Ad Disclosure

Travel Rewards Credit Cards

There are three types of travel credit cards commonly available: those offering points redeemable only with particular hotel chains, those with miles tied to particular airlines, and those offering generic points or miles that can be redeemed for most types of travel expenses. With that being said, one of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is becoming too hung up on colorful marketing copy, even if that means applying for a card tied to a hotel or airline with which it would be very difficult to ultimately redeem.

Instead, we recommend applying for a travel rewards card that complements…show more

    3.5 2,313 reviews

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone
    • 0% Purchases until June 2016
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 11.9% - 21.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1.25 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
    • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
    • Miles don’t expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
    • Additional Info
    • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases until June 2016; 11.9%-21.9% variable APR after that
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker - see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
    • Fraud Coverage - $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Warranty Manager/Extended Protection - provides you with valuable features to help manage, use, and even extend warranties of items purchased with your card.
    • Auto rental insurance - use your card to rent an eligible vehicle and you’re covered for collision, damage, and loss
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
    4 1,334 reviews

    Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one venture
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0 for 1st yr, $59 after
    • Rewards Rate 2 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
    • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
    • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
    • Additional Info
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
    • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker - see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
    • Exclusive award-winning customer service
    • Fraud Coverage - You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Travel upgrades and savings - Receive complimentary upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts, and spas with your Visa Signature card.
    • Special access to events - Your Visa Signature card gets you special access and preferred seating at popular sporting events, premier golf outings, and concerts.
    • Shopping discounts - Take advantage of special discounts at top retailers and online merchants with your Visa Signature card.
    • Travel & Emergency Assistance - Available 24/7 to help connect you with local emergency and assistance resources when you're away from home
    • Emergency Card Services - If your credit card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency card replacement and a cash advance.
    • Warranty Manager/Extended Protection - provides you with valuable features to help manage, use, and even extend warranties of items purchased with your card.
    • Auto Rental Insurance - use your card to rent an eligible vehicle and you’re covered for collision, damage, and loss
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
    4 2,221 reviews

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


    chase sapphire preferred
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 15.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 points
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
    • Additional Info
    • No foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance
    • Premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
    • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
    • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
    3 801 reviews

    Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®


    barclaycard credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 24.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus None
    • Minimum Credit Fair
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else.
    • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
    • No blackout date, no redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up.
    • Additional Info
    • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
    • No annual fee.
    • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score.
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®
    4 127 reviews

    American Express ® Premier Rewards Gold Card


    american express premier rewards gold card
    • Charge Card Balance must be paid in full each month
    • Regular Rate Not Applicable for Charge Cards
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $195 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 3 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 25,000 points
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
    • New: 2X points at U.S. restaurants
    • Earn 3X points for flights booked with airlines, Earn 2X points at US supermarkets and US gas stations. Earn 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply
    • New: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year for incidental fees with your selected airline
    • With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges any time you use your Card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights
    • Terms and limitations apply
    • Additional Info
    • New: There are no foreign transaction fees with your Premier Rewards Gold Card
    • $0 Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
    • See All Reviews & Details About The American Express ® Premier Rewards Gold Card
    3.5 529 reviews

    United MileagePlus® Explorer Card


    united credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 15.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 30,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    • Check your first bag for free – save up to $100 per roundtrip
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with two one- time-use passes every year
    • Earn double miles on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
    • Your miles don’t expire as long as you’re a Cardmember, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
    • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight
    • Additional Info
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • See All Reviews & Details About The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
    4 289 reviews

    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express


    gold delta skymiles
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 15.24% - 19.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 30,000 miles +$50 statement credit
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months
    • Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months
    • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
    • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four
    • Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding
    • Terms and Restictions Apply
    • Additional Info
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
    3.5 121 reviews

    Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express


    amex everyday credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 21.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 10,000 points
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 10,000 Membership Reward® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
    • Earn 20% more points: Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and get 20% extra points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply
    • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply
    • You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points to pay for all or part of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking
    • Terms and limitations apply
    • Additional Info
    • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
    4.5 262 reviews

    Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express


    starwood preferred guest credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 15.24% - 19.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $65 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 25,000 Starpoints
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
    • Earn free nights at over 1,100 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates
    • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges
    • Earn up to 5 Starpoints on purchases at participating SPG hotels
    • That's 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member
    • Terms and Limitations Apply
    • Additional Info
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
    3.5 247 reviews

    Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 Bonus Points


    citi thank you preferred
    • 0% Purchases 12 months
    • 0% Transfers 12 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 points / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 20,000 points
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening – redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards!
    • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment.
    • 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases.
    • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points.
    • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more.
    • Additional Info
    • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
    • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology.
    • No annual fee.*
    • See All Reviews & Details About The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 Bonus Points
    X
    Credit Score
    Excellent Credit 721 – 850
    Good Credit 661 – 720
    Fair Credit 620 – 660
    Bad Credit 300 – 619
    Limited Credit Less than 3 years
    of credit history

    Not sure?
    Try our free credit check. It takes 20
    seconds and doesn't require personal info.

    Free Credit Check
    I Want


     
    Based on your other criteria:
    No cards have a Regular
    Rate below %.
     

    Credit Card Networks


    Fewer Filters
    Balance Transfer Fee?



    Foreign Transaction Fee?



    Smart Chip Technology

    Ask our Experts

    Expert’s Answers

    Do I have to be a frequent traveler to get a travel rewards credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOWell, it depends on your motivation in opening a credit card with travel rewards. If you simply wish to take advantage of an offer with an attractive initial bonus (e.g. a free flight or free hotel), then by no means do you need to be a frequent traveler. Everyone takes vacations, after all. However, you should be a frequent traveler if you plan on using a travel credit card on an ongoing basis because not only do you want your rewards credit cards to match your biggest expenses, but you also need to be in a position to minimize the threat of rewards devaluation, which is only possible via frequent redemption. A frequent traveler is someone who compiles at least 30,000 air miles or 20 hotel nights a year.

    What type of travel rewards credit card should I get?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOObviously, if you’re just after an initial bonus, get whichever card offers the most free stuff that you can use. As explained above, only frequent travelers should use travel reward cards on an ongoing basis. So, assuming you are a frequent traveler, the type of card you get depends on your brand loyalty. If you always use the same airline or hotel, get the card affiliated with that company. If you use different accommodations, get the most lucrative generic travel credit card. Finally, if you do not travel that often, your best bet is a cash back credit card, since cash back is the most straightforward rewards currency and you can obviously use it for any type of purchase, including travel.

    How do I compare travel rewards programs?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThe following are some important terms to watch out for when comparing travel rewards programs, as each impacts the usability and ultimate value of any such program:
    1. Rewards Value: Travel rewards are not only fragmented between points and miles, but also within each of these main rewards currencies. For example, one card might offer Hilton points, while another might have Capital One No Hassle Miles, and still another might provide American Airline AAdvantage miles. Given that this can make comparison difficult, it’s a good idea to reference your spending in past months in order to see how lucrative a given travel rewards card will be in dollar figures. In other words, determine how many points or miles you can expect to compile in, say, a month and what you can redeem them for. The price of this good or service is therefore the card’s monthly cash value, which you can, of course, compare to that of other cards. When doing your comparison, look out for any earning tiers -- which dictate the rate at which you earn points/miles, depending on how much you have spent in a certain period of time -- or earning caps -- which limit the rewards you can earn, typically in a month, quarter or year. Both obviously can affect how lucrative a particular travel reward credit card offer will be.
    2. Initial Bonus: The number of points/miles that certain travel rewards credit cards provide in return for new customers signing up and spending a certain amount within the first few months may exceed the rewards one could ordinarily earn during an entire year of card use. Gravitating toward such cards is therefore advisable. Just make sure you’ll be able to meet any spending requirements that may exist.
    3. Redemption Limitations: While rewards that do not expire are becoming increasingly popular as different credit card companies jockey for the business of the best consumers, if expiration is part of a particular travel rewards program, it will likely be tied to the passage of time or account inactivity. Similarly, things like blackout dates and limited room/seat availability are now less in evidence, but it’s worth double-checking to verify that your rewards will be practically beneficial and not just good on paper.
    4. Status points: In addition to points and miles redeemable for free stuff, certain hotel-affiliated and airline-affiliated credit cards also give you status points, which help you move up the loyalty ladder and get additional benefits. The inclusion of status points is a key factor for many brand-loyal travelers, especially when one airline or hotel chain offers multiple credit cards.

    What other travel-related benefits can I get from a credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOWhile free flights and hotel stays are travel rewards cards’ most-talked-about benefits, you’ll usually get a few other perks as well. While the specifics depend on your card, the following are some of the most common ancillary benefits:
    1. Car rental collision damage insurance
    2. Roadside dispatch
    3. Emergency card replacement
    Other benefits that you can expect to receive with certain cards include:
    1. Free upgrades
    2. Priority check-in
    3. Free checked baggage
    4. Airport lounge access
    5. 24/7 concierge service
    6. Travel accident insurance
    7. Free companion tickets

    Can I have more than one travel rewards credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOEven if you have the best travel rewards credit card for your lifestyle, there will inevitably be other rewards cards that you can use strategically to maximize the free money you bring in. There are two ways to supplement your travel rewards: 1) via lucrative initial bonuses; 2) by opening a couple of different cards, each providing the best possible rewards on one of your biggest expenses (e.g. airfare, hotel stays, groceries). For example, if you stay at Marriott hotels regularly for business, spend a lot on groceries, and wish to fly your family to your in-laws’ house this summer, having a Marriott credit card, a card like the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express (3% cash back at supermarkets), and an airline miles card offering a free flight for signing up will be extremely beneficial. Using multiple cards that excel in certain areas in order to garner the best possible overall terms is called the Island Approach to credit card use.

    What exchange rate do I get when I travel abroad?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorWhen using a travel reward card abroad, your purchases are automatically converted into U.S. dollars using your card network’s exchange rate. This is a good thing because Visa and MasterCard (the world’s most widely-accepted card networks) offer exchange rates that are roughly 8% lower than the cash exchange services at banks and around 15% lower than the services offered at airport kiosks, according to our Currency Exchange Study. On top of the exchange rate, a lot of travel credit cards charge fees for purchases processed abroad. If you plan on traveling outside the country, you should therefore focus your travel credit card search on the no foreign transaction fee credit cards section.

    Community Discussion

    Ask a question or help others find the best travel rewards credit cards by sharing some tips.

     
    Jun 17, 2015
    By:
    A travel credit card must be able to provide a good amount of perks to warrant the usage of the card. For example, for staying at a particular branch of a hotel chain, one can get VIP access by booking with their credit card at no additional cost. There should also be a point system so that customers can use them for things like free nights and the like.
    Jun 10, 2015
    By:
    I use my travel card when I'm traveling for work or vacation. I feel that if you do a lot of traveling for work then this card is great for that but if you don't go on travels much like me then I suggest not getting this card but clearly it's best for work travels in my opinion. I like the card because you can get points on your plane, car and hotel expenses.
    Jun 10, 2015
    By:
    I’ve been through a few other cards because I like to travel mainly for pleasure. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is my preferred card for travel. Chase originally appealed to me because of the solid rate that has never changed. The low annual fee lets me feel good on my first travel after the new cycle What really caught me though was the offer to spend 4K and get $500 back. It definitely let me splurge a little bit and get some of it back. All around it's a pretty good card.
    May 12, 2015
    By:
    I do not currently have a travel rewards credit card, but if I had to compare the card I currently have (the PNC Bank CashBuilder Visa) to one on this list, it would be the Capital One Venture Rewards card. The main criteria I would use would be the annual fee and the interest rate. Currently, the PNC card has an interest rate between 12-22%, and this Capital One card has a very similar rate. Second, both have $0 annual fees, though, the Capital One card's fee increases to $39 after the first year.

    The main difference, though, is the rewards structure. PNC's card gives out rewards as a cash back deposit, while Capital One's card is in travel miles/points. This is the one big hangup I'm having on applying for a travel card: I'm not really the type of person to want to travel and would more appreciate an actual cash-based reward.
    Apr 20, 2015
    By:
    The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great card for travel rewards. You can use the points you earn on flights with several different airlines, hotels, or car rental. It does have an annual fee but it is waived for the first year and you may be able to have it waived in subsequent years if you call up and ask. They usually have a pretty nice signing bonus offer as well.
    Mar 31, 2015
    By:
    I have a Delta SkyMiles card which benefits me greatly since I fly with Delta all the time. I earn points every time I fly and I can redeem the points for use on future trips. Also each time when I make a reservation and book a Delta flight with my card, the first bag I check in will be free. It's a great card for people who fly regularly if you're willing to make the switch to Delta.
    Mar 24, 2015
    By:
    Honestly, my favorite travel car is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Not only is the sign on bonus larger than most, but the annual fee waiver for the first year is very nice. Points per mile are on par with the other cards, but what i honestly like most about the card, is that it syncs seamlessly with every online vendor I choose to use with it. Amazon being one of the big ones.
    Feb 20, 2015
    By:
    I have the Disney Visa Rewards card by Chase. There is no "fee" to have this card. At first the benefits don't seem that impressive, as you do not get theme park or resort discounts, but you do get an overall 10% discount on anything Disney, at the stores and at the theme parks and resort restaurants. We all know that any help counts when it comes to Disney! The best benefit is the exclusive meet and greet with characters at Epcot. It's nice to be able to go to something "exclusive" with Disney, especially when it's crowded.
    Jan 8, 2015
    By:
    I have a Delta SkyMiles card. I have applied this card because me and my wife are the frequent flyers in Delta Airlines. I will earn points for each of my travel. I can redeem the points while booking the next trip. Also each time when I make a reservation and book a Delta flight with my card, the first bag I check in will be free.
    Nov 30, 2014
    By:
    I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You get 2 points per dollar you spend on travel which is nice. By travel, it doesn’t have to be just flights. It could also include hotels, car rentals and parking as well. The only downside is the annual fee but it is waived in the first year.
    Jun 23, 2014
    By:
    I really enjoy using my Citi ThankYou Preferred Card. It gives 2 ThankYou points for dining and entertainment purchases. I'm single and can't cook, so I eat out almost everyday. This is the perfect card for me. What I like most about this card is the options they give you at redemption time. I can redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, and travel rewards. I just wish they also gave bonus points, but it seems like mostly the cards that offer only travel gives bonus points. I prefer to have the redemption variety.
    Feb 25, 2014
    By:
    I have a Delta SkyMiles card. Back when more online billpay services would allow you to use a credit card without any fee, I would pay my utilities and car loan using it and would rack up tons of miles, then pay it off every month. I paid my graduate school tuition with it and then paid off the card using the tuition reimbursement check. I got several free airline tickets this way. Now that it's hard to pay bills using a credit card though, I think most of us wouldn't have enough purchases to earn miles very fast, except maybe for people who own small businesses. Most of the rewards cards have a high interest rate, so they don't make a lot of sense except for people who are going to pay them off every month.
    Credit Cards Prepaid Cards Gift Cards Tools