A travel credit card can be a useful tool for saving money on travel expenses. You could get free flights, hotel stays, and other perks if you spend wisely. A travel credit card earns points and rewards at a defined rate for every dollar spent on travel and other ordinary expenditures. Sometimes, the reward is up to ten points (10x) per dollar when you use it to pay for your excursions. Some travel credit cards include perks such as airport lounge access, luggage delay insurance, and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry charge credit. Read on for our list of the best travel credit cards, their points, and their rewards.
List of the Best Travel Credit Cards
Below is a list of the best travel credit cards, along with their points and rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers high reward rates on dining and travel, as well as other perks like worldwide access to airport lounges and complete travel insurance. For travel, lodging, and vehicle rentals, the majority of premium cards provide the same bonus rate. On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit card gets 10x points on lodging and 5x points on airfare when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website. Additionally, you can still earn 3x points for all other travel-related purchases if Chase’s travel offerings aren’t sufficient for you.
When using the Chase portal to redeem points, the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit card delivers rewards worth 50% more than the standard 1.5 cents per point. Additionally, 3x points are earned in restaurants with the card, including delivery and takeaway. It offers statement credits to pay the costs of Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus, the programs for expedited travelers.
Although there is a $550 annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve card, the advantages exceed it. The card’s $300 yearly travel credit, which can be used to pay for travel-related expenses including lodging and transportation, is its standout feature. Other cards that offer this kind of annual credit typically have more restrictions and only let you use it for lodging booked through the card issuer’s travel website.
#2. The Platinum Card® from American Express
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. However, holders of the Platinum Card® from American Express have access to various lounge networks, including Delta SkyClub and Amex’s own Centurion lounges, in addition to Priority Pass.
Avis, Hertz, and Hertz Platinum cardholders are entitled to benefits like free breakfast and late checkouts. Members of the Platinum card also receive elite status in three rental car programs. You get benefits from this status like discounts, car improvements, and line-skipping. For a year to qualify for gold status, you must spend a minimum of 25 nights in Marriott properties and 28 nights in Hilton locations.
On flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year), the Platinum Credit Card from American Express offers 5x points. On the company’s travel platform, points can also be earned while booking hotels, and all other eligible transactions earn one point for every dollar spent. There is a high $695 yearly fee on the card.
#3. Best for No Annual Fees: Chase Freedom Flex
Travel and rental car insurance are often excluded from credit cards without an annual fee. In contrast, the Chase Freedom FlexSM offers rental car insurance as well as coverage for trip delays and cancellations. If the journey is cancelled or interrupted, the trip cancellation and interruption insurance reimburse up to $1,500 per person (and up to $6,000 per trip) for passenger fares. This coverage begins to pay out if unanticipated circumstances like extreme weather or hospitalization force you to cancel your vacation, much like a specific travel insurance policy would.
The Freedom Flex credit card from Chase includes a cell phone insurance plan and rewards for travel purchases. It doesn’t earn prizes for travel, but you can spend the points it does earn on incentives that do. Additionally, the card offers 5% cash back on reservations booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. The deductible for instances of theft or damage is $50 per claim. With the Chase Freedom Flex credit card, you may earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in rotating categories each quarter. Each quarter, before the deadline, they require cardholders to monitor and activate each category of spending. The 5% incentive is lost if the activation deadline is missed until the subsequent quarter.
#4. Capital One Venture X
For a lower annual fee ($395) than many rival cards, the Capital One Venture X travel credit card Rewards offer premium benefits including statement credits and access to airport lounges. Benefits like a Priority Pass Select membership, which grants access to more than 1,300 airport lounges globally, are among the features of the Venture X. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Platinum Card® from American Express, both of which have significantly higher annual fees ($550 and $695, respectively), are two examples of luxury cards that normally only offer this kind of benefit.
The Capital One Venture X travel card comes with a $300 annual travel credit that can be used for airline tickets, hotel stays, rental car reservations, and other travel-related expenses. The card also comes with travel insurance; however, the company limits it in comparison to other premium travel cards. It does, however, give main rental car insurance, something most competitors do not. Other advantages include a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary and the ability to add up to four users.
Our top recommendation for the finest premium travel card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you want a less restrictive annual travel credit and more comprehensive travel insurance, Venture X may be a better choice. Overall, Venture X is a good choice that can compete with other premium travel cards.
#5. Best Starter Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred®
When looking for a credit card that offers great benefits and a low annual fee, frequent travelers should strongly consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. The travel credit card offers six reward categories, the most lucrative of which offers 5x points for booking travel-related purchases on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website, including hotels, rental cars, cruises, and more. However, you’ll get twice as many points for every dollar spent if you discover a great offer on a different booking site like Expedia.
You can redeem your points at a greater rate through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. Dining, including eligible delivery and takeout meals, some streaming services, and grocery purchases, will earn you 3x points. When redeemed for travel through the gateway, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 1.25 cents per point. The Chase Sapphire Plus card comes with travel insurance and main rental car coverage. This sort of insurance covers theft or damage without requiring you to file a claim with your motor insurer first. Another advantage is that you can mix points from different Chase cards into one account. For bookings made through the Ultimate Rewards program, this would enhance their usual one-cent-per-dollar value to 1.25 cents.
#6. American Express Gold Card®
People who enjoy dining out will appreciate the American Express Gold Card®. This travel credit card earns 4x points at restaurants throughout the world, as well as on takeout and food delivery. The card also earns 4x points at supermarkets in the United States (up to $25,000 per calendar year, thereafter 1X), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines through Amextravel.com, and 1 point on all other purchases.
The American Express® Gold Card comes with two statement credits worth a total of $240. You can obtain up to $120 in eating credits per year ($10 per month) for some restaurants and meal delivery services. When compared to other premium cards, the card’s travel insurance policy is lacking. It does not provide popular travel-related benefits such as TSA PreCheck or fee credits for Global Entry.
#7. Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card offers bonus points on well-known everyday spending categories like eating, gas, streaming services, and mobile phone plans, in addition to significant rewards on travel expenditures. The only time you can earn rewards with travel credit cards is when you make travel reservations on the card issuer’s travel website. Booking your trip through a single travel agency, such as Booking.com, would only qualify you for the card’s minimal bonus.
With the Wells Fargo AutographSM Card, you may earn 3x points on airfare, lodging, timeshares, car rentals, cruises, tour operators, and campgrounds. The 3x travel incentive is also valid on passenger trains, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and motorways, parking lots, and garages. It lacks hotel and airline transfer partners as well as opulent extras like access to airport lounges and TSA PreCheck.
The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card is a great choice for both travel and everyday spending. If you want complete travel insurance coverage and luxurious amenities, it might not be the ideal fit. Rental car insurance is included with the card. If you use it to book the rental car, you’re covered up to $50,000 for accidents or theft.
Is it Better to Travel with Visa or Mastercard?
Visa vs. Mastercard. On entry-level cards, there is very little difference between Visa and Mastercard. This is because both provide a similar suite of basic features. However, Mastercard includes impressive special luxury offers on its World and World Elite level cards, which can be attractive for big spenders.
Which Credit Card has the Most Lounges in Airport?
Here are the best personal credit cards for airport lounge access:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (this card gets you into most airport lounges)
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
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FAQs About the Best Travel Credit Card
Is it better to use a credit card when travelling?
Credit cards typically provide better exchange rates than what you’ll get from ATM machines and currency stands. Depending on your card issuer, your purchases might automatically qualify for insurance. This coverage doesn’t simply apply to consumer goods — it also covers travel delays and lost luggage.
What cards should I travel with?
Best travel credit cards
- Winner: American Express® Gold Card.
- Runner-up: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- Best welcome bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
- Best for luxury travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best for no annual fee: Discover it® Miles.
- Best for low interest: TD First ClassSM Visa Signature® Credit Card.
Which credit card is the best in 2022?
Best credit cards of 2022
- Citi Premier® Card: Best for good credit.
- Capital One Platinum Credit Card: Best for fair credit.
- Discover it® Secured Credit Card: Best for no credit history.
- Discover it® Student Cash Back: Best for students.
- Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: Best for bad credit.