Travel rewards credit cards are not one-size-fits-all. They fall into several broad categories. Best travel credit card
These categories include airline rewards credit cards designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships, hotel credit cards that focus the power of rewards on hotel stays and related expenses, and even cashback credit cards that offer quick cash back on travel-related purchases. Categories such as gasoline purchases, airline tickets, and restaurants.
If you travel frequently, you are likely to take advantage of all of these types of cards. And if you own your own business, you can count on many consumer travel credit cards that have counterparts to small business credit cards, often with additional features and benefits for small business owners.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Here’s a look at the best travel rewards credit cards today.
Pay close attention to these cards’ annual fees, redemption options, points or miles values for each, travel credits, and valuable potential fringe benefits, such as free airport lounge memberships or hotel credits.
Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers the best value of any travel rewards credit card on the market.
The annual $50 credit for hotel purchases made through Chase Travel offsets about half of the $95 annual fee. It is backed by an excellent rewards program:
5x Points on Chase Travel Purchases: A total of 5x points on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Travel after the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit has run out. 3x UNLIMITED Denominations: 3x Points on eligible restaurant purchases, streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases. 2x Unlimited Tiers: 2x Points on other eligible travel purchases. Basic Rewards: 1x Unlimited Points on most other eligible purchases.
Sapphire Preferred has some additional features worth noting:
Sign Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
Basic Fees: $95 annual fee; There are no foreign transaction fees.
Best Sign-Up Reward: IHG® Rewards Premier. Credit Card
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The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is now offering the best offer for new card members:
Earn 140,000 bonus points plus one free night when you spend at least $3,000 on eligible purchases during the first three months of card membership. This is worth over 10 free nights at IHG’s low-key hotels. This bonus is worth over 10 full nights at IHG budget hotels. IHG operates nearly 6,000 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries. and one of the Best Travel Credit card.
Up to 26x Total Points on IHG Purchases: Up to 26x IHG Points on all eligible purchases at IHG hotels, depending on your status level.
5x Unlimited Tiers: 5x Points on eligible purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants.
Basic Rewards: 3x Unlimited Points on most other eligible purchases.
Principal Fee: $99 annual fee; There are no foreign transaction fees. Enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as your account is in good standing. Get a free reward night every year at select IHG hotels.
Best Annual Travel Credit: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card contains a $300 annual travel credit that applies to eligible travel purchases: hotels, fees, car rentals, and more. When used in full, it effectively reduces the Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee to $250.
Sign Up Bonus: Spend at least $4,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Value up to $900 when redeemed for airline tickets, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
10x Categories: 10 times the total points on eligible hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Travel. 5x Tier: Total 5x points on air travel purchases made through Chase Travel.
3x Unlimited Tiers: Total 3x Points on eligible food and most travel purchases (after the $300 travel credit has been exhausted).
Basic Rewards: 1x Unlimited Points on all other eligible purchases.
Basic Fees: $550 annual fee; $75 Authorized User Fee per year per user, per card; There is no foreign transaction. Transfer your Ultimate Rewards 1-for-1 reward points to over 10 travel loyalty partners. Get free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world with Priority Pass Select. Get a free 1-year subscription to Lyft Pink ($199 value). Earn a $100 statement credit for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee
Top Reward Categories: Citi Premier® Card
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The Citi Premier® Card is one of the few travels rewards credit cards that include gas and gas station purchases in its travel category, earning 3 times the points for every dollar spent. This makes it an ideal choice for travelers who drive to or around their destinations.
Citi Premier also adds two broad, non-travel categories to the 3-point category: restaurants and supermarkets. This is a great added value for anyone who eats.
Sign Up Bonus: Earn an additional 60,000 ThankYou Points after making $4,000 purchases with your Card in the first 3 months.
Basic Rewards: 1x Unlimited Points on all other eligible purchases.
Basic Fees: $95 annual fee; There is no foreign transaction. Earn a $100 hotel credit once a year on eligible hotel stays where you spend $500 or more. Transfer ThankYou points to 10+ travel loyalty partners, most of them 1 for 1.
Best for Frequent Flyers: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers a large number of valuable benefits to Delta loyalists – a better combination than any other airline credit card. They include:
Free Delta Sky Club membership (free access to the airport lounge). Free escort certificate (free airfare, lower taxes, and fees, for escorts with the fare paid) once a year. Accelerated progression toward Delta Medallion status with potential benefits such as free First Class and Comfort+ upgrades, free ticket holders upgrades, and discounted CLEAR® membership (conditions apply, benefits enrollment required for all of these). General frequent flyer benefits such as priority waiting lists, baggage fee waivers, priority check-in, and boarding.
3x SkyMiles Tier: Earn 3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases.
Basic Rewards: 1x SkyMiles on all other eligible purchases.
Status Boost: Get 15,000 additional Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost after you spend $30,000 on your card, up to 4 times per year. Terms apply.
Basic Fees: $550 annual fee; There are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
Best for Elite Status: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card promises automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program as long as your account is in good standing. That’s enough to make it our top choice of credit card for complimentary elite status in hotels.
Gold Elite status benefits include:
25% bonus on earning base points at participating Marriott hotels Complimentary room upgrades when available, including select suites Flexible late check-out (until 2 pm)
Spend $75,000 on your Card on a Cardmember’s Anniversary to unlock an upgrade to Platinum Elite status. Platinum Elite tier benefits include a 50% bonus on Base Points earnings, complimentary access to hotel lounges when available, and ultra-flexible late check-out (4 pm).
Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after using your new card to make $3,000 worth of card purchases within the first 3 months. Terms apply.
6x Rewards Tier: 6x Points at participating Marriott properties.
3x Reward Categories: 3x Points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
Basic Rewards: 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
Basic Fees: $450 annual fee; There are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). $300 in a Marriott Bonvoy statement each year for eligible purchases at Participating Properties. One free night award per year at participating Bonvoy hotels. Complimentary access to airport lounges at more than 1,000 locations worldwide (registration required). $100 annual credit for Marriott Bonvoy properties at participating hotels.
Welcome offer: 100,000 Bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $6,000 within 6 months of opening your account.
5x Reward Tiers: 5x Membership Rewards points on eligible travel purchases, including flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. Earnings for airline tickets are set at a maximum of 500,000 points per year.
Basic Fees: $695 annual fee; No authorized user fees or foreign transaction fees; Late and refunded payments cost up to $40 (see rates and fees).
Best for Business Travelers: The Business Platinum Card® by American Express
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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is very similar to its consumer cousin, the Platinum Card® from American Express. It has been specifically designed for business travelers looking for the perfect blend of luxury and comfort, with benefits such as:
35% bonus when using Membership Rewards points to book a flight with your chosen eligible airline (up to 1 million Membership Rewards® points each calendar year) Annual statement credit of $200 for purchases made with the airline of your choice (registration required) Complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges worldwide (registration required) Pay the TSA Precheck ($85) or Global Entry Application Fee ($100), but not both programs. we can consider this one of the best travel credit card.
Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend at least $15,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months of opening your account. Terms apply.
5x Reward Tiers: 5x Membership Rewards points on eligible travel purchases, including flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
1.5x Reward Categories: 1.5x points on purchases in major business spend categories and purchases of $5,000 or more (annual purchase cap of $2 million applies).
APR: Your APR on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time will be 16.49% to 24.49% APR, depending on your credit eligibility and other factors as determined at the time of account opening. Terms apply.
Basic Fee: $695; There are no foreign transaction fees. Up to $400 in annual purchase credits for US purchases with Dell (conditions apply; registration required)
Best Flat Rate Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card program couldn’t be simpler. Excluding hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel, all eligible purchases earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent. This is an effective rate of return of 2% on every spend.
Early Spend Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on the card within 3 months of account opening. This equates to $750 in travel expenses upon redemption.
5x Bonus Category: 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel.
2x Unlimited Rewards: 2x Unlimited Miles on all other eligible purchases. Transfer points to participating travel loyalty partners at affordable rates. Get $100 credit towards the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
Best for Driving Vacations: Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® US Bank Card
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The US Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is a cashback credit card that earns 4x points on eligible gas stations, EV charging stations, and car rental purchases. This is enough to make it the best travel card for road trips. (See prices and fees.)
4x Travel Categories: 4x Points on eligible travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals.
2x Reward Categories: 2x Points on Live Streaming, Dining in the Restaurant, Grocery Purchases, and Grocery Delivery.
Basic Rewards: 1x point on all other eligible purchases.
Sign Up Bonus: Spend $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening to earn an additional 50,000 points.
Basic fees: $0 for the first year, then $95 for annual fees; There are no foreign transaction fees. Up to $600 in cell phone protection coverage per incident (under $25 deductible). Up to $30 in annual statements of eligible streaming services, including Netflix and Spotify®. Up to $100 to offset the TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry® application fee.
Terms and conditions apply; See prices and fees.
Best for Hotel Stays: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase offers tremendous value for Marriott loyalists. Benefits include:
Up to 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases at participating Marriott properties. Earn 3x Bonvoy points per $1 spent on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining. 1 free night’s stay at participating properties with redemption thresholds up to 35,000 points per night. Automatic Silver Elite Status with benefits including 10% bonus points on eligible Marriott spend. Upgrade to Gold Elite Status with $35,000 annual card spend (benefits include a 25% points bonus on eligible Marriott spend).
Sign-up Bonus: Earn 3 free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
Base Rewards: Unlimited 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
Key Fees: $95 annual fee; no foreign transaction.
Overall Conclusion on Best travel Credit card
After conducting thorough research and analysis, the best travel credit card for most individuals is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 points, which can be redeemed for $750 in travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Additionally, cardholders can earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. These points can be transferred to several popular airlines and hotel loyalty programs, providing even more flexibility and value.
Another key benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the ability to access special travel benefits, such as rental car insurance and trip cancellation/interruption coverage. Cardholders also receive a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
One potential downside of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is that it does have a foreign transaction fee of 3%. However, for those who frequently travel internationally and make purchases in foreign currency, this fee can be outweighed by the rewards and benefits offered by the card.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent choice for individuals who frequently travel and dine out. Its sign-up bonus rewards program and travel benefits make it a great choice for maximizing rewards and savings on travel. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re not a frequent traveler or if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card, you may want to consider other options like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or The Platinum Card from American Express. These cards also offer great rewards and benefits, but without the annual fee. Ultimately, the best travel credit card for you will depend on your specific travel needs and spending habits.