Travel Credit Cards

Nearly everyone has at least Travel Credit Cards . At the very least, they have a couple of them. As our infographic on the infographic reveals, though, not everyone has the best card for them. Credit cards are powerful tools for making travel more affordable, but they aren’t all created equal. If you’re trying to compare more than just price and rewards, you’ll need to take a close look at the details of the card you’re interested in before signing up.

Travel Credit Cards
Travel Credit Cards 3

It’s tough to choose a credit card because no two travelers are the same. In addition, travel cards tend to be loaded with fees and restrictions that can be a pain to navigate if you’re trying to travel on the cheap. If you’re just looking for a travel rewards card, however, this infographic will help you sort through all the options, as well as give you some recommendations on what cards work best for your lifestyle.

Which of the following is the best travel card to get? We’ve narrowed it down to a mere best travel credit card, but it will probably take you longer to wade through all the details than you have to pay for your vacation.

Once you’ve picked the best travel credit card for you, be sure to bookmark our article to learn even more about travel cards.

1. Citi Prestige Elite Mastercard

This card gives you access to two main things: 1) airline miles, and 2) hotel points. While you don’t receive any hotel points from this card, it’s worth noting that they do have a very high points redemption rate, which means you could end up earning a lot more than just flight points or hotel points in this card’s first year.

That’s great for two reasons: one, you can then use those points to fly to another destination. and two, you can use these points for a ton of different things. While it’s unlikely you’ll get free flights just for flying this card, you could be eligible for stuff like an Airbnb or a limo rental, if that’s something you’re willing to spend some points on.

If you want to fly pretty much anywhere and you want to earn miles, the Citi Prestige is a solid option, and we recommend you apply ASAP. It’s worth noting, though, that there is a $100 annual fee, which you’ll pay in full for this card if you have an annual income of $100,000 or more.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred gives you access to a ton of travel points, as well as both hotel and flight points. As the name suggests, though, you don’t actually earn those points right away. In fact, you’re allowed to earn one point for every $1 you spend with this card, so you’ll have to find ways to spend hundreds of dollars before you hit your first mile or hotel point.

One thing you will earn, however, is substantial bonus points. As we mentioned above, you’ll earn three points for every $1 you spend on the card. This is pretty much ideal for flyers who are in the habit of spending $1,000 a month on travel.

3. Chase Ink Business Preferred

This card also earns you one point for every $1 you spend, but the key here is that it’s a business card, so you don’t need to hit the spending threshold to start earning points. The cost is pretty steep, at a hefty $500 annual fee, but if you use this card for business travel, it could make a huge difference in how much you earn. You’ll earn two points per $1 spent, making this one of the better options for business travelers.

4. American Express Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum Card offers plenty of perks for both business and leisure travel. While you do need to be an American Express customer to qualify for this card, it has some of the highest annual fees of any travel rewards card. Still, this card will provide some of the richest bonuses of any travel rewards card.

The key with this card is that, on top of the $550 annual fee, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on the card within the first three months. So, if you’re planning on staying in a top hotel and spending $10,000 per month on travel, it might be worth it to have this card.

5. Citi Double Cash Card

One thing the Citi Double Cash Card offers is the ability to receive both cash back and airfare miles. You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, as well as 1 mile per dollar spent on purchases, making this a solid option for both savings and earning miles.

The problem is that you don’t earn miles with this card, and that makes it less useful for miles collectors. You can’t redeem the 1.5% cash back for travel, so if you need to earn miles on travel, it might be worth a look at one of the other cards on this list.

6. Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred comes with a hefty annual fee, at $450, but if you work in the business world, this card could be worth considering. In addition to the $450 fee, this card also has a $100 annual fee, but it comes with a ton of other perks.

You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel, making this a solid option for a frequent business traveler. You’ll also earn 2x points per dollar spent on travel and dining. One downside to the Ink Business Preferred is that it doesn’t have the same access to corporate travel as the Citi Platinum card.

7. Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is perhaps the most successful travel rewards card of all time. This is because it offers very high-value spending bonuses and generous sign-up bonuses. However, the cost of this card is very high, making it a tough sell for most people.

If you’re interested in earning points for travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great choice. However, if you just want to earn miles or miles alone, this card might not be the best option for you.

8. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has one major perk that other cards do not: no annual fee. This is a great card for anyone who uses the Chase Freedom card as their primary credit card for travel, but not for cardholders who would prefer a rewards card that does not have a fee.

The best part of this card is that it can be used as a statement credit for regular purchases, so even if you only spend $500 a month on the card, you’ll get $300 of rewards.

9. Wells Fargo Business Gold Rewards Card

The Wells Fargo Business Gold Rewards is great for those who plan to travel quite a bit, since it comes with a $150 annual fee waived the first year. Like the Citi Double Cash Card, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and you’ll also earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on purchases.

In addition to earning miles for travel, you’ll also get 2 points per dollar spent on travel, making this a solid option for frequent travelers.

10. JPMorgan Chase Sapphire Reserve

The new Sapphire Reserve is the top choice for people who want to earn a ton of rewards for their money, as well as have access to frequent travel perks. Unlike other cards, it comes with a $450 annual fee waived in the first year. In addition to the 1 point per dollar spend, you’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on travel. This is another case where the annual fee is a significant barrier to entry.

11. United MileagePlus Explorer Card

If you’re traveling for business, you’ll appreciate the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. Unlike other travel rewards cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on purchases, making it an even better option for travelers who want to earn some points with a less expensive card.

One problem with the card is that its point transfer partners are few and far between. United does partner with a number of credit card issuers, however, so you’ll be able to use this card in any major United city, as well as on international travel.

12. The Downtown Manhattan Card

If you live in the New York City area and plan on traveling often, it might be worth considering The Downtown Manhattan Card. This card, unlike the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, has no annual fee, which makes it a great option if you’re willing to commit to a flexible spending account, so you can maximize the sign-up bonus.

13. The American Express TravelPro MasterCard

If you want a travel rewards card with access to elite travel benefits, The American Express TravelPro MasterCard could be a great option for you. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, as well as 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

In addition to the sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points, you’ll also earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, which is a sign-up bonus worth far more than 50,000 Membership Rewards points.

14. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a great option if you’re willing to take a risk. If you’re willing to spend $2,000 a year, you can get a $50 bonus and 5,000 bonus miles every year, plus a sign-up bonus worth $100.

The miles are also transferable, so you could use these points to book your dream flight or a trip with any airline. If you spend more than $3,000 in the first 3 months after opening the card, you’ll also get an additional $50 bonus, for a total of $200 in your pocket.

Traveling to the same destination often isn’t worth the annual fee on any travel rewards credit card, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Double Cash Card come with no annual fee, making them a worthwhile choice if you’re willing to be flexible and find a few different ways to rack up points.

15. The Citi ThankYou Premier Card

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card is one of the best options if you’re traveling frequently or plan on taking a lot of vacations in the near future. In addition to earning 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases, you’ll also get 1 point for every dollar spent on travel, which is pretty convenient.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and AmEx Platinum, the Citi ThankYou Premier has a $95 annual fee waived for the first year. Like most travel rewards cards, you’ll earn more travel miles by flying to the same destination frequently, rather than spending all your time flying to different destinations. This could be a good option if you only plan on using your card on domestic flights.


While there are many other travel rewards cards that could work for you, it’s important to understand how much of your money you’re really going to be using on travel, and which cards you can take advantage of on domestic flights. There are also some better options for international travel if you prefer an international travel rewards card. And remember that no matter what card you pick, you’ll want to factor in any foreign transaction fees to the total. The more you spend, the more likely you are to pay foreign transaction fees.

Most travel rewards cards come with a good sign-up bonus, which is exactly what you’re looking for if you want to maximize your credit. Choosing the right travel rewards card can be a daunting task, but if you can pinpoint your personal travel goals and hone in on what you’re willing to spend, you’ll be able to maximize your rewards and minimize the money you’ll be wasting on fees.

And if you have any questions about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help!

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