel and purchase protections including primary auto rental coverage.
  • Lacks airport lounge access and hotel elite status.
  • Rewards are worth less than a penny per point when not used for travel redemptions.
  • Hotel bookings made through Chase aren’t eligible for elite loyalty benefits.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3 points per $1 on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® ‘s $550 annual fee can be offset by a slew of benefits. Plus, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned on this card can be redeemed at a 50% increase in value when used to book travel through Chase Travel. So for example, 100,000 points on this card can be redeemed for $1,500 worth of travel booked through the issuer , helping you stretch the value of your rewards even further.

  • Up to $300 annual travel credit good for a wide variety of travel expenses.
  • Access to airport lounges via Chase Sapphire Lounges and the Priority Pass Select network (enrollment required).
  • 1:1 points transfer to a long list of airline and hotel loyalty program partners.
  • The annual fee may be hard to swallow for some, even with the potential credits.
  • You’ll need excellent credit to be approved for the card.
  • Low rewards rate on everyday expenses like groceries and gas.
  • Annual fee: $550, plus $75 per authorized user.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on flights and 10 points per $1 on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card * The information for the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. offers fantastic rewards across all things travel, without having to pledge loyalty to a specific brand or book through the issuer. That makes it a unicorn among other travel cards that are either cobranded or require booking through the bank’s travel site.

  • Ultra-high rewards on hotels with any brand and high rewards on airfare and other travel.
  • Rewards can be pooled with other Wells Fargo cards.
  • Robust travel protections cover your trip, baggage and cellphone protection.
  • Limited number of travel transfer partners.
  • Lacks lounge access and other elite perks like hotel or rental car status.
  • Lackluster rewards on everyday spending categories like groceries and gas.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on hotels, 4 points per $1 on airlines, 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The American Express® Green Card * The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. (terms apply) may come with an annual fee slightly above its entry-level travel card peers, but its high rewards on travel and dining, plus the annual statement credits, can far outweigh that carrying cost.

  • Earns generous rewards on a wide array of travel spending, plus dining too.
  • Annual CLEAR ® Plus and LoungeBuddy credits are worth more than the annual fee. Enrollment required.
  • Valuable travel insurances and protections.
  • The LoungeBuddy credit may not be enough for frequent flyers.
  • The annual fee is higher than competing travel cards.
  • Redeeming your rewards for cash-back offers poor value for your points.
  • Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 at restaurants, 3 points per $1 on travel including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.

The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® is one-of-a-kind because you can earn rewards on paying rent without any additional transaction fees. Add in more than a dozen airline and hotel transfer partners, a long list of travel protections and other perks and this no-annual-fee card is one of the best travel cards on the market. You can even save up your Bilt Rewards toward a future down payment on a home.

  • Points are worth 25% more on travel booked through Bilt.
  • You can spend your way to elite status tiers, unlocking different benefits at each level.
  • The issuer offers bonus rewards and other benefits on the first of every month.
  • You have to use your card at least five times each statement period to earn rewards.
  • No welcome offer for new cardholders.
  • It’s best for renters as mortgage statements can’t be paid with the card.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Rewards: 1 point per $1 on rent payments without a transaction fee (on up to 100,000 points each year), 2 points per $1 on travel (when booked through the Bilt Travel Portal or directly with an airline, hotel, car rental or cruise company), 3 points per $1 on dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. At least five transactions must be made per statement period to earn these rewards.
  • Welcome bonus: None.
  • Foreign currency conversion fee: None.

Methodology

Our credit cards team has spent hours analyzing hundreds of credit cards. We took a deep dive into the details of each product and that analysis, combined with our years of experience covering credit cards, informed us as we developed these credit card rankings. Factors we considered included:

  • Estimated annual earnings: 33%.
  • Flexibility of rewards earned on the card: 10%.
  • Booking flexibility with the card: 10%.
  • Hotel earnings: 8%.
  • Airline earnings: 8%.
  • Annual fee: 5%.
  • Free checked bag perk: 3%.
  • Lounge access: 3%.
  • Annual credits: 2%.
  • Potential credits: 2%.
  • Global Entry application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • CLEAR Plus application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • Trip delay coverage: 2%.
  • Trip cancellation coverage: 2%.
  • Baggage delay coverage: 2%.
  • Hotel elite status: 2%.
  • Number of travel companions eligible for primary cardholder’s checked bag perk: 1%.
  • Flight companion certificate with card ownership: 1%.

What is a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is a card that earns points or miles on your spending and usually offers the best redemption values when those rewards are used for travel. 

Generally, there are two types of travel rewards cards: 

  • Cobranded cards: These earn a specific currency tied to an airline or hotel brand, like Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors points.
  • Flexible cards: These earn “flexible” rewards, like American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points, that can be used to book travel across several hotels and airlines.

Co-branded cards typically earn higher rewards for purchases made within the brand and general travel cards tend to earn rewards that can be redeemed for more types of travel.

How do travel credit cards work?

With a travel credit card, you’ll earn points or miles as you spend. When you’ve accumulated enough rewards, you can redeem them for flights, hotels and other travel expenses. Redemption options will vary depending on your card. Some issuers offer boosted redemption rates for booking through their travel portal, while others allow you to transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners or apply them as a statement credit to cover travel charges made with the card.

Many travel credit cards also come with perks for travelers, like a free checked bag for your flight, a free annual hotel night or a credit towards the application fee for a trusted traveler program like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck .

“Travel rewards cards are a great way to leverage personal and business card use and turn it into free airline tickets and hotel rooms. Be sure to choose a card that has rewards that are applicable to your preferred airline and hotel brands”, said John Ulzheimer, president of The Ulzheimer Group and nationally recognized credit expert.

Benefits of travel credit cards

Travel rewards credit cards offer a range of benefits to frequent and occasional travelers alike:

  • Earn rewards for everyday spending. Use your travel credit card to pay for purchases you’d be making anyway and earn rewards you can use for travel.
  • Lower the out-of-pocket cost of travel. Whether you use your points to pay for airfare, nights at a hotel or for a rental car, redeeming your earnings for travel can significantly reduce the cost of a trip.
  • Receive free nights, checked bags and other perks. Many cobranded credit cards come with a free night perk or waive the fees for checking luggage, both of which can save you money and may be worth more than the cost of the card itself.
  • Enjoy new travel experiences. Stories abound of people who have used their credit card rewards to take over-the-top luxury trips. Even if an overwater villa in the Maldives is not your thing, having enough points for a free flight or hotel may be enough incentive to nudge you towards taking a trip to a new city or to see family and friends in far-flung places.
What is Priority Pass and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about this airport lounge network

Who should get a travel credit card?

Most people can benefit from a travel credit card. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or are just looking for an occasional getaway, there’s likely a travel rewards card out there that can help you maximize your savings.

Consider how you like to travel and what you’re looking to achieve with a new travel card. Points and miles programs can be complex, and some travel credit cards require time and energy to get the most value. Other credit cards offer straightforward redemption as statement credits to offset a variety of travel spending you do directly with airlines, hotels and other travel services. Take time to plan how you would get the most out of a prospective rewards program and its transfer partners, or whether you’d be better off with a simpler approach.

Before you shell out a high annual fee for a perk-laden card, consider if the benefits it comes with are ones you’d actually use. In many cases, taking full advantage of statement credits, anniversary bonuses and other perks like free nights can more than offset the annual fee .

If you rarely travel and are considering saving up over a long period of time for a trip, keep in mind that rewards don’t earn interest. In fact, rewards often lose value over time and may even expire . It’s a general best practice not to sit on your rewards for too long.

Types of travel credit cards

Travel credit cards often provide a wide range of benefits, from travel and purchase protections to airfare and hotel redemptions.

Understanding the different types of travel rewards cards is the first step to finding the right card for you. There are several major types of travel credit cards:

Airline-specific cards 

The best airline credit cards offer exclusive discounts and rewards when you use them with a specific airline. Many also offer free companion tickets or priority boarding benefits. Examples of cobranded airline cards include: 

  • Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • United℠ Explorer Card * The information for the United℠ Explorer Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • JetBlue Plus Card * The information for the JetBlue Plus Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hotel-specific cards

These cards may give you access to exclusive discounts at certain hotel chains and resorts, as well as rewards to be redeemed for free nights or upgrades. Hotel loyalty status is a common benefit among the best hotel credit cards . Examples of cobranded hotel cards include: 

  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card * The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. (terms apply)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (terms apply)

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Blueprint.

Flexible points cards

These cards allow you to earn points for every dollar spent that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals and other travel bookings. Major issuers often offer boosted earning or redemption rates when using their online travel booking portals. These cards may also allow you to transfer points to airline or hotel partners, providing the most flexibility when it comes to redemptions. Examples include:

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®  

Flexible rewards vs. airline or hotel credit cards

For those who travel often but don’t have a particular brand loyalty, the best travel card is likely one that earns flexible rewards on every purchase. Flexible rewards are not tied to a specific airline or hotel loyalty program but rather to a card issuer’s travel agency redemption program. Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards® are two examples, but Capital One offers Miles , Citi offers ThankYou® Points and other major issuers have similar reward programs.

Airline- and hotel-specific cards offer rewards tied to a loyalty program with the airline or hotel, and typically offer better value with that carrier or brand, but not as much flexibility with redemption options. Only apply for a card like this if you’re sure the brand is the one you want.

If you only take an occasional trip, then a more flexible reward card may be a better choice. 

Cash-back cards offer simpler reward redemptions and the rewards earned can still be used toward future trips or redeemed for gift cards or other rewards if travel remains a priority.

best travel reward card 2022

How to compare and choose the best travel rewards card

When it comes to choosing the right card for your needs, there are several factors to consider:

  • What type of rewards do you want to earn? General points that can be used for travel expenses with different airlines and hotels are more flexible, but if you’re loyal to a particular travel brand you can earn their specific currency and enjoy elevated status and other perks.
  • Does the card come with a good welcome bonus? Many cards offer a generous welcome bonus (sometimes called a sign-up bonus) when you spend a certain amount on purchases in the first few months of receiving the card. This can be an easy way to get an infusion of rewards when you first open your account — but when calculating a card’s value, remember the welcome bonus is a one-time deal. 
  • Are you willing to pay the annual fee? Some cards have no annual fee, while others come with a hefty price tag but offer more generous rewards or benefits. Make sure you understand all the fees before making a decision so that you don’t end up paying for benefits you won’t actually use.
  • Does it come with any additional benefits that offer value? Card perks such as travel insurance , airport lounge access or exclusive discounts and offers can help make your travel smoother and your card more cost effective.
Wondering how two top travel cards compare to each other? We break down the differences between the Capital One Venture X vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Evaluating reward potential

“Something to keep in mind when it comes to earning travel rewards is that your mileage may vary. Often the best value redemptions will come when used for less-traveled destinations or off-peak travel times. And your rewards redemptions don’t have to be luxurious to be meaningful. Some of my most cherished memories have come from when I’ve used rewards to visit family and friends where the location was not the focus,” – Robin Saks Frankel, USA TODAY Blueprint lead editor credit cards

We evaluate the reward potential of travel rewards credit cards based on what we’d expect a household in the 50th percentile of wage earners to spend each year on a credit card. We gather these figures from government sources and other publicly available data. 

In a year, we expect a household might spend about $25,087 of this on a credit card. Of this credit card spending, we’d expect about $2,941 to be spent on overall travel — which breaks down as $1,188 spent on airfare, $868 spent on hotels and $885 spent on all other travel. For frequent travelers carrying high-annual-fee travel rewards cards — like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. , which charges an annual fee of $395 — we expect about twice this much spending in the travel categories. 

The Capital One Venture X earns 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.

Using government data and other publicly available information, we estimate that a household in the U.S. that would be in the market for this card has an annual income of $84,352 and $25,087 in annual expenses they are likely to be able to charge to a credit card. Here’s how our sample household would fare with the Capital One Venture X Card:

The cardholder in this example earns a grand total of 85,350 miles annually, which is worth $853.50 if used to book travel through Capital One or when eligible travel is booked elsewhere and you redeem your miles to cover the purchase. 

The right travel card can net you lucrative rewards. But make sure to select a card based on your spending and travel habits — the best card for travel will differ from person to person.

Tips for maximizing your travel credit card

There are several ways to get the most out of your travel credit card:

  • Pay your bill on time every month and aim to pay it in full. If you carry a balance, the accumulated interest fees will likely be more than the value of any rewards earned on the card.
  • Try to earn the card’s welcome bonus. Top travel cards offer outsized welcome bonuses for new cardholders who can meet a minimum spending requirement. Earning that bonus can give a nice boost to your rewards balance.
  • Be aware of the perks your card offers. Many travel cards offer discounts or statement credits for travel-related spending, like a discount within a hotel collection, cellphone insurance or elite status within a brand. Knowing what your card comes with means you can fully maximize those benefits.
  • Don’t sit on your rewards for too long. Unlike money in the bank, travel rewards do not earn interest and may actually be worth less over time. The value of your rewards is often tied to the cash price of travel and travel only tends to get more expensive year-over-year.

How to travel for cheaper with travel cards in 2024

New year, new travel possibilities. What’s more, it’s entirely possible to travel for cheaper by maximizing your credit card strategy with the right travel cards in hand. There are droves of rewards cards to choose from, so it can be hard to choose the right one for you.

Travel credit cards earn points or miles that can be redeemed for flights, hotels, rental cars and more, helping you subsidize the cost of your trip expenses. Beyond earning rewards, some cards even come with airport lounge access or credits to offset your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. 

For many travelers, a one-punch solution is the best fit. We’re talking about general travel credit cards , which earn rewards through a bank like American Express, Capital One, Chase, or Citi and don’t tie you to a specific airline or hotel program. Instead, the cardholder has the choice to redeem their earnings how they please toward any travel purchase.

Best places to travel with rewards in 2024 

While a European summer vacation never goes out of style, traveling during the shoulder season is the true winner. With fewer crowds, cheaper accommodations and pleasant weather, a fall trip to Portugal this year should be on your list.

If you’ve got travel rewards cards from American Express, Bilt, Capital One, Chase or Citi, you can transfer your points or miles over to the Air Canada Aeroplan program. You can book a business class flight from Miami (MIA) to Lisbon (LIS) in October 2024 for just 70,000 miles one way.

There’s so much to love about Costa Rica, from its lush jungles to the natural wildlife. Plus, this Central American country is quite accessible from many states in the U.S. With two main international airports — Liberia (LIR) and San José (SJO) — the toughest decision you’ll need to make is which part of Costa Rica to visit. 

Many major U.S. airlines fly to Costa Rica, so redeeming your rewards for a flight shouldn’t be too difficult depending on where your loyalty lies. For example, United Airlines offers a flight from Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Liberia (LIR) with a layover in Houston (IAH). You’ll pay just 20,000 MileagePlus miles one-way — even during the peak winter season. 

One of the best ways to fly the whole family to Hawaii is by setting your sights on the British Airways Avios program. Earning points is a breeze: You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards® , Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Citi ThankYou® Points or Capital One Miles to this program at a simple 1:1 ratio.

Because British Airways is part of the Oneworld airline alliance, you can redeem your Avios for partner airlines like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Both of these carriers offer plenty of routes to the Aloha State. 

Nonstop routes are priced favorably for just 17,500 Avios plus $18.10 in taxes and fees for a one way flight from the West Coast. Depending on when you’re traveling, you may also be able to find multiple award seats per flight. This is great news for big families.

Alternatives to travel credit cards

Instead of earning points or miles, you might consider a cash-back credit card to get a percentage back on all your purchases. Cash-back cards are generally more straightforward than travel rewards programs — after all, a dollar is a dollar — and often come with no annual fees. 

If you’re not ready to commit to a travel rewards program or simply don’t travel enough to reap the full benefits of a travel credit card, a cash-back credit card is a great way to still earn rewards on spending. 

When it comes to choosing a cash-rewards card , you can keep it simple with a straightforward flat-rate card such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card , which earns 2% cash rewards on purchases. 

Or you can pick a card with higher rewards rates in your biggest spending categories. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (terms apply, rates & fees ) offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Rewards Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or for eligible items at Amazon.com checkout. The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

There’s no one “best” card that’s right for everyone. The best travel card for you will depend on a combination of factors including how often you travel, how you travel, your tolerance for annual fees and what you’re looking for in a travel card.

Generally speaking, the best travel credit cards earn bonus category rewards on airfare, hotels, car rentals and even dining. These cards typically also offer bonus points or miles when you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening the account. Some will also offer perks such as travel protections, elite status with an airline or hotel loyalty program , priority boarding and airport lounge access.

The exact credit score needed for a travel rewards credit card will vary depending on the issuer and the specific card. Generally, you will need at least a good credit score, typically from 670 to 739 on the FICO Score scale — to be approved for most travel rewards cards. However, some of the more premium cards may require an excellent credit score, typically defined as a FICO Score of 740 or higher.

The most rewarding travel rewards cards, including most of the cards on this list, are not likely to offer approval to anyone without a good or better credit score. Some issuers also have rules in place preventing you from applying for a credit card, travel or otherwise, if you’ve applied for a certain number of cards within a certain period of time. 

The best type of card for you will depend on your spending habits and your financial goals. If you’re a loyal frequent flyer with an airline, an airline rewards card might make the most sense. If you spend plentifully at a specific hotel brand, you may be better suited to a hotel credit card.

If you’re not sure, or you have a wider variety of needs, a card with flexible point currencies — like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — may be a better bet.

Finally, If you’re looking for a simple way to get cash back on everyday purchases, then a cash-back credit card may be the way to go. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and preferences — and in some cases, you might have a pattern of spending that justifies having both in your wallet.

The exact value of a point or mile earned on a travel credit card will depend on the type of point or mile and how you redeem it. In most cases, you should look to get at least a penny per point of value.  Points values vary because many airline and hotel pricing structures are dynamic and will change based on demand. The points values tend to be somewhat fixed however and this can lead to redemption values worth more – or less – than 1 cent each. Transferring rewards to airline programs when allowed and redeeming for business and first-class seating can often yield greater values per point.

Yes, travel credit cards with annual fees are worth it if you make the most of what the card has to offer. While travel credit cards with annual fees aren’t necessarily worth it for everyone, they certainly can be if you know you’ll get more value from the rewards and benefits than you’ll pay to hold the card each year. Generally speaking, the higher the annual fee, the better the perks. 

If you’re earning flexible rewards such as American Express Membership Rewards® Points or Chase Ultimate Rewards®, these generally don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

However, points or miles earned on cobranded cards are a mixed bag. Some points don’t expire for the life of your account, while others will expire if there’s no account activity within the last 12 to 24 months. Read your card’s terms and conditions to see the expiration policy for your rewards.

There’s no difference between points and miles on a credit card, they’re simply two different ways to describe rewards. Airline cards tend to use the term “miles” (probably because it evokes the spirit of the miles you fly), while hotel and general rewards cards tend to use the term “points.” However, the two terms serve the same purpose: they’re a way of measuring both the rewards you earn on a particular credit card and the number of rewards it will take for a particular redemption.

There’s no one “best” card for international travel since there’s no one “best” way to travel. The best credit card for international travel for you will be the one where the rewards rates best align with your spending patterns. You’ll also have to decide if a card that comes with robust benefits is worth paying the annual fee versus a card with less bountiful benefits but a lower annual fee.

For rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page .

For rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please visit this page .

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

²Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.

*The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card, American Express® Green Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, JetBlue Plus Card, United℠ Explorer Card and Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel is a credit cards lead editor at USA TODAY Blueprint. Previously, she was a credit cards and personal finance deputy editor for Forbes Advisor. She has also covered credit cards and related content for other national web publications including NerdWallet, Bankrate and HerMoney. She's been featured as a personal finance expert in outlets including CNBC, Business Insider, CBS Marketplace, NASDAQ's Trade Talks and has appeared on or contributed to The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, NPR, International Business Times and NBC, ABC and CBS TV affiliates nationwide. She holds an M.S. in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University. Follow her on Twitter at @robinsaks.

Grace Pilling is a deputy editor for credit cards at USA TODAY Blueprint. She believes credit cards are the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure tools of the financial world and gets excited about helping people discover the best credit card strategy for their unique goals. Prior to joining Blueprint, Grace worked on and led personal finance teams at Bankrate, CreditCards.com, MoneyUnder30 and MoneyGeek. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and writing and a diploma in editing and publishing.

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  • Worth the Annual Fee
  • Flexible Redemptions
  • Luxury Travel Rewards
  • Dedicated Airline Cards
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  • Best Dining Cards

How Do Travel Rewards Cards Work?

What are travel rewards worth, how to compare travel credit cards, is the annual fee too high, how to get the most out of your travel card.

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We may get compensation if you visit partner links on our site. We may not cover every available offer. Our relationship with advertisers may impact how an offer is presented on our website. However, our selection of products is made independently of our relationship to advertisers. All information about the American Express EveryDay® credit card has been collected independently by Kiplinger. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. We calculate a typical annual reward for each card, assuming $34,000 spent annually and less any annual fee. Interest rates, fees, rewards and other terms listed in this article are subject to change. Before you apply for a credit card, check its current terms and conditions with the issuer. Rates and sign-up offers were checked as of July 1, 2024.

A travel rewards credit card can be an excellent companion whether you travel often or just take the occasional vacation. With every purchase, you can use a travel card to collect points or miles that you can redeem for flights, hotels, or other travel bookings. Many travel rewards cards come with extra benefits, too, from free entry into airport lounges to statement credits toward application fees for TSA PreCheck and other programs that expedite security screening at the airport. 

You may notice that our list of the best cards differs from many other reviewers. That's because we crunch the numbers on a wider variety of cards, such as those issued by credit unions and smaller banks.

If you’d rather have a card that offers cash back or another type of reward, see our article on the best rewards credit cards . If you just want a smoking-hot sign-up bonus for new cardholders, jump to our current travel credit card bonus deals list .

Know what kind of travel card you want? Jump to these sections, below to see our top three picks in each category. 

  • No Annual Fee
  • Flexible Travel Redemptions
  • Luxury Travel
  • Airline Cards  
  • Hotel Cards
  • Dining Cards

Best Travel Card Bonus Deals Right Now

Best travel rewards credit cards with no annual fee.

With these cards, you reap points or miles without paying an annual fee. You will still need to consider foreign transaction fees if you plan to do a lot of international travel.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited ®  

Sign-up bonus:   Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel ℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. 

After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

You can trade the Ultimate Rewards points you earn at a rate of a penny each for cash back, gift cards or travel bookings. 

This card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so consider one of our other travel winners for trips abroad. 

Chase cards also offer excellent rental car insurance .

  • Interest rate : Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% to 29.24%.
  • Annual fee : None.
  • Foreign transaction fee : A hefty 3%, so for trips abroad, look to our other winners that charge no such fee.
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, the rewards program portal that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.
  • Earn 5% total cash back on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2025.
  • Earn 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, including takeout and eligible delivery service.
  • Earn 1.5% on other spending.
  • Redemption: Redeem points at a rate of a penny each for cash back, gift cards or travel; points do not expire.
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.  After your first year or $20,000 spent, the rewards rate reverts to 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC

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Discover it® Miles  

This card acts as a hybrid travel and cash back card. All purchases earn 1.5 miles per dollar, and the redemption options are flexible. You can exchange miles at a rate of a penny each for statement credits on travel purchases, cash back, account credits to pay your card bill, and purchases with Amazon and PayPal. 

The card offers a generous sign-on bonus, doubling your miles earned after the first year . Other nice-to-have perks include free access to your FICO score and online privacy protection. The card does not provide free travel insurance, access to airport lounges or similar travel perks.

  • Interest rate:  0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (through August 10, 2024), then 18.24% to 28.24% variable APR.
  • Annual fee:  None.
  • Foreign transaction fee:  None.
  • Rewards:  1.5 miles per dollar spent on purchases.
  • Sign-up bonus:  A match of miles earned after one year, doubling your rewards.
  • Redemption:  Unlike a co-branded credit card, the miles earned on the card can be used to cover travel purchases made at any airline, car rental or hotel over the past 180 days; miles may also be redeemed for statement credit to pay your bill.

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American Express EveryDay®  

Intro offer : Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first six months of Card Membership.

Amex EveryDay provides a way to earn Amex’s Membership Rewards points without paying an annual fee. You get two points per dollar on up to $6,000 of supermarket purchases per year and one point per dollar on all other spending. If you make at least 20 purchases on the card in a billing period, you get a 20% bonus on the points you earned on those purchases. 

You can trade points at a rate of 1 cent each for flight bookings through Amex Travel or certain gift cards (points are worth less for most other redemption options). You can also transfer points to a partner travel loyalty program, including Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. The card charges a 2.7% foreign-transaction fee, so it’s best for domestic travel

See rates and fees.

  • Interest rate : 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 18.24% to 29.24% variable APR. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the total transfer amount, or $5, whichever is greater. So, this is a good card for a balance transfer . See rates and fees .
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Foreign transaction fee : 2.7%, so use a different card for international travel.
  • Rewards : Two points per dollar on up to $6,000 spent at supermarkets per year, then 1%; two points per dollar on certain prepaid travel purchases through Amex Travel; other spending gets one point per dollar, and each month that you make at least 20 purchases with the card, you get a 20% points bonus on those purchases.
  • Annual hotel benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com.
  • Redemption : The best way to redeem points includes booking flights through Amex Travel at a rate of a penny per point or transferring points to loyalty programs including Delta SkyMiles (at a ratio of one Amex point to one SkyMile), Hilton Honors (1:2 ratio) and Marriott Bonvoy (1:1).
  • Intro offer: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first six months of Card Membership.
  • Terms apply

Best Travel Cards Worth the Annual Fee

With a high payback on travel spending and some perks on the side, these cards make the annual fee worth paying.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card  

Annual fee : $95 

Sign-up bonus : 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 

Capital One Venture offers five miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars that you book through Capital One Travel and two miles per dollar on all other spending. Miles are worth a penny apiece if you redeem them for statement credits on travel purchases or travel bookings through Capital One, or you can transfer miles to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs. Extra perks include two free yearly visits to Capital One’s own airport lounges or Plaza Premium lounges (though the lounge-pass benefit expires in January 2025), as well as reimbursement of the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which provide expedited airport security screening.

For details on this bonus offer and how to use bonus miles, read Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Launches $750 Bonus Offer .

This card was deemed outstanding for customer service in the Kiplinger Readers' Choice Awards 2024: Travel Rewards Credit Cards .

  • Sign-up bonus : 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That's worth $750 when used to book travel or reimburse travel expenses.
  • Rewards : Five miles per dollar spent on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; all other spending earns two miles per dollar; limited airport lounge access and other benefits apply.
  • Redemption : Redeem miles at a rate of a penny each for statement credits on travel purchases or to book a new travel reservation through Capital One. Or transfer miles to any of more than 15 travel loyalty programs.
  • Interest rate : 19.99% to 29.99% variable APR for purchases.
  • Balance transfer fee : $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you.
  • Annual fee : $95
  • Foreign transaction fee : None.

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Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card  

  • Annual fee : $95.

Citi recently updated the Premier card to the Citi Strata Premier℠, making it easier to earn points. Earn 10 Citi ThankYou® Points per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings. You also collect three points per dollar on dining, supermarket, gas station and air travel purchases and one point per dollar on other spending. 

Points are worth a penny each when you trade them for travel bookings or gift cards, or you can transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs. Once per year, cardholders also get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more booked through Citi’s ThankYou program.

  • Sign-up bonus : None. 
  • 10 total ThankYou Points for each $1 spent on hotel, car rental and attraction bookings on the Citi Travel℠ site via CitiTravel.com or 1-833-737-1288 (TTY:711)
  • 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent on air travel and other hotel purchases
  • 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent at restaurants and supermarkets
  • 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent at gas and EV charging stations
  • 1 ThankYou Point for each $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual hotel discount : Once a year, get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through thankyou.com.
  • Redemption : Points are worth a penny each if you redeem them for gift cards or travel bookings through the Citi ThankYou program; you can also transfer points to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs; there are no blackout dates and points do not expire.
  • Interest rate : 21.24% to 29.24% variable APR for purchases.

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U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee : $95, waived the first year.

Sign-up bonus : 20,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days.

This card delivers five points per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings through U.S. Bank’s travel portal; four points per dollar on other travel purchases and at gas and EV charging stations (see below for details); two points per dollar on grocery store, restaurant and streaming-service spending; and one point per dollar on other spending. 

You can redeem points at a rate of a penny each for travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and other options. Cardholders are also reimbursed for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and receive four free yearly visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges. 

  • Interest rate: 21.24% to 29.24% variable APR for purchases or balance transfers.
  • Annual fee:  $95, waived the first year.
  • Five points per dollar on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center.
  • Four points per dollar on other travel purchases and at gas and EV charging stations through September 8, 2024, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs, discount stores/supercenters and grocery stores excluded).
  • Two points per dollar on grocery store, restaurant and streaming-service spending.
  • One point per dollar on other spending.
  • Redemption:   Redeem points at a rate of a penny each for travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and other options; cardholders also get reimbursement of the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, four free yearly visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, and a $30 annual credit if you make 11 months of purchases with eligible streaming services.
  • Lounge access : Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership gives you 4 free visits to over 1,500 airport VIP lounges and experiences worldwide.
  • Sign-up bonus:  20,000 points, worth $200 , if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Best Cards for Flexible Travel Redemptions

Redeem points for travel bookings or transfer them to a broad range of partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.

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BILT Mastercard®

The BILT Mastercard from Wells Fargo rewards you with one point per dollar on rent payments (up to 100,000 points each year), and you bypass the transaction fees that usually apply when you pay rent with a credit card.  Read our dedicated article on the BILT credit card for the full skinny.

If you enable BiltProtect , your rent payments are drawn directly from your linked bank account, and you earn points on the payments without using your available credit. Keeping your credit line clear of rent payments can help lower your credit-utilization ratio (the amount of available credit that you use), and that’s good for your credit score. 

You also earn three points per dollar on dining, two points on travel and one point on other purchases. The BILT card takes honors in this travel category because you can transfer points that you earn with it on a one-to-one basis to 16 different transfer partner programs , including those of American Airlines, Marriott, United Airlines and Hyatt. 

This card is great for renters, but be sure you can pay your balance in full every month. 

  • Annual fee : None
  • Interest rates : 21.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR.
  • Top rewards rate : Three points per dollar on dining.
  • Other rewards : Get two points on travel, one point per dollar on rent payments (up to 100,000 points each year), and one point on other purchases.
  • Redemption : Transfer points that you earn with it on a one-to-one basis to 16 different transfer partner programs, including those of American Airlines, Marriott, United Airlines and Hyatt. Or you can redeem your rewards toward a down payment on a property, in which case points are worth 1.5 cents each.
  • Rent Day bonus : On the first of each month, or  "Rent Day,"  the card will double your rewards, in addition to the one point you receive for paying rent. So, instead of getting three points on dining purchases, you get six points for every dollar you spend on that day, and so on. The card also offers a surprise benefit each Rent Day, such as transfer bonuses to airlines or extra points for purchasing sporting event tickets.
  • Trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance.  Get up to a maximum of $1,800 for a trip delay. Get up to $5,000 for non-refundable fares booked with your card.
  • Sign-up bonus : None.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card  

Sign-up bonus : Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's about $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠ . For more, read Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card: $750 Bonus Offer .

This card boasts a strong network of travel transfer partners, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt. 

Cardholders earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, redeemable for travel bookings through Chase at a heightened value of 1.25 cents per point on Chase Travel℠ or for cash back or gift cards at 1 cent per point. 

You earn five points per dollar on travel that you purchase through Chase Travel℠ (two points per dollar on other travel spending); three points per dollar on restaurants, online grocery purchases and select streaming services; and one point per dollar on other spending. Plus, you get $50 in statement credits annually for hotel stays booked through Chase. On each yearly anniversary of opening your account, you get a 10% points bonus on total purchases made the previous year.

Kiplinger readers recently voted the card as outstanding for customer service and overall satisfaction and deemed it a card they would recommend to others. 

  • Bonus offer : Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's about $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠ . For details, read Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Launches $750 Bonus Offer .
  • Rewards : Five points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ and two points per dollar on other travel spending; three points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; and one point per dollar on other spending. 
  • Other benefits : Get a $50 annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more. And on each yearly anniversary of opening your account, you get a 10% points bonus on total purchases made the previous year. Chase offers excellent travel benefits, including rental car insurance and general travel insurance .
  • Redemption : Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. You also get an extra 25% back when you use points to donate to certain charities; to learn more, read Is Chase Pay Yourself Back Worth It?
  • Interest rate : 21.49% to 28.49% variable APR for purchases and balance transfers, and 29.99% variable APR on cash advances.

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Annual fee : $95. 

Sign-up bonus : Three Free Night Awards  (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months. Certain hotels have resort fees. For details on this $1,050 offer, read Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Offer: Three Nights Free .

Though Bonvoy points are less valuable than those of some competitors, the card provides ample ways to rack up a large bank of points. Cardholders get up to 17 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels; three points per dollar on up to $6,000 in combined spending annually at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants; and two points per dollar on other spending. Points don’t expire if you make a purchase on the card every 24 months. 

Marriott Bonvoy points are redeemable for stays at Marriott properties, but you can also transfer them to the frequent-flier programs of 39 airlines , including American, Delta, Southwest and United. Plus, you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer. (Note, however, that most airlines require three Bonvoy points per mile.) Among the card’s benefits are Silver Elite status with Marriott and a one-night hotel stay each year.

  • Welcome offer : Earn three Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Rewards : Earn up to a total of 17x bonus points by layering reward categories. Earn six Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, ten points for being a Marriott Bonvoy member, and one point if you are a Silver Elite Status member.
  • Other rewards: Earn three points per dollar on up to $6,000 spent yearly at grocery stores, gas stations and dining, and two points per dollar on all other spending. 
  • One free night per year : Earn a free one-night Marriott stay per year after each account anniversary, valid for a one-night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points; note that certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Redemptions : Marriott Bonvoy points are redeemable for stays at Marriott properties, but you can also transfer them to the frequent-flier programs of 38 airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest and United; plus, you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer; among the card’s benefits are Silver Elite status with Marriott and a one-night hotel stay each year; points expire if your account is inactive for 24 months.
  • Interest rate: 21.49% to 28.49% variable.
  • Annual fee: $95, or if you prefer to pay no annual fee, check out the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card .
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

Best Cards for Luxury Travel Rewards

Frequent travelers can more than overcome the high annual fees on these cards by taking advantage of a bevy of perks. 

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card  

Annual fee : $395. 

Kiplinger readers recently gave the Venture X card a lot of love, voting it the overall winner for best travel card in the most recent Readers' Choice awards.

You can rack up points quickly with this card, and it has a lower annual fee than most premium cards. Cardholders receive 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, five miles per dollar for flights reserved through Capital One Travel, and two miles per dollar on all other spending.

You can redeem miles at the rate of a penny each for statement credits on travel purchases or travel reservations through Capital One. Cardholders get a $300 annual credit toward travel bookings through Capital One, 10,000 miles on each yearly account anniversary, reimbursement of the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and free access to Capital One’s airport lounges , as well as lounges in the Priority Pass and Plaza Premium networks.

Hot tip: You can also earn 75,000 miles on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit card (after spending $4,000 in the first three months). But that card only has a $95 annual fee, while this card's annual fee is $395. It all comes down to the perks that you value.

And if you are in the market for a business card, the Capital One Venture X Business card has a welcome offer worth between $1,500 to $2,775.

  • Interest rate : 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR for purchases.
  • Balance transfer fee : $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you.
  • Annual fee : At $395, the annual fee is lower than that of many luxury travel cards.
  • Foreign Transaction fee : None.
  • Rewards : Earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, five miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and two miles per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Lounges and other benefits : Perks include 10,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary each year, an annual credit of $300 for bookings made through Capital One Travel, free entry to more than 1,300 Priority Pass and Plaza Premium airport lounges , complimentary access for you and two guests to Capital One’s airport lounges , and President’s Circle status with Hertz.
  • Redemption : Redeem miles at a rate of a penny apiece for statement credits on travel purchases or travel bookings through Capital One, or transfer them to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee : $550. 

Sign-up bonus : Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠ .

This card provides the kind of travel perks you would expect from a high-end card, such as access to VIP airport lounges and hotel room upgrades, but with some thoughtful additions. Sapphire Reserve offers industry-leading rental car insurance benefits , for example, which are especially valuable for international travel. 

The card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to the loyalty programs of popular airlines such as United, Southwest and JetBlue. 

Cardholders get 10 points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals purchased through the rewards travel portal and five points per dollar for flights booked through Chase Travel℠. You also earn 10 points per dollar spent on purchases with Chase Dining — which provides reservations at participating restaurants and access to special dining events — three points per dollar on other travel and dining purchases, and one point per dollar on the rest of your spending. 

You will also get a $300 annual credit for travel purchases and up to $1,200 per year in partner benefits , such as subscriptions to delivery services, luxury hotel upgrades and discounts on Peloton purchases. Exchange points at a high rate of 1.5 cents each for travel booked through Chase Travel℠ or for 1 cent per point for gift cards or cash back.

  • Sign-up bonus : Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Earn five total points on flights and ten total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through  Chase Travel℠  immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. 
  • Earn three points on other travel and dining and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases. 
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • Other benefits : An annual statement credit of up to $300 for travel purchases (purchases that qualify for the credit do not earn points until the $300 travel credit has been applied), a Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access, perks at properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025, at least a year of free membership to DoorDash's delivery subscription service, and a $10 monthly statement credit toward purchases from home delivery service Gopuff .
  • Lounges : Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select . For example, you can relax at the Chase Sapphire Lounge at the NY LaGuardia Airport.
  • When things go wrong: Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Redemption : Points are transferable to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs, or trade points at a healthy rate of 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for travel bookings through Chase Travel℠, or for statement credits against purchases in rotating categories through Chase's Pay Yourself Back program (including Airbnb, dining, charitable donations, and other categories).
  • Interest rate : 22.49% to 29.49% variable APR.
  • Annual fee : $550; $75 for each authorized user.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express  

Annual fee : $695. 

Sign-up bonus : Up to 80,000 points if you spend $8,000 in the first six months.

Frequent travelers can offset the card’s hefty annual fee by taking advantage of its bountiful perks and valuable points structure. For example, you can get yearly credits of up to $200 for incidental fees with one airline you choose, $200 for select hotel bookings through Amex, $189 for membership with the CLEAR airport security screening program, $200 in Uber Cash (for Uber Eats orders and Uber rides) and $155 for a Walmart+ membership (which provides free shipping from Walmart, among other benefits). 

Travelers enjoy access to a range of airport lounges , including Amex’s Centurion lounges as well as those in the Airspace, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Plaza Premium and Priority Pass Select networks. Plus, you get up to $100 in fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. 

Cardholders earn five Membership Rewards points per dollar for flights booked with airlines or through American Express (on up to $500,000 per year spent) and on prepaid hotel bookings through Amex; two points per dollar spent on other qualifying Amex Travel reservations (such as cruises); and one point per dollar on other spending. Exchange points at a rate of a penny each for flights booked through Amex or for certain gift cards (points are worth less for most other redemption options).

Kiplinger readers recently voted this card outstanding for customer service .

Terms Apply. See rates and fees .

  • Interest rate : Pay over time 21.24% to 29.24% APR, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Annual fee: $695, plus $195 for up to three authorized users and $195 per card for each user beyond three.
  • Rewards : Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Lounge benefits: The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport, with complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries.
  • Annual Hotel Credit: $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • Cruise benefits : Cardholders can receive exclusive benefits through the Cruise Privileges Program , available on cruise bookings of 5 nights or more with participating cruise partners; qualified cardholders can also get two rewards points per dollar when booking through the American Express travel portal. 
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit  https://platinum.equinox.com/  to enroll. 
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at  saks.com  on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content.  Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Other benefits : Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • Redemption : There is no option for cash back; the greatest value comes from booking travel with points, and from the many discounts and other perks.
  • Intro bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first six months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Terms apply: See Rates & Fees

Best Dedicated Airline Cards

If you’re loyal to a certain airline or hotel chain, you may be a good candidate to use a credit card that provides points or miles from your preferred loyalty program. Such cards often provide perks such as complimentary checked baggage or free hotel stays each year, too. See whether our picks of the top airline and hotel rewards cards are a good match for you. And note that if you would rather not pay an annual fee, many of the hotels and airlines mentioned here offer no-fee cards, too, but they come with fewer perks.

Traveling with a friend or loved one? Check out our assessment of the best airline credit card bonuses that come with a free ticket .

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Annual fee: $350

Sign-up bonus: Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of Card Membership ( worth about $1020 ).

This mid-tier card from American Express has a strong earning rate. You'll rack up three miles per dollar on Delta and related flights, two miles per dollar on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and one mile per dollar on all other qualified purchases. You also get an annual companion ticket, 15% off when booking Delta flights with award miles and a 20% credit for Delta in-flight purchases. Cardholders get their first checked bag for free.

Read more at Earn Delta SkyMiles Worth up to $1,140.

  • Intro offer : Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of Card Membership.  For details on this card and related cards, read our article Earn Delta SkyMiles Worth up to $1,140 .
  • Interest rate : 20.99% to 29.99% variable APR for purchases. See  rates and fees .
  • Annual fee :  $350.
  • Rewards rates : Earn three miles per dollar on Delta purchases and purchases made with hotels. Earn two miles per dollar on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn one mile per dollar on all other qualified purchases.
  • Other rewards : Card Members save 15% when booking Award Travel with miles on Delta flights when using  delta.com  and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Free baggage check : The first checked bag is free.
  • Priority boarding:  Receive Zone 5 Priority Boarding on Delta flights
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers. Enrollment required.
  • $150 Delta Stays Credit: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members can earn up to $150 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Get a discount of up to $50 on flights for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on  delta.com .
  • Receive a round trip domestic, Caribbean, or Central American First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin  Companion Ticket  each year after renewal of your Card. Payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Medallion program : If you want to improve your access to the lounges with this card, you can earn $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $20 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Redemption :  Miles can be used for travel on Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection carriers (Endeavor Air, Inc., Republic Airline, and SkyWest) and 30+ partner airlines.  Want even more flexibility? Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • See  rates and fees .

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JetBlue Plus Card

  Annual fee: $99

Sign-up offer: 60,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. This offer is worth about $780 when redeemed for travel.

JetBlue recently overhauled its TrueBlue loyalty program so that even infrequent flyers could earn perks. Our readers took notice , voting JetBlue's cards outstanding for customer service, overall satisfaction and as a card they'd recommend. A recent study found JetBlue has the best legroom of major U.S. airlines. And JetBlue just launched new, affordable Transatlantic Flights to Europe .

Cardholders get six points for each dollar spent on JetBlue flights, two points per dollar for restaurant and grocery stores (excluding wholesalers such as Costco) and one point on all other spending. You also get a 5,000-point bonus each year, 10% of points back after you redeem for travel on JetBlue award flight and an annual $100 statement credit after you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package.

Read more in JetBlue Credit Card Offer Worth $650 .

  • Top rewards rate : Get six points back for each dollar spent on qualifying JetBlue purchases, like airline tickets.
  • Other rewards rates : Get two points per dollar for purchases made at restaurants and grocery stores. Note that big box retailers like Costco and Target do not qualify as grocery stores. Get one point per dollar back on all other purchases.
  • Get 10% TrueBlue Points after taking award flights : With the award flight redemption bonus, you will receive 10% of your TrueBlue points back as a bonus after you redeem points and travel on a JetBlue-operated Award Flight. For example, if you redeem 30,000 TrueBlue points toward a JetBlue-operated Award Flight, 3,000 of your TrueBlue points will be deposited back into your account after you take the flight. 
  • Annual bonus : Get a 5,000 TrueBlue points bonus credited to your Membership Account, 4-6 weeks after your Card Account anniversary, as your Card Account remains open and in Good Standing.
  • Vacation package credit : Spend at least $100 on a vacation package in a given year and get a $100 statement credit.
  • Welcome bonus : Earn 60,000 TrueBlue points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. That's worth about $780 when redeemed for travel . It will take four to six weeks for your account to reflect the bonus, so plan to use your points accordingly.
  • Redemption : Redeem points for travel on JetBlue flights. Points do not expire as long as your account is in good standing, and there are no black-out dates. You may also redeem points for travel packages.
  • Interest rate : 21.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable APR.
  • Annual fee : $99. If you want a similar card with no annual fee, check out the  JetBlue Card .
  • Foreign transaction fee : None, so this card is a good choice for purchases abroad.
  • More travel perks : Read about other ways to benefit from the  TrueBlue loyalty program .

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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Annual fee: $149 

Sign-up bonus: The Southwest card has a solid intro offer . New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points (worth up to $750) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. 

The Priority card from Southwest Airlines comes with attractive annual benefits, including 10,000 companion pass points, a $75 annual credit for eligible Southwest purchases, reimbursement of up to four upgraded boardings per year, 25% back on in-flight purchases, and 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status for every $5,000 spent on the card. 

Cardholders also get three Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases. Spending with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, local transit, and internet, cable, phone and streaming services earns two points per dollar, and all other purchases earn one point per dollar. 

Southwest flights aren't limited to U.S. destinations; you can save your travel rewards for flights to Costa Rica, Aruba, Mexico and other getaways south of the U.S. border. Plus, points don't expire, and there are no blackout dates. 

Read more at Southwest Credit Cards Launch $750 Bonus Offer and learn how Kiplinger readers raved about the card.

Want a cheaper card? The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has an annual fee of only $69, but new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points (worth up to $750) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. 

  • Interest rate : 21.49% to 28.49% variable APR for purchases and balance transfers.
  • Annual fee: $149.
  • Rewards : Get three points per dollar on Southwest purchases, two points per dollar on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, and two points per dollar on internet, cable, phone services and more; all other spending earns one point per dollar.
  • Annual benefits : Cardholders receive four hefty bonuses on each account anniversary: a $75 Southwest® travel credit, a bonus of 7,500 Rapid Rewards points, four upgraded boardings when available and a 10,000 Companion Pass® qualifying points boost.
  • Other benefits : Reimbursement for up to four upgraded airline boardings per year; 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status for each $10,000 spent on the card; and 25% back on in-flight purchases.
  • Redemption : Points may be redeemed for travel on Southwest Airlines or through its Rapid Rewards program; points may also be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and entertainment.
  • Sign-up bonus: New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Read our article on the Southwest bonus reward and how to use the card . 

Best Dedicated Hotel Cards

Frequent guests of the hotel chains associated with these cards can get great value out of them, earning extra points for hotel stays and certain other purchases. Plus, enjoy benefits such as free-night awards and elevated loyalty status.

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Annual fee: $95.

Intro bonus: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points  (worth about $780 in hotel stays) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in your first six months of Card Membership. For details, read our article on the Hilton Honors Bonus Offer Worth up to $780 .

If you are or will soon become a Hilton Honors member, two promotions are worth the moment it takes to register for them. First, through May 1, 2024 , get 2,000 extra points for each stay at a Hilton Honors property, plus 500 points if you use a digital key (a contactless "key" on your phone to open your room door and access other areas). To be eligible, you must register at the promotion website .

Second, for stays booked for May 2, 2024, through September 1, 2024 , get double the points for each stay at a Hilton Property by registering at the promotion website.

When you make eligible purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts, you earn 12 points per dollar with this card. Plus, get six points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, four points per dollar for online retail purchases and three points per dollar on other spending. 

Additional benefits include Gold loyalty status with Hilton (or Diamond status if you spend at least $40,000 on the card in a calendar year), a free night reward if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, and up to $200 back on purchases at Hilton properties.

Terms apply. See rates and fees .

  • Intro bonus : Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first six months of Card Membership. According to Bankrate , that's worth about $780 in stays at Hilton properties (when one point is valued at 0.6 cents).
  • Annual benefit : Get up to $200 back each year on eligible Hilton purchases after you use your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.  
  • Car rental status : NEW Enjoy complimentary National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive® status. Enrollment in the complimentary Emerald Club® program is required. Terms apply. Read about credit cards that cover rental car insurance .
  • Free Night : Earn a Free Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. 
  • Earn six Points for each dollar of purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn four Points for each dollar on U.S. Online Retail Purchases.
  • Earn three Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Other benefits : Get a Priority Pass Select membership that provides 10 free yearly visits to participating airport lounges and complimentary Gold status . If you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’re bumped up to Hilton Honors™ Diamond status through the end of the following calendar year.
  • Activate additional bonus point promotions: Through May 1, 2024 , get 2,000 extra points for each stay at a Hilton Honors property, plus 500 points if you use a digital key. To be eligible, you must register at the promotion website . For stays booked May 2, 2024, through September 1, 2024 , get double the points for each stay at a Hilton Property by registering at that specific promotion website.
  • Redemption : Points typically expire if you are inactive in the Hilton Honors program for 24 months, and earning points with the credit card counts as activity; expiration terms may vary by membership tier.
  • Interest rate : 20.99% to 29.99% variable APR for purchases. See rates and fees.
  • Annual fee : $150. If you prefer to skip the annual fee, try the Hilton Honors American Express Card instead. The interest rate for that card is 20.99% to 29.99% variable APR for purchases. See rates and fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
  • Foreign transaction fee : None. See rates and fees .

Terms apply.

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The World of Hyatt Credit Card  

  • Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Up to 60,000 points total. Earn 30,000 World of Hyatt Bonus points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months; plus up to 30,000 more bonus points (two bonus points per dollar in the first six months on purchases that normally earn one point, on up to $15,000 spent). The total offer is worth up to $1,380.

This card was the overall winner for hotel credit cards in the 2024 Kiplinger Readers' Choice Awards .

Cardholders earn nine World of Hyatt Bonus points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels; two points per dollar on restaurant spending, airline tickets, local transit and gym memberships; and one point per dollar on other spending. You also get a free night at an eligible property each year after your cardmember anniversary, an additional free night if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, automatic Discoverist loyalty status and credits toward the next tier of status each year.

Want more ways to earn points? The World of Hyatt Business credit card has a similar welcome offer. Read more in World of Hyatt Launches Offer Worth up to $1,380 .

  •  Interest rate: 21.49% to 28.49% variable.
  • Foreign transaction fee : None
  • Top rewards rate : Earn nine points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays and experiences (four points technically earned plus five bonus points for being a World of Hyatt member).
  • Earn two points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, on local transit, and on fitness club and gym memberships.
  • Earn one point per dollar on other spending.
  • Other benefits : Each year after your cardmember anniversary, you get a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort, plus an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, automatic Discoverist loyalty status, five qualifying nights toward the next loyalty tier each year, and two more qualifying night credits each time you spend $5,000 on the card. 
  • Redemption : Redeem points for a wide array of benefits offered by the World of Hyatt , such as through travel partnerships with MGM Resorts and American Airlines.
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning two Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first six months from account opening on purchases that normally earn one Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent. According to Bankrate , World of Hyatt points are worth 2.3 cents each, so the value of the 65,000 total sign-up bonus is $1,380.

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Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Visa  

Annual fee:  $75.

Sign-up bonus:   Earn up to 100,000 Wyndham Rewards points (enough for up to 13 nights)  if you spend $2,000 in the first six months. 

Tip: Be sure you click on the tab for the "Earner Plus Visa" version of the card.

This card offers flexible benefits to several categories of travelers. First, the Earner Plus card is designed for travelers who frequent budget or mid-tier hotels such as La Quinta, Ramada and Days Inn and vacation rentals for families or large groups. Second, luxury travelers can enjoy premium resorts and hotels like Wyndham Grand, including the  Grand Bonnet Creek Hotel  near Disney World. Finally, gamblers take note; since Wyndham partners with Caesar's, you could use your points at the  Caesar's Palace  in Las Vegas.

The Wyndham Rewards program is flexible. You can redeem Capital One miles for Wyndham points. Wyndham partners with  ten airlines . And if you have earned a high tier with another hotel's loyalty program, Wyndham's Status Match will bump your Wyndham loyalty tier up to the competitor's tier.

Purchases with Hotels by Wyndham and gas stations earn six points per dollar spent. Restaurant and grocery store purchases get four points per dollar, and other spending earns one point per dollar. Cardholders enjoy automatic Platinum status with Wyndham, a bonus of 7,500 points on each account anniversary, and discounts on the hotel’s best available rates. 

  • Six Wyndham Rewards points per dollar spent on gas and with Hotels by Wyndham.
  • Four points per dollar on dining and grocery-store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target).
  • One point per dollar on all other spending. 
  • One free night per year : Cardholders get a 7,500-point bonus for each anniversary year.
  • Other benefits:  You’ll also get an additional discount on the best available rate when making reservations at participating properties, and automatic Platinum loyalty status.
  • Redemption : Points may be redeemed at thousands of Wyndham properties worldwide, including hotels, resorts, casinos, vacation homes, and European parks; points expire if your Wyndham Rewards account is inactive for 18 months.
  • Sign-up bonus :  Earn 100,000 bonus points  after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first six months. That's typically enough for 13 nights at participating properties. According to  Bankrate , the value of this offer is about $900. Free nights can require between 7,500 and 30,000 points per bedroom at participating properties and are subject to availability. Resort fees may apply and cannot be paid with points.
  • For  purchases : get a 0% promotional APR for 6 billing cycles on all Wyndham Timeshare Purchases (see Terms and Conditions for details). After that, your APR will be 20.99%, 25.24% or 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness. 
  • For  balance transfers (not recommended) : the card offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, then 20.99%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable APR on purchases, with 0% on purchases for 6 billing cycles on all Wyndham Timeshare Purchases. Given the high balance transfer fee, you should look for a different card if you hope to offload some credit card debt onto a balance transfer card.
  • Balance transfer fee : 5% of the amount you transfer, which is higher than many other cards. For this reason, you should look for another card with a balance transfer fee of no more than 3%.
  • Annual fee : $75; for a no-fee option, look to the  Wyndham Rewards Earner Visa .

Best Dining Rewards Cards

Frequent diners can enjoy cash back and other perks using these cards.  For other everyday expenses like gas and groceries, see our guide to the  best cash back credit cards .

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American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee : $250 

Sign-up bonus : Up to 60,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months 

This is a great travel rewards card for foodies who like to cook or dine out. Earn four points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets and on dining or food delivery, three points on air travel, and one point on other spending. When you use your Gold Card as a payment option on your Uber account, you get $10 in Uber Cash each month toward Uber Eats or Uber rides, up to $120 per year.To receive this benefit, you must have downloaded the latest version of the Uber App and your eligible American Express Gold Card must be a method of payment in your Uber account. The Amex Benefit may only be used in the United States. You can also get $10 credits to your monthly statements for purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack restaurants. 

The most lucrative way to redeem points is for airfare booked through Amex Travel, or transfer them to hotel or airline partner programs. Though you can use points to pay for purchases at many retailers, such as Amazon and PayPal, the conversion rate is only 0.7 cents per point.

See rates and fees .

  • Intro bonus : Up to 60,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months.
  • Earn four points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (but not superstores such as Walmart or Target), on up to $25,000 spent per year. 
  • Earn four points per dollar on dining or food delivery.
  • Earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel; two points per dollar on other eligible Amex Travel purchases; and one point per dollar on other spending.
  • Redemption : Points are redeemable at a rate of 1 cent each for flights booked through Amex and certain gift cards (points are worth less for most other redemption options).
  • Interest rate : Pay Over Time APR: 21.24% to 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening. See  rates and fees .
  • Annual fee : $250.
  • Terms Apply .

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Sign-up bonus : Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel , 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. After your first year or $20,000 spent, the rewards rate reverts to 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Get 5% back on travel that you book through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, plus 3% on restaurant and drugstore purchases and a strong 1.5% back on other spending. Points that you earn are redeemable at a rate of 1 cent each for cash, gift cards and travel bookings. Prefer to get takeout? The card provides discounts on DoorDash and Instacart+ memberships and delivery fees.

  • Interest rate:  Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% to 29.24%.
  • Foreign transaction fee:  3%, so this card is best used in the U.S.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel.
  • Earn 3% at restaurants and drugstores.
  • Earn 1.5% on all other purchases. 
  • Get three months of free membership to DashPass (usually $10 a month), which waives the delivery fee and reduces service fees on eligible orders through food-delivery service DoorDash. After three months, you’re automatically enrolled for nine months of DashPass membership at a rate of 50% off (you can cancel membership anytime). 
  • Cardholders also get three free months of Instacart+ membership, which comes with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders through the Instacart grocery-delivery service ($99 a year) after three months, you’ll be automatically enrolled in an annual membership unless you cancel. Through July 2024, cardholders who are enrolled with Instacart+ get up to $10 in quarterly statement credits for eligible Instacart purchases.
  • Redemption : Redeem points at a rate of a penny each for cash back, gift cards or travel. Cash back rewards don't expire.
  • Sign-up bonus:  Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel , 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases. After your first year or $20,000 spent, the rewards rate reverts to 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus : 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. For our review of this bonus offer, read  Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Launches $750 Bonus Offer .

Cardholders earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are redeemable for travel bookings through Chase at a heightened value of 1.25 cents each, or 1 cent per point for cash back or gift cards. You earn five points per dollar on travel that you purchase through Chase Travel (two points per dollar on other travel spending), three points per dollar on restaurant spending, online grocery purchases and select streaming services, and one point per dollar on other spending. Plus, get $50 in statement credits annually for hotel stays booked through Chase. On each yearly anniversary of opening your account, you get a 10% points bonus on total purchases made the previous year. 

Prefer to get takeout? The card provides discounts on DoorDash and Instacart+ memberships and delivery fees. 

Kiplinger readers recently voted this card outstanding in the travel category.

  • Bonus offer : Earn 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 Travel. For details, read  Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Launches $750 Bonus Offer .
  • Rewards : Five points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Travel and two points per dollar on other travel spending; three points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; and one point per dollar on other spending. 
  • Other benefits : Get  $50 annual Hotel Credit,  plus more. And on each yearly anniversary of opening your account, you get a 10% points bonus on total purchases made the previous year. Chase offers excellent travel benefits, including  rental car insurance  and general  travel insurance .
  • Redemption :  Get 25% more value when you redeem  for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. You also get an extra 25% back when you use points to donate to certain charities; to learn more, read  Is Chase Pay Yourself Back Worth It?

Travel rewards credit cards offer points or miles on your purchases and may also offer other travel-related benefits. There are three main types of travel credit cards, including general travel cards, airline cards and hotel cards. 

General travel credit cards

General travel rewards credit cards aren't linked to a specific airline or hotel loyalty program. Instead, you'll earn points or miles with the card issuer's rewards program. Examples include American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

General travel rewards programs typically allow you to redeem your rewards for travel through their online portal and may also offer other options, including cash back, gift cards and online shopping. They may even allow you to transfer your rewards to partner airline and hotel programs. 

These cards typically won't give you travel perks with a specific airline or hotel brand, but you may get general travel benefits, such as travel credits, airport lounge access and more.

Airline credit cards

These credit cards are co-branded with a specific airline, such as Delta Air Lines or United  Airlines. You'll earn miles or points that you can use to book award flights with that airline or for other travel-related purposes. 

Airline credit cards also typically offer perks when you fly with the co-branded airline. Examples include priority boarding, free checked baggage, inflight discounts and companion passes.

Hotel credit cards

Like airline cards, hotel cards are co-branded with a particular hotel brand, such as Hyatt or Marriott. You'll earn points with that specific hotel chain's loyalty program, which you can use to book award stays, on-property experiences and other travel.

You'll also typically get perks with that hotel brand, which may include a free anniversary night certificate and elite status, which can come with benefits like room upgrades, late checkout and free premium Wi-Fi.

The value of the points or miles you earn with a travel credit card will vary depending on the rewards program and sometimes even the card. General travel programs typically offer predictable redemption rates. For example, you may earn one cent per point on travel bookings, one cent per point on gift cards and half a cent per point for cash back. 

With airline frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs, redemption values can vary depending on several variables. With an award flight, for instance, the departure and arrival airports, flight dates and cabin will influence how much your points or miles are worth. With hotel programs, your stay dates, the property category, location and room type can impact your value.

To get an idea of how much value you're getting per point, divide the cash price of an airline ticket or hotel stay by the number of points or miles required to book it. For example, if you can book a $300 flight with 15,000 miles, divide $300 by 15,000, giving you a value of two cents per point.

If you're thinking about a travel credit card, it's important to choose one that's aligned with your travel habits and goals. Here are some of the factors to consider when shopping around and comparing your options:

  • Welcome bonus: Consider how much value you can get with the card's upfront bonus and whether you can meet the minimum spending requirement to earn it.
  • Rewards rates: Travel credit cards may offer a flat rewards rate on all purchases or a tiered rewards structure, with bonus rewards on certain spending categories. Try to pick a card that allows you to rack up as many points or miles based on where you spend your money.
  • Redemption options: Consider how much flexibility you'll get with your rewards. If your goal is to get free flights or hotel stays with a particular airline or hotel brand, pick an airline or a hotel credit card. If you want more options, however, consider a general travel credit card.
  • Redemption values: If you're comparing two different cards, one may offer a higher welcome bonus and more points per dollar spent than the other. However, if the value of those points is lower than what you'd get with the second card, you might actually get less value.
  • Perks: Think about how you want to use your credit card to elevate your travel experience, then seek out perks that can help you accomplish that objective. And don't forget about trip protections, which can save you some money if things don't go as planned on a vacation. For example, cards issued by Chase and American Express offer some of the best rental car insurance benefits.
  • Annual fee: Travel credit cards tend to charge annual fees, but some can run in the hundreds of dollars. Consider how much you're willing to pay each year for a credit card's rewards and benefits.
  • International acceptance: If you pick an American Express or Discover credit card, you may have trouble using your credit card abroad. In this case, you can either bring a Visa or Mastercard credit card as a backup or simply get a Visa or Mastercard in the first place.

Even if you generally like to avoid credit card annual fees, it can be worth paying one in exchange for great benefits. To determine whether an annual fee is worth it to you, consider the following:

  • Calculate the value of the card's welcome bonus to see how many years' worth of the fee it covers.
  • Add up the monetary value of the card's benefits, making sure to include only benefits you'll actually use. 
  • Consider the benefits that are difficult to assign a monetary value — rewards flexibility, trip protections or airport lounge access — and what they're worth to you.
  • Estimate how much value you'd get in rewards each year based on your spending habits.

Some travel credit cards offer enough value to cover the cost of the annual fee in benefits alone. If a card charges an annual fee and is scant on perks, it might not be worth the cost.

Once you pick a travel rewards credit card, here are some tips to help you maximize its value:

  • Make sure you earn the bonus: You'll typically have three or six months to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn a credit card's welcome bonus. Note, however, that the clock starts when you're approved, not when you receive the card. Track your spending to ensure that you earn the bonus points or miles.
  • Use your card for everything: Try to use your credit card for everything that you can use it for. Just be sure to avoid overspending for the sake of earning rewards — the value you get likely won't make up for the extra cost.
  • Pay in full every month: Make it a goal to pay off your balance in full every month to avoid paying interest, which can neutralize the value of the rewards you earn.
  • Get to know your card benefits: You can find most of the card's benefits on the card issuer's website, but make sure you read through the benefits guide you receive with your card, so you know everything about its perks. 
  • Research the best ways to redeem: Each program is different in how you can redeem rewards, and some may offer outsized value if you redeem them in a certain way. For example, you may be able to get more value by transferring your general travel points or miles to an airline or hotel loyalty program than if you were to redeem them with the card issuer's rewards program.
  • Avoid getting too many cards: Having multiple rewards credit cards can help you maximize different bonus rewards categories and card benefits, but if you get too many cards, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. There's no correct answer to how many credit cards you should have, so it's important to consider your preferences and organizational skills to determine the right amount.
  • Hilton Honors Bonus Offer Worth $780 (+ $200 annual credit)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Offer: Three Nights Free (worth up to $1,050)
  • United Airlines Card Launches $1,012 Limited-Time Offer
  • Wyndham Bonus Offer: 10 Nights Free (worth up to $675)
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Launches $750 Bonus Offer
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Launches $750 Bonus Offer
  • Best Airline Credit Card Bonuses with a Free Ticket
  • Southwest Credit Cards Launch $750 Bonus Deal
  • Earn Delta SkyMiles Worth up to $1,140
  • Jet Blue Credit Card Offer Worth over $650

Or search for a credit card that meets your needs on this tool from Bankrate.

All information about the American Express EveryDay® credit card, the Platinum Card from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card from American Express, the Hilton Honors American Express card, and the American Express Gold Card has been collected independently by Kiplinger. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.   As an independent publication dedicated to helping you make the most of your money, the article above is our view of the best deals and is not the opinion of any entity mentioned such as a card issuer, hotel, airline etc. Similarly, the content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of those entities.

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The 18 Best Travel Credit Cards in June 2024

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Table of Contents

Best travel credit cards for first-time cardholders, best travel credit cards for luxury travelers, best value hotel-branded card, best travel credit cards for the everyday spender, best credit cards for travelers who want simple earnings and redemptions, best travel credit card for the low spender, best travel credit card for family roadtrippers, best travel credit card for the budget traveler, best travel credit card for the hotel loyalist, best business card for premium perks and lounge access, best business card for flexible bonus categories, best all-around business card, how we selected our list of best travel credit cards, what are travel credit cards how do they work, the difference between cash-back credit cards and travel credit cards, the different types of travel credit cards, the pros and cons of travel credit cards, when should you use a travel credit card, how to choose the best travel credit card, how to make the most of your travel rewards credit card, tips for getting approved for a travel rewards credit card, final thoughts.

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our  Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

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Let’s look at some of the  best travel rewards credit cards available in 2024 , review their perks and benefits , and consider which card might be the best one for you to sign up for.

Best Travel Credit Cards

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred ® Card – Best for First-Time Cardholders
  • The Platinum Card ® from American Express – Best for Luxury Perks and Airport Lounge Access
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve ® – Best for Domestic Travelers
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card – Best for Priority Pass and Authorized Users
  • American Express ® Green Card* – Great Starter Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Credit Card – Best Value Hotel-Branded Card
  • American Express ® Gold Card – Best for the Everyday Spender (Restaurants and U.S. Supermarkets)
  • Citi Strata Premier℠ Card – Best for the Everyday Spender (Broad Spend Categories)
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – Best for Simple Earnings and Redemptions
  • Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card – Best for Earning Points on Travel
  • Citi Double Cash ® Card – Best Fee-Free Card for Simple Earnings and Redemptions
  • Blue Cash Everyday ® Card from American Express – Best for the Low Spender
  • Blue Cash Preferred ® Card from American Express – Best for Family Roadtrippers
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited ® – Best for Budget Traveler
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card* – Best for the Hotel Loyalist
  • The Business Platinum Card ® from American Express – Best Business Card for Premium Perks and Lounge Access
  • American Express ® Business Gold Card – Best Business Card for Flexible Bonus Categories
  • Ink Business Preferred ® Credit Card – Best All-Around Business Card

*The information regarding the American Express ®  Green Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred ® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred ® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance . With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:  None

Chase Ultimate Rewards

One of the most compelling reasons to sign up for a travel rewards credit card is to fund your travel goals, and one of the most valuable ways to accomplish this is to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points . That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn and offer flexible redemption options .

This is a great card for first-time cardholders since you’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services, plus 2x points on all other travel purchases.

When it comes time to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points — whether you’re transferring your points to the Chase travel partners or using the Chase travel portal to book your travel — the experience will make you a fan forever.

You can’t go wrong beginning your travel-rewards journey with any Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an especially fine first choice because it allows you to redeem your points for 25% more in value. Plus, it comes with perks like a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit , and bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year.

It’s difficult to find a downside to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as it’s one of the most well-rounded travel rewards cards out there. If we had to dig deep and find any travel benefits that would make the card better, however, it would be that the card does not reimburse for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees or offer lounge access.

With that having been said, for a modest annual fee of $95 , the card provides exceptional value as a travel rewards card.

American Express ® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with  no credit score impact.

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The American Express ® Green Card is an excellent all-around travel rewards card thanks to earning 3x Membership Rewards ® points on eligible travel and transit purchases and at restaurants, access to American Express transfer partners, and a reasonable annual fee.

  • 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide, on all eligible travel purchases, and transit purchases
  • Up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits after you pay for a CLEAR ® Plus membership with the Card.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits annually when you purchase airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy with the Card.
  • $150 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards ® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express ® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
  • $189 CLEAR Plus Credit: Receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) with the American Express ® Green Card.
  • $100 LoungeBuddy: No airport lounge membership? No problem! Purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app using the American Express ® Green Card and receive up to $100 in statement credits annually.
  • Payment Flexibility: When it comes to paying your bill, you have options. You can always pay in full. You also have the flexibility to carry a balance with interest or use Plan It ® to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, up to your Pay Over Time Limit. You may be able to keep spending beyond your limit – you’ll just need to pay for any new purchases in full when your bill is due.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If a round-trip is paid for entirely with your Eligible Card and a covered reason delays your trip more than 12 hours, Trip Delay Insurance can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased on the same Eligible Card, up to $300 per trip, maximum 2 claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: No matter where you’re traveling, when you use your American Express ® Green Card there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR

American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards points are some of our favorite points to earn thanks to their wide variety of redemption options, and their ability to be redeemed with high-value AmexTravel.com partners.

Fortunately, the Amex Green card is great at earning points since it earns 3x points at restaurants worldwide, on all eligible travel purchases (including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals), and transit purchases (including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways).

Other great perks of the card include receiving up to a $189 annual CLEAR Plus statement credit to get you through airport security much faster, and up to a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit allowing you to purchase access to select airport lounges worldwide.

We also love that the card includes rental car insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage protection, access to Amex Offers , purchase protection, and much more.

All information about the American Express ® Green Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

A powerful point earning card with access to transfer partners.

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey SM Card is an excellent option for those looking for a great all-around travel rewards card that offers bonus categories on hotels, airfare, travel, and dining, giving you the opportunity to earn points on these purchases quickly.

Plus the card offers flexible redemption options including access to transfer partners, an annual credit towards airfare, and no foreign transaction fees ( rates & fees ).

  • 5x points on hotels
  • 4x points on airfare
  • 3x points on other travel and restaurants
  • $95 annual fee
  • List of transfer partners is smaller than competing programs
  • Select “Learn More” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.
  • Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines, 3X points on other travel and restaurants, and 1X points on other purchases.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Book your travel with the Autograph Journey Card and enjoy Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Earn a $50 annual statement credit with $50 minimum airline purchase.
  • Up to $1,000 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature ® Concierge.
  • APR: 21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Card is a great option for those who love to travel and want to rack up as many points as possible on their travel purchases.

With it, you’ll earn 5x points on hotels, 4x points on airfare, 3x points on travel and dining , and 1x points on all other purchases. Further, unlike with competing cards, you do not need to make your hotel or airfare purchases through a specific travel portal to be eligible for bonus points — so you can choose whatever platform works best for you.

Plus, the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card offers perks like a $50 annual statement credit with a $50 minimum airline purchase, up to $1,000 of cell phone protection , lost baggage insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, access to the Wells Fargo Rewards transfer partners , no foreign transaction fees, and more, all for a low annual fee ( $95 ). 

The Platinum Card ® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card ® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card  is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access , hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • $695 annual fee ( rates and fees )
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards ® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 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 and earn 5X Membership Rewards ® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts ® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card ® . The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card ® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection ® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card ® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card ® .
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR ® Plus Credit: CLEAR ® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck ® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck ® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card ® . Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card ® . That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card ® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.

When you prefer the best travel experiences, you want only the best travel rewards card. If you’re an international traveler who won’t settle for anything less than a nice comfy seat, lounge access , and premium travel perks and benefits, you’re going to want the Amex Platinum card.

The benefits of the Amex Platinum card collectively create a stunning package of everything a luxury international traveler needs to elevate their travel experience.

Note that some benefits require enrollment through your American Express account.

  • The Best Travel Earnings: With the Amex Platinum card, earning valuable Membership Rewards points is simple. Make your flight and prepaid hotel purchases through AmexTravel.com, and you’ll earn 5x points.
  • The Best Lounge Access : Whether you want to visit a Delta Sky Club when flying Delta, a Priority Pass lounge upon enrollment, or treat yourself to a Centurion Lounge visit, your card will grant you access to over 1,400 lounges.
  • Savor Those Upgraded Hotel Rooms: Enjoy the benefits of complimentary hotel elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy upon enrollment.
  • The Best Seat on the Plane: Purchase an upgraded seat and get reimbursed up to $200 for incidental airline fees each year (you can even upgrade with points ).
  • Make Checked Luggage Fees Disappear: Use your airline fees credit for incidental airline fees reimbursed each year and forget about checked luggage fees or other incidental airline charges.
  • Get an Uber Credit: Each month you’ll receive $15 in Uber Cash . In December, you receive $35, for a total of $200 annually.
  • No Reservations? No Problem: Just call your private concierge .
  • Ease Through Security: Purchase CLEAR Plus , Global Entry , or TSA PreCheck and receive a statement credit.
  • Offset the Cost of Your Hotel Stay: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which require a minimum 2-night stay, through AmexTravel.com when you pay with your card.
  • Enjoy Hotel Perks: Book a stay at a Fine Hotels + Resorts property via AmexTravel.com and receive a room upgrade, a $100 property amenity, late checkout, and more. For 2-night stays or more at The Hotel Collection , you’ll receive room upgrades and a $100 hotel experience credit.

There’s no doubt the Amex Platinum card has a high annual fee, however, the card does offer premium travel benefits that, if used, can more than offset that fee. And while the card offers many valuable statement credits, the airline incidentals credit can be difficult to use as it does not cover airline tickets.

We like the worldwide lounge access, especially Centurion Lounges. However, the Priority Pass membership, unlike Priority Pass Select memberships offered by other card issuers, does not include any participating restaurants.

Finally, although the card comes with a long list of special offers that can save you plenty of money, most offers require you to register or add an Amex Offer to your card in order to activate the offer.

Bottom Line: The Amex Platinum card sets the standard for a premium travel rewards card . If its benefits are some you can use, the value will far exceed the annual fee. There’s even a possibility of getting a 100,000- to 150,000-point welcome bonus offer for the Amex Platinum card ! 

Chase Sapphire Reserve ®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve ®  is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access , with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 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 Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck ®
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is not just another premium travel rewards credit card. Yes, it earns rewards on travel and dining, offers a fine collection of premium travel benefits (including lounge access ), and grants annual statement credits for travel purchases.

But it also does something that no other travel rewards credit card does: when you redeem your points for travel on the Chase Travel portal, 50% more value is added to your points .

For example, if you redeem 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll receive $900 in value toward your travel purchase.

While expensive long-haul premium flights can be better secured utilizing Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners, a sweet spot for redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points is for first class domestic flights.

If you’re a frequent domestic traveler, this means you can basically travel in first class for the price of economy .

We should also talk about earning Ultimate Rewards, too, as the card is clearly a winner with earnings of 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and dining purchases through Chase Travel, 5x points on airfare through Chase Travel, and 3x points spent on all other travel and dining purchases. All other purchases earn 1x, and purchases using the Chase shopping portal can earn as much as 20x points .

Benefits of this card include a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership that includes access to over 1,400 network airport lounges worldwide, with more than 110 locations domestically.

A $300 travel credit each card anniversary year is easy to utilize and automatically reduces travel expenses. Plus, you’ll receive a statement credit of up to $100 for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck , adding even more value.

Road warriors will find value in the additional travel coverage that comes with the card, including primary auto rental collision damage coverage and 24/7 travel and emergency assistance.

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with a high annual fee, you’ll find plenty of premium travel benefits that provide value. We like that the card includes Minute Suites with its Priority Pass Select membership, but the card falls short of the Amex Platinum card when it comes to overall worldwide lounge access .

Additionally, the card does not offer hotel or airline elite status.

Bottom Line: The world traveler can certainly find value in having the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but the frequent domestic traveler who likes to fly first class, enjoys Priority Pass lounge access, and spends a lot on travel and dining will fare very well by having the card. 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • $395 annual fee ( rates & fees )
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck ®
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Capital One Miles

Packed with premium benefits a traveler can appreciate, such as elevated rewards for travel purchases and a generous welcome bonus offer to jumpstart your earnings, you’ll find value early on as a cardholder.

Your earning and redemption experiences are also enhanced significantly when you utilize the Capital One Travel portal . With an extraordinary 10x miles on hotels and rental cars, 5x miles on flights, and an annual travel credit of $300 , it will pay to utilize the portal frequently.

The elevated earning on the card goes beyond Capital One Travel purchases with 2x miles per dollar spent on every other purchase . Plus, at your card anniversary, you’ll earn another 10,000 miles .

Additional redemption options allow you to transfer miles earned on your card to travel partners , most of which transfer at a ratio of 1:1.

As a Visa Infinite card , you’ll enjoy related benefits such as cell phone insurance , primary auto rental insurance , and travel insurance protections such as trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay reimbursement, and baggage delay reimbursement.

We also like that the card comes with special Gravity Haus benefits , complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, giving you access to over 1,400 lounges worldwide, and unique access to Capital One Lounges and Plaza Premium Lounges .

If you’ll utilize Capital One Travel, this premium card offers a lot of value for just a $395 annual fee ( rates & fees ).

The Capital One Venture X card does have a higher annual fee than most travel rewards cards, but the card is a nice value alternative to premium travel rewards cards that come with even higher fees.

Additionally, in order to receive the best earning and redemption values, you must utilize Capital One Travel. Booking via Capital One Travel can negate any hotel elite benefits or elevated earnings you would normally receive when booking directly.

Bottom Line: With a lower annual fee for a premium travel rewards card, the Capital One Venture X card could deliver plenty of value for the cardholder who will utilize the Capital One Travel portal for travel purchases and redemptions. 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual Free Night Award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.

If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Credit Card . The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.

  • Earn big when you use your card at thousands of participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Earn big at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status
  • Marriott Silver Elite Status is the lowest status tier
  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy ® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Card.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite status, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Your points don't expire as long as you make purchases on your card every 24 months.
  • APR: 21.49%–28.49% Variable

Marriott Bonvoy

For the traveler who values choice when it comes to hotels, you won’t find a hotel chain with more properties around the world than Marriott . Plus, each year after your card anniversary, you’ll receive a complimentary hotel night certificate (good for up to 35,000 points in value).

We like that the card delivers plenty of earning potential, good-value redemption options, and lots of additional benefits without a high annual fee.

Additional benefits of having the Marriott Boundless card include:

  • Complimentary Elite Status: 15 elite night credits per year toward a higher elite status, good for Silver Elite status
  • Accelerated Earnings: Earn up to 17x points at participating Marriott hotels  and 2x points on all other purchases

You’ll also receive a variety of Visa Signature travel perks with the card, including:

  • Roadside dispatch
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident coverage
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Marriott Boundless card does come with a $95 annual fee, so utilizing the annual free night certificate would be critical to receiving full value from the card. Additionally, the Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status that comes with the card is the lowest level of status in the loyalty program.

Bottom Line:  If you’re loyal to a particular hotel brand, it makes sense to earn additional rewards on those hotel expenditures with a hotel-branded travel rewards credit card… especially when those rewards can be turned into more free nights. 

American Express ® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

The American Express ® Gold Card  is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
  • $250 annual fee (see rates and fees )
  • No lounge access
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards ® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards ® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards ® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express ® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.

Want a card that doubles as an everyday spending card and a travel rewards card? Get richly rewarded with the Amex Gold card that offers a stellar 4 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year (1x thereafter), and at restaurants!

As a traveler, there’s no need to be loyal to a single airline — with the Amex Gold card, you’re going to earn 3 valuable Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent for flights purchased directly from the airline and via AmexTravel.com.

You can also redeem those Membership Rewards points for travel with any airline or hotel and for other travel purchases at AmexTravel.com.

With a $250 annual fee ( rates & fees ), you can  offset that fee thanks to the card’s up to $120 annual Uber Cash credit and up to $120 annual dining credit , along with your 4x rewards on dining and supermarket purchases.

If there’s another downside to the card, it might be that the card does not offer any type of lounge access — but we might be getting a tad critical.

Hot Tip:  Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is a great all-around travel rewards card that allows you to earn big rewards on a variety of purchases like air travel, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and more, along with flexible redemption options, all for a modest annual fee.

  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel, other hotel purchases, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • $100 annual hotel benefit
  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou ® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • APR: 21.24%- 29.24% Variable APR

The Citi Strata Premier card earns 3x ThankYou Points on everyday purchases such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations. Plus, you’ll be earning 3x ThankYou Points on air travel and hotels, or e ven 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through  CitiTravel.com . If you spend a lot in these bonus categories, the card will offer strong earnings for your spending mix.

The card offers a generous welcome bonus and no foreign transaction fees. It also offers as a $100 hotel credit each calendar year for a single hotel stay of $500 or more.

Points can be redeemed for travel via the ThankYou portal or transferred to airline and hotel partners for greater potential value .

Hot Tip:  With so many different issuers in the travel credit card space, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with each bank’s specific rules before applying. 

Keeping track of bonus spending categories, quarterly registrations, and complicated redemption processes may have deterred you from securing a travel rewards-earning credit card.

If that’s the case, you’ll find these 2 travel rewards cards refreshingly simple:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card   is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • $95 annual fee ( rates & fees )
  • Limited elite benefits
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Earn 2x miles on every purchase
  • Redeem miles for travel or transfer to airline partners
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees ( rates & fees )

The only downside to the Capital One Venture Rewards card is that it has an annual fee of $95 ( rates & fees ). If you spend enough on the card, however, the ongoing fee should not be an issue.

Citi Double Cash ® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!

The Citi Double Cash ® Card  has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!

This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points . This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.

Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.

  • Uncapped 2% for every $1 spent (1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay)
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No annual fee
  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fees
  • Bonus Offer: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou ® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% – 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • Citi Double Cash ® Card Travel Portal Limited Time Offer: Earn a total of 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rental, and attractions, excluding air travel, when booked through the Citi Travel SM portal on ThankYou.com or by calling 1-800-Thankyou and saying “Travel.” Offer is valid through 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) 12/31/2024.
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:  3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each purchase

Citi ThankYou Rewards

  • Earn a total of 2% cash-back on every purchase : 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when paying your card (earned as ThankYou Points)
  • Unlimited earnings
  • Redeem for cash-back, travel, a statement credit, or gift cards

We like that the card earns cash-back on every purchase you make on a daily basis. There are, however, no additional bonus categories to reward your highest purchases.

Cardholders can transfer ThankYou Points to Choice Privileges at a 1:1.5 ratio and Wyndham Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue at a 1:0.8 ratio, but will need a premium Citi ThankYou Point-earning cards to receive potentially higher value when transferring points to the full suite of travel partners.

The card also charges a 3% foreign transaction fee and does not come with any travel benefits or protections.

Bottom Line: To learn more about additional card options for Capital One travel rewards credit cards and Citi ThankYou Rewards cards , these articles expand on some of the most popular choices. 

Blue Cash Everyday ® Card from American Express

This cash-back card offers a capped 3% at U.S. supermarkets, 3% at U.S. gas stations, and 3% on U.S. online retail purchases!

When it comes to cash-back credit cards, there are dozens of options to choose from. So what sets the Blue Cash Everyday ® Card from American Express  apart from the rest?

This card is excellent at earning cash-back on your everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and on U.S. online retail purchases. So if you regularly spend money on everyday purchases, this could be the perfect card to add to your wallet.

  • 3% back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1% back after.
  • 3% back on purchases at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1% back after.
  • 3% back on purchases on online retail purchases on up to $6,000 in purchases each year, then 1% back after.
  • Rewards are not flexible and can only be redeemed for cash-back. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Everyday ® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Enjoy up to $15 back per month when you purchase a Home Chef meal kit subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your enrolled Blue Cash Everyday ® Card.
  • APR: 19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:  2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

You don’t have to be a big spender to earn travel rewards. With a relatively low minimum spend requirement , once you’re approved for the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, you can earn a welcome bonus and jumpstart the rewards-earning process.

Perhaps you haven’t pursued a rewards-earning credit card because you don’t spend a lot and might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort at all. You may be surprised to learn that the purchases you’re already making can earn rewards to help you fund a trip, or just add some cash to your bottom line.

Because you’ll be earning rewards on your everyday purchases with the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, you don’t have to spend big for the cash-back to start adding up. On groceries alone, you’ll earn $180 after getting 3% back from $6,000 in annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets .

Cash-back is the most liquid form of rewards you can earn. Whether your travel goal is a weekend trip away with the family or a flight to visit an old friend, you can utilize the cash-back you earn on the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card to help offset the cost of your adventure.

Unfortunately, redeeming cash-back is limited compared to flexible rewards points that could be transferred to travel partners for the potential to earn greater value. You won’t have this option with cash-back.

Hot Tip:  If you’re working toward a travel goal and using a cash-back credit card , you may want to purchase gas, hotel, or other travel-related gift cards with your rewards to help save for your trip. 

Blue Cash Preferred ® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.

The Blue Cash Preferred ® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.

With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases , this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases , this could be the card for you!

  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year)
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on U.S. gas stations and transit (including rideshares, parking, etc.)
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee ( rates and fees )
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It ® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit on Amazon.com at checkout.
  • $84 Disney Bundle Credit: With your enrolled Blue Cash Preferred Card, spend $9.99 or more each month on an auto-renewing Disney Bundle subscription, to receive a monthly statement credit of $7. Valid only at Disney Plus.com, Hulu.com or Plus.espn.com in the U.S.
  • APR: 19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months

Redeem cash-back through your American Express account

It’s Friday afternoon and the workweek is done. You’re ready to high-five the family when you arrive home because you’re hitting the road for a weekend adventure . It doesn’t happen often … but this weekend it’s on!

We’re certain the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card was created with family roadtrippers in mind. After all, you’ll earn cash-back on all the purchases you’ll be making during your trip, and you can use the cash-back you earned previously on everyday expenses to actually help fund your trip.

It’s a win-win cash-back solution for the family that hits the road together or those who just want a little extra cash flow.

Earning 6% cash-back on U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) delivers up to $360 each year in cash-back. Add all the cash you’ll earn with 3% cash-back on your U.S. gas stations, and you’ll have plenty of travel funds for that weekend road trip.

Not only do you earn cash-back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, but the card also offers 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash-back on transit , including taxis and rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more.

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card just might make you a family road trip hero!

The card does have an annual fee, so you’ll need to be spending enough on the card to offset that fee. We also prefer flexible rewards for the purpose of receiving potentially higher value at redemption time, but if you’re just trying to earn cash-back to help fund a family vacation, this card could work just fine for that purpose. Families can also take a look at our in-depth guide on the best credit cards for families for additional card choices.

Chase Freedom Unlimited ®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!

The Chase Freedom Unlimited ® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited ® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:  3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Do you like to travel but have a tight budget? The Freedom Unlimited card has a little secret that might help you out.

The Freedom Unlimited card earns 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel portal, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases , plus 1.5% back on all other purchases that fall outside of these bonus categories.

The trick is, the cash-back you earn on all of your purchases with the Freedom Unlimited card is not just cash-back; it can be redeemed for travel or transferred to Chase premium credit cards for even greater value.

If you like to travel on a budget, Ultimate Rewards points are perfect for securing economy flights on the Chase Travel portal. Booking travel is easy, and you can redeem your points for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, and travel experiences.

To step up the value of your Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to a Chase premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card where the value of your Ultimate Rewards Points is increased by up to 50% more (see our example below). You’ll also have the option to then transfer your points to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value.

With no annual fee, a simple earning structure, and the value you can receive when redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points (or transferring points to premium Chase cards), the Freedom Unlimited card is a fine choice for the budget traveler.

Normally, we wouldn’t recommend a card that charges a 3% fee on foreign transactions as a good choice for a travel rewards card. However, the card earns well on everyday purchases (and more), making it easy to accumulate a lot of rewards. Then, when paired with a premium Chase card, as mentioned above, your rewards will go much further.

Bottom Line:  When redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for travel, you can pick any airline, hotel, or travel experience without worrying about award availability or blackout dates — redeeming your points is just like paying with cash. You’ll also be earning frequent flyer miles!

If Hilton is your hotel brand of choice, you’ll be happy to learn that the perks and benefits you receive in its Hilton Honors loyalty program will be elevated to a new level when you carry and use one of its hotel-branded credit cards .

Let’s take a look at how your experience can be enhanced by signing up for a hotel-branded credit card.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.

The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists , but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.

So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.

  • 14x points per $1 on Hilton purchases
  • 7x points per $1 on select travel and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • High annual fee of $550
  • Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
  • Earn 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio .
  • Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for other purchases on your card.
  • Enjoy up to $400 in Hilton Resort Credits (up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually) on your card each anniversary year when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable

It’s unusual that a credit card alone would grant top elite status to the cardholder, especially without a required level of spending each year — but that’s exactly what you’ll receive by having the Hilton Aspire card. And it’s not the only premium benefit that comes with this card!

  • Top Diamond Elite Hilton Honors status:  Valid for as long as you have the card, you’ll receive room upgrades (including suites), breakfast, hotel amenities, bonus points, internet, and more. Diamond elite members receive 20x Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties, and the Hilton Aspire card elevates that to a total of 34x points.
  • Free Hotel Room Nights: Receive 1 free hotel room night each card anniversary year, plus another when you spend $60,000 on the card each year. You’ll also receive your fifth night free when booking award nights with your points.
  • Airline and Hotel Statement Credits: Get up to $200 in airline credit, up to $400 Hilton resort credit , up to $189 Clear PLUS credit, and a $100 property credit at Conrad or Waldorf Astoria properties. .

The Hilton Aspire card comes with a high annual fee, so you would only want to have the card and pay that annual fee if you’re a Hilton loyalist who can realize most of the Hilton-centric benefits that come with the card.

That said, earning Hilton Honors points is easy: you’ll receive 14x points at Hilton properties ; 7x points on airlines, AmexTravel.com purchases, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. rental cars; and 3x points on all other purchases.

Redeem your Hilton Honors points for the best value by booking free hotel nights with points or with cash and points. Our expert guide on the best ways to redeem your Hilton Honors points will help make sure you receive maximum value at redemption time.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points .

Amex Business Platinum Card

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!

The Business Platinum Card ® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card tailored toward business owners who are frequent travelers with a high number of annual expenses.

When you factor in the large number of perks that the card offers like the best airport lounge access at over 1,400 lounges , along with tons of annual credits, it’s easy to see why this card can is a top option for frequent traveling business owners.

  • 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels at Amex Travel
  • Access to over 1,400 worldwide airport lounges as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards points (1.5 points per $1) on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more (cap applies)
  • High annual fee of $695 ( rates & fees )
  • Airline fee credit does not cover airfare, only incidentals like checked bags
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards ® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Membership Rewards ® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting and wireless in the first year of membership with the Business Platinum Card ® . Enrollment required. See how you can unlock over $1,000 annually in credits on select purchases with the Business Platinum Card ® , here.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to the Card.
  • $189 CLEAR ® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR ® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use the Business Platinum Card ® .
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection ® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • APR: 19.49% - 28.49% Variable

The Amex Business Platinum card is an excellent option for business owners who travel often enough to take advantage of the  luxury travel perks  offered by the card. This includes perks like airport lounge access, hotel elite status, rental car elite status, up to $200 airline incidental credit, a  35% rebate with Amex Pay With Points, and 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com.

While the card does charge a rather large annual fee, most business owners find they are able to get far more value out of it thanks to its range of annual credits with merchants like Dell , Indeed , Adobe , CLEAR Plus, and for wireless phone services.

When you look at everything the Amex Business Platinum card has to offer, it’s easy to see why it’s our pick for one of the best business credit cards .

Amex Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).

The American Express ® Business Gold Card is excellent at racking up rewards for your business spend.

The card earns a whopping 4x points per $1 in the 2 categories (from a list of 6) that your business spends the most money on each month. With no need to opt-in or preselect your categories, so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.

  • NEW! Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
  • NEW!  U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
  • NEW!  Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, plus TV and radio)
  • 3x points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • $375 annual fee ( rates and fees )
  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access or elite status
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards ® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards ® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. While your top 2 categories may change, you will earn 4X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.
  • Earn up to $20 in statement credits monthly after you use the Business Gold Card for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and Office Supply Stores. This can be an annual savings of up to $240. Enrollment required.
  • Get up to a $12.95** statement credit back each month after you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with your Business Gold Card. **Up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes on one membership fee.
  • Your Card – Your Choice. Choose from Gold or Rose Gold.
  • *Terms Apply

When it comes to earning rewards, the Amex Business Gold card is easily one of the best options on the market.

This card earns  4x Membership Rewards points on the top 2 categories in which your business spends the most every month  (up to $150,000 in combined purchases every calendar year):

  • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)

Even if your spending habits change month to month, you’ll always earn 4x points on your top 2 spend categories , with no need to preselect them. Plus, you’ll earn 3x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked via AmexTravel.com.

Cardholders also receive up to $20 in monthly credits for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores , and up to $155 Walmart+ credit .

Ink Business Preferred Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.

The Ink Business Preferred ® Credit Card is a powerhouse for earning lots of points from your business purchases , especially for business owners that spend regularly on ads.

Plus the card offers flexible redemption options, including access to Chase airline and hotel transfer partners where you can achieve outsized value.

Business owners will also love the protections the card provides like excellent cell phone insurance , rental car insurance, purchase protection, and more.

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services, shipping expenses, travel, and ads purchased with search engines or social media sites
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • APR: 21.24%-26.24% Variable

If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all business card, the Ink Business Preferred card might be the perfect option for you.

Not only is it great at earning points thanks to its 3x points on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services, shipping expenses, travel, and ads purchased with search engines or social media sites, but it also offers great redemption options . Cardholders can choose to redeem their points for cash-back, through the Chase travel portal with a 25% bonus, or via one of the Chase transfer partners.

Plus the card offers benefits like primary rental car insurance, cell phone protection , trip delay insurance, free employee cards, purchase protection, and more.

There are several factors we use to determine our choices for the best travel rewards cards. Some of the most important factors include the level of associated travel benefits, earnings structure, best credit card bonus offers , fees, and travel redemption value.

Here is some insight into our thought process when selecting the best travel rewards cards:

Associated Travel Benefits

The top travel rewards cards will offer benefits that can make your travel more comfortable, save a traveler money, or provide protection should something go wrong during the journey. Benefits such as worldwide lounge access , travel statement credits , elite-style hotel and airline benefits or status , and travel insurance are just some examples of travel perks we look for.

Earnings Structure

We look for cards that earn well and either offer bonus earnings on travel purchases or have other bonus categories that provide for accelerated earnings. A good travel rewards card could also have flat-rate earnings on all purchases, making it easy to accumulate travel rewards on everyday purchases.

Welcome Bonus Offers

A card’s welcome bonus offer is a unique opportunity to earn a large number of rewards in a short period of time. Welcome offers do play a role when we select a travel rewards card to recommend. We’ll provide you with the current welcome offer information available to us for each card, but we also encourage you to confirm the offer and review any earnings offers before applying for any card.

The best travel rewards cards come with premium travel benefits, but you’ll also be paying a higher annual fee for those benefits. It’s important that the benefits offered by a travel rewards card could potentially offset any annual fee you’ll be paying. The best travel rewards cards also do not charge foreign transaction fees , although a card that does could still provide good value for domestic travel and offer good redemption for international travel.

Travel Redemption Value

A card will score high if it earns flexible rewards that allow for several options at redemption time. The best travel rewards cards provide the option to redeem points directly for travel, provide a bonus for rewards redeemed via a travel portal, allow rewards to be redeemed for statement credits for travel purchases, or allow the transfer of rewards to airline and hotel partners for the opportunity to receive the greatest potential value.

Hot Tip: You can read more about Upgraded Points’ credit card rating approach in our detailed guide.

Travel rewards credit cards earn points or cash-back on every dollar charged to the credit card. They’re called travel rewards credit cards because you either earn points or cash on travel-related purchases, redeem points or cash for travel, or both.

Travel rewards credit cards can earn points or cash-back for travel purchases, dining, gas, groceries, or other categories. The rewards can be used for free travel or to offset the cost of travel.

This should feel relatively straightforward, and it is! Cash-back credit cards are designed for those looking to earn cash-back on all of their daily purchases, and travel rewards cards are for those looking to earn rewards redeemable towards travel purchases.

While there are many travel rewards cards that offer the ability to redeem your points towards cash-back, you’ll often get significantly better value when redeeming them towards travel.

Further, it’s common for cash-back credit cards to not charge an annual fee , while most travel credit cards do charge an annual fee. Given that, travel rewards cards make the most sense for people who travel often enough that the rewards and card benefits will easily outweigh the annual fee.

When it comes to travel rewards credit cards, there are 4 main categories that nearly every card will fall into: transferable rewards cards, fixed-value rewards cards, airline cards, and hotel cards.

Transferable Rewards Cards 

Transferable rewards cards are offered by programs that include a wide array of airline and hotel transfer partners to which you can move your points. These include cards from programs like American Express Membership Rewards , Bilt Rewards , Capital One Miles , Chase Ultimate Rewards , and Citi ThankYou Rewards .

These cards are often rated as the very best travel credit cards in our view, due in large part to their flexibility. One of the best ways to consistently get great value out of travel rewards is by having multiple redemption options, and transferable travel rewards cards offer you that.

Fixed-Value Rewards Cards

A fixed-value rewards card is any that earns points in a program that offers you a predetermined value towards travel purchases when you redeem your rewards. One such program is Bank of America Preferred Rewards , which offers you a fixed 1 cent per point in value towards any travel redemptions you make through its travel portal.

Programs with fixed-value rewards take much of the complexity of the equation when it comes to redemptions, but what you make up for in ease-of-use, you lose the upside by not having access to higher-value redemptions that transferable programs offer.

Airline Cards

An airline credit card is one tied to a specific airline, which only earns points or miles for that airline alone. Further, all perks of the card will be tied to its airline, and popular features are free checked bags, early boarding, discounts on inflight purchases, and more.

Airline cards are a great option for those who are loyal to one airline and are working towards reaching high levels of elite status with that airline.

Hotel Cards

Similar to airline cards, hotel cards are tied to a specific hotel chain, and all of the rewards you earn are redeemable at hotels within that hotel chain.

Hotel cards can be a great way of enhancing your hotel stays, even on paid stays, as they often offer some level of complimentary elite status, which might offer benefits like late checkout, room upgrades, free breakfast, and more, depending on the hotel program.

Pros of Getting a Travel Rewards Card

  • Rewards cards allow you to travel farther, and better, for less. Using points and miles can make any travel destination attainable, and you can even fly there in style in first or business class for a fraction of what a cash ticket would usually cost.
  • Welcome bonuses kickstart your travel savings. Most travel rewards credit cards come with very lucrative welcome bonuses that you receive after meeting a minimum spend requirement. These bonuses alone can be enough points for a free business class flight or multiple free nights in a luxury hotel.
  • Enhance your travel experiences.  Having a travel rewards card can help make the whole experience of travel much nicer for you by giving you airport lounge access, an expedited airport security experience, and hotel elite status.
  • Save money each time you fly. Travel rewards cards, specifically airline cards, can help you save money each time you fly by offering you perks like free checked bags, free seat selection, discounts on inflight purchases, and priority boarding.
  • No foreign transaction fees.  If you’re going to be traveling overseas, the last thing you want to do is use a card that charges foreign transaction fees, as it can add an extra 3% to all of your purchases. This is where travel rewards cards come in handy, as any card worth its salt won’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Cons of Getting a Travel Rewards Card

  • Rewards cards charge annual fees.  Most travel rewards credit cards charge an annual fee, and the very best cards can charge annual fees of $550 to $695. Put simply, if you don’t travel often enough such that the benefits you receive from the card easily outweigh the annual fee you pay, then a travel rewards card probably wouldn’t be worth it for you.
  • Rewards redemptions can be complicated.  Making strategic use of your points through transfer partners, tracking down award space, navigating airline alliances, and more can all be quite complicated at times. There is definitely a degree of difficulty added in for those looking to make the most out of their travel rewards points. That said, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.
  • Not ideal for those who don’t pay their balance off in full.  Travel rewards cards usually carry much higher interest rates than other types of credit cards. That said, if you pay your balance off in full each and every month, this should make little difference to you. On the other hand, if you’re not sure that you can pay your balance off in full every month, then travel rewards credit cards are not for you.

You should use a travel rewards credit card if you fall into the following 3 criteria:

  • You love to travel and want to earn travel rewards for every purchase you make that you can later redeem for free flights and hotel stays.
  • You travel often enough that, even though most travel rewards cards charge an annual, you know you’ll easily get more value out of the card thanks to benefits like airport lounge access, travel credits, hotel elite status, expedited airport security, and more.
  • When you receive your credit card statement, you pay it off in full each and every month so that you never pay interest on your purchases.

If you meet all of those 3 criteria, then you likely should be using a travel rewards credit card.

If you’re still struggling to decide which travel rewards credit card is best for you, here are some tips to help you decide.

Consider What Rewards You Want To Earn — Transferable or Co-Branded

One of the biggest items to consider is the type of rewards you want to earn. Do you regularly fly with a certain airline or stay at a specific hotel chain and want a card that earns rewards and provides benefits that are specific to that airline or hotel? If so then you should opt for a co-branded travel rewards card.

If your travel patterns have more variation, or you simply prefer to earn flexible points that can be redeemed with a wide variety of airlines and hotels to give more options, then you’d be better off with a transferable travel rewards credit card.

What Travel Perks and Protections Are You Looking For?

The type of perks a travel rewards credit card will offer can vary greatly from items like airport lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits, free checked bags, elite status, statement credits, and much more.

Consider which of the benefits are more important to you when selecting your new travel rewards credit card. If you want your new card to include airport lounge access, that will limit you to a certain set of card options, whereas if you want a card that offers automatic elite status with a specific hotel chain then your card options might be completely different. It’s all about determining what you value most.

Similarly, you’ll want to consider what protections you want your card to offer to help you narrow your options further. Do you want your card to have trip delay insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, etc.? These are all items that will help you decide the best travel rewards card for you.

Does the Card Have Great Bonus Categories To Help You Earn More Points?

Earning points, and then spending them on travel, is the name of the game. Given that, you want to make sure your new card helps you earn as many points as possible.

Some cards help you optimize for specific bonus categories, like the Amex Gold card that offers 4x points on restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases, while others like the Capital One Venture card offer a flat 2x points spent on any purchase.

Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong answer here. Deciding which card will help you earn the most points will come down to your unique spending habits.

Once you’ve added the best travel rewards credit card for you to your wallet, here are the steps to take to get the most out of it.

Use Your Card for as Many Purchases as Possible — And Pay It Off

Once you have your new card, you should begin using it for every purchase that you need to make so that you can start earning rewards . This is especially true for large recurring bills as those often help you earn the most points per transaction.

Further, most cards come with a welcome offer that can be worth anywhere from $500 to $2,000 after you meet the minimum spend requirement , so you’ll want to make sure you do so to prevent you from missing out on this big windfall of points.

If you have multiple travel rewards credit cards, make sure you are optimizing each purchase based on the bonus categories that each card offers. For instance, one card might offer 3x points on gas while the other offers 3x points on dining, so you’ll want to use them accordingly.

Lastly, and most importantly, you want to pay your statement balance on time and in full each and every month. This will keep you from having to pay any interest on your purchases and help increase your credit score by showing a record of great payment history.

Activate Perks That Your Card Offers

Many of the best travel rewards credit cards come with tons of great perks to give you added value, but you have to make sure they are activated in order to start using them .

For instance, the Amex Platinum card offers perks like Priority Pass lounge access, along with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy elite status, but you have to activate each of these perks from the benefits section of your account in order to start using them.

Similarly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 5x points on Lyft rides and benefits with DoorDash , and Instacart . To use these benefits, you’ll want to link your Chase Sapphire Preferred card as your payment method on these platforms and activate your benefits on their respective pages.

Make Sure To Use Your Statement Credits

If you have a card that offers any sort of statement credit , make sure you use that credit before it expires . Some cards offer an annual credit, while others dole out the credits monthly. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a $300 annual travel credit that can be used all in one purchase if you so choose, while the Amex Gold card has up to $120 annual dining credit and up to $120 annual Uber Cash credit, but both are given out in $10 monthly increments.

Use Shopping Portals and Dining Programs

Linking your card to a shopping portal and/or dining program is a great way to earn even more points for purchases you were planning to make anyway.

This way, when you make a certain purchase through a shopping portal or dine at an eligible restaurant, you’ll earn points on top of the points you’d have already earned depending on your card’s bonus category.

Hot Tip:  When it comes to online shopping, you can use a tool like Cashback Monitor to help you determine how many points you’ll earn for your purchase across a wide variety of shopping portals.

Have a Strong Credit Score — This Is Why Building Credit Is Important

When submitting an application for a travel rewards credit card, arguably the most important factor is your credit score, as the higher it is the more likely you are to be approved for the card.

This is why building your credit is so important as having a strong score will allow you to be approved for cards that offer the best perks and rewards.

For the most part, if you have a credit score of 700 or better, you’ll have reasonably good odds of being approved for most travel rewards credit cards . If you don’t you’ll want to focus on improving your credit score by making sure you are paying your bills on time each month, keeping your credit utilization low, limiting the number of new accounts you open, and more.

Hot Tip:  If your credit score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, read through our guide on the top strategies to improve your credit score .

Understanding the Difference Between APR and Interest

When adding a travel rewards card to your wallet, another important factor for you to be aware of is the card’s interest rate .

You may have heard both interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR) used, and while these 2 figures can be different for certain financial products, they are the exact same when it comes to credit cards.

The APR can vary from card to card and is the amount you will pay on any purchases that you do not pay in full on your credit card statement balance. This is why you want to make sure that you are always paying off your full statement balance when it posts to your account, as paying interest on your charges will negate the value of any rewards you accrued on the purchases you made .

How Old Do You Have To Be To Get a Starter Travel Rewards Credit Card?

Technically speaking, you’re eligible to get your first travel rewards credit card as soon as you turn 18 years old . That said, it will likely be difficult for you to get approved without previous credit history and a regular source of income.

Due to this, we recommend that you have at least 2 years of solid credit history before applying for your first starter travel rewards credit card.

Alternative Option: Become an Authorized User

If you’re not able to get your very own starter travel rewards card just yet, an excellent option is to become an authorized user on a trusted friend or family member’s account.

This allows you to use a caliber of card that you’d be unlikely to be approved for on your own and allows you to build your credit score faster by piggybacking off the main account holder’s more established credit history.

Again, you want to make sure the main account holder is someone that you trust because if they mismanage their credit, it will adversely impact you as well as the authorized user.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to selecting a travel rewards-earning credit card. Fortunately, each card has its own distinct characteristics that match up with certain travel and spending profiles. This makes it possible to zero in quickly on which travel rewards credit card might be a good fit for you.

Remember, because Chase plays a prominent role in the travel rewards credit card arena, you’ll want to consider the Chase 5/24 rule in your selection process.

Regardless of which card you choose, we know for sure that travel rewards credit cards can change the way we travel and the way we live. The cards allow us to earn points, cash, or miles on purchases we would be making anyway and give us the ability to offset the cost of travel we may have never considered otherwise.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa ® or Mastercard ® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the American Express ® Green Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

The information regarding the American Express ® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Citi Double Cash ®  Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card ® from American Express, click here . For rates and fees of the American Express ® Gold Card, click  here . For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday ® from American Express, click  here . For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred ® Card from American Express, click here . For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card ® from American Express, click here . For rates and fees of the American Express ® Business Gold Card, click here .

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best travel rewards credit card.

The best travel rewards credit card for you is the one that earns rewards you can use and fits your spending habits. For example, if your everyday spending is on groceries, gas, and at department stores, but you rarely travel, you won’t find value in a premium travel rewards credit card that offers global lounge access and luxury hotel perks. You probably won’t want to pay the high annual fee either. You may fare much better with a cash-back or flexible rewards-earning credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee but allows you to earn rewards to offset the cost of an annual vacation.

What credit score do I need to get a travel rewards credit card?

You will generally need to have excellent credit to secure the best travel rewards credit cards. There are many sources of credit scores as each of the 3 major credit bureaus ( Experian , Equifax , and TransUnion ) have their own, and then there are combination scores such as FICO and VantageScore. According to Experian, an excellent VantageScore (which is widely used by creditors) is considered to be 750 or higher.

Which credit card is the best for international travel?

If you frequently travel internationally, you’ll want a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Most of the travel rewards credit cards we covered in this article do not charge these fees. If you value premium travel perks and don’t mind paying an annual fee, you can’t go wrong with the Amex Platinum card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card . Both offer global lounge access, flight credits, and great redemption value for your points when redeemed for flights. If you can use the benefits these cards offer, you’ll receive value that more than offsets the annual fee.

How do you compare travel credit cards?

When comparing travel credit cards, you should first consider what type of card is best for your travel goals. Do you want a card that earns transferable rewards, or one for a specific airline? Then, you should consider factors like the card’s benefits, rewards rates, and annual fee, to help you determine which card would be the best fit for you.

What is the difference between points and miles?

Both terms of used interchangeably and it really just comes down to what the rewards program decided to name its rewards currency. For instance, when it comes to transferable rewards, you have Chase Ultimate Rewards “points” and Capital One “miles,” but both programs function in similar ways. Similarly, when it comes to airlines, you have American AAdvantage “miles” and JetBlue TrueBlue “points.”

How many miles do you need for a free flight?

How many miles you need to book a free flight can depend on a variety of factors like what program you are booking through, what cabin class you’d like to fly, how far you are flying, and the time of year you are planning to fly if the airline uses dynamic pricing.

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About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

Discover the exact steps we use to get into  1,400+ airport lounges worldwide, for free   (even if you’re flying economy!) .

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Every month we share what we believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best credit card offers for the month.

We rank these offers by looking at their welcome offers or signup bonuses, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, we rank the top offers based on the order in which we think they should be considered by the average person.

We divide these top credit offers in to two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

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Best Credit Cards Under 5/24

Chase Sapphire Preferred

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current offer.

bonus points

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Annual Fee:

Terms Apply.

How to Earn Points

5X points on travel booked through the Chase Travel℠

3X points on restaurants, select streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Note this also excludes in-store grocery purchases.

2X Ultimate Rewards points on all other travel purchases outside of the Chase Travel℠

1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

10% Ultimate Rewards point bonus annually based on your card spending, earned after you renew and pay your annual fee

10xT Thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our top choice because of its amazing signup bonus, reasonable annual fee, and the amazing value of the points it earns. If you're looking for your first travel credit card look no further than Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Chase Travel℠ Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

best travel reward card 2022

2. Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points®

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit.

The Chase Ink Preferred® Credit Card earns the exact same points as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It comes with an 100,000 point bonus, the highest of all the UR cards. Ink Preferred is a business card, but you don’t need to own a “traditional business” to qualify for the card. Email [email protected] if you have any questions about your particular situation.

best travel reward card 2022

3. Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases

in the first three months and additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening

Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.

Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.

Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn

The Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card comes with a points welcome bonus that is often marketed as “cash”. Note that if you have another Chase Ultimate Rewards card you can combine these points to be used for travel.

Chase Ink Unlimited Card Art

4. Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

bonus cash back

after you spend $6,000 in 3 months

Earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back rewards on every purchase

The Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card comes with a 75,000 point signup bonus that is marketed as “$750 cash”. These points can be used for higher value travel redemptions if you have another Chase Ultimate Rewards card.

best travel reward card 2022

5. United℠ Business Card

Bonus Miles

after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

$99 $0 for your first year, then $99.

2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, gas stations, office supplies and dining (including eligible delivery services)

2 miles per $1 spent on local transit and commuting

1 mile per $1 on everything else.

Overall a good option for business owners who are loyal to United Airlines thanks to a reasonable annual fee and great perks. Note that you are not eligible for this card if you have received a bonus on the United℠ Business Card in the past 24 months.

best travel reward card 2022

6. IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Bonus Points

after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels and Resorts

Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, select advertising, and restaurants

Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

This card presents an opportunity for loyal IHG travelers who are business owners to earn points and receive additional perks related to IHG, all for a relatively low annual fee when compared to other comparable card offers. Though the points earned from this card would be considered to be less flexible than some other options, it is still well worth considering for anyone who is eligible to get it.

best travel reward card 2022

7. IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts

Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants.

Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

One of the better co-brand hotel cards on the market, that comes with an opportunity to earn a good stash of IHG points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

8. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points

after you spend $4,000 in 3 months

Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ after spending $300 on travel each year.

Earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards when you make prepaid restaurant reservations, order takeout or join virtual cooking events.

Earn 5X total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Earn 3x points on other travel worldwide, after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Earn 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.

Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is widely regarded as the best premium travel credit card on the market. The annual fee is steep, but the benefits of this card are fantastic. Remember that the card comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which makes the fee much easier to justify.

best travel reward card 2022

9. Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 40,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.

Earn 4x points on all Southwest® purchases

Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners

Earn 2x points on social media and search engine advertising spend

Earn 2x points on all internet, cable and phone spend

Earn 2x points on rideshare

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business card is a great grab for anyone who can qualify. Note that this card does not currently exclude Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Business Card holders from getting it.

best travel reward card 2022

10. Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 60,000 points when you spend $15,000 in 9 months.

Earn 3x points on all Southwest Airlines® purchases

Earn 2x points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.

Earn 2x points on rideshares

Earn 1x points on all other purchases

An excellent choice for business owners who frequently travel on Southwest. This card is often paired with one of the personal Southwest cards to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

best travel reward card 2022

11. United Club℠ Infinite Card

Limited-time offer: 90,000.

after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

4 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United®, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges

2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel purchases.

2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services.

Enjoy membership to the United Club. Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

best travel reward card 2022

12. United Quest℠ Card

Limited-time offer: 70,000.

plus 500 Premier Qualifying Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases

Earn 2X miles on all other travel

Earn 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services and select streaming services

On all other purchases

The Chase United Quest℠ Card is a good card for those of you looking for a good card to hold long-term. If you fly United often, some of the perks easily help offset the annual fee. But if you’re more likely to use the points for Star Alliance partner flights then you’re still getting a nice bonus for a relatively modest annual fee.

United Explorer Card

13. United℠ Explorer Card

Limited time offer: 60,000.

after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

$95 $0 for your first year, then $95.

2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services

2 miles per $1 spent on hotel stays

2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United®, including tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.

Overall a very typical airline co-brand credit card, the United Explorer comes with one free checked bag when flying United (must purchase the flight with the card), 2x miles on United purchases, 25% in-flight savings, and a nice bonus of United miles.

best travel reward card 2022

14. World of Hyatt Business Credit Card

after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

up to 9 points total per $1 spent at Hyatt - 4 Bonus Points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & up to 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member

2X Points per $1 spent in your top three spend categories each quarter through 12/31/24, then your top two categories each quarter. Eligible categories are dining, shipping, airline tickets when purchases directly with the airline, local transit & commuting, social media & search engine advertising, car rental agencies, and gas stations

per $1 spent at fitness clubs and gym memberships

per $1 spent on all other purchases

The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card is a great option for business owners who are looking to earn rewards and perks with Hyatt. This card has a reasonable annual fee and comes with a handful of perks and credits that should more than justify that fee for most cardholders.

best travel reward card 2022

15. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Earn 3 free night awards.

(each night valued up to 50,000 points)

after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening

Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card

Earn 3 Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.

Earn 2 bonus points per $1 on all other purchases

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card card is one of the better hotel cards on the market thanks to its generous signup bonus and annual free night certificate. Keep in mind that you are not eligible to receive this bonus if you have received a bonus on another Marriott Bonvoy branded credit card in the last 24 months.

best travel reward card 2022

16. Aeroplan® Credit Card

after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Earn 3X points for every dollar spent on grocery stores.

Earn 3X points for every dollar spent dining at restaurants

Earn 3X points for every dollar spent at Air Canada directly.

Earn 1X point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.

500 Bonus Points

Earn 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month - up to 1,500 points per month

The new Aeroplan® Credit Card is a good card for those looking to earn more miles to fly Star Alliance partners.

best travel reward card 2022

17. British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Limited time offer earn 85,000.

after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and LEVEL.

Earn 2 Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations when booked directly with the hotel.

Earn 1 Avios for every $1 spent on everything else.

The play with British Airways miles is to use them for short distance flights on American Airlines and other OneWorld carriers. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, meaning you can find some flights for as little as 7,500 miles each way.

A recent example of my own; I was able to book a business class ticket from Capetown to Johannesburg (cash price ~$800) for just 12,750 Avios and ~$100 in taxes and fees.

best travel reward card 2022

18. Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card

after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on flight purchases made directly with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Level.

Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.

Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.

A typical airline co-brand card, but with a twist. Aer Lingus is an international carrier so the perks of this card won't be all that valuable to most U.S. residents. Note that the Avios used on this card can also be easily redeemed with British Airways and Iberia.

best travel reward card 2022

19. Iberia Visa Signature® Card

Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Level.

A typical cobrand airline card, decent for anyone who is looking to earn Iberia miles though these are a less popular option than most US-based airline miles.

best travel reward card 2022

20. Ink Business Premier® Credit Card

after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn unlimited 5% total cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠

Earn unlimited 2.5% total cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more.

Unlimited 2% cash back on all other business purchases

A premium cash back business card for Chase. It's good if you're looking to earn some cash back, but doesn't offer the ability to earn points that you can transfer to partners.

best travel reward card 2022

21. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 3x points on all Southwest® purchases

Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, rideshares, internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is one of three personal Southwest credit cards offered by Chase. The Priority card has the highest annual fee of the 3 and the best overall perks. Note that you can only get one of the three at a time, and are only eligible for the bonus if you have not had another Southwest personal card bonus in the last 24 months.

best travel reward card 2022

22. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Earn 2x points on all Southwest® purchases

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of three personal Southwest credit cards offered by Chase. Note that you can only get one of the three at a time, and are only eligible for the bonus if you have not had another Southwest personal card bonus in the last 24 months. The Southwest Plus card has the lowest annual fee of the 3.

best travel reward card 2022

23. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares, internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.services

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is one of three personal Southwest credit cards offered by Chase. Note that you can only get one of the three at a time, and are only eligible for the bonus if you have not had another Southwest personal card bonus in the last 24 months.

best travel reward card 2022

24. The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Earn 30,000.

after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

Bonus Points per $1 spent with Hyatt. Earn 4X bonus points from the card and up to 5 base points as a World of Hyatt member.

Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships.

Earn 1 Bonus Point per $1 on everything else, 2X in the first 6 months up to the first $15,000 spent.

This bonus of up to 60,000 points can score you nearly two free nights at the some of the best Hyatt properties in the world, and even more free nights at lower end properties. This card also earns 9 points per $1 spent at Hyatt (4X bonus points from the card, and 5X base points for being a World of Hyatt Member), 2 points per $1 on dining and airfare purchased directly with airlines, 2 points per $1 spent on gym and health club memberships, and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

best travel reward card 2022

25. IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card

after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Earn up to 17 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts

Earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, at gas stations, and restaurants

Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

A pretty straightforward hotel co-brand card offers few perks but also does not have an annual fee. An OK choice for anyone who spends a significant amount of money at IHG properties.

best travel reward card 2022

26. Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

after you spend $1,000 on your first 3 months

Earn up to 14X total points per $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card

Earn 1x Bonvoy points on all other purchases

A no-fee Marriott Bonvoy card good for budget-conscious travelers looking to earn Bonvoy points.

best travel reward card 2022

27. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy

(on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).

After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a fantastic cash back card with excellent spending categories and no annual fee. Ideally you pair this with a Chase Sapphire card so your points can be used for higher value travel redemptions.

best travel reward card 2022

28. Chase Freedom Flex®

after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories, which rotate each quarter (must activate)

Earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠

Earn 3% back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible deliver services, and drugstore purchases

Earn 1% back on all other purchases

A fantastic card from Chase mainly due to the incredible bonus categories. Keep in mind that you can combine these points with other Chase Ultimate Rewards to be used with transfer partners and booking travel through the Chase portal.

Best Credit Cards Above 5/24

best travel reward card 2022

1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

after you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

miles on all purchases

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most well-known cards in the travel space. Capital One recently introduced more than a dozen transfer partners, including Air Canada, Air France, Etihad, and Cathay Pacific. Points transfer to...

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

2. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Venture Miles

after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

On hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

On flights booked through Capital One Travel

There’s a lot to love about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Sure, it might be a glorified Capital One Venture Rewards Card, but it has some compelling credits to help justify it over its little brother. You...

best travel reward card 2022

3. Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

ThankYou® Points

after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening

points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com

per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations

This card is basically Citi’s version of the  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The ThankYou Points can either be used to book travel (airfare, hotels, etc.) via the Citi Travel Center or transferred to any of Citi’s transfer partners, which include...

best travel reward card 2022

4. American Express® Gold Card

Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms apply.

Terms Apply. | Rates & Fees.

4x at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

4x at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X

3x for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com

1x on other eligible purchases

The American Express® Gold Card shoots up the rankings this month thanks to an elevated welcome bonus! This is the highest welcome bonus we have seen on this card (publicly, anyway) for quite some time. Terms apply. Rates and fees....

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Credit Card

5. Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Wells Fargo Rewards Points

after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months

points on hotels

points on airlines

points on restaurants and other travel

points on other purchases

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card is the newest credit card from Wells Fargo and with the announcement of this card came the announcement of transfer partners for both this card and the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card. That means there...

The Platinum Card from American Express

6. The Platinum Card® from American Express

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year (1x thereafter).

5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

Earn 1x Membership Rewards® Points on all other purchases.

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Platinum Card from American Express is another example of a high-annual fee card that comes with a ton of great benefits. You will also want to check the Card Match tool to see if you are...

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

7. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

after you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership

Earn Membership Rewards® Points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com

Earn 1.5X points (that's an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year

Earn 1x Membership Rewards® Points on eligible purchases

The Business Platinum Card® by American Express is one of the premier business cards on the entire market, and for good reason. The card is currently offering a generous 120,000 point welcome offer, though many readers are able to find...

best travel reward card 2022

8. American Express® Business Gold Card

after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.

Earn 4X points in the 2 select categories where you spend the most each month on the first $150,000 in combined purchases categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.

Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.

The real benefit of the American Express® Business Gold Card is the the fact that you earn 4x points on the two categories with the highest spending each month, automatically. These categories include U.S. purchases for advertising, U.S. gas stations,...

capital one venture x business

9. Capital One Venture X Business

after you spend $30,000 in the first 3 months

Earn 10X on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Earn 5X on flights booked through Capital One Travel

Earn 2X miles on every purchase

Capital One has recently made its Venture X Business card available to the public, following its initial limited release through relationship managers. The card, formerly known as the Spark Travel Elite, offers an impressive welcome bonus of 150,000 Venture Miles...

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

10. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Hilton Honors Bonus Points

after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card within the first six months of Card Membership.

on eligible Hilton purchases.

on other purchases made using the Hilton Honors Business Card on the first $100,000 in purchases each calendar year, 3X points thereafter.

A great choice for business owners who find themselves staying at Hilton properties on a regular basis. This card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors™ Gold Status. Be careful, Hilton points are notoriously tricky for new folks. Still a decent grab...

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

11. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. All information about The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by 10xTravel. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire is no longer available through 10xTravel. Offer ends 7/31/2024

Points per $1 spent on Hilton purchases

Points per $1 spent on eligible airfare, car rentals, and U.S. restaurants

Points per $1 on all other purchases

A great choice for frequent Hilton customers thanks to the 14x points at Hilton properties, Hilton Diamond Status, resort credits and more. Note that this card has a $550 annual fee though.

best travel reward card 2022

12. Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Limited time offer: earn 5 free night awards.

after you use your new Card to make $8,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Redemption level up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each bonus Free Night Award, at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Offer ends 7/10. Resort fees & terms apply.

Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.

Earn 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.

Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.

Easily the best business card for die-hard Marriott loyalists, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card comes with a handful of benefits for a reasonable annual fee.  

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

13. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Earn 95,000.

Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Points for eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® program

Points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines

Points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

This is still the best premium card option for loyal Marriott guests looking for card perks and a decent bonus, and included Platinum Elite status. These points can be used to book Marriott stays or transferred to 20+ airlines at...

best travel reward card 2022

14. Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points

after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.

Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets per calendar year, then 2X points).

This mid-tier Marriott Bonvoy credit card is great if you’re a Marriott loyalist, but don’t want to pay the steep annual fee of a more expensive card. For a lower annual fee you’ll have access to some good elite benefits,...

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

15. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward

after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio

Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations

Earn 4X Points for each dollar on U.S. Online Retail Purchases.

Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

Overall this card is great when compared to other Hilton offers but in the middle of the pack in the world of hotel cards. Remember, these are Hilton points we are talking about so don’t get too excited by the...

best travel reward card 2022

16. Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card

Bonus Miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)

after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days

Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases

The business version of the Alaska card, provided by Bank of America. Alaska miles are often used to book premium cabin travel on Cathay Pacific.

best travel reward card 2022

17. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

bonus miles

after $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on cable and satellite providers

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on select telecommunications merchants

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on car rentals

Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

A very typical co-brand business credit card, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Elite MasterCard comes with the usual perks of free checked bags, preferred boarding, etc. A good grab for loyal AA travelers.

best travel reward card 2022

18. AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage Bonus Miles

after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

AAdvantage Miles for every $1 spent with AA

AAdvantage Miles on all other purchases

The Barclays Aviator Card is one of two American Airlines branded cards (the other is issued by Citi). Both are very similar, and are very typical for a co-branded airline credit card. The recent launch of the AA web specials...

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Elite Card Image

19. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles

after spending $2,500 within the first 4 months of account opening.

Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at restaurants and gas stations

Perhaps the most popular American Airlines branded card, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® comes with priority boarding, free checked bag, savings on in-flight purchases, and a nice bonus for new card holders.

best travel reward card 2022

20. Capital One Spark Miles for Business

after you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months

Miles on every purchase

Miles on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel

Spark Miles is basically the business version of the Capital One Venture. The two cards earn the same exact points, which can be redeemed to do the exact same things. The points can transfer to a handful of airline partners...

best travel reward card 2022

21. Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card

bonus points, enough for up to 13 free nights

after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Earn 6 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases made at Hotels by Wyndham as well as on qualifying gas purchases.

Earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®).

Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases (excluding Wyndham Timeshare resort down payments). That means paying bills, buying home office supplies, car repairs, and more are earning you your next great vacation!

best travel reward card 2022

22. Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Cash Back on every purchase

Perhaps the best cash back card on the market for business owners thanks to a hefty bonus and great ongoing spend earnings. Business owners can use this card to earn a flat 2% cash back on every purchase with no...

best travel reward card 2022

23. Hilton Honors American Express Card

after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.

Earn 5X Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

A very basic, no-fee Hilton card that comes with a handful of perks valuable to loyal Hilton travelers.

best travel reward card 2022

24. Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card

bonus points, enough for up to 10 free nights

Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases made at Hotels by Wyndham as well as on qualifying gas purchases.

Earn 2 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®).

best travel reward card 2022

25. American Express® Green Card

after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by 10xTravel.

Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.

Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.

Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.

Membership Rewards® points on all other transactions.

A good option for anyone looking to earn valuable American Express Membership Rewards Points without paying the larger annual fees on cards like the Platinum Card from American Express or the American Express Gold Card. This card is loaded with...

best travel reward card 2022

26. JetBlue Plus Card

After you spend $1,000 and pay the annual fee in full in 90 days.

Points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases

Points per $1 spent at restaurants on grocery stores

Points per $1 spent on everything else

JetBlue’s cobranded credit card, issued by Barclays. Overall its an ok offer for loyal JetBlue customers but keep in mind that JetBlue does not service large portions of the USA and flies very few international routes. The spending rewards on...

best travel reward card 2022

27. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

Bonus Miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)

Points per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases

Earn 2x miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, EV charging station, local transit, rideshare, cable and select streaming services

A great airline card for loyal Alaska Airlines customers, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card offers free checked bags, in-flight savings, and a generous welcome bonus. This card is affiliated with Bank of America.

best travel reward card 2022

28. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Limited time offer: earn 110,000.

after spending $12,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/17.

Miles per $1 on Delta purchases.

Earn 1.5X miles on eligible transit, U.S. shipping, and U.S. office supply store purchases, plus all eligible purchases after you spend $150,000 in purchases on your Card in a year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply

Miles per $1 spent on all else

High fee, high perk credit card for business owners who frequently travel with Delta. This is one of a handful of Delta co-brand cards that were recently revamped by American Express.

best travel reward card 2022

29. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

Limited time offer: earn 95,000.

after spending $8,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/17.

Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.

Earn 3 Miles on every eligible dollar spent on purchases made directly with hotels.

Earn 1.5X miles* on eligible transit and U.S. shipping purchases, plus single eligible purchases of $5,000 or more. Terms and miles cap apply. *If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.

Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on other purchases.

Very typical business co-brand airline credit card but with a slant toward premium travelers. Free checked bags, 3x points on purchases with the airline, etc. Right now this card has generous welcome offer that is enough to encourage just about...

best travel reward card 2022

30. Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Limited time offer: earn 75,000.

after spending $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/17.

$150 $0 for your first year, then $150.

Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases.

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at U.S. Shipping providers and at U.S. providers for Advertising in select media on up to $50,000 of purchases per category, per year.

Earn 2x miles on every eligible dollar spent at restaurants.

Earn 1x miles back on all other purchases

A very typical co-brand business card, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card comes with a modest annual fee (that is waived for the first year) as well as priority boarding and your first checked bag free. Overall this...

best travel reward card 2022

31. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.

Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

This is the most premium Delta co-brand credit card, coming with a hefty annual fee but a long list of benefits as well. This card gives you free limited access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta and also free...

best travel reward card 2022

32. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.

Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.

Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

American Express recently refreshed all of their Delta card products, including the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card. This is the more expensive version of this popular co-brand card that comes with a handful of perks to justify the higher annual fee....

best travel reward card 2022

33. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases

Earn 2x miles on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S

Earn 2x miles at U.S. supermarkets

Earn 1x miles back on all other eligible purchases

This is one of the most popular airline credit cards on the market. It’s very difficult to tell you the value of this card bonus due to the unpredictability of Delta’s award redemptions. Delta does not have an award chart...

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

34. U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days

Points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels and car rentals, booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center

Points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases and mobile wallet spending

Points per $1 spent on all other purchases

First thing to know: You have to be a U.S. Bank Customer to get this card. Which eliminates it for a lot of people. U.S. Bank’s Premium travel credit card, the Altitude Reserve comes with a handful of great perks...

best travel reward card 2022

35. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Membership Rewards®

after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership

Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases regardless of category, up to $50,000 in spend per year

Earn 1x on all purchases after that

A great everyday spender for business owners because of its 2x earning rate on all purchases up to $50,000 annually (1x thereafter). Ideal for non category spending to fill in the “gaps” left by other popular business credit cards

best travel reward card 2022

36. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

after you spend $500 in the first 3 months

Miles per $1 spent on every purchase

This is the no-fee version of the popular Capital One Venture Card. Points are worth 1 cent each, making this bonus worth $200 toward travel. This card is ideal for those with lower monthly spending who can’t justify paying an...

Wells Fargo Autograph Credit Card

37. Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months

points on restaurants and travel

points on transit (subways, ride shares, parking, tolls, and more)

points on gas stations and electric vehicle charging stations

points on phone plans and popular streaming services

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card launched in 2022, and although it had good earning rates on categories like restaurants and gas (3X points), these points were essentially issued as cash back. The new feature of being able to transfer points...

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best rewards credit card?

While it may not be the one you’re hoping for, the answer is “it depends.” There are numerous factors that can go into choosing a credit card, including your spending habits, your travel goals and even where you live, so the best option for you could differ completely from the best option for someone else. Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you make your selection:

Business vs. personal: What will the purpose of your credit card be? Are you looking for something to use for personal expenses or for business purchases? Business credit cards are tailored to suit business owners, with bonuses on categories associated with running a business and perks to match. Personal credit cards, on the other hand, can be more rewarding for everyday purchases.

Your credit score: Before you dive into your research, it’s important to know your credit score so that you have an idea of what types of cards you might reasonably expect to get approved for. While the top rewards cards typically require stellar scores, there’s a range of great options out there no matter where your score currently stands. Using your new card responsibly can also help bolster your credit score, so you may be able to aim higher next time around.

Reward type: Are you looking for cash back that will go straight into your pocket? Trying to collect frequent flier miles to use with your favorite airline? Or are you interested in diving a bit deeper and focusing on transferable points that can unlock aspirational travel experiences? Deciding what you want to earn—and how much effort you want to put into redeeming your rewards for maximum value—is crucial to narrowing down the field.  

Bonus categories: Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for a card that earns bonus rewards on categories where you spend the most money. Foodies might be interested in cards that earn extra points or cash back at restaurants or grocery stores, for example, while van lifers may want to net bonus points on gas. No matter where most of your money goes, you’re likely to find a card (or cards) that will reward you on some of your top categories.

Other benefits: It’s not all about earning, though. The great thing about rewards credit cards is that many of them come with an array of other perks, which can include lounge access, hotel status or credits to use on everything from airline fees to food delivery. If you find a card has benefits that can save you money—and you know you can put them to good use—that may be reason enough to apply.

Annual fee: Of course, those benefits don’t (always) come free. For the most part, the most souped up cards also carry the highest annual fees. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of great cards out there with reasonable fees (or no fees at all!). And it’s also not to say that the high-priced cards can’t be well worth the money. It all depends on how much value you’ll get from the card and what you’re willing to pay for it.

Will taking out a rewards credit card hurt my credit score?

When used responsibly, credit cards actually help, rather than hurt, your credit score. Demonstrating over time that you can consistently make on-time payments is a great way to signal to lenders that you’re trustworthy and responsible.

That said, your credit score will see a temporary ding whenever you apply for a new card. Before you do, you’ll want to weigh any near-term moves you may be making that depend on your credit score—taking out a mortgage, for example.

How long should I keep my rewards credit card?

Credit card companies are getting stricter and stricter when it comes to cracking down on user behavior they classify as “gaming” the system, or opening and closing cards specifically to accrue sign-up bonuses. To keep yourself in good standing with banks, it’s important to plan on keeping a card for at least a year after you open it. If you’re picking a credit card that suits your needs, it’s likely you’ll want to keep it for much longer anyway!

Of course, card issuers are continually tweaking their products and rolling out new ones, so you may find that eventually the card you have isn’t the optimal one for you or your lifestyle. It’s also important to regularly audit your wallet to make sure you’re getting enough value out of the card or cards you do have to justify any annual fees.

If you do find that you’re ready to bid farewell to a card, we always recommend looking to downgrade a card before outright cancelling it. In general, the longer your lines of credit have been open, the better for your credit score, so cancelling can have implications there. Downgrading to no-fee card keeps the same line of credit up and running without you having to pay a dime.

How many rewards credit cards is too many?  

Once again, the important thing here is to avoid engaging in any behavior that might look risky to banks. Taking out multiple cards in a manner of months? That might raise some red flags.

On the other hand, if you’re using cards responsibly—spacing out applications by at least a few months, making all payments on time and keeping your cards open for at least a year—you can easily have a credit card tally into the teens and preserve an excellent credit score. In that case, it’s more about personal preference and how well you can keep track of them all!

While a hard and fast limit may not exist on how many cards you have overall, some issuers have started putting their own limits on how many of their cards you can hold at once or take out in a given time period. Chase has its infamous 5/24 rule—you’ll automatically be rejected for certain Chase cards you apply for if you’ve already taken out five cards from any issuer in the last 24 months—and American Express has a four-credit-cards-per-customer cap (and a 10-card limit for charge cards).

Is a rewards credit card worth the annual fee?

  Almost every rewards card out there will offer you more than enough value to offset the annual fee. Travel cards in particular tend to offer sign-up bonuses that are big enough to redeem for international flights, providing plenty of bang for your buck. Cards commonly also come with various perks and credits that can effectively knock hundreds of dollars off the fees you pay.

The question then, becomes whether you can—and will—actually use the perks and credits in order to offset those fees. For example, the $695 Platinum Card from American Express comes packed with benefits, including up to $200 in annual Uber savings, a $200 airline fee credit, a $100 hotel credit when booking through The Hotel Collection and $100 in annual Saks credits. Those credits alone add up to more than the annual fee, but if you don’t travel frequently, you might not be able to put them all to use.

It’s all a matter of finding the card that works best for you. We can all but guarantee that there’s a card out there that’ll be worth the fee in terms of what it nets you in rewards—and if not, there are plenty of lucrative offers for fee-free cards out there, too!

Do rewards cards carry high interest rates?  

Yes—and that’s one key reason we recommend only taking out a card whose balance you know you can pay off in full each month. While you’ll earn points or cash back from putting spend on the card, they won’t wind up outweighing what you’ll pay in interest if you carry a balance.

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best travel reward card 2022

How to pick the right travel credit card for you

Ryan Wilcox

Editor's Note

So you've decided to get a travel credit card — congratulations. Now comes the hard part: finding the card that makes the most sense for your wallet.

With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to pick out what kind of credit card will offer you the most value based on your lifestyle and spending habits. To help you make the decision that's best for you, follow these four simple steps.

Decide between a cobranded or general travel rewards card

First and foremost, you'll want to consider the type of travel card you want and the type of rewards you wish to earn. There are two main categories to consider here: cobranded travel credit cards and general travel rewards credit cards.

Cobranded travel credit cards are affiliated with a particular airline or hotel and often come with brand-specific travel benefits. For airline cards , that means perks like free checked bags, priority boarding and inflight discounts. Hotel cards may include annual hotel credits or automatic hotel elite status.

Since cobranded cards help you earn rewards within a specific travel program, they're best suited for frequent travelers loyal to a particular brand, like United Airlines or Marriott.

best travel reward card 2022

General travel rewards credit cards allow you to earn rewards within a credit card rewards program with various redemption options. With a general travel card, you might be able to transfer your rewards to multiple airline and hotel loyalty programs or use them to book travel through your card issuer's travel portal. You may also be able to redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards and select merchandise.

General travel credit cards are typically better for those who want flexibility in their rewards without being tied to a specific airline or hotel brand.

Related: Why all travelers should earn transferable rewards

Find a valuable welcome offer

Next, you'll want to identify a card with a hefty — yet achievable — welcome offer, which can sometimes single-handedly justify your ownership of the card for years on end.

best travel reward card 2022

Take stock of your ability to meet the minimum spending requirements on a given offer. For example, the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 's typical welcome offer is 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Spending $4,000 in three months isn't a terribly high bar to clear, but make sure you can meet that spending level if you're considering getting the card.

Rewards cards with higher welcome offers typically come with higher minimum spending requirements. You'll also want to keep an eye on card offer histories and potentially take advantage of any elevated welcome offers on cards you're interested in.

Related: The best welcome offers this month

Maximize bonus categories

If you've found a card with a nice sign-up bonus, be sure that it has bonus categories conducive to your spending habits so that you can take advantage of them as much as possible.

If you spend a lot in a given category, like restaurants, groceries or travel , find a card that earns multiple points or miles per dollar when you spend at those places. Predictably, most travel cards also offer bonus rewards when you spend on travel, with Marriott Bonvoy cards offering bonus rewards at Marriott properties, for example, or more general Chase cards offering bonuses when you book travel through Chase Travel℠ .

best travel reward card 2022

Welcome offers and bonus categories will make up a major chunk of how you earn rewards, so choose wisely.

Justify the annual fee

Lastly, we recommend only considering the cards with perks that will make a difference to you, with benefits that will help you justify an annual fee (if the card has one) and that you can derive value from the next time you book a trip.

best travel reward card 2022

For example, premium offerings like The Platinum Card® from American Express offer lavish perks that are seemingly never-ending. The Amex Platinum has well over $1,400 worth of benefits and statement credits, mostly to offset its $695 annual fee (see rates and fees ), but if you can't take advantage of those perks and find yourself paying almost $700 for benefits you aren't taking advantage of, the card won't be worth it.

There are plenty of cards with no annual fee , which is a good place to start. That said, most annual fees on cards are justifiable and can be more than offset if you use the card and its perks wisely.

Related: The complete guide to credit card annual fees

Bottom line

With so many cards on the market, we know it can be difficult to find the one that's right for you, especially if you're new to the world of points and miles . Our advice is to go for a general travel rewards card if you are a free agent or a specific airline or hotel card if you are loyal to a particular brand. Follow the simple steps in this guide to help narrow your options, and keep it locked on TPG for more advice on finding the right card to help fund your next big trip.

Related: Best travel cards of 2024

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here .

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Vote for your favorite rewards credit card!

USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

A good rewards credit card offers users greater flexibility on how they earn and redeem points, with no need to fly the same airline, stay in the same hotel chain, or rent from the same car company on every trip. We asked a panel of miles-and-points experts to tell us their favorite general rewards credit cards, and we need you to help us pick a winner. Vote for your favorite card once per day until voting ends on Monday, July 29 at noon ET. We'll announce the 10 winning credit cards on Wednesday, August 7.  Read the official  Readers' Choice rules .

A good rewards credit card offers users greater flexibility on how they earn and redeem points, with no need to fly the same airline, stay in the same hotel chain, or rent from the same car company on every trip. We...   Read More

Best Rewards Credit Card Nominees

American Express Business Gold Card

Photo courtesy of American Express

American Express Business Gold Card

The American Express Business Gold Card features a 70,000-point sign-up bonus with qualifying purchases. Cardholders also have the chance to earn four points per dollar on the two categories (out of six possible categories) where your business spends the most each billing cycle.

American Express Gold Card

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card offers cardholders with excellent credit several perks and benefits, including the chance to earn three points per dollar spent booking flights directly from airlines and four points per dollar spent at grocery stores and restaurants (including takeout and delivery). The card also comes with a $120 annual dining credit and $120 in Uber Cash.

American Express Green Card

American Express Green Card

The American Express Green Card comes with a 40,000-point sign-up bonus after qualifying purchases and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn three points per dollar spent on dining (including takeout and delivery), transit, airfare, hotels, and car rentals. Other perks include a $189 CLEAR Plus credit and $100 LoungeBuddy credit.

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum Card

While the Platinum Card from American Express has a higher-than-average annual fee, it can be well worth it, thanks to perks like a 125,000-point sign-up bonus (after qualifying purchases), $200 airline fee credit, $15 worth of Uber rides or Eats orders each month, $189 CLEAR Plus credit, and the chance to earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and on prepaid hotels.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa

Photo courtesy of Bank of America

Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa

With the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card, cardholders earn 60,000 bonus points with qualifying purchases, 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else. Other perks include up to $200 in travel statement credits, travel insurance protections, and no foreign transaction fees.

Bilt Mastercard issued by Wells Fargo

Photo courtesy of FluxFactory // Getty Images

Bilt Mastercard issued by Wells Fargo

Designed for convenience and flexibility, Bilt cardholders enjoy rewards without any annual fee and earn points for everyday purchases, including rent. Those points can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals, and experiences, or you can transfer them to a number of loyalty partners like IHG One Rewards and United MileagePlus.

Blue Business Plus from American Express

Blue Business Plus from American Express

New cardholders with Blue Business Plus from American Express can earn 50,000 rewards points with qualifying purchases in the first three months. And the card nets users 2 points per dollar spent on business purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year.

Capital One Savor

Photo courtesy of Capital One

Capital One Savor

Capital One Savor offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as popular streaming services, and 3% cash back at grocery stores. New cardmembers enjoy a $300 bonus with qualifying purchases. The card also comes with nice benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees and 24/7 complimentary concierge service.

Capital One Venture Rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards

Venture Rewards cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. When paired with an attractive 75,000-mile sign-up bonus (after $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months), a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and flexible redemption options, it becomes a great all-around card for frequent travelers who want a simple and effective way to earn miles.

Capital One Venture X Rewards

Capital One Venture X Rewards

With the Capital One Venture X Rewards card, your travel will earn you big benefits. Within the first three months of membership, a bonus of 75,000 free miles is rewarded to members that spend $4,000. Earn two times the miles for all purchases, five times the miles on every flight booked with Capital One Travel, and 10 times the miles on hotels and rental cars booked with Capital One Travel. 

Capital One VentureOne Rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards

With the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card, cardholders earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases, as well as 20,000 bonus miles with qualifying purchases — all with no annual fee. Plus, you can earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard

Photo courtesy of Hispanolistic // Getty Images

Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard

Generous cash-back rewards are available if you carry a Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard, including rotating bonus categories that offer higher cash-back rates. Another great perk is the lengthy introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers and purchases, helping you save on interest charges. This card also provides valuable purchase protection benefits, such as extended warranty coverage and purchase protection against damage or theft.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa

Photo courtesy of Chase

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa

Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders earn 5% cash back on travel through Chase Travel, 3% on restaurants, and 1.5% on all purchases. There's no annual fee, and the card comes with a $200 cash-back bonus offer on $500 of purchases in the first three months. Even better, the cash-back rewards don't expire.

Chase Ink Business Premier

Photo courtesy of Chase Ink

Chase Ink Business Premier

The Chase Ink Business Premier credit card provides valuable travel and purchase protections, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, rental car insurance, cell phone protection, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection. Cardholders also earn 2% to 5% cash back on every purchase, and points that are redeemed through Chase Travel have a boosted rate of 25% more value.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred offers perks like a 60,000-point sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fees, and the chance to earn 5 points per dollar spent on travel through Chase Travel. Cardholders enjoy 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases. Points can be converted one-to-one with several loyalty programs, including United and Southwest.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a 60,000-point sign-up bonus, plus a $300 annual travel credit, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, no foreign transaction fees, and 3 points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants worldwide. Cardholders get 50% more value when they redeem points through Chase Travel.

Citi Strata Premier Card

Photo courtesy of Maca and Naca / E+

Citi Strata Premier Card

The Citi Strata Premier card earns cardholders an annual $100 hotel credit, plus 3 points per dollar spent on travel, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations. That's in addition to 10 points per dollar spent on hotels, car rentals, and experiences booked through CitiTravel.com. Points can be transferred to partners like TrueBlue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Discover it Cash Back

Photo courtesy of Discover

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it cardholders earn 5% cash back on rotating categories like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, and grocery stores, plus 1% back on all other purchases. Discover matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, and cash-back rewards never expire.

Quicksilver from Capital One

Quicksilver from Capital One

Quicksilver from Capital One offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a $200 sign-up bonus, no annual fees, and no foreign transaction fees. With rewards that don't expire, it's a great low-fee, low-maintenance option for cardholders who value simplicity.

Wells Fargo Autograph Card

Photo courtesy of pixelfit // Getty Images

Wells Fargo Autograph Card

The Wells Fargo Autograph Card offers several standout perks to keep their customers in motion. Cardholders enjoy three times the points in many purchasing categories including gas, travel, restaurants, and transit. That's in addition to access to 24/7 concierge services, assisting you with various requests such as event tickets, reservations, and special experiences.

About 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

Nominees are submitted by a panel of experts. 10Best editors narrow the field to select the final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers can vote once per category, per day. For any questions or comments, please read the FAQ or email USA TODAY 10Best .

The Experts

Cheryl maguire.

Cheryl Maguire

Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling...   Read More

Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and the mother of twins and a daughter. She writes about travel, mental health, science, and parenting. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, AARP, NatGeo, The Washington Post, Success Magazine, Parents Magazine, and many other publications. She is a professional member of ASJA and an active member of SATW. You can find her on X at @CherylMaguire05.

Cheryl Maguire

Cindy Greenstein

Cindy Greenstein

Cindy Greenstein is a mother of three young adults...   Read More

Cindy Greenstein is a mother of three young adults and a credit-card points expert who loves to travel for free. During her more than 20 years of marriage, she has used credit card points to travel the world while rarely paying for airline flights and hotel rooms. Some of her five-figure travel savings include trips to Aspen ($26,000); Greece ($23,000) and London ($15,000). Her favorite credit cards for point accumulation include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Capital One Venture X and American Express Gold. Cindy—an attorney and former certified public accountant—founded The Points Mom to share her credit card rewards-program expertise with family friends and small business owners who don’t have the time to learn how to maximize their points. Her services include one-on-one consultations, group consultations, speaking engagements, and reward-program tutorials. She provides the latest offers as well as tons of tips and tricks on Instagram at thepointsmom_ . When Cindy pays for travel or hotels, she is strategic about the credit cards that she uses. For example, on her trips she pays with the card that will earn her the most rewards, gets her the closest to elite status and offers her the most lucrative benefits.

Cindy Greenstein

Travel Mom Squad

Travel Mom Squad

Alex, Pam, and Jess are the women behind Travel...   Read More

Alex, Pam, and Jess are the women behind Travel Mom Squad. They are a trio of moms (and one is grandma) who love to travel the world for nearly free, thanks to credit card points and miles. Learning how to leverage credit card points and miles has allowed them to have incredible travel experiences they never imagined were possible. They've traveled to places like Hawaii, Greece, Africa, Italy, Mexico, Bora Bora, and more all for nearly free Using their knowledge of credit card points and miles, they teach others how to do the same so they can see the world for nearly free as well! Find them at  travelmomsquad.com , Instagram , or their podcast . 

Travel Mom Squad

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original,...   Read More

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

10Best Editors

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Find the best credit card for you

The 6 best chase travel credit cards of 2024, chase issues some of the top travel credit cards that earn airline miles, hotel points and flexible travel rewards..

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If you're looking for a travel credit card , one of the top card issuers to consider is Chase. The best Chase credit cards offer valuable travel perks and earn flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. For brand loyalists, Chase also issues co-branded credit cards for airlines and hotels such as Marriott and United.

To help you choose the best Chase travel credit card for your situation, CNBC Select analyzed travel cards issued by Chase, weighing each card's perks and costs (see our methodology for more information on how we choose the best Chase travel credit cards).

Best Chase travel credit cards

  • Best for beginners:   Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for no annual fee: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for business owners: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Best for premium benefits: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for IHG stays: IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Best for Southwest flyers: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Best for beginners

Chase sapphire preferred® card.

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

Welcome bonus

Earn 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 Travel℠.

Regular APR

21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Foreign transaction fee

Credit needed.

Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review .

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a reasonable annual fee, a versatile rewards program and a generous welcome bonus . This makes it a beginner-friendly option if you're looking for your first travel card.

Standout benefits:  The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns Ultimate Rewards points. You can redeem them for one cent each for things like cash back or gift cards. If you use Ultimate Rewards points to pay for travel you book through Chase Travel℠ , the value bumps up to 1.25 cents per point. You can also transfer Chase points at a 1:1 ratio to over a dozen partner travel programs, including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.

[ Jump to more details ]

Best for no annual fee

Chase freedom unlimited®.

Enjoy 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

20.49% - 29.24% variable

Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Member FDIC. Terms apply.

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

  • No annual fee
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

Who's this for? The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is ideal if you want a card with no annual fee and a high rewards rate for everyday purchases. It's also excellent to pair with another Ultimate Rewards® card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred , as you can convert your cashback into fully transferrable Ultimate Rewards® points.

Standout benefits : The Freedom Unlimited is technically a cash-back credit card , but it can be much more if you pair it with a Chase card that enables transfers, such as the Sapphire Preferred . This allows you to transfer the rewards you earn with your Freedom Unlimited to all of Chase's transfer partners, which can greatly boost the value you receive with this no-annual-fee card .

Best for business owners

Ink business preferred® credit card.

Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

21.24% - 26.24% variable

Good/Excellent

Read our Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card review.

  • Free employee cards
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase TravelSM
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs
  • Generous welcome bonus worth up to $1,000
  • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers

Who's this for? The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is great if you're a business owner who wants to earn flexible travel rewards thanks to its generous bonus spending categories.

Standout benefits: The Ink Business Preferred earns 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 in combined purchases you spend each account anniversary year on shipping, advertising (social media and search engines), travel and internet, cable and phone services. That's a large number of useful bonus categories for businesses that can help you amass a hoard of Chase Ultimate Rewards points quickly.

Best for premium benefits

Chase sapphire reserve®.

Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

Earn 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 Travel℠.

22.49% - 29.49% variable

5%, minimum $5

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership
  • High annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,469
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $3,346

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Reserve is ideal if you have a strong credit score and want premium perks like airport lounge access and built-in travel protections.

Standout benefits:  With the Chase Sapphire Reserve , you'll get an up to $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card. This credit automatically applies to eligible travel purchases, from airfare and lodging to public transit and parking fees, so it's incredibly easy to use. You can also enroll for unlimited access to 1,300+ Priority Pass™ airport lounges .

Best for IHG stays

Ihg one rewards premier credit card.

Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts, 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants, 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Earn 140,000 Bonus Points

21.49% - 28.49% variable

  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • One reward night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide
  • Fourth reward night when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years
  • No annual travel credits
  • Estimated points earned after 1 year: 173,089
  • Estimated points earned after 5 years: 365,446

Who's this for? The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is a perfect fit if you frequent IHG hotels because of its brand-specific perks. However, it also provides enough value that even the occasional guest can benefit from having this hotel credit card .

Standout hotel benefits: For every account anniversary, you'll receive a free night award valid at IHG hotels that cost up to 40,000 points. You can also top off this award if the night costs more than 40,000 points. If you want to book a room that costs 55,000 points, you could still use your award and pay the 15,000-point difference. This benefit alone can be valuable enough to justify paying the card's annual fee.

Best for Southwest flyers

Southwest rapid rewards® priority credit card.

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases, 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare; 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. 1X points on all other purchases

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign transaction fees

  • Southwest upgraded boarding on up to 4 tickets per year
  • 7,500 bonus points on each account anniversary
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year when available
  • $149 annual fee
  • No special financing offers

Who's this for?  If you love Southwest's consumer-friendly policies such as free checked bags and no change or cancellation fees, you'll appreciate the additional perks that come with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card .

Standout benefits: Having the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card makes earning the Southwest Companion Pass easier because the points you earn (including the welcome bonus) count toward qualifying and you get a 10,000 qualifying-point boost every year. The Companion Pass is incredibly valuable because it allows you to bring a guest on any Southwest flight for the cost of taxes and fees.

More on our top travel credit cards

It can be easy to justify paying the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's annual fee if you consider the value of the points you'll earn and its ongoing benefits.

  • 5X points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides through Mar. 31, 2025
  • 3X points per dollar on dining
  • 3X points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X points per dollar on select streaming services
  • 2X points per dollar on all other travel purchases
  • 1X points per dollar on all other purchases

Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Notable perks

Many of the Sapphire Preferred's benefits offer a fixed value that in total, more than offsets its annual fee. These perks include:

  • Up to $50 in annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit for hotel stays booked through Chase Travel℠
  • 10% points boost every card anniversary
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for at least one year when you activate by Dec. 31, 2024 (normally costs $9.99 a month or $96 for an annual plan)

This card also has an extensive list of insurance benefits. Eligible purchases qualify for:

  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Primary rental car collision coverage
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection

You'll also have a range of redemption options for the rewards you earn. You can use Chase points to receive cash back at a rate of one cent per point and to pay for travel you book through Chase Travel℠ at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. If you want to unlock further value, the Sapphire Preferred also allows you to transfer Chase points to airline and hotel loyalty programs such as  Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards , Air Canada Aeroplan, IHG One Rewards,  Marriott Bonvoy and more.

[ Return to card summary ]

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great card to pair with other Chase cards because it earns a minimum of 1.5% cash back on all purchases and has no annual fee.

  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 3% back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
  • 1.5% back on all other purchases

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases up to $20,000 spent in the first year.

When you open a new Freedom Unlimited account, you'll receive a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months from account opening on new purchases and balance transfers. After that, a variable 20.49% to 29.24% APR applies. The intro balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount of each transfer with a $5 minimum (applies to transfers you make in the first 60 days of opening the account). Once the intro balance transfer fee expires, the fee increases to 5% of the amount you transfer or $5, whichever is greater.

You can also take advantage of the following built-in coverages:

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary in the U.S.)

The Freedom Unlimited is a cash-back card, but if you have another Chase card that allows points transfers, you can move your rewards to that card and transfer them. That makes this card a great partner with cards like:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Having the option to convert your rewards into airline miles or hotel points, gives you a wider range of options to maximize the value you receive.

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a versatile business card with an unusually generous intro bonus offer.

  • 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases in these categories each account anniversary year: shipping, advertising (with select social media sites and search engines), travel, internet, cable and phone services
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

There is no additional fee for adding employee cards and there are no foreign transaction fees . You and the employees you add to your account can take advantage of a range of insurance benefits, including:

  • Rental car insurance (primary when renting for business purposes)
  • Cell phone protection

The Ink Business Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem for cash back, travel gift cards and more. These points are worth one cent each for redemptions like cash back or gift cards . The value increases by 25% (1.25 cents per point) if you use your points to book and pay for travel through Chase Travel℠. With this card, you also have the option to transfer points to any Chase travel partner at a 1:1 ratio. These partners include Marriott Bonvoy, Emirates Skywards , Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) and more.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has everything you should look for in a luxury travel card including generous statement credit benefits, airport lounge access and a robust list of shopping and travel protections.

  • 10X total points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠*
  • 10X points per dollar on Lyft purchases through March 2025
  • 10X total points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $150 (earn a maximum of 50,000 total points through March 2025)
  • 5X total points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel℠*
  • 3X points per dollar on other travel*

*After the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually

The Sapphire Reserve has a significant $550 annual fee, but it also has lots of benefits that provide more than enough value to make the annual fee worth it. You can take advantage of:

  • Up to $300 in annual travel credits
  • Unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for you and up to two guests (normally costs $469 for free visits with a $35 guest fee)
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus fee credit once every four years
  • Two years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership (worth $199 a year) when activated by Dec. 31, 2024
  • At least one year of complimentary DashPass membership when activated by Dec. 31, 2024
  • $5 in DoorDash credit each month through Dec. 31, 2024

If you're fed up with paying extra to insure a trip or receive additional warranty coverage for big purchases, the Sapphire Reserve provides many of these benefits automatically. Eligible purchases are covered by:

  • Return protection
  • Trip interruption/cancellation insurance
  • Baggage delay protection
  • Emergency medical and dental insurance

The Sapphire Reserve gives you access to the same travel partners as other Chase cards, but it comes with an increased redemption value when you use points to pay for travel booked through Chase Travel℠. With these redemptions, your points are worth 50% more or 1.5 cents per point. Of course, it's always possible you can receive a higher value per point by transferring your rewards to programs such as Air Canada Aeroplan or Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) and booking costly flights.

This card has no foreign transaction fees.

The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card will make your next IHG stay more rewarding and comfortable because of its bonus points on IHG purchases and IHG Platinum elite status perk.

  • 10X points at IHG hotels and resorts
  • 5X points on travel
  • 5X points at gas stations
  • 5X points at restaurants
  • 3X points on all other purchases

Earn 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months from account opening.

If you value IHG One status, you'll appreciate the automatic Platinum status you'll receive just for having the card. You also have a path to earning IHG Diamond status after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. On top of that, every year you keep the card you'll receive a free night award valid for rooms that cost up to 40,000 points, and you can top off the award with extra points to book a more expensive room.

By having this card, you can indirectly boost the value of your IHG points because of its fourth-night free benefit. When you use points to book an IHG stay of at least four consecutive nights, the fourth night is free. There is no limit to how often you can use this benefit, so the savings can be massive.

The card also comes with statement credit offers and other perks, including:

  • A 20% discount on IHG points purchases
  • Up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash each year ($25 deposit twice per year)
  • Up to $100 every four years in application fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 IHG points after spending $20,000 on your card in a calendar year

It also has no foreign transaction fees and insurance benefits such as purchase protection and trip cancellation/interruption coverage.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card can help you fast-track your journey to earning Southwest A-List elite status.

  • 3X points on Southwest purchases
  • 2X points on hotel and rental cars booked through Southwest
  • 2X points on local transit
  • 2X points on internet, cable and phone services

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card has the highest annual fee of any Southwest consumer credit card but has the most valuable benefits. Every year, you'll receive a $75 Southwest travel credit and 7,500 bonus points (worth roughly $97). If you can fully utilize both offers, you'll more than offset this card's annual fee.

Having a Southwest card is one of the best ways to fast-track your way to earning a Southwest Companion Pass. The points you earn from spending with this card and from its welcome offer both qualify toward earning a Companion Pass. You also receive a 10,000 qualifying-point boost every calendar year.

Earning Southwest status is also easier with this card. You will earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $5,000 you spend annually, and there is no limit on the number of TQPs you can earn. You can also take advantage of 25% back on inflight purchases and four upgraded boardings every year (when available).

This card comes with travel and purchase protections such as roadside dispatch, rental car damage waiver, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and travel accident insurance.

Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox.  Sign up here .

Chase travel credit card application rules

Chase has several additional application restrictions, some of which are card-specific. The first rule typically applies to any Chase credit card you apply for and is known as the Chase 5/24 rule . The way it works is that you're unlikely to be approved for a Chase card if you've opened five or more cards from any bank in the past 24 months.

There are also specific restrictions for these cards:

IHG One Rewards credit cards

You aren't eligible for a personal IHG One Rewards card if you currently have any personal IHG One Rewards card. You also aren't eligible for a personal IHG One Rewards card if you've earned an intro bonus offer from any personal IHG One Rewards card in the previous 24 months.

The same limitation applies to the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card . You aren't eligible for an IHG One Rewards business card if you currently have and IHG One Rewards business card or if you've earned an intro bonus from and IHG One Rewards business card in the previous 24 months.

That said, if you open an IHG business card, you can still qualify for a personal IHG card and vice versa.

Southwest credit card application rules

Chase currently issues three personal Southwest credit cards and two Southwest business credit cards. You can have one personal Southwest card and one business Southwest card at a time. However, you aren't eligible for a new personal Southwest card if you currently have a personal Southwest card or have earned a new card member intro bonus from a Southwest personal card in the previous 24 months. The same rule applies to Southwest business cards, you aren't eligible for a Southwest business card if you currently have one or have earned a Southwest business card intro bonus in the previous 24 months.

Marriott Bonvoy credit card application rules

Both Chase and American Express issue Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards . These hotel credit cards have complicated restrictions and waiting periods based on what cards you have, have had and when you earned previous Marriott Bonvoy card welcome bonuses. This makes it important to carefully review each card's specific terms before applying because even having an Amex Marriott card could impact whether you're eligible for a new cardmember bonus

Chase Sapphire credit card application rules

If you want to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® , the rules are more restrictive compared to other Chase cards. If you currently have or have had any Sapphire card in the last 48 months, you aren't eligible for any version of the Sapphire card.

It is possible to call and product change between the cards if you already have an account. So you could upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of its increased perks or downgrade to the Sapphire Preferred if you want to pay a smaller annual fee.

World of Hyatt credit card application rules

You won't qualify for the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card or World of Hyatt Credit Card if you currently have that card or have earned a welcome bonus from that card in the past 24 months. However, having a personal Hyatt card won't restrict you from opening a Hyatt Business card and vice versa.

United credit card application rules

Chase and United Airlines have partnered to issue several personal and business credit cards. The additional application guidelines are the same for all Chase United credit cards. For most United cards (personal or business), you aren't eligible for a specific card product if you currently have that exact card or have earned an intro bonus from that card in the past 24 months.

One exception is the United Club℠ Infinite Card , which you won't qualify for if you currently have any United Club card or if you have earned an intro bonus from any United Club card in the previous 24 months.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our  credit card marketplace  or get personalized offers via  CardMatch™ .

Pros and cons of Chase travel credit cards

Chase travel credit cards rank among the top credit cards for all sorts of travel. It issues several co-branded airline and hotel credit cards. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are also some of the most valuable and useful travel points you can earn.

However, you typically need a higher credit score to qualify for the best Chase travel cards. As valuable as the rewards may be, the miles and points you earn can be complicated to redeem to maximum value.

Pros of Chase travel credit cards

  • The miles and points you earn can be used to book high-value travel like business-class tickets or luxury hotels
  • Some premium Chase cards offer luxury perks like airport lounge access or automatic elite status
  • Many of these cards have exceptionally valuable welcome bonuses, with the best offers worth more than $1,000

Cons of Chase travel credit cards$

  • Redeeming travel rewards for the highest value can sometimes be a complicated endeavor
  • Most of these travel cards have annual fees and the cards with the best perks have the highest annual fees
  • To qualify for the best Chase travel card, you'll typically need a higher good to excellent credit score

What does Chase count as a travel purchase?

Whether a transaction falls under the travel category depends on how Visa and Mastercard classify that merchant. However, Chase lists a large range of category classifications as travel, including airlines, hotels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, campgrounds, trains, buses, taxis, ferries, tolls, parking and discount travel sites.

Do Chase credit cards have travel protections?

Many Chase credit cards have travel insurance benefits including trip delay reimbursement, rental car coverage, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and more. However, the specific protections vary by card. Check your card's benefits guide to confirm what specific coverages you have and the fine print.

What hotels are partners with Chase?

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the following hotel loyalty programs: Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards and World of Hyatt. Chase also issues co-branded hotel credit cards for all three brands.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit card review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit card products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best Chase travel credit cards.

Our methodology

To determine which Chase travel credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed Chase's travel card offerings based on a range of features. We considered rewards (e.g., cash back, points and miles), annual fees, welcome bonuses, introductory and standard APR and balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees. We also considered additional perks (e.g., ongoing travel or merchant statement credits), cardholder protections (e.g., purchase protection, $0 liability protection and travel insurance), the application process when available (e.g., is there a credit pull or required credit score) and how easy it is to redeem points (e.g., are rewards are tied to a specific brand; if transferable, to how many/which partners, can you redeem for straight cash back).    We also considered CNBC Select audience data when available, such as general demographics and engagement with our content and tools.  

When choosing the best Chase travel cards, we focused on relevant features, such as cards that are widely accepted internationally and provide consumers with bonus rewards on travel spending. We prioritized additional perks that may be useful when traveling, such as travel protections and elite status benefits. 

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of  credit cards ,  banking  and  money , and follow us on  TikTok ,  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Twitter  to stay up to date.

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Canada's Top Cash Back Credit Cards 2024

Last Updated on January 4, 2024

Welcome to Rewards Canada's 8th annual Top Cash Back Credit Card rankings!

Our rankings for 2024 see the addition of a new cash back rewards category! In past years we have ranked the top 5 cash back cards overall whether they had or didn't have an annual fee. Based on reader feedback about no fee cash back cards we have decided to split the rankings into fee and no annual fee cash back rewards cards. You'll find the winners in the two separate categories below!

Looking for a travel card? Check out Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2024 !

The Rankings

While the rankings rely heavily on the actual cash back earned, the best card for you may not be the best card on this list. Some key aspects to take into consideration when choosing a cash back credit card are:

  • Where do I use my credit card the most? Groceries, Gas, Travel, Restaurants? We have a set percentage breakdown for our rankings of 30% to groceries, 10% to gas, 5% to dining and so forth. This breakdown may be different for you so it may affect which card you go for.
  • Card acceptance - not all retailers accept Amex nor do places like Costco accept Visa or Amex. Look at your shopping habits to see if you can make the most of an Amex card (remember putting 50% of your spending on a high earning Amex card and 50% on another card can reward you with more cash back more than putting 100% of your spending on just that other card
  • How often do I want to access my cash back? When you get your cash back will depend on the card you have. Some cards only give your cash back once per year while others are monthly and some are even better allowing you to cash out when you hit a small minimum reward balance
  • What insurance and/or other benefits do I require? Cash back cards in Canada vary widely with insurance benefits from almost no coverage on no fee cash back cards to a full suite of benefits on the Visa Infinite and World Elite Mastercard cards.
  • Be sure to take everything into consideration. The amount of cash back earned on the top 5 cards (and even others just outside the list) is very close. A card that earns $50 more in a year but only cashes out in November may not be better than one that allows you to cash out more frequently as it frees up cash for you to use right away.
  • If you want quicker access to cash back consider the American Express Cobalt Card, CIBC, or TD cards. Don't make a lot of purchases on gas and groceries or other accelerator categories offered by some of the cards? Consider the American Express SimplyCash Preferred as its base earn rate is 2%.

While Rewards Canada takes into account all the aspects of the cards, most Canadians get cash back cards for the cash back rewards first and foremost, with all other features and benefits being secondary to that. Hence our rankings weigh heavily on the cash back earned. You can see our breakdown of the cash back earned below the rankings and card details.

With well over 40 cash back card options, selecting the right one can be a daunting task but we've made that easier by narrowing down the field to the following fee and no fee cash back cards:

Top Cash Back Credit Cards

The best cash back rewards cards in Canada are:

Top Cash Back Credit Card

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

best travel reward card 2022

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Click here to learn why the simplycash preferred card from american express is the best.

The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express takes the top spot for the third year in a row thanks to up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months, 4% back on gas and groceries and 2% back on all other spending. In the first year it blows the competition away with its cash back earning and still eclipses all other cards year after year with its everyday earn rates. We just wish they would move away from awarding the cash back once per year with this card! Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $530 to $1,630+ Each year after that: $150 to $1,230+ Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year

Click here to learn more and to apply for this card

Category summary.

After the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express, here's how the rest of this category plays out: Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card for seven years running, the American Express Cobalt Card , is also the number two cash back card in Canada! With a Use Points for Purchases (statement credit) redemption rate of 1,000 points for $10, this card earns a healthy 1%, 2%, 3% and 5% cash back on spending. Even with its $12.99 monthly fee this card's cash back earning beats most of the other cards on the list and many of those cards offer their first year free! The Cobalt Card's welcome bonus of up to 15,000 points is worth $150 in cash back alone.

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $254 to $1,294+ Each year after that: $104 to $1,144+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Cash out anytime your reward balance reaches 1,000 points ($10) Click here to apply for the American Express Cobalt Card In third place is the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card which currently features a first year annual fee rebate and 10% cash back for the first 4 statements on net purchases of up to $2000†. Add in a strong 4% cash back on groceries and gas plus 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments and you have a high earning cash back card . You do want to be aware the 4% and 2% categories are capped $20,000 spend annually, which should be fine for most Canadians. It also has very good insurance benefits for a cash back card!

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $365 to $1,197+ Each year after that: $100 to $930+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Cash out anytime your reward balance reaches $25. Click here to apply for the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card Fourth spot goes to a veteran card in the Canadian market, the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card which has always been one of the better cash back cards. It's strong earn rate of 4% on grocery and recurring bill payments and the first year annual fee being waived help this card retain a spot in the top 5 in Canada. Like the number one ranked SimplyCash Preferred Card, we just wish this card would go away from awarding cash back once per year.

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $215 to $1,075+ Each year after that: $95 to $955+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year Click here to apply for the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite card Rounding out the top 5 is the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card which is a decent contender in the cash back market. It makes it into the rankings by offering earn rates of 3% on grocery, gas and recurring bill payments, a very good welcome bonus and the first year annual fee being waived.

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $416 to $1,136+ Each year after that: $60 to $720+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Cash out anytime your reward balance reaches $25. Click here to apply for the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Top No Fee Cash Back Credit Cards

The best no annual fee cash back rewards cards in Canada are:

Top No Fee Cash Back Credit Card

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Card from American Express

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Rogers Mastercard®

Rogers Mastercard®

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

Click here to learn why the rogers world elite mastercard is the best.

The Rogers World Elite Mastercard takes the top spot in our first ever ranking of no fee cash back cards. This card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual caps. Purchases in US$ get bumped up to 3% cash back making it an excellent card for travelling to the U.S. and for online shopping out of the U.S.. With it being a World Elite Mastercard it also comes with an airport business class lounge membership which provides discounted entry fees and free global Wi-Fi via Boingo. It also has a very good insurance benefits package for a no fee cash back card. Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $175 to $775+ Each year after that: $150 to $750+ Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Cash out anytime your rewards balance reaches $10.

After the Rogers World Elite Mastercard, here's how the rest of this category plays out: Coming a close second is the SimplyCash Card from American Express . This card actually earns slightly more cash back than the Rogers World Elite Mastercard based on our spending breakdown but the Rogers Card with a better acceptance rate and more benefits edges it out for the top spot. Still the SimplyCash Card is an excellent choice that offers 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (grocery is capped at $12,000 in spend annually) and then 1.25% on all other purchases. It's welcome bonus also provides up to $100 extra in cash back rewards.

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $251.25 to $856.25+ Each year after that: $151.25 to $756.25+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year Click here to apply for the SimplyCash Card from American Express Card In third place is the very popular Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. This card is at its best when you combine it with a free Tangerine savings accounts so that you can earn 2% cash back in three categories of spending instead of two if you do not have a savings account. Being able to select which categories you can earn 2% cash back is great as you can really maximize your returns on the places where you spend the most. All other spending on the card earns 0.5% cash back which is what keeps this card from being even higher up the ranks. The cards offers a welcome bonus of 10% cash back on up to $1,000 of spending in the first two months of having it.

Cash back earnings*: Year 1: $180 to $630+ Each year after that: $110 to $550+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Cash back is awarded automatically on a monthly basis Click here to apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card The recently enhanced Rogers Mastercard takes fourth spot in the rankings, However, it can rank even higher (the best no fee card actually) if you are a Rogers/Shaw/Fido customer as your cash back earnings are doubled (or even tripled if you redeem cash back towards Rogers/Shaw/Fido purchases or bills). The card is not limited to Rogers customers however, any one who gets the card will enjoy 1% cash back on all purchases plus 2% cash back on purchases made in US$. All approved applicants will also earn 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending in the first three months.

Cash back earnings (see below for more details) : Year 1: $190 to $590+ ($280 to $1,080+ for Rogers/Shaw/Fido customers) Each year after that: $100 to $500+ ($200 to $1,000+ for Rogers/Shaw/Fido customers)

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): You can cash out anytime your rewards balance reaches $10. Click here to apply for the Rogers Mastercard

Rounding out the top 5 is the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card which provides an excellent 4% cash back on eligible restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases (up to $5,000 spend annually) †. It also earns 1.5% cash back on eligible gas, groceries, drug stores and and pre-authorized payments (up to $15,000 spend annually) † and then 0.5% on all other spending †.

Cash back earnings* : Year 1: $200 to $580+ Each year after that: $107.50 to $487.50+

Cash Back Access (Liquidity): Once per year Click here to apply for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

Wrapping it up

There you have it! Canada's Top Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards for 2024! With well over 40 cash back credit cards to choose from our rankings should definitely help narrow down the selection to find the right card or cards to add to your portfolio. By using any of the cards listed above you will be ensuring you are earning the most cash back possible on your everyday spending.

Not interested in cash back rewards or want to supplement the cash back cards in your wallet with travel rewards? Be sure to check out our Top Travel Credit Card rankings !

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 Details on all the top credit cards

Click here for details on the top cash back cards.

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express

2024 Top Cash Back Rewards Credit Card Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months

Monthly Fee: $9.99 ($119.88 annually) | Additional Card Fee: $0 | Annual interest rate 21.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 25.99% - 28.99%

Terms & Conditions apply

Card details

  • Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually) and 2% cash back on all other purchases
  • Access events and special offers curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences
  • Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply
  • Click here to apply for the SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express

American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt® Card

2024 Top Overall Travel Rewards Card | 2024 Top Hybrid Travel Rewards Card In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 1,250 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 15,000 points in a year. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets

Monthly Fee $12.99/month of Cardmembership ($155.88 annually) | Additional Cards: $0 | Annual interest rate 21.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances

  • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery. Spend cap applies.
  • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada
  • Earn 2x the points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada
  • Earn 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online 
  • Earn 1x point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else
  • Enjoy access to hotel bookings, a room upgrade (when available), 12pm check-in and late check-out (when available), and up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities when charged to the room for a stay of 2 or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel
  • Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs
  • Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular Perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events
  • Access Front Of The Line® Presale & Reserved Tickets to some of your favourite concerts and theatre performances and special offers and events curated for Cardmembers with American Express® Experiences
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information, click the Apply Now link. If you apply and get approved for an American Express Card, (I/we) may receive compensation from American Express, which can be in the form of monetary payment
  • Click here to apply for the American Express Cobalt Card

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

The best cash back rewards Visa card in Canada Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate and earn a 10% cash back welcome bonus of up to $250 (first 4 statements)!† After that, get 4% cash back on eligible gas, EV charging and grocery purchases.†

Annual Fee $120 | Additional Cards (Up to 3): $30 | Annual interest rate 20.99%† on purchases and 22.99%† on cash advances and 22.99% † on balance transfers | $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income †

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas, EV charging and grocery purchases.†
  • 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases†
  • Get cash back on demand - redeem your cash back at any time when you have a minimum of $25 through CIBC Online and Mobile Banking®† Save on gas with CIBC and Journie Rewards
  • Link and use your CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card with Journie Rewards to save up to 10 cents per litre† at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas,
  • Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.†
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.
  • Click here to apply for the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

This is a digital-exclusive offer.† To be eligible for this offer:   1) this offer must have been directly communicated to you from CIBC or from a partner/affiliate; and  2) you must apply for the eligible card through the link provided in the CIBC or partner/affiliate communication to you.† This offer is reserved for you. Please do not forward it to anyone else. 

CIBC may approve your application, but you are not eligible to receive this Offer if you have opened, transferred or cancelled another Dividend card within the last 12 months.† † Terms & Conditions Apply

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Infinite card

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Infinite card

Ranked the 4th best cash back rewards credit card in Canada SPECIAL OFFER: Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). No annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. Offer ends Oct 31, 2024

Annual Fee: $120 | Additional Cards: $50

  • 4% on eligible recurring bill payments and grocery store purchases
  • 2% on eligible gas station and daily transit purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible everyday purchases
  • Complimentary Concierge Services 24/7
  • Visa Infinite Dining Series
  • Visa Infinite Music Series
  • Wine Country Wonders
  • Luxury Hotel Privileges
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance & New Mobile Device Insurance coverage
  • Click here to apply for Scotia Momentum® Visa* Infinite card

*See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

Earn up to $500 in value†, including 10% in Cash Back Dollars in the first 3 months on Bonus Eligible Purchases up to a total spend of $3,500†. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by January 6, 2025

Annual Fee: $139 | Additional Cards: $50 † | Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances | $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income

Earn up to $500 in value†, including 10% in Cash Back Dollars in the first 3 months on Bonus Eligible Purchases up to a total spend of $3,500†. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by January 6, 2025.

  • Bonus Eligible Purchases are Gas Purchases, Grocery Purchases & Pre-authorized payments, until a total collective spend of $3,500 of such purchases have been made†.
  • Get an Annual Fee Rebate for the first year†.
  • To receive the first-year annual fee rebate, you must activate your Card and make your first Purchase on the Account within the first 3 months after Account opening and you must add your Additional Cardholders by January 7, 2025.
  • Earn Cash Back Dollars on every eligible purchase.
  • Emergency Road Services with Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership
  • Travel with confidence with Travel Medical Insurance †
  • Complimentary Visa Infinite* Concierge service † available 24/7
  • Mobile Device Insurance†
  • Earn 3% in Cash Back Dollars on eligible grocery Purchases and gas Purchases† and on regularly recurring bill payments† set up on your account.
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Dollars on all other Purchases made with your Card †
  • Redeem your Cash Back Dollars to help pay down your Accounts balance whenever you please - the choice is yours! †
  • Your Cash Back Dollars never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
  • Click here to apply for TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here

† Terms and Conditions apply . Sponsored advertising. The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any TD product, please click the Apply Now button.

Details on the Top No Fee Cash Back Cards

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Enjoy 3% cash back value when you redeem with Rogers plus insurance benefits

Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Card Fee: $0 | Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances | $80,000 personal or $100,000 annual household income

  • 2% cash back - no limits. Exclusively for eligible Rogers, Fido or Shaw customers.
  • 3% unlimited cash back on U.S. dollar purchases.
  • 5 Roam Like Home days at no cost with an eligible Rogers mobile plan (up to $75 value).
  • 50% more cash back every time you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases. Travel Benefits:
  • Complimentary membership to Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass Access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide $32 USD per person per visit Included Insurance Benefits:
  • Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection
  • Rental Car Collision/Damage
  • Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical
  • Trip Interruption
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Click here to apply for Rogers World Elite Mastercard

SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Card from American Express

Earn accelerated earn rates on eligible gas and grocery purchases In your first 10 months as a new SimplyCash® Card from American Express Cardmember, you can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $300 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to $100 in statement credits in the first 10 months

Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Card Fee: $0 | Annual interest rate 21.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 25.99% - 28.99%

  • Earn 2% cash back on eligible gas purchases in Canada, 2% cash back on eligible grocery purchases in Canada (up to $300 cash back annually), and 1.25% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
  • Click here to apply for the SimplyCash® Card from American Express

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card by October 31, 2024. If you’re approved, you’ll earn an extra 10% back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within your first 2 months*.

Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Cards: $0 |

  • Earn 2% cashback on your choice of up to 2 categories, 0.5% money back on all other purchases
  • Have your Money-Back Rewards deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account, and get a 3rd 2% Money-Back Category.
  • Money-Back Rewards are earned automatically and paid monthly, and can either be applied towards your Credit Card balance or redeemed into your Savings Account.
  • Click here to apply for Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Rogers Connections Mastercard

Rogers Mastercard®

$60 cash back when you make a mobile wallet purchase within the first 90 days and 6 automatic payments within the first 8 months for your Rogers, Fido or Shaw postpaid service 4

Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Card Fee: $0 | Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances |

  • 2% cash back - no limits. Exclusively for eligible Rogers, Fido or Shaw customers
  • 2% unlimited cash back on U.S. dollar purchases (for all other customers)
  • 1% unlimited cash back on all other eligible purchases (for all other customers)
  • 50% more cash back every time you redeem for Rogers, Fido or Shaw purchases
  • 5 Roam Like Home days at no cost with an eligible Rogers mobile plan (up to $75 value).
  • Click here to apply for the Rogers Mastercard®

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

Sign up for a Simplii TM Cash Back Visa* Card and earn a $250 PRESTO Voucher. ‡ Plus, enjoy 10% cash back on eligible restaurant and bar purchases for your first 4 months (up to $500 spend).◊

Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Card Fee: $0 | Annual interest rate 20.99%‡ on purchases and 22.99%‡ on cash advances/balance transfers| $15,000 annual household income

Click apply now for full Terms & Conditions

  • For your first 4 months with a Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa* Card, enjoy 10% cash back on eligible restaurants, food delivery and bar purchases. Up to $500 spend †
  • Earn 4% on eligible restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases up to $5,000 spend per year †
  • Earn 1.5% on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments, up to $15,000 per year †
  • Earn 0.5% on on all other credit card purchases with no limit on how much you can earn †
  • Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance †
  • Click here to apply for Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

† Terms and conditions apply. Click ‘Apply Now’ for complete details.This offer is not available for residents of Quebec ‡ "Purchase" means any Transaction other than a Cash Advance, Balance Transfer or Convenience Cheque. "Cash" means a Cash Advance, Balance Transfer and Convenience Cheque. Interest rates may change from time to time.

* Cash Back Earning Calculation

Our cash back earning is based on spending assumptions of $10,000, $30,000 and $50,000 annually broken down as follows:

  • 30% Groceries
  • 5% Recurring bills
  • 5% Entertainment
  • Calculations include the welcome bonus in the first year and subtraction of annual fees in every year

Legal disclaimers: American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information, click the Apply Now link. If you apply and get approved for an American Express Card, (I/we) may receive compensation from American Express, which can be in the form of monetary payment

MBNA: Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.

Scotiabank: *See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information TD: Sponsored advertising. The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any TD product, please click the Apply Now button Simplii: †Terms and conditions apply. Click ‘Apply Now’ for complete details. This offer is not available for residents of Quebec

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AARP members stay and earn points

Pay now for 35% off + EXTRA $10 off 3+day rentals!

AARP members take up to 15% off

Consumer Cellular

Buy any phone, get 2 free months

Fetch Pet Insurance

30% off the Fetch Health Forecast for AARP

Save up to $600 on a girls trip getaway!

AARP members save up to 40% by booking early

Enjoy 10% off movie tickets for World Friendship Day!

Save 15% when booking early

Gas & Auto Services (14)

The go-to resource for your auto needs

AARP Auto Buying Program powered by TrueCar

Find a car with the safety features you want and get upfront pricing information

$577 average member savings

AARP® Motorcycle Insurance Program from Foremost®

Discounts on coverage, roadside assistance and more

AARP SafeTrip™ App

Get insights into how you drive and how you could improve

AARP Smart Driver™ Course

Members can take the course at a discounted rate

Allstate Roadside

Roadside protection starting at $5.50/month

How to adjust your fit for maximum safety and comfort

Collectible Vehicle Insurance from The Hartford

Coverage designed specifically for classic and collectible cars

Exxon™ Mobil™

Savings on fuel and more with Exxon Mobil Rewards+™

Recreational Vehicle Insurance from The Hartford

Specialized protection for your RV, motorhome or trailer

Smart DriverTEK™

Take a 90-minute workshop on what technology to look for when shopping for a new car

Valvoline Instant Oil Change

15% off drive-thru, stay-in-your-car oil changes

We Need to Talk

Free online seminar on helping a loved one hang up the keys

Restaurants (21)

Auntie Anne’s

10% off in-store, in-app and online orders

Bonefish Grill®

10% off dine-in or curbside carryout orders placed by phone

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.®

10% off dine-in and to-go orders

Carrabba's Italian Grill®

Chart House®

Members save 10% off in-store, in-app and online orders

Coupons for Local Restaurants

Find delicious discounts at your favorite nearby restaurants

Denny's

15% off dine-in and pickup orders

Joe's Crab Shack®

Landry's® Inc. Restaurants

10% off dine-in and to-go orders placed by phone at Landry's brands

Landry's Seafood®

10% off dine-in and to-go orders placed by phone

McAlister's Deli

McCormick & Schmick's®

Moe's Southwest Grill

Outback Steakhouse®

Papa John’s

20% off regular menu prices on online orders

Rainforest Cafe®

Saltgrass Steak House®

Schlotzsky's

The Oceanaire® Seafood Room

Shopping & Groceries (12)

Coupons for Local Stores

Save on clothing, gifts, beauty and other everyday shopping needs

$20 off a Walmart+ annual membership

Flowers & Gifts

Flowers by FTD

25%-30% off flower bouquets

Flowers by ProFlowers

25% off sitewide and 30% off select items

Food & Gifts by FTD

25%-30% off gourmet gift baskets and chocolate treats

Plants by FTD

25%-30% off all plants

The UPS Store® Shipping Services

5% off shipping and 15% off other eligible services

AARP Members Edition™ Recipes

Dozens of different recipes just for members

Daily Harvest

$50 off your first order and 10% off all future orders of complete meal solutions

Naked Wines

$120 off and complimentary shipping on your first customized wine order

Insurance (23)

Coverage up to $150,000 that ends at age 80

Up to $50,000 in coverage with no premium increases

Up to $25,000 in coverage with no premium increases

AARP Life Insurance Options from New York Life

Customized plans to supplement your retirement savings

10% off monthly premiums

Vehicle and Property

AARP® Homeowners Insurance Program from The Hartford

Up to 20% off when you bundle your home and auto policies

AARP® Mobile Home Insurance Program from Foremost®

Insurance for nearly every type of mobile and manufactured home

ATV, Golf Cart & Snowmobile Insurance from The Hartford

Customized coverage for recreation vehicles

Boat & Personal Watercraft Insurance from The Hartford

Customized coverage for your boat or watercraft

Renters Insurance from The Hartford

Coverage for those renting an apartment, condo or house

Technology & Wireless (12)

AARP Perks™ Browser Extension: Find AARP Member Benefits Online

Install AARP Perks™ and earn up to 750 AARP Rewards points

AARP Personal Technology Resource Center

Articles, tips, videos and more to help you stay tech savvy

AARP Tech Guides

40% off select technology how-to guides

Alexa Emergency Assist from Amazon

25% off emergency assistance subscription plans

$10 off per line per month on the AT&T Unlimited Premium® PL plan

5% off monthly fees and 30% off accessories

Two lines of unlimited talk, text and data for $55/Month

GrandPad, Powered by Consumer Cellular

5% off a monthly subscription

LifeLock™ by Norton

Identity theft protection plans starting at $6.99 a month

Norton™ 360

Up to 69% off device protection plans

Norton Ultimate Help Desk

15% off on-demand, remote computer troubleshooting

The UPS Store® Online Printing Services

20% off online printing services

Finances (25)

Banking & investments.

8-Month No-Penalty CD from Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Fixed rate for a guaranteed return on an exclusive 8-month term

AARP® Annuity Marketplace powered by Blueprint Income

Access to an online marketplace of annuities, plus a free income check-up

AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays

3% cash back on gas station and eligible drug store purchases

AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays

3% cash back on airfare, hotel stays and car rentals

Financial Planning

1040 Income Tax Calculator

Estimate your annual income taxes

Volunteer or get help with your taxes

AARP Money Map™

Get your finances back on track with a free action plan

Closing the Savings Gap™

Listen to this podcast series focused on women saving for retirement

Interview an Advisor™ Tool

A free resource to help you assess a financial advisor

Money Tools

Free tools and calculators to help you plan and save

Savi Student Loan Repayment Tool

Get a free repayment and forgiveness eligibility review

Trust & Will Estate Planning

20% off trusts and wills

Fraud Prevention

AARP Fraud Watch Network™

Free tools and resources to help you spot and avoid scams

AARP Fraud Watch Network™ Helpline

Call for Help / Report Scams: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, M–F

Fraud Resource Center

Use our tip sheets to spot and avoid common scams

The Perfect Scam℠ Podcast

Profiling America's biggest scam stories

AARP Social Security Resource Center

Answers to top questions about Social Security retirement benefits

Retirement Calculator

Find out how much you will need to retire when and how you want

Retirement Resources

Find your personal path to retirement

Social Security Calculator

Find out the best time to claim Social Security

Social Security Q&A Tool

Get answers to your Social Security questions

Home & Real Estate (9)

AARP Foundation Local Assistance Directory

Find local food, housing, health and employment services

AARP HomeFit Guide

Download a free guide with smart ways to make a home age-friendly

AARP® Real Estate Benefits by Anywhere

$300-$7,200 benefit on home purchases and sales

ADT™ Home Security

Savings on monthly home security monitoring

$36 or more off any home warranty plan

Home Resource Center

Tips and resources for aging in place, decluttering, DIY projects and more

Family Caregiving (10)

AARP Family Caregiving

Guides, tips and support for family caregivers

AARP Family Caregiving Guides

Download a free guide with simple steps to help create a caregiving plan

Care to Talk™

Spark meaningful discussion with customized conversation cards

Connect2Affect

Take the Isolation Assessment to understand how connected you are

Lifeline Medical Alert Service

15% off medical alert service plus free shipping and activation

Long-Term Care Calculator

Compare costs of long-term care options near you

Work & Jobs (4)

AARP Job Board

Search job opportunities for experienced workers

AARP Resume Advisor℠

Free resume review and members save on writing packages

AARP Skills Builder for Work℠

Free course to get you started gaining in-demand job skills

AARP Work & Jobs

Find a range of useful tools, insight and inspiration

Community (10)

AARP Chapters

Connect with AARP members in your community

AARP Near You

Local events and things to do in your community

AARP Programs

Boost your skills with workshops, events and seminars

Volunteering

AARP Driver Safety

Help others get on the road to safety as a Driver Safety instructor

AARP Foundation

Volunteer to help struggling adults meet their needs

AARP Foundation Experience Corps

Tutor and mentor a child in your community learn to read

AARP State Offices

Volunteer with your AARP state office

Create the Good

Find nearby volunteer opportunities that interest you

Magazines & Resources (9)

AARP Bookstore

40% off select AARP guides and books

AARP Bulletin

Timely news and insights on topics important to people 50-plus

AARP E-Newsletters

Sign up for our e-newsletters on topics that matter to you

AARP Members Edition™

Guides, entertainment, tips and other exclusive stories

AARP Members Edition™ Smart Guides

Tips, tricks and trends for smarter living

Learn, earn and redeem points for rewards with our free loyalty program

AARP The Magazine

The definitive lifestyle publication available to AARP members only

Member Benefits Text Alerts

Unlock more value: Get updates and be the first to know about new benefits

Advocacy (3)

AARP Foundation Litigation

Learn how AARP defends the rights of older Americans

Advocating on important issues in your state

Government Advocacy

A committed advocate on important issues

IMAGES

  1. Best Travel Reward Cards of 2022

    best travel reward card 2022

  2. 15 Best Travel Credit Cards of 2022 : Current School News

    best travel reward card 2022

  3. 11 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of October 2022

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  4. Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Which Is Best For You?

    best travel reward card 2022

  5. Best Travel Reward Cards of 2022

    best travel reward card 2022

  6. Best Travel Rewards Cards: The Best Travel Rewards Cards of 2022

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VIDEO

  1. The Best Credit Cards For Travel Rewards Beginners 2022

  2. BEST TD TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARDS 2022

  3. The 5 BEST Travel Credit Cards (2023)

  4. 7 best business travel credit cards in 2022

  5. Best Travel Credit Cards of 2022

  6. Best Travel Credit Cards in 2022

COMMENTS

  1. Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

    NerdWallet's Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024. Earn $100 in rewards when you get a NerdWallet+ eligible credit cardJoin NerdWallet+ and pay your first credit card bill on time to start ...

  2. 19 Best Travel Credit Cards Of June 2024

    Both types of cards might offer you the ability to spend towards higher levels of status. To learn more about the best co-branded credit cards, see our guides below: Best Southwest Credit Cards ...

  3. Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

    1x. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Why We Chose It. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, bonus points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

  4. Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

    Best for fair credit: Credit One Bank Wander® Card. Best for authorized user perks: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Best for earning points on rent: Bilt Mastercard®. Best for lounge ...

  5. Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

    60,000 bonus points. $1,200 value. Rewards rate. 1x - 5x. Annual fee. $95. Regular APR. 21.49% - 28.49% Variable. Why you'll like this card: It carries solid travel perks and protections, a ...

  6. 10 Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

    Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best feature: Travel rewards with an annual travel credit. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best feature: Travel rewards. U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature ...

  7. 14 Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

    Since 2022, Amarilis has conducted in-depth research and written numerous articles on credit cards including our best travel, business and student cards pages. ... Why we chose it: The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is the best travel reward card for everyday spending, offering high rewards on several popular spending categories, including ...

  8. Best Travel Credit Cards in July 2024

    Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024. Best overall travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Best travel credit card for beginners: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Best no ...

  9. Best Travel Credit Cards of 2024

    Best features: The VentureOne card is a basic travel card for beginners who want to earn flexible rewards but aren't ready to commit to an annual fee ( See rates and Fees ). VentureOne cardholders can earn bonus miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.25X miles on every other purchase.

  10. 12 Best Travel Credit Cards Of 2024

    Best value: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Best for flexible rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Best for varied bonus categories: Citi Premier Card. Best hotel card ...

  11. Best Travel Credit Cards of July 2024

    The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for airport lounge access. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card *: Best for simple redemption process. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for ...

  12. 10 best travel credit cards in July 2024

    : The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Infinite is more of a cash back card than a travel rewards card, but card holders do enjoy a 50% bonus when redeeming their points for eligible travel bookings and ...

  13. 17 Best Rewards Credit Cards of July 2024

    Rewards rate. 5 Miles. 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 2 Miles. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Why We Chose It. When it comes to simplicity and strong rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a solid choice for most travelers.

  14. Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards July 2024

    Best Travel Cards Worth the Annual Fee. With a high payback on travel spending and some perks on the side, these cards make the annual fee worth paying. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ...

  15. The 18 Best Travel Credit Cards in June 2024

    Up to $120 Uber Cash. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Annual fee of $395 ( rates & fees) 10x miles on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel. 5x miles on flights purchased through Capital One Travel.

  16. Best Travel Credit Cards for May 2024

    Sign-up bonus: 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months (worth $750 when redeemed for travel at one cent per mile) Key perks: Hertz Five Star status, $100 Global Entry/TSA ...

  17. Best Rewards Cards Of July 2024

    Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points plus a Free Night Reward after spending $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months of card membership, offer ends 7/31/2024 ...

  18. Best Travel Credit Cards: Top Rewards Picks for 2024

    Annual Fee: $0 ( See Rates & Fees) Foreign Transaction Fee: None. Bonus Offer: Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024. Rewards Program Details:

  19. 15 Best Airline Credit Cards Of July 2024

    As a general rule, a valuation of 1.5 to 2 cents per mile is decent for most airline miles. If you want to get the best credit card to earn your preferred airline miles, check out these lists ...

  20. Best Credit Cards (July 2024)

    Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the ...

  21. The 12 Best Travel Credit Cards of January 2023

    The best travel credit card of 2022 is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Capital One's leading mobile app makes tracking points and paying off the card simple, and you can earn even more miles when you book hotels and rental cars directly through the app. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about — and the annual fee is just $95.

  22. Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2022

    Our experts have reviewed the best rewards cards for 2022 so you don't have to! Saturday, June 29, 2024. Our Top Picks Best Money-Making Tips. Explore Topics Read guides and advices. Calculators Crunch your numbers. ... The best point travel rewards card should have the option to transfer points. This can take one of two forms:

  23. How to pick the right travel credit card for you

    Ryan joined TPG in 2022 and works as a credit cards writer, overseeing refreshes of card reviews and updating card offers. ... Our advice is to go for a general travel rewards card if you are a free agent or a specific airline or hotel card if you are loyal to a particular brand. ... Related: Best travel cards of 2024. For rates and fees of the ...

  24. What is the Best Rewards Credit Card for 2024?

    Capital One Venture Rewards. Venture Rewards cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. When paired with an attractive 75,000-mile sign-up bonus (after $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months), a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and flexible redemption options, it becomes a great all-around card for frequent travelers who want a simple and effective way to earn miles.

  25. Best Chase Travel Credit Cards of 2024

    To determine which Chase travel credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed Chase's travel card offerings based on a range of features. We considered rewards (e.g., cash back, points ...

  26. Canada's Best Cash Back Credit Cards 2024

    After the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express, here's how the rest of this category plays out: Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card for seven years running, the American Express Cobalt Card, is also the number two cash back card in Canada!With a Use Points for Purchases (statement credit) redemption rate of 1,000 points for $10, this card earns a healthy 1%, 2%, 3% and 5% cash ...

  27. How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Can Save You Time And Money ...

    Harrison Pierce is a digital nomad and credit cards writer specializing in travel and credit card rewards. He covers everything from the best places to visit in South America to the best credit ...

  28. 6 Best Credit Cards for Gas 2022: Earn More Rewards on Gas Purchases

    The best gas credit cards can put cash back in your pocket or earn rewards you can redeem for free travel. If you're ready to save money and earn rewards for gas purchases, this guide will help you choose the best gas credit card for you. What to Look for in a Gas Credit Card. Most rewards credit cards will earn points or cash back for gas ...

  29. AARP® Member Benefits: Browse All Discounts and Programs

    $50 gift card of your choice when booking any flight package. ... Up to 10% off the best available rate and late checkout until 2 p.m. when available. ... AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays. 3% cash back on airfare, hotel stays and car rentals. Financial Planning.