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The Best Travel Credit Cards of 2019 (Earn Up To 75,000 points)

These are our selections for the best travel credit cards of 2019. Continue to the top picks section for an explanation of each card's benefits and potential drawbacks.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
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American Express® Gold Card

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Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$250
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good/Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
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Discover it® Miles

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UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
Annual Fee
$99
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
N/A
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good/Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
18.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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American Express® Gold Card

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Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$250
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good/Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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Discover it® Miles

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UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
Annual Fee
$99
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
N/A
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good/Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
18.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

Best All-Around Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our top choice for most travelers due to its sign-up bonus, earning potential and affordable annual fee. You'll earn 2 points per dollar on dining and travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, you can boost your points earning potential on non-bonus category spend by adding a Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the mix, which will net you 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases.

Potential deal-breakers: If you can't stomach the thought of paying for the privilege of a credit card, then you'll be better off with a no-fee travel card, like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card or Discover it® Miles. The $95 annual fee is no longer waived for the first year, but the welcome bonus is now 60,000 rather than 50,000 points. However, you'll need to make sure that your regular spending habits allow you to meet the $4,000 spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus.

Where you can use your points: This card is also a great choice for people looking to get into the world of points and miles. The $95 annual fee isn't outrageously expensive, and you'll be earning flexible points in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Under this rewards program, you'll be able to transfer your points to the travel programs listed below. Plus, you'll get a 25% bonus when you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive club
  • Flying Blue Air France KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt
rewards rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
rewards rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Why we like it: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is far-and-away the best rewards credit card on the market without an annual fee. Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – a $300 cash redemption value and 3X points per dollar on a ton of common spending categories, which include eating out and ordering in; gas, rideshares and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals. If you spend money on just about anything related to leisure, travel and entertainment, this is a great card for you.

From a travel perspective, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the rare card that's equally as rewarding for the international frequent flyer as it is for the casual weekend trekker. The card charges no foreign transaction fees when spending money abroad, which is a huge bonus for a card without an annual fee. Most rewards card without an annual fee charge 3% of the purchase price on foreign transactions.

Potential deal-breakers: If you're looking for premium perks, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card won't provide much value there. It's a great card for earning points on your regular spending, but it doesn't come with lounge access, Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. As such, if you're a frequent flyer or business traveler who wants these benefits, consider adding a luxury card to your wallet like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express if you don't already have one.

Where you can use your points: Points earned with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, and cash back. Points can be redeemed in $25 increments. While you can't transfer your points to airlines or hotel programs, we still think the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is one of the best travel credit cards due to its strong rewards earning structure.

rewards rates for the Wells Fargo Propel
rewards rates for the Wells Fargo Propel

The information related to the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Best Travel Credit Card for Dining: American Express® Gold Card

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Why we like it: The American Express® Gold Card is a travel rewards card designed for foodies. With the card, you'll earn 4X points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, 4X points at supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X), plus 3X points per dollar on flights purchased directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. If you spend your weekends hitting the top eateries around your state, or if you prioritize going to the best restaurants across the world while on business trips, this is the right choice for you.

Frequent air travelers will also do well with the American Express® Gold Card. It earns 3X points per dollar on plane tickets purchased directly with airlines or through the American Express travel portal. In addition, the card comes with up to $100 in annual airline fee credits, which you can select to use at one major airline.

Potential deal-breakers: This card only earns 4 points per dollar on supermarkets that are in the U.S., which makes it less competitive with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for international travelers. If you mostly travel within the U.S., this shouldn't be an issue. The American Express® Gold Card does, however, come with zero foreign transaction fees, which is a positive for people who make frequent purchases abroad.

Another consideration for potential applicants is the American Express® Gold Card's $250 annual fee. To get the full value of the card, you should make use of the $10 monthly restaurant credit and $100 airline fee credit (worth up to $220 annually). If you can max out both of those, the annual fee will essentially be $30, which you can make back in rewards with a combined $750 in annual spending on restaurant and supermarket purchases.

Where you can use your points: When you spend on the American Express® Gold Card you'll receive Membership Reward points. Amex' Membership Rewards is a highly valuable rewards currency due to the number of travel partners where you can transfer points to, which are listed below.

  • Aer Lingus
  • AeroMexico
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Delta Air Lines
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Qantas Loyalty
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

rewards rates for the Amex Gold
rewards rates for the Amex Gold

Best Flat-Rate Travel Credit Card: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Why we like it: With an unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® makes our list as the best flat-rate travel card. The card effectively earns a 2.1% rewards rate, given that you'll get 5% of your miles back each time you redeem. This makes the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® one of the most rewarding flat-rate cards out there, especially with no foreign transaction fees and an annual fee under $100. Plus, you'll get a welcome offer of 70,000 points, worth $700 toward travel, after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Potential deal-breakers: The $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $89 annual fee on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® likely won't be worth it for people who don't travel internationally. Because there are other cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card that earn 2% back for no annual fee, the $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $89 per year fee on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® essentially pays for the 0% foreign transaction fee benefit. In the long term, considering the 70,000 point welcome offer, the card is best for people with over $3,000 in international expenses per year.

Where you can use your points: The miles you earn on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® can be redeemed as a statement credit for travel purchases. The purchase must be a minimum of $100 and have been executed within the last 120 days. Miles can also be redeemed for cash back or gift cards, but we don't advise this since you'll receive a lesser value for your miles than if you redeem for travel.

The information related to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Best Travel Credit Card for Hotels: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Why we like it: Similar to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is another great flat-rate travel card that earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. The $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee is waived the first year, and you won't have to pay any foreign transaction fees.

One of the main draws to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that it awards 10 miles per dollar to hotel stays booked through hotels.com/venture (through January 2020). If you're a frequent hotel guest and don't want to be limited by the single-program constraint of a co-branded card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great choice.

Potential deal-breakers: Capital One recently released the news that JetBlue is now a transfer partner for Venture cardholders, who can transfer their points at a 2:1.5 ratio until May 31, 2019 (2:1 ratio after this date, which is the same transfer rate as other partners). Despite this new development, the travel partners Capital One has in its transfer program still aren't as useful for U.S. residents as those of American Express and Chase. However, the ability to transfer Capital One points to airlines is relatively new, and the addition of JetBlue is an encouraging sign for U.S. travelers.

Where you can use your points: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card recently gave cardholders the ability to transfer their points to several travel loyalty programs, making this card a serious competitor with the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. We outline current travel partners, below.

  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France, KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Singapore Airlines
rewards rates for the Capital One Venture credit card
rewards rates for the Capital One Venture credit card

Best Travel Card for the Casual Traveler: Discover it® Miles

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Why we like it: Behind the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, the Discover it® Miles is our second favorite no-fee travel card. The card has a straight-forward earning structure and welcome bonus that make it a great card for the casual traveler who prefers simplicity: 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases, and Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.

Potential deal-breakers: The Discover it® Miles doesn't come with any real perks or benefits. Plus, the "miles" this card earns can only be redeemed for travel as statement credit—there are no transfer partners like with other travel cards. If you're looking for perks or the ability to transfer your miles, we suggest going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Otherwise, this is a good card for beginners.

Best Travel Credit Card for Perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top credit card for travelers who value perks. The card comes with Priority Pass lounge access, Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check fee credits and a $300 annual travel credit. You'll also have great points-earning power with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and travel worldwide and a 50% points boost when you redeem through the Chase travel portal, which gives you a 4.5% rewards rate in the bonus categories.

Potential deal-breakers: The perks and earning potential of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® come at a cost. Not all travelers can justify paying the $450 annual fee, especially since the pared-down Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is offered at $95 per year. However, you'll effectively be paying a $150 annual fee if you can use the $300 travel credit each year. This means you'll break even on the card with between $3,000 and $5,000 in combined dining and travel purchases per year, depending on how you redeem your points for travel.

Where you can use your points: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® shares the same travel partners as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Just keep in mind that if you transfer your points you won't be eligible to receive the 50% points boost for redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive club
  • Flying Blue Air France KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Best Travel Credit Card for Southwest Airlines: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Why we like it: For frequent flyers of Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the best co-branded card with a reasonable annual fee. For $99 per year, you'll earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Plus, you'll earn 6,000 anniversary points each year, a $60 value, which lessens the burden of the annual fee. This is a great time to commit to Southwest, as the airline is gearing up to run flights to Hawaii.

Another great reason to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or any of the Southwest cards, is the potential to earn a Companion Pass, which allows you to designate someone to travel with you for free on your Southwest itineraries for the remainder of the year in which you earn the pass and the next calendar year. You need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year to qualify, and the welcome offer on this card (40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months) can help you get there.

Potential deal-breakers: This card won't provide much value if you don't use Southwest Airlines. For more flexibility with redeeming your miles, we'd suggest a general travel credit card that lets you transfer your points to multiple airlines. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card also won't be worth an application if you're looking to earn the Companion Pass but don't spend enough to earn the 110,000 points. If you're on a budget, go with a no-fee card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card or Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.

Where you can use your miles: Southwest Airlines' rewards currency, Southwest Rapid Rewards, isn't the most dynamic as miles can't be transferred to other airlines. That being said, Southwest offers cardholders the option to redeem miles directly for international flights on other carriers via the More Rewards functionality on the airlines' site. We've typically found subpar deals, so we recommend redeeming your miles for Southwest Airlines' flights instead.

rewards rates for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card
rewards rates for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card

Best Travel Credit Card for Delta Air Lines: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Why we like it: The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is a good card for Delta frequent flyers who value their Medallion status. You'll earn 2 points per dollar on Delta purchases, 1 point on everything else, and will benefit from a host of travel perks like an annual companion certificate, free checked bag on each flight, priority boarding and a 20% discount on in-flight Delta purchases. Plus, you can earn up to 20,000 MQMs toward elite status with the card each calendar year: 10,000 for $25,000 in annual spending, and 10,000 more for $50,000 in total annual spending.

Potential deal-breakers: Even if you're a Delta frequent flyer, the $195 annual fee on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express can be quite steep. Whether or not the card is worth it primarily depends on how much you value the travel perks and the potential to earn MQMs. If you fly Delta a lot but rarely check bags or make in-flight purchases, you're probably better off with a different card. However, if you're a big spender who values MQMs, then this is a great card for you.

Where you can use your miles: Delta Air Lines is part of the SkyTeam Alliance, which is made up of more than a dozen airlines, all of which you can transfer your Delta miles to. Below, we outline the current airlines that are a part of the SkyTeam Alliance, and we've also put together an in-depth guide on how to get the best value out of your SkyMiles.

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Tarom
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

*The information related to the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. *

Best Travel Credit Card for United Airlines: United℠ Explorer Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Why we like it: The United℠ Explorer Card is one of the strongest co-branded cards with an annual fee under $100. For $95 per year (with the first year waived), the card earns 2 miles per dollar on restaurants, hotels and United purchases—most co-branded cards don't give you rewards on both hotel and restaurant spending—plus it offers a comprehensive list of travel benefits. You'll get a Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check fee credit, a free checked bag for you and a travel companion and a 20% discount on in-flight purchases.

Potential deal-breakers: Unlike the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, this United offering won't help you earn elite status. As such, it's best for the United frequent flyer who cares about perks and points—if you're okay with only redeeming your points with United or other Star Alliance airlines. Otherwise, a flat-rate travel card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will be more rewarding.

Where you can use your miles: United Airlines miles are some of the most useful kind of airline miles. That's because travelers can redeem them for flights with United and other Star Alliance members. As it currently stands, the Star Alliance network offers more than 1,000 destinations across all of its airline partners, which we list below.

  • ADRIA Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Avianca in Brazil
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Airways
  • Juneyao Airlines
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS
  • TAP Portugal
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Best Travel Credit Card for American Airlines: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Citi® /  AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Why we like it: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is the rare co-branded airline offering that provides travel perks as well as spending rewards in useful categories. On top of priority boarding, a free checked bag for you and up to four companions and a 25% inflight purchase discount, you'll earn 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and at gas stations and restaurants.

Potential deal-breakers: Compared to rival offers from United and Delta, this card lacks in the perks department. There's no Global Entry fee credits or points boost toward elite status. However, if you're comparing the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® against general travel cards in the sub-$100 price range, its comes down to how often you fly American. Go with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card if you won't take advantage of the in-flight discounts and free checked bags.

Where you can use your miles: AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for air travel with any oneworld airline alliance member. If you're interested in what the best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles currently are be sure to read our comprehensive overview of redemption options. We outline members of the oneworld alliance below:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LatAm Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines
  • Fiji Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc

Best Travel Credit Card for Lounge Access: The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Why we like it: The Platinum Card® from American Express is a luxury travel credit card, and it comes with a list of premium perks that justify its stellar reputation. For starters, you'll earn an industry-leading 5X points per dollar on hotels booked on amextravel.com and on flights. You'll also benefit from up to $200 total in annual Uber credits, up to a $200 airline fee credit, a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fee credit and access to the Amex Global Lounge Collection—which includes more than 1,200 airport lounges.

Potential deal-breakers: The $550 annual fee matches the list of perks. If you can max out the Uber and airline fee credits each year, then the effective annual cost of the card is $150. $200 in Uber credits and a $200 airline fee credit equates to $400. The $550 annual fee minus $400 gives you the annual cost of $150. Regardless, the annual fee is a substantial sum to pay upfront every year. As such, you should only commit to this card if it's within your budget, and you know that you can use the credits and travel benefits with your current lifestyle.

Keep in mind that this is a charge card, which means that you need to pay your balance in full every month. If you can't afford or justify the annual fee, consider as alternatives the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has a more useful $300 annual travel credit.

Where you can use your points: Similar to the American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express earns users Membership Rewards. These Membership Rewards can be transferred to the travel partners listed below.

  • Aer Lingus
  • AeroMexico
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Delta Air Lines
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Qantas Loyalty
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Best Travel Credit Card for Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

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Why we like it: With the recent merger between Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott Bonvoy brand is now home to hundreds of attractive properties. With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you'll earn 6 points per dollar for purchases at eligible Bonvoy properties, 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points per dollar on everything else. The card also comes with a free night award, complementary gold elite status and a $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit.

Potential deal-breakers: This card is purely designed for Marriott loyalists, as the $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) is prohibitive for most. The purpose of this card is to earn Marriott points and get benefits at Marriott hotels, so there's no real value for the casual traveler. If you often stay at hotels but aren't committed to one brand, consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card for its 10X miles on stays booked through hotels.com/venture (offered through January 2020).

Where you can use your points: The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program has a lot to offer in terms of where points can be redeemed. There are currently 30 hotel chains under the Marriott Bonvoy umbrella. Some of the most popular Marriott Bonvoy brands where you can redeem your points include W Hotels, the Marriott, the Westin, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton and many more.

The information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Best Travel Credit Card for Small Businesses: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is our top travel card for small business owners for its simple and rewarding earning structure: you'll earn 2X miles on everything, with no cap on the number of miles you can earn. You can also boost your earning potential by getting free cards for your employees. Miles can be redeemed as statement credit or transferred to Capital One's travel partners.

Potential deal-breakers: Although the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business comes with a $0 intro fee for the first year, it has a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee after that and not a whole lot in the way of perks. If your business spends under $50,000 per year, consider the no-fee The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which earns 2X Amex Membership Rewards points on up to $50,000 per year. Once the $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee is implemented in year two, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business will only earn you more than the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express once your spending exceeds roughly $60,000 annually.

Where you can use your miles: The miles you earn with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business can be transferred to the same travel partners that exist with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Below, we outline the current travel partners.

  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France, KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Singapore Airlines

Summary of the Best Rewards Credit Cards

What Is the Best Credit Card for Travel?

Pros

  • Spending rewards on your purchases, plus welcome bonus for meeting a spending requirement
  • Travel perks like free checked bags, airport lounge access or free hotel nights
  • Redeem your rewards for flights, hotel stays and other travel expenses

Cons

  • Premium travel cards can have annual fees ranging from $95 to $550
  • With a co-branded card, you can only redeem rewards with one airline or hotel chain
  • The APRs on travel cards mean you'll be paying expensive interest charges if you carry a balance

If you're new to the world of travel credit cards and rewards, the first thing to know is that there are options for a variety of profiles. For the infrequent traveler who makes the occasional cross-country trip to visit family, there are no-fee cash back options. A business traveler who makes monthly stays at Marriott properties might prefer a co-branded hotel card, and an ultra-frequent international flyer would benefit most from a travel rewards card that earns points that can be transferred to different airlines.

One important decision to make when choosing your travel card is whether to get one that earns cash back, transferable points or program-specific rewards. Cards that earn cash back or transferable points are best for people who have unpredictable travel or who prefer flexibility. For those who always fly with the same airline or stay at the same hotel chain, a co-branded card that earns points within one loyalty program may be the right choice.

Ultimately, the best travel credit card for you will depend on your spending profile and frequency of travel. It's important to note that cards with the most travel benefits and highest rewards potential have annual fees that start around $100. You can determine whether this is worth it for you based on how much you spend and how often you'd use a perk like Global Entry or airport lounge access. You can also see how cards perform for your budget by using our comparison tool.

Travel protections on dedicated travel credit cards

One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of finding the best travel credit card for your needs is understanding the travel protections included. Many dedicated travel credit cards have policies in place to help you deal with a range of common travel issues, including lost or damaged baggage and travel accident insurance. However, credit card issuers don't make the process of finding that information easy; you'll be forced to scour through long documents. We've fortunately handled that grunt work for you and broken down the protections of each credit card by category with accompanying listings of our recommendations.

Overall winner: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is our selection for the dedicated travel credit card that provides the best travel protections. As a cardholder, you have access to an immense range of benefits, including $1,000,000 in travel accident insurance, up to $10,000 per person for travel cancellation and interruption protection and up to $3,000 for lost or damaged baggage. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® consistently ranks in our winner and runner up categories, especially for providing more reimbursement than other credit card issuers are willing.

Baggage delay

Your luggage typically qualifies as delayed if it doesn't arrive at its destination within six hours of the scheduled time. Fortunately, some travel credit cards offer baggage delay protections to consumers to deal with this exact situation, including reimbursement to the consumer for the inconvenience. Below are our recommendations for the travel credit cards with the best baggage delay protections.

Winners: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Both of these credit cards provide up to $100 in reimbursement for delayed baggage for up to five days. These two cards get our top choice because the reimbursement window is at least two days longer than any other credit card on our list, which results in possibly $200 more in reimbursement.

Runner ups: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and United℠ Explorer Card are in a tie for our runner up in this category. Each of these cards provides the same baggage delay protections of up to $100 in reimbursement per day for a maximum of three days.

Lost or damaged baggage

One of the most common complaints by consumers against airlines is in regards to lost or damaged baggage. When flying, your luggage is being tossed from one conveyor belt to the next until finally settling into a cargo area — a process that could end up with broken zippers, dents and worse. There are protections, though, that may cover your losses in this common scenario.

Winners: Although many travel credit cards provide the same total amount of lost or damaged insurance of $3,000 per passenger, we give a slight edge to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Not only do these credit cards provide up to $3,000 per covered passenger in reimbursement, but you also have up to $1,000 protection for high-risk items (e.g., jewelry, watches or cameras). The reimbursement ceiling on high-risk items is extraordinary for both of these cards and served as a slight push to lead them into the top spot.

Runner up: Several cards match the total reimbursement level on lost or damaged baggage being offered by the cards listed above. However, these cards tend to provide less substantial protection on high-risk items, which became the deciding factor between the winners and runner-ups. The runner-up cards are the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Trip delay reimbursement

Trips delays are another common but dreadful inconvenience that can happen anytime you reach the airport. Although not as many credit cards have provisions to help you with trip delays as those who do for other common issues, there are still a few options that provide you with compensation or other benefits to make the delay more bearable. Below are a selection of credit cards that provide protections in this scenario.

Winner: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides the best trip delay protections by a significant margin because of how the card defines a delay. Cardholders are eligible to receive up to $500 per ticket if delayed more than six hours or requiring an overnight stay. Most delays are defined as at least 12 hours; this card will begin reimbursing you in half of that norm.

Runner up: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our runner up because this credit card matches the Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s reimbursement level of up to $500. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® defines a delay as at least 12 hours; this is twice as long as the definition used by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Because of the slightly more accessible nature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, we place the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in our runner-up slot.

Trip cancellation and interruption protection

Trip cancellation and interruption protection is an uncommon travel protection included in some travel credit cards. If you have access to this benefit, you'll be eligible to receive up to a certain level of reimbursement for your prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. The range of reimbursement varies significantly from one card to the next, so make sure to choose carefully if this is one of your priorities.

Winner: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip in reimbursement for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, meaning it provides by far the most coverage of any dedicated travel credit card we looked at.

Runner up: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes in second place because it offers the second-highest reimbursement total for trip cancellation and interruptions. Cardholders will have up to $10,000 per trip in reimbursement for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses; this is half of the per trip amount offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and still more than what most other travel cards offer.

Travel accident insurance

Travel accident insurance is arguably the most important protection that a dedicated travel card can provide to cardholders. Accidents happen all the time, especially in travel, so you should make sure that you're prepared for whatever happens. Although the conditions for travel accident insurance are more or less the same across the various travel credit card options, the value of your coverage ranges drastically.

Winner: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides by far the best travel accident insurance out of the travel credit cards we examined. Cardholders have accidental death and dismemberment coverage up to $1,000,000; this is nearly double the amount of coverage provided by any of the runner-up selections. This credit card easily beats the competition in providing the most travel accident coverage possible.

Runner up: In regards to travel accident insurance, a runner up worth mentioning is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This credit card provide $500,000 in accidental death or dismemberment coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it worth getting a travel credit card?

If the travel credit card you're considering getting has no annual fee, then yes it's absolutely worth getting a travel credit card. Even no annual fee travel credit cards typically offer mile(s) on every dollar you spend with the card. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full every time otherwise you'll be on the hook for interest charges. If the travel card does have an annual fee, it's likely still worth it, but you'll just have to be sure that your rewards outweigh the cost of the annual fee on the card. For example, if the card offers a $200 travel credit along with a $95 annual fee, you'd already be coming ahead at least in the first two years.

2. What credit card gives the best airline miles?

This will depend on which airline you fly with. If you'd like our thoughts on the best credit card for each airline, feel free to click through to our recommendations below:

3. Are points credit cards worth it?

Credit cards that award you points aren't too different from those that give you airline miles. The main difference is that credit cards that award you points are often not associated with an airline. This can be to your benefit since many points based cards give users the ability to transfer points for miles across multiple airlines.

4. What credit cards have priority pass?

If you're only interested in travel credit cards that give you access to priority pass lounges, check out our comprehensive overview.

Yowana Wamala

Yowana is a former product analyst at ValuePenguin, specializing in credit cards, rewards programs and travel. He previously covered mortgages, banking and insurance for the website. Yowana graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science.

Comments and Questions

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).