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The Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

Written by: Jeanine Skowronski | Edited by: Robert Thorpe | Reviewed by: Stephanie Zito
|

June 13, 2024

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.

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 June 2024

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
Best for flat-rate rewards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Our rating:4.9 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn 75,000 miles New Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles once they spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99% variable
Best for luxury travel
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Our rating:4.8 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn 80,000 points 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.
Annual fee
$695
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Best first travel card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Our rating:4.1 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
20,000 miles Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99% variable
Best for foodies
American Express® Gold Card
Our rating:5.0 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points 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.
Annual fee
$250
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
BEST FOR OCCASIONAL TRAVELERS
Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
Our rating:4.6 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
70,000 bonus points 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
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
21.24% - 29.24% variable
BEST FOR OCCASIONAL TRAVELERS
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Our rating:4.1 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
25,000 points 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.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
19.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Best for point value
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Our rating:5.0 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
60,000 bonus points 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℠.
Annual fee
$550
Regular APR
22.49% - 29.49% variable
Best for annual credits
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Our rating:5.0 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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
2 Miles
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

At A Glance

Intro offer
75,000 miles 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
Annual fee
$395
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99% variable
Best for no annual fee
Discover it® Miles
Our rating:4.1 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
Discover Match® 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.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
18.24% - 28.24% variable
BEST FOR PAIRING WITH CHASE CARDS
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Our rating:5.0 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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% on all other purchases

At A Glance

Intro offer
Up to $300 cash back 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.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
20.49% - 29.24% variable
Best for hotels
Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card
Our rating:3.9 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
60,000 bonus points Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
BEST FOR GAS AND TRANSIT
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
Our rating:4.2 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
20,000 bonus points Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
BEST FOR BUDGET FLYERS
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Our rating:4.7 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn 85,000 points Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$69
Regular APR
21.49% - 28.49% variable
Best for travel credits
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Our rating:4.4 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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.

At A Glance

Intro offer
60,000 points 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.
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
21.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
BEST FOR FAIR CREDIT
Credit One Bank Wander® Card
Our rating:2.8 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
29.74% variable
BEST FOR UNITED MILEAGEPLUS MEMBERS
United Quest℠ Card
Our rating:3.9 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. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

3X
3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases.
2X
2 miles per $1 spent on dining, select streaming services & all other travel.
1X
1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn 70,000 bonus miles Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Annual fee
$250
Regular APR
21.99% - 28.99% variable
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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

Credit cardBest forIntro bonusAnnual feeCreditCards.com rating
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardWelcome bonus60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$954.9 / 5
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardFlat-rate rewards75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening$95 (See rates and Fees)4.9 / 5
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLuxury travel80,000 points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of card membership$6954.8 / 5
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardFirst travel card20,000 miles after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening$0 (See rates and Fees)4.1 / 5
American Express® Gold CardFoodies60,000 points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months$250 4.4/ 5
Citi Strata Premier℠ CardOccasional travelers10X points on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com

3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas and EV charging stations.

$954.6 / 5
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit cardIntro APR25,000 online bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening$04.1 / 5
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Point value60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$5505.0 / 5
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardAnnual creditsEarn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.$395 (See rates and Fees)5.0 / 5
Discover it® MilesNo annual feeDiscover Match®: Discover will automatically match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year$04.1 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Pairing with Chase cardsEarn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back.$05.0 / 5
Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ CardHotelsEarn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months – that’s $600 toward your next trip$953.9 / 5
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ CardGas and transitEarn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $200 cash redemption value$04.2 / 5
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit cardBest for travel credits60,000 online bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening$954.4 / 5
Credit One Bank Wander® CardFair creditN/A$952.8 / 5
United Quest℠ CardUnited MileagePlus members70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier Qualifying Points after you spend $4,000 on qualifying purchases in the first 3 months$2503.9 / 5
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardBudget flyersEarn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.$694.7 / 5
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit CardHotelsEarn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening$954.5 / 5
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® CardNo-annual-fee airline card10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening$03.1 / 5

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. Chase 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
  • Cash back
  • Gift cards
  • 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.


Types of travel cards

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

Although the travel benefits and rewards offerings of travel credit cards are enticing, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each card to determine if it’s the right fit for your travel and spending habits.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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:

Frequently asked questions about travel credit cards

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