If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s important to have the right travel credit card in your wallet, so you don’t miss out on rewards that help you score free flights, hotel stays and more. With a variety of terrific travel cards on the market, you’ll need to do your research to find the one that suits you and your travel goals best. In this guide, we cover our favorite travel credit cards.
See our list of the best credit card bonuses here.
New to travel rewards? Read our guide on the 8 travel rewards card sins you should avoid or see our list of guides for best credit cards by spending category.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Best overall travel credit card|
Best for travel credits
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best travel credit card for beginners|
Best welcome bonus
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||Best for simple redemptions|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||Best no-annual-fee card|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Best for luxury travel perks|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||Best for international travel|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||Best for business travel|
|Bank of America Premium Rewards||Best for Global Entry/TSA Precheck|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card||Best for commuters|
Types Of Travel Credit Cards
Cards that earn transferable points can be redeemed by moving them to a transfer partner, like an airline or hotel loyalty program. This is the most valuable type of rewards you can earn because of its flexibility. So naturally, most of the travel cards that made it on our “best of” list earn transferable points.
Airline co-branded cards usually earn miles and come with airline-specific benefits, like free checked bags, elite-qualifying miles, priority boarding, inflight discounts and more.
Similar to airline cards, hotel co-branded cards earn points and come with hotel-specific benefits, like free award nights, complimentary elite status and more.
Click here for our list of the best hotel credit cards.
Fixed-rate cards earn rewards that are redeemed for the same value. For example, Bank of America Premium Rewards points are always worth $0.01 each. These types of travel cards work great for people who don’t have a knack for maximizing transferable points, or for the casual traveler who prefers simple redemptions.
What We Considered
To come up with our best travel credit cards list, we considered the following:
- Welcome bonus
- Earning potential
- Annual fee
- Point value
- Travel credits
- Travel benefits
- Travel protections
- Rewards simplicity
- Additional benefits
The Best Travel Credit Cards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best overall travel credit card and the best card for travel credits. Although it comes with a hefty annual fee, Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a ton of credits and valuable perks that offset the card’s cost.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best travel credit card for beginners and has the best welcome bonus. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the easiest travel rewards to use. Redeem them for travel directly through Chase and get $0.0125 per point. If you want to maximize your rewards, transfer your points to a partner program.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is the best travel credit card with simple redemptions. You can use your Venture miles to “erase” your travel purchases at a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile, with no blackout dates.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card is the best no-annual-fee travel credit card. Like the Capital One Venture Card, you can use your miles to “erase” your travel purchases at a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile, with no blackout dates.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best travel credit card with luxury perks.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is the best card for international travel. After the Starwood merger, Marriott became the second largest hotel chain in the world. The brand’s wide reach means Boundless can help fund your trip no matter where you travel.
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card is the best card for business travel. It’s got a huge welcome offer and gives bonuses on hotel and rental car spending.
*When booked through Capital One Travel.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is the best card for commuters. It offers three points for every dollar spent on flights, hotels, taxis, ridesharing, car rentals, passenger railways and trains, ferries, tolls, limos and gas stations, without an annual fee.
While we focused on travel credit cards in this post, you’ll want to choose a card with additional earning potential that matches your spending behavior. Click here for our guide on the best credit cards in other categories or check out these other posts:
Travel rewards cards are an excellent tool to keep in your wallet. When used strategically, they’ll help you travel anywhere you want to go without costing you much in out-of-pocket expenses. From newbies who want to offset the cost of a cross-country trip to seasoned hackers looking to upgrade their travel experience, there’s a travel credit card out there for you. Just make sure to pick a card that’ll help you maximize your spending habits and hit your travel goals.