Short Review of Best Travel Cards
|Name||Best for||Rewards Rate||APR||Apply|
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card |Car rental||10,000x 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary.10x Miles on hotels & rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.5x Miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.2x Miles on all other purchases.||21.74% - 28.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card |Travel, Daily use||5x Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.2x Miles on all purchases.||20.74% - 28.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card |International students||1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.||19.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® |Low income||3% Cash Back on Home, Auto and Health categories.1% Cash Back on everything else.||14.99% - 29.99% Regular||Apply now|
On Upgrade‘s website
Capital One Spark Miles for Business |Walmart purchases||5x Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.2x Miles on every purchase for your business with no blackouts or seat restrictions and no minimum to redeem.||25.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One Spark Cash Plus |5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase.||None *||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus |5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.1.5% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions.||17.99% - 23.99% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Chase Sapphire Preferred® |Travel, Restaurants, Daily use||$50 Earn up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.5x Points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit.3x Points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.3x Points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).3x Points on select streaming services.2x Points on other travel purchases.1x Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.||20.49% - 27.49% Variable||Learn more|
|Travel, Restaurants, Daily use||10x Points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.10x Total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards®.5x Total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.3x Points on other travel worldwide after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.3x Points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.1x Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.||21.24% - 28.24% Variable||Learn more|
American Express® Gold Card |Cash Back||4x Points on dining at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.4x Points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year.3x Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.1x Points on other eligible purchases.||20.99% - 28.99% Variable||Learn more|
The Platinum Card® from American Express |Young couples||5x Points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights (per calendar year).5x Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.1x Points on all other purchases.||20.99% - 28.99% Variable||Learn more|
Citi AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® |Honeymoon||2x Miles for every $1 spent at restaurants and gas stations.2x Miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.1x Mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.||20.99% - 29.99% Variable||Learn more|
Chase Ink Business Preferred® |Without SSN, Daily use||3x Points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year.1x Point per $1 on all other purchases.||20.24% - 25.24% Variable||Learn more|
|Cash Back, 0 APR, No Annual Fee, Daily use||5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.5% Cash Back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.3% Cash Back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.3% Cash Back on drugstore purchases.1% Cash Back on all other purchases.||19.24% - 27.99% Variable||Learn more|
|Cash Back, 0 APR, No Annual Fee, Daily use||5% Cash Back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.3% Cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.3% Cash Back on drugstore purchases.1.5% Cash Back on all other purchases.||19.49% - 28.24% Variable||Learn more|
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card |Rewards, No Annual Fee, Daily use||5x Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.1.25x Miles per dollar on all purchases.||19.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
|Travel||3x Points per dollar on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases.1x Points on all other purchases.||20.99% - 28.99% Variable||Learn more|
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card |Honeymoon||2x Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets.1x Miles on all other eligible purchases.||20.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
Hilton Honors American Express Card |No Annual Fee||7x Points on hotels & resorts. For eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.5x Points on dining at U.S. restaurants.5x Points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets.5x Points on Gas at U.S. gas stations.3x Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.||20.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express |Big purchase||5x Points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.1.5x Points on business categories and purchases of $5,000 or more. On up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.1x Points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.||19.24% - 27.24% Variable||Learn more|
Who should apply for travel credit cards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card is a good choice for travelers who prefer simplicity and want to earn travel rewards at a flat rate on all purchases.
Read more about Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card has a relatively low annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, a solid list of benefits and a balanced rewards program. That makes it a good choice for frequent travelers looking to earn rewards on traveland in other select categories to maximize rewards.
Read more about Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card has high rewards rates, outstanding rewards value, and excellent benefits, making it convenient for frequent travelers who spend a lot on dining and travel-related purchases.
Read more about Chase Sapphire Reserve®
American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card card earns you up to 4x points on dining and groceries (at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year) and offers a few annual statement credits foodies will love. It is a good choice for you if you love eating out and shopping at U.S. Supermarkets.
As long as you can spend enough to offset the $250 annual fee and take advantage of all statement credits, this card will work for you.
Read more about American Express® Gold Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express® has a high annual fee of $695 and offers an elevated experience with luxury perks and many annual credits.
This makes the card a good choice for frequent travelers who look for elite benefits like access to high-end hotel deals and airport lounges and can maximize the annual credits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express® also doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and may be a good option if you want to travel abroad.
Read more about The Platinum Card® from American Express
Citi AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
The Citi AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a good choice for American Airline loyalists who want to earn rewards and save on travel costs with the airline.
Read more about Citi AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Chase Ink Business Preferred®
The Chase Ink Business Preferred® credit card comes with a relatively low annual fee and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. It’s a good choice for small business owners who can maximize the high annual spending limit in the bonus categories.
Read more about Chase Ink Business Preferred®
Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card offers a 0% intro APR period for 15 months (19.24% - 27.99% Variable after) and doesn't charge an annual fee. It is a great rewards credit card card for those who want to take advantage of the quarterly rotating categories and flexible redemption options.
Read more about Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
If you spend a lot on dining and groceries, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card may be a good choice for you. Plus, the card earns a solid rate on general purchases. You can also take advantage of the 0% intro APR period for 15 months to pay off credit card debt (19.49% - 28.24% variable after that).
Read more about Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card offers flexible redemption options. It is a good choice for travelers who are not loyal to a particular airline or hotel brand.
Read more about Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Citi Premier® is a good credit card to earn travel points for people who want to earn rewards on everyday purchases that can easily be transferred to travel partners or redeemed for travel related expenses.
Read more about Citi Premier®
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express® credit card doesn't charge foreign transactions fees. The card may be a good choice for Delta Air Lines frequent travelers to earn miles and redeem for travel to various destinations at home and overseas.
Read more about Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
The Hilton Honors American Express® credit card is a good choice for travelers who frequent hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio. It also has no annual or foreign transactions fees, making it one of the best hotel credit cards for beginners and international travel.
Read more about Hilton Honors American Express Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum from American Express® is a good choice for business owners who travel frequently and can spend enough to leverage all the statement credits to offset the annual fee.
Read more about The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
What is a travel credit card
A travel credit card is a type of rewards credit card that gives cardholders opportunities to earn miles or points. Rewards can be redeemed for travel-related expenses like flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.
There are also premium travel credit cards that come with luxury perks like lounge access, generous sign-up bonuses, elite statuses at hotels and resorts, travel coverage, specialist assistance services, and annual statement credits.
What are the different types of travel credit cards
There are three different types of travel credit cards, including:
General credit cards
General credit cards are not tied to a particular airline or hotel brand and offer flexible redemption options.
Points and miles can be redeemed for travel, statement credits, gift cards, and online shopping. You can also transfer travel rewards to partners or book flights and hotels via the issuer's travel portal.
They are great travel credit cards for travelers who aren't loyal to a particular hotel or airline brand and want to have options to maximize their rewards.
Good examples of general travel credit cards include the Chase Sapphire cards, the Capital One Venture cards and The Platinum Card® from American Express®.
Co-branded hotel cards
Hotel credit cards require you to be loyal to a hotel group and are usually used for booking accommodations or dining at particular hotel chains and their partners.
They offer high reward rates for hotel spending and lower rewards for other purchases. They may also come with generous one-time sign-up bonuses and different forms of travel insurance.
They work well for loyal guests who often book hotel stays at properties of a particular hotel chain. Examples include the Hilton Honors American Express® Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and others.
Co-branded airline cards
Airline credit cards are travel credit cards issued by credit companies in partnership with airlines. You earn most miles for flights booked with the airline or partner airlines and rewards at a lower rate for other purchases.
Other perks include priority boarding, free checked bags, discounts on in-flight purchases, and access to airport lounges.
Travel rewards can only be redeemed with the airline or its partners. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express® and Citi AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® are good examples in this category.
How do points and miles work on travel credit cards
You earn points or miles with every purchase you make in eligible categories, and your rewards continue to accumulate as you use the card. Points and miles can then be redeemed for gift cards, vacation deals, flights and hotels, and other travel-related expenses.
How to choose a travel credit card
To choose the best travel credit card, you need to look at several factors, including:
- Spending habits: To maximize rewards value, choose a card that offers high rewards rates in categories that align with your spending habits.
- Sign-up bonuses: Make sure you can meet the spending limit within the specified period to benefit from the sign-up bonus.
- Redemption options: You'll come out ahead if the card offers flexible redemption options that align with your preferences and priorities.
- Annual fee: Make sure you can spend enough to offset the annual fee.
- Foreign transaction fees: Many travel cards don't charge foreign transaction fees, and you may want to avoid ones that do.
- Travel benefits offered: Consider the type of travel benefits offered, like 24/7 access to concierge or customer assistance service, various types of travel coverage, purchase protection, and more.
- Loyalty: Does the card require you to be loyal to a particular hotel or airline brand? If it does, make sure you already use this brand often.
Pros and cons of travel credit cards
|High rewards rate: Travel credit cards offer up to 5x, 7x, or even up to 10x rewards on eligible purchases.
||High annual fee: Though there are cards with no annual fee, most premium travel credit cards carry high annual fees, up to $695 on our list.
|Huge sign-up bonuses: As long as you can meet the spending limit, some cards offer 50,000 to 100,000 or more bonus points.
||High interest rates: Interest charges can increase your costs if you carry a balance month- to-month.
|No foreign transaction fees: Most travel credit cards don't charge foreign transaction fees, which is great when traveling abroad.
||Restrictions: Some travel credit cards require you to be loyal to particular airlines and hotels to maximize rewards.
|Better point valuation: Your points are usually worth more when redeemed for travel.
Who should get a travel credit card
As the name goes, travel credit cards are meant for travelers. They are best suited for airline and hotel loyalists, frequent travelers, business travelers, and international travelers as most of these cards don't charge foreing transactions fees.
What are the best strategies to maximize travel rewards
There are several ways to maximize travel rewards. The top ones include:
- Pick the right card that fits your spending style: That way, you can maximize rewards and savings.
- Combine cards: You may want to combine a co-branded card with a general travel card or cards from the same issuer to maximize rewards in all categories.
- Earn the sign-up bonus and offset the annual fee: Spend enough the first few months to take advantage of the sign-up bonus, and make sure you spend enough to recoup the annual fee.
- Pay your balance in full: To avoid a high APR, pay your balance in full each month.
Which credit card is best for flight booking?
The Sapphire Reserve® from Chase credit card is one of the best credit cards for booking flights. The card offers a collection of travel insurances, access to airport lounges, and high point value.
What credit score do you need to get a travel credit card?
Different credit card companies have different credit score requirements, but generally, it helps if you have a good to excellent credit score.
The higher your credit score, the higher your chances of getting approved for a travel credit card at favorable terms.
What credit cards offer the best travel insurance?
The Sapphire Reserve® from Chase, The Platinum Card® from American Express®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card are some of the travel credit cards that offer the best travel insurance coverage.
What is the difference between points and miles on a credit card?
There’s really no big difference. Both are reward units used to measure rewards rates on different credit cards.