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The holiday season comes around every year, but it can still be challenging to budget for the expenses that come with the end-of-year festivities. That's especially the case if you're planning a trip during the holidays.
With the right credit card, though, you can potentially save money on your travel costs and even elevate your overall vacation experience. With these five credit cards, expect to save hundreds of dollars on your holiday trip and maybe even more.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel credit cards on the market, and for good reason. The card offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, you'll get 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months—that's worth $750 in travel when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
You can potentially get even more value out of your rewards by transferring them to one of Chase's airline and hotel rewards programs at a 1-to-1 ratio.
In addition to a flexible rewards program, you'll also get:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: You may be reimbursed for prepaid, nonrefundable fares if your trip is canceled or cut short due to a covered reason.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If you're traveling on a common carrier and your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and family members may be covered for certain expenses, including meals and lodging.
- Baggage delay insurance: If your baggage has been delayed for more than six hours, this perk provides reimbursement for certain expenses, such as clothing and toiletry items.
- Primary rental car insurance: Many credit cards offer rental car insurance, but this card's coverage is primary, which means you don't have to file a claim with your personal insurance company first, which is typical with other cards.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
With many travel credit cards, you need to meet a minimum spending requirement to qualify for a sign-up bonus. But if you're just applying now, it may be too late to use the bonus for this year's holiday travel.
That's not the case with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Simply use the card to book your travel, then use your miles to get a statement credit against the purchase within 90 days. This means you just need to make sure you qualify for the card's sign-up bonus within 90 days of booking your trip.
If you already have enough miles for a trip, you can also use rewards to book directly through Capital One or transfer them to one of the card issuer's many airline partners.
The card also offers 2 miles per dollar on every purchase you make. You'll also get an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, both of which can provide expedited security screening at the airport.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express has a steep annual fee, but if you regularly travel and want some extra perks this holiday season, this card should be on your radar.
From a rewards perspective, you'll get a solid intro bonus, plus 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. All other purchases earn just 1 point per dollar.
Where the card really shines is with its suite of travel perks, which includes:
- $200 annual airline fee credit, which covers things like checked bags and in-flight refreshments
- Up to $200 annually in Uber credits—that's $15 in Uber Cash most months and $20 in December
- An application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Complimentary airport lounge access with the Centurion Lounge, the International American Express lounges, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club and more
- Elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
- Complimentary membership in premium car rental programs, including special discounts and upgrades
If you travel enough to make up for the card's annual fee, it could be well worth it for a VIP travel experience.
American Express® Gold Card
If you're into exploring new foods while traveling, the American Express® Gold Card is a solid choice. It offers a $100 annual airline fee credit and up to $120 annually in dining credits—that's up to $10 each month at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
The card also offers 35,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, plus:
- 4 points per dollar on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets
- 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
- 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
If you book a property in The Hotel Collection with your card, you'll get a room upgrade upon arrival (when available) and a $100 hotel credit.
Discover it® Miles
If you're looking for a travel rewards card that doesn't charge an annual fee, look no further than the Discover it® Miles. The card offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent on every purchase you make, which you can use to get a statement credit for previous travel purchases (this one allows you to go back 180 days) or for a deposit into your bank account.
The card doesn't have a traditional sign-up bonus that you can earn after a few months. But Discover will match all the miles you earn during your first year, effectively giving you a 3% rewards rate on everything you buy during that time. With no limit to how much the bank will match, the incentive could be lucrative for big spenders.
The card also offers an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases and 10.99% on balance transfers for 14 months, which allows you to finance a trip and pay it off interest-free over more than a year.
That said, the card doesn't come with any other special travel-related benefits. Also, Discover isn't widely accepted abroad, so consider having a Visa or Mastercard credit card as a backup if you travel internationally.