The Best Travel Rewards Card for travel

You can use a travel credit card as a helpful tool to reduce your trip expenses. You might get free flights, hotel stays, and other things if you spend your money wisely.

When you use these cards to pay for your excursions, you may receive extra rewards of up to ten points (10x) every dollar in addition to the regular amount of points (or miles) earned for travel and other everyday transactions.

A TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit, access to airport lounges, luggage delay insurance, and other perks are included with some travel credit cards.

Continue reading to learn about the top travel credit cards, how they operate, and how to choose the right one for you.

The Best Travel Credit Cards We Recommend

  • Best credit card for travel with a low annual fee is Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
  • Best no-annual-fee credit travel card: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
  • Runner-up for best no-annual-fee travel credit card is the Wells Fargo AutographSM Card.
  • The best travel card for dining rewards is the American Express® Gold Card.
  • The best business travel card is the Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
  • Best travel card for regular spending is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
  • The best premium travel credit card is Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
  • Best premium travel credit card runner-up: Capital One Venture X
  • The American Express Platinum Card® is the best travel card for perks and rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best credit card for travel at low annual fees.

  • When using Chase for travel expenditures, points are worth 25% more.
  • every anniversary of your account, get a point bonus.
  • incorporates primary automobile insurance
  • Earn 3x points for every $1 spent on dining, including valid takeaway and delivery orders, streaming services and groceries.
  • $95 for each year
  • does not provide a credit for the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee.

Why we choose it: 

When looking for a credit card that offers great benefits and a low annual fee, frequent travellers should strongly consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • The card offers great rewards on flights, hotels, tours, restaurants, and more through its six reward categories. Holders of cards can gain:
  • 5x points are awarded for travel reservations made on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website.
  • 2x points on all additional travel-related purchases
  • 3x points on meals, including qualified takeaway and delivery orders,
  • 3 times the points on specific streaming services
  • Purchases of groceries online get three times the points (but not at Target, Walmart, or wholesale clubs)
  • 1x for any additional purchases

Although you can use your points to fund accounts or receive bill credits, using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® site offers a better rate of return. Chase points are typically worth one cent each, however when used to book travel through the portal, the fee is 1.25 cents per point when using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card.

Additionally, you can exchange your points 1:1 for hotel points or airline miles with any of Chase’s 14 travel partners. These include well-known hotels and airlines including Marriott, Hyatt, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® adds primary rental car coverage in addition to its basic travel insurance features, which is a benefit that not many travel cards offer. With this insurance, theft or damage is covered without having to first file a claim with your motor insurer. Additionally, the collision insurance provided by the rental car business is waived.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: 

  • 3% back indefinitely on dining, entertainment, shopping, and some streaming services
  • No yearly or international transaction costs
  • consists of travel accident coverage
  • Flights are excluded from the travel category’s 5% cash-back rate.

Why we choose it:   Since the Capital One SavorOne gives high rewards on dining, entertainment, and more without charging any yearly or international transaction fees, it is perfect for usage when sightseeing or on nights out.

Through November 14, 2024, receive 10% back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases (plus statement credits to defray the cost of an Uber One subscription).

  • For Capital One Entertainment purchases, receive 8% back.
  • 5% cashback on accommodations and auto rentals made with Capital One Travel
  • 3% cashback at restaurants, participating streaming services, supermarkets, and entertainment
  • 1% cashback on all additional purchases

The card has tremendous earning potential, especially for foodies who spend a lot on takeaway, eating out and shopping. None of the above categories have annual caps, so the card offers tremendous earning potential.

People who are constantly looking for entertainment may find Capital One Entertainment to be quite helpful. Cardholders have access to a variety of events, including dinner reservations at renowned restaurants and meet-and-greets with celebrities, thanks to the ticketing platform.

Remember that the travel bonus for this card only functions for reservations made through the Capital One Travel website for hotels and rental cars. This indicates that, unlike other travel credit cards, you won’t receive any cash back or points for making flight reservations.

Wells Fargo Autograph Card, runner-up for Best No-Annual Fee Travel Credit Card

  • Earn three times the points on dining, travel and petrol.
  • Paying your monthly phone and streaming service fees while earning three times as much
  • includes a mobile insurance policy
  • Absence of foreign transaction fees
  • There are no hotel or airline partners.
  • excludes travel protection insurance
  • HBO, Hulu, and Netflix are ineligible for the streaming bonus

Why we choose it:  The Wells Fargo Autograph Card doesn’t have yearly or foreign transaction fees and offers excellent rewards for buying things like mobile phone plans, gas, restaurants, and travel.

However, the Wells Fargo AutographSM Card offers you:

  • Regardless of where you make your purchase, you can earn 3x points on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more.3x points on all forms of transport, including buses, trains, parking, tolls and ride-hailing services
  • 3x points on some streaming services, petrol, food and phone plans

The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card gives good travel earnings, but it doesn’t have many travel perks. It lacks hotel and airline transfer partners and opulent extras like access to airport lounges or a credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card gives good travel earnings, but it doesn’t have many travel perks. It lacks hotel and airline transfer partners and opulent extras like access to airport lounges or a credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.

Insurance for a rented car is included with the card. If you use it to reserve the rental car, you are protected up to $50,000 in case of theft or accidents. When using the card to pay your monthly fee, a cell phone protection plan is also included. You may be compensated up to $600 per claim if your phone is destroyed or stolen. 

The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card is a great choice if you want to earn points on all of your purchases, including those made for travel and everyday expenses. If you want luxurious features and all-inclusive travel insurance coverage, it might not be the ideal option for you.

American Express Gold Card 
  • get four times as many points for takeaway, delivery, and dining out in the United States.
  • $10 in monthly statement credits for a $120 annual eating credit at particular restaurants
  • $10 per month for trips and $120 annual Uber Cash for food delivery purchases in the US.
  • Earn 4x points at American supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, after which 1x)
  • high ($250) annual charge
  • contains less travel benefits and insurance coverages than other cards.

Why we choose it:  For those who prefer dining out, the American Express Gold Card® is the best option. (Conditions apply) It accrues 4x points at restaurants all around the world as well as for takeaway and food delivery within the US.

The card also earns 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through, 4x points at supermarkets within the United States (up to $25,000 per calendar year, thereafter 1X), and 1 point on all other eligible expenditures.

Two statement credits totaling $240 are available with the American Express® Gold Card, which is almost enough to cover the $250 annual fee. Up to $120 in eating credits ($10 per month) are available annually for use at a limited number of eateries and meal delivery services.

For stays of two nights or longer booked through American Express’ The Hotel Collection, cardholders can receive up to $100 in credit. It can be used for approved eating, spa treatments, and other things. Additionally, cardholders get 24/7 access to agents at the Global Assist Hotline, who can help arrange things like lost luggage assistance, translation services, and more.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • When using to book prepaid hotels and flights, you earn 5X points.
  • Annual statement credits for certain company purchases of about $1,000
  • A large range of airport lounges are accessible.
  • Freebies at a large number of hotels
  • High ($695) annual charge
  • Secondary insurance for rentals

Why we choose it: The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers a long range of advantages that make it the perfect credit card for business and travel.

The card entitles holders to extra benefits at hundreds of hotels, including daily breakfast and free internet access, as well as access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across the world. Other beneficial features include up to a $200 credit for baggage fees, in-flight refreshments, and other expenses, as well as up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

The card also features the following bonus categories and about $1,000 in yearly statement credits for business-related expenditures at Dell, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless telephone carriers.

  • 5x points when booking lodging through the American Express Travel website
  • 1.5x points at U.S. retailers of electronic goods, software and cloud system providers, building material and hardware suppliers, and shipping service providers (up to $2 million annually).
  • regardless of the category, 1.5x points (up to $2 million annually) on purchases of $5,000 or more

When users redeem their points for a first- or business-class ticket or any service class on their chosen airline, they receive a 35% point return (you can choose a favourite airline once a year). 

 Premium Rewards from Bank of America
  • Earn 2x points for meals and travel.
  • On all other purchases, get 1.5x points.
  • yearly credit of up to $100 for incidental flight costs
  • Each four years, you can spend up to $100 on Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
  • $95 for each year
  • There are no hotel or airline partners.
  • a lower bonus rate for travel than on comparable cards

Why we choose it: For meals and travel, the Bank of America Premium Rewards® credit card offers double points. A greater base reward rate than most other credit cards, including ones with similar or higher annual fees, it additionally earns 1.5x points on all other expenditures.

Even though many credit cards offer significant rewards on a variety of spending categories, if your regular spending falls outside of those categories, you’ll typically only receive one point for every dollar spent. 

The two other bonus categories on the card, dining and travel, can increase your earnings even more. Since Bank of America offers one of the broadest definitions of what constitutes a travel purchase, the travel category provides the highest earning potential.

This card has an advantage over others due to its base reward rate. However, keep in mind that similarly priced cards can earn you up to 5x points if you’re ready to make your reservations through the card’s travel portal if your goal is to maximise your point earning on travel-related purchases.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Annual statement credits for travel expenses of $300
  • 14 partners in the travel industry, including Marriott, United, and Southwest
  • When using Chase to pay for travel, points are worth 50% more.
  • dental and urgent care insurance
  • High yearly cost ($550)
  • excludes a plan for cell phone protection
  • Compared to other premium cards, the welcome offer is less remarkable.

Why we picked it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve boasts a high reward rate for dining and travel, as well as other perks like all-inclusive travel insurance and access to airport lounges worldwide.

10x points when booking accommodations and rental vehicles through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

  • via the Chase Dining programme, ten times
  • Bookings made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® site get 5x points.
  • For any other travel-related purchases, earn 3x points.
  • 3x points on dining establishments, including delivery and takeaway
  • 1x for any additional purchases

When using the Chase portal to redeem points for travel, the Sapphire Reserve’s points are worth 50% extra, or 1.5 cents instead of the standard one cent.

The Sapphire Reserve offers numerous noteworthy benefits in addition to its high rewards. It offers savings or upgrades at specific vehicle rental businesses, as well as statement credits to cover fees for the accelerated traveller programmes Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus, to mention a few.

Venture X by Capital One
  • 10,000 additional miles annually
  • up to $300 in statement credits for reservations made through Capital One Travel
  • a $100 credit on TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • When renting a car from Hertz, you can skip the queue and receive improvements.
  • No bonus category for dining
  • no partner domestic airline for transfer

Why we choose it: For a lower annual fee ($395) than many rival cards, the Capital One Venture X Rewards offers premium benefits including statement credits and access to airport lounges.

Additional bonuses include the chance to receive 10,000 bonus miles on each account anniversary and the free addition of up to four authorised users. (For each extra user, many cards charge an annual cost of $75 or more.) Included in the card bonus categories are:

  • 10x miles on accommodations and auto rentals made with Capital One Travel
  • On flights purchased through Capital One Travel, earn 5x points.
  • 2x miles on all additional purchases

A $300 annual travel credit is offered with the Venture X and can be used for booking flights, lodging, rental cars, and other travel-related expenses. Please be aware that the credit can only be applied on Capital One Travel reservations.

Although the card comes with travel insurance, its protection isn’t as extensive as that of other premium cards. For instance, the Venture X excludes coverage for travel mishaps, baggage delays, and emergency transports. However, it does give main rental car insurance, which is something that most travel cards don’t.

The American Express Platinum Card
  • the ability to use any card at the largest network of airport lounges
  • complimentary elite standing in the hotel loyalty programmes of Marriott and Hilton
  • Annual statement credits of hundreds of dollars for eating, travel, and other expenses
  • High ($695) annual charge
  • excludes primary rental car insurance, baggage delay coverage, and travel accident coverage.
  • certain bonus categories alone

Why we choose it: No other travel credit card provides the extensive network of airport lounges and room upgrades at Hilton and Marriott hotels that the Platinum Card® from American Express does. 

More than 1,400 airport lounges all over the world are accessible with this American Express card at no additional cost. A number of other high-end credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, also grant users access to Priority Pass’s worldwide network of more than 1,300 lounges.

In the Marriott and Hilton loyalty programmes, the card grants gold status to cardholders, granting access to benefits including room upgrades, free breakfast, and late checkouts. Before reaching this, you would normally need to spend at least 25 nights at Marriott properties and 28 nights at Hilton properties per year.

Additionally, holders of the Platinum credit card are granted elite status in the National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, and Avis Preferred car rental programmes. You receive benefits from this status like discounts, line-skipping, and/or car improvements.

The card offers many bill credits, including the following in addition to travel advantages:

  • An annual Walmart+ membership costs $12.95.
  • For a few digital entertainment providers (like Disney+ and Hulu), up to $240 annually
  • $200 maximum ($15 monthly, $20 in December) for meal delivery or Uber rides
  • Every four and a half and five years, respectively, Global Entry costs $100 and TSA PreCheck costs $85
  • An annual Clear costs $189.

The card provides the following bonus categories:

Flights purchased directly through airlines or through American Express Travel earn 5x points (on purchases up to $500,000 per fiscal year).

  • 5x points for hotels booked in advance through the company’s travel website.
  • On all other qualified purchases, one point is worth $1.
  • There is a significant $695 annual fee associated with the American Express Platinum Card®. For those who take use of its annual credits and travel benefits and travel frequently, it might, however, virtually pay for itself.
Flex Freedom Chase
  • No yearly charge
  • includes insurance for car rentals and travel interruption
  • includes cell phone insurance when using the card to pay your regular monthly bill
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases up to the first $1,500 in quarterly categories.
  • Purchases of travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards earn 5% back.
  • foreign transaction fee of 3%

There are a few perks that the Chase Freedom Flex offers that are uncommon for cards without an annual fee. In addition to trip disruptions and trip cancellations, it offers coverage for rental cars. When you use the card to pay your phone’s monthly bill, it also comes with a plan to protect your phone from theft or damage.

Although the Chase Freedom Flex is a cash-back credit card, it also accrues points that may be redeemed for travel expenses through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. On a few travel-related transactions, the card additionally provides substantial rewards. Cardholders may accrue:

  • 5% cashback on reservations made via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website
  • Up to $1,500 in rotating categories each quarter can be spent and earn 5% back.
  • 3% cashback on dining out (including qualified takeaway and delivery),
  • 3% cash back at the pharmacy
  • All other purchases will earn 1% back.

However, keep in mind that using the card when travelling incurs a 3% international transaction fee, so refrain from doing so to prevent additional costs.

Bank of America Rewards for Travel
  • No yearly charge
  • Absence of foreign transaction fees
  • 1.5x points are earned for all purchases.
  • No transport partner
  • No travel bonus category
  • Compared to other cards, few benefits

For individuals new to using travel rewards or existing Bank of America customers, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards card is simple to use. With a checking account with the bank, some cardholders can earn up to 75% more than the normal 1.5x points on all purchases. 

Additionally, trip interruption, delay, and cancellation benefits are included. The card’s lack of other bonus categories, hotel and airline point transfer partners, however, prevented it from being included in our main list.

Rewards from Capital One VentureOne
  • Absence of foreign transaction fees
  • able to transfer points to 16 different travel companions
  • when booking hotels and rental vehicles via Capital One Travel, you can earn 5x the points.
  • does not get bonus points for meals or travel
  • The Capital One VentureOne consistently accrues 1.25x miles for every dollar spent, and 5x miles for travel arrangements made through Capital One Travel.

The Capital One VentureOne consistently accrues 1.25x miles for every dollar spent, and 5x miles for travel arrangements made through Capital One Travel.

You can transfer your points to one of Capital One’s 16 travel partners, which include foreign carriers like Avianca and British Airways, or use your miles to make trip arrangements through the Capital One Travel portal.

However, compared to several other no-annual-fee credit cards, the card’s list of bonus categories is short, and Capital One doesn’t have any domestic airline travel partners.

Unlimited Freedom for Chase
  • No yearly charge
  • includes insurance for car rentals and travel interruption
  • 5% cashback is earned when booking travel with Chase.
  • foreign transaction fee of 3%

One of the few credit cards with no annual charge that offers trip cancellation/interruption and rental car insurance is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. Additionally appealing are its reward categories, which give you:

  • Bookings booked through the Chase travel gateway will earn 5% cash back.
  • 3% for eateries and pharmacies
  • 1.5% for all other items.

On foreign transactions, nevertheless, the Chase Freedom Unlimited levies a 3% fee.

Find it, Miles

  • No yearly or international transaction costs
  • At the conclusion of the first year, Discover matches the total miles you accrued.
  • 1.5x miles are earned on all purchases.
  • On statements, online, and through the Discover mobile app, you can view your FICO score.
  • Compared to other travel cards, little advantages
  • No travel bonus category
  • No transport partners
  • Does not include purchase protection or an extended warranty.
Rewards for Capital One Venture
  • High incentives (2x miles per dollar) for regular purchases
  • $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • includes auto insurance and travel accident coverage
  • fewer bonus categories than cards with comparable ($95) annual fees
  • Insurance for car rentals is optional.

A great card for regular spending is the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card. It gives cardholders:

  • 5x miles for lodging and auto rentals made through the Capital One travel website.
  • two miles for every dollar spent on any other goods

The majority of travel credit cards only offer significant rewards for certain categories, such as dining or gas, and earn one mile (or point) for every dollar spent on most expenditures.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers better travel insurance and a longer variety of bonus categories than some cards with the same annual charge ($95).

Guide to Travel Credit Cards

The best travel credit cards go beyond providing high reward rates on travel and lodging expenses. Additionally, they offer benefits like travel insurance, access to airport lounges, and annual statement credits, as well as rewards for regular purchases.

The best travel credit cards, however, also come with high annual fees and frequently only offer bonus points for reservations made directly through the travel portal of the card issuer, not on external travel sites like Expedia.

A travel credit card is what?

Typically, travel credit cards (also known as travel rewards credit cards) offer high rewards for travel-related expenditures and allow cardholders to use points (or miles) to book trips. You may typically redeem points for bill credits, cash back, or gift cards from card issuers as well.

These cards might also come with extra perks like rewards for dining out, access to airport lounges, and later check-out times at hotels.

Different card issuers have quite different bonus categories, redemption options, and bundled benefits. However, you may typically anticipate that credit cards with larger annual rates would provide more extras and advantages.

How do credit cards for travel operate?

Travel credit cards offer a set amount of points per dollar spent on qualifying transactions, just like other reward cards.

How points are earned

With these cards, customers can accrue points for a variety of transactions, including travel.

Some reward users with extra points when they shop, eat out, or use certain services like streaming media. They do, however, typically provide a higher rewards rate for travel. When hotels and rental cars are reserved through the Chase travel website, for instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gets 10x points.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that a credit card’s travel rewards can be obtained for expenses other than travel, hotel, and auto rentals. Depending on your credit card issuer, expenses like bus fares, cruise lines, tolls, and ferries could potentially be considered travel purchases.

How do point programmes work?

Numerous credit cards provide point programmes, often called rewards programmes, that allow users to exchange earned points for prizes like cash back, gift cards, and travel.

When using your card to make a purchase, you’ll typically earn at least one point per dollar, with each point being worth one penny. Although many cards offer additional points when used to pay for specific categories of expenses, such as three points for every dollar spent at restaurants or supermarkets (3x).

Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards are a few popular point programmes.

Benefits and drawbacks of travel credit cards
  • On expenditures for travel, some cards provide up to 10x points per dollar.
  • Many have added sections for dining out, grocery shopping, and other things.
  • Travel perks like early check-outs from hotels and access to airport lounges may be among them.
  • Additionally, points or miles can be exchanged for gift cards, statement credits, cash back, and more.
  • Most frequently, only purchases made using the card issuer’s travel site qualify for the highest reward rates.
  • They might not provide significant benefits for purchases made in categories other than travel.
  • The finest ones charge high yearly fees.
  • If points or miles are used for anything but travel, their value can drop to less than one cent for every dollar.
Travel credit card types

Here is a comparison of the three main categories of travel credit cards:

Credit cards for airlines

For those who frequently fly with the same carrier, airline credit cards are great. These credit cards offer incentives (known as frequent flier miles) that may be redeemed for travel on a single airline. 

Credit cards for hotels

Similar to airline credit cards are hotel credit cards. Earned points can only be applied to one specific hotel chain.

As an illustration, the Hilton Honours American Express Surpass Card rewards members with points for their commitment to Hilton. Free nights at the company’s lodgings, such as the Hilton Garden Inn and Waldorf Astoria hotels, can be obtained by exchanging points.

general credit card for travel

Compared to airline or hotel cards, general travel credit cards are significantly more flexible and practical. General travel card points can be used to pay for a range of travel-related costs because they aren’t linked to any one airline or hotel network.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top