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The best travel cards offer rewards on everything from airfare and hotel stays to dining and other everyday purchases. They have good intro bonuses that allow you to quickly rack up miles or points, and flexible redemption options. Frequent travelers can find the benefits save them money and time—plus offer them luxurious experiences—making these cards worth a look.
2 Partner Offers
Best for Travel Credits: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most well-known premium travel cards. While its $550 annual fee is one of the highest around, you can offset it with $300 in annual travel credits and no foreign transaction fees. Plus, you'll get a complimentary Priority PassTM Select membership (enrollment required) and up to $100 in application fee credits for a Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA Precheck membership once every four years.
You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points when you use the card for purchases. After receiving your $300 credit on travel purchases, you'll get 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays and car rentals and 5 points per dollar spent on airfare when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can also earn 3 points per dollar on other eligible travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And, if you have other Chase rewards cards that earn Ultimate Rewards Points, you can transfer points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to get the increased redemption value.Read full review
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
19.24% - 26.24% Variable
Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
5X points on Air Travel Purchased Through Chase
3X points on Travel & Dining
1X points on All Other Purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best for No Annual Fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be a good pick for people who want to earn travel rewards but don't want to pay an annual fee.
Using the card, you can earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase. The flat-rate travel rewards program is easy to keep track of, and you can redeem your points for statement credits to pay for travel and dining purchases. There's also no foreign transaction fee on international purchases.
Current Bank of America Preferred Rewards members may find the card even more appealing as it's part of the Preferred Rewards program. As a member, you may be able to earn a 25% to 75% bonus (up to 2.62 points per dollar) based on your combined balance in Bank of America deposit and Merrill investment accounts.
Who Should Apply for a Travel Card?
A general travel credit card may be best for people who travel a lot or have a specific high-end trip in mind. Many of the cards can help you save money or make the experience more luxurious. However, you may also need good to excellent credit to qualify for the best travel credit cards.
How to Choose a Travel Card
Before applying for a new travel credit card, consider how you plan to use the card and your travel plans for the coming years. To make general comparisons, consider the cards' annual fees, cardholder benefits, bonus rewards categories and reward program rules.
For example, if there's a good intro offer, try to make sure you can meet the spending requirement without overspending. Or, if the card has a high annual fee, consider whether its money- or time-saving benefits will more than offset the fee based on your usage.
If you tend to stick with a single airline or hotel chain, you might want to consider a co-branded airline or hotel card instead of a general travel card. You'll be more limited in how you can use the rewards miles or points—but co-branded cards might offer higher rewards rates and additional brand-specific benefits, such as free checked bags or status in loyalty programs.
How to Make the Most of Travel Credit Cards
Once you've got your new travel credit card, consider how you can use it to get the most benefits. The big things to look for are:
- Meet the spending requirement for the intro offer (if there is one) before the deadline.
- Remember which categories offer bonus rewards and try to use your travel card for those purchases.
- Compare redemption options and see which give you the best value for your rewards. With travel cards, it's often best to redeem for travel bookings or transfer your rewards to partner travel companies.
- Review the cardholder benefits and see if you need to activate certain perks—such as a complimentary Priority Pass membership.
- Learn about the purchase-related benefits, which may include travel and purchase protections.
If your card has an annual fee, you may also want to set a calendar reminder for next year. As your anniversary date approaches, review how you used the card and decide whether it's worth keeping the card.
Check Your Travel Card Offers
Before applying for a travel credit card, you can use the Experian CreditMatch™ credit card marketplace to filter and compare cards from our partners. If you create or log in to your Experian account, you can also get personalized offers based on your unique credit profile (not available in certain states).