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Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2022

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.   Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for some American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Travel spending is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a travel industry nonprofit, and about six in 10 Americans are planning to take at least one trip this summer. 

But travel is expensive — especially as prices continue to rise on everything from groceries to gas — meaning every dollar can count when you book your next vacation. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or only take one trip each year, a travel credit card can help you save when you book and on the purchases you make while you’re away.

Many travel credit cards offer rewards not only on your flights and hotels, but also in non-travel categories like dining, groceries, gas stations, rideshare services, and more. Now more than ever, you can earn rewards on everyday purchases to use toward your next trip. 

The annual fees that often come with travel credit cards make it even more important to ensure you get your money’s worth on your regular purchases. A travel card with great everyday value can go a long way to offset high annual fees. And for frequent travelers, the premium benefits and credits these cards offer when you do travel go a long way to offset costs. 

We believe the best travel credit cards offer a combination of flexible rewards on everyday spending alongside valuable travel benefits and redemptions. Here are NextAdvisor’s picks for the best travel credit cards right now:

Before You Start

Travel credit cards offer some of the most valuable benefits on the market, but those perks are costly. Travel cards often carry annual fees, high APRs, and require excellent credit for approval. Before applying for a new travel credit card, make sure you establish a solid credit history. May payments on time, eliminate any debt balances, and pay off your balances in full at the end of each month.

Best Travel Credit Cards

Good for Earning Miles on Every Purchase Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Capital One’s secure site.
Good for Earning Miles on Every Purchase Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    75,000 miles
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.24% – 24.24% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Flat 2x miles on every purchase
  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Flexible rewards redemptions
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • High variable APR
  • $95 annual fee
  • Travel transfer partners options and value aren’t as good as some other programs
The Bottom Line
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great travel credit card option for travel enthusiasts who value flexible rewards over premium benefits or credits. It even ranks among our best credit card picks. Double miles on every dollar you spend, a generous welcome bonus, and numerous redemption options can all go a long way to offset the card’s $95 annual fee — and help you save on future travel.

Additional Card Details

  • Flexible redemption options to use rewards toward future travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership every four years
  • Two complimentary visits to Capital One Lounge locations each year
Good for Intro Bonus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site.
Good for Intro Bonus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3x on dining. 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Tiered bonus points categories
  • 25% points boost when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 1:1 point transfer at airline and hotel partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • High APR
  • Need to spend within bonus categories to maximize rewards
  • Other cards have similar bonus categories with higher rewards rates
The Bottom Line
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a tiered, points-earning rewards card geared toward frequent fliers. Its most valuable assets include a solid welcome bonus, premium points redemption options and access to Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program.

Additional Card Details

  • 25% redemption boost on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or eligible statement credits via Pay Yourself Back
  • Get 10% value of annual purchases back in points every account anniversary
  • $50 in annual hotel credits toward hotel stays booked through Chase
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
Good for Earning Now and Redeeming Later American Express® Gold Card
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American Express® Gold Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Earning Now and Redeeming Later American Express® Gold Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $250
  • Regular APR:
    17.49%-24.49% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Tiered points system
  • Welcome bonus offer
  • Annual credits
Cons
  • Annual fee
  • Value of points dependent on how you redeem
The Bottom Line
The American Express Gold Card offers a great rewards structure that lets you rack up points when you make everyday purchases on groceries and dining out. You’ll get the most value from your American Express Gold if you use your points to save on travel — especially if you transfer your points to airline or hotel partners. The Amex Gold is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards, and frequent travelers can get a lot of value from it, even in spite of its $250 annual fee.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $120 annual dining credit
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides
  • Up to $100 credit on qualifying activities when booking through the American Express Hotel Collection
  • $250 annual fee
  • Amex Offers
  • Car rental insurance
  • Global travel assistance hotline
  • Baggage insurance
  • Extended warranty on covered purchases
  • Purchase protection
  • Dispute resolution
Good for Maximum Redemption Value Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site.
Good for Maximum Redemption Value Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $550
  • Regular APR:
    17.74% – 24.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    740-850 (Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • $300 annual travel credit and other added benefits
  • 50% points value boost when redeemed for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Metal card
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • High APR
  • Not a great choice if you travel infrequently
The Bottom Line
Luxe benefits and valuable points redemptions draw many people to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, despite its steep $550 annual fee. But if you travel often and your spending aligns with high-value rewards categories, the Reserve’s benefits can outweigh even the high cost of ownership.

Additional Card Details

  • 50% redemption boost on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or eligible statement credits via Pay Yourself Back
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Up to $100 credit every four years toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee
  • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select membership
  • 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash subscription through 12/31/24
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
Good for Luxury Benefits The Platinum Card® from American Express
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The Platinum Card® from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Luxury Benefits The Platinum Card® from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn 100,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $695
  • Regular APR:
    See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Valuable welcome offer
  • Tiered rewards structure
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Travel perks including lounge access and airline fee credits
Cons
  • Very high annual fee
  • Relatively high APR
  • Not great for rewards outside travel categories
The Bottom Line
From high-earning travel rewards categories to cash credits that can offset the cost of your next vacation, the Platinum Card from American Express has a long list of benefits. Just make sure you can take advantage of them to make the high $695 annual fee worth your while.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month) on eligible purchases and subscriptions with: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ membership credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card
  • $189 annual statement credit for a Clear® membership
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash to use on rides or Uber Eats in the U.S. annually ($15 per month and a bonus $20 in December), plus Uber VIP access
  • $300 in annual statement credits (up to $25 per month) on eligible Equinox memberships or a digital subscriptions to Equinox+, an on-demand fitness app
  • Up to $100 in annual statement credits toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com (up to $50 every 6 months, per calendar year)
  • Access to American Express Global Lounge Collection including Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs (when flying same-day Delta Air Lines flights)
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts program, plus credits and benefits during your stay, including $100 credit towards eligible onsite activities
  • Hilton Honors Gold elite status enrollment
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status enrollment
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • American Express preferred seating and presale access
Good for Airline Miles Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (4.15/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Airline Miles Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (4.15/5)
  • Intro offer:
    90,000 miles
  • Annual fee:
    $250
  • Regular APR:
    17.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Valuable welcome offer
  • Bonus miles in travel and everyday spending categories
  • Earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status through credit card spending
  • Additional airport and flight benefits for frequent Delta travelers
Cons
  • $250 annual fee
  • High variable APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • Rewards not as valuable for infrequent travelers or those who don’t usually fly Delta
The Bottom Line
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is worth considering for anyone who prefers to fly with Delta Air Lines. You can earn a great welcome bonus, plus bonus rewards on Delta purchases, other travel expenses, and even some everyday spending categories. Those rewards, combined with additional frequent flyer perks, can make this card well worth the $250 annual fee if you fly Delta often.

Additional Card Details

  • Annual companion certificate good for domestic main cabin round trip flight (taxes and fees still apply)
  • First checked bag free for you and up to nine companions on the same flight reservation
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 with your card in a calendar year (up to two times)
  • Priority boarding
  • 20% back on in-flight spending
  • Delta SkyClub lounge access for a reduced rate of $39 per visit, (See Rates & Fees)
  • No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Travel protections
Good for Hotel Rewards Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.95/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
Good for Hotel Rewards Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.95/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn 5 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points)
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card. New Benefit! Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining. 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Generous welcome bonus offer
  • Free award night on your cardmember anniversary and automatic Silver Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No bonus rewards categories beyond Marriott spending
  • Annual free night award redemption value is capped at 35,000 points
The Bottom Line
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers valuable annual perks for its $95 annual fee, and can make a great addition for travelers who like Marriott properties. You’ll get a solid welcome bonus and can quickly earn points toward free award nights with Marriott, in addition to a faster path to Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

Additional Card Details

  • Automatic Silver Elite status
  • Reach Gold Status by spending $35,000 or more each account anniversary year
  • Qualify for a free night award (worth up to 35,000 points) on your cardmember anniversary
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • $95 annual fee
  • 16.74% to 23.74% variable APR
Good for Business Travelers Capital One Spark Miles for Business
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Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Editor’s Score: (4.0/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
Good for Business Travelers Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Editor’s Score: (4.0/5)
  • Intro offer:
    50,000 miles
  • Annual fee:
    $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR:
    21.24% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

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.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Flat 2x miles on every purchase
  • Valuable welcome bonus worth $500 toward travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • High variable APR
  • No introductory APR
  • Fewer travel transfer partners than other rewards programs
The Bottom Line
Capital One Spark Miles for Business* offers a simple rewards structure with plenty of flexibility for business travelers. It even ranks among our top picks for business credit cards in 2022. You’ll earn a flat 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, plus a 50,000-mile welcome bonus after you spend $4,500 within three months of account opening.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $100 fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Redeem rewards to cover previous travel purchases or transfer miles to airline or hotel partners
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Free additional employee cards
  • Year-end summaries and purchase records for business accounting
  • 21.24% variable APR
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Other Travel Cards Worth Considering

While these cards don’t make our above list of best travel credit cards, they are great options for certain types of travelers or those looking for specific features and benefits.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Editor’s Score: (3.0/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Editor’s Score: (3.0/5)
  • Intro offer:
    25,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.74% – 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • 1.5x points on every purchase
  • Flexible redemptions
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Lower potential points value than other travel rewards cards
  • High ongoing APR
  • Few added travel benefits
The Bottom Line
With Bank of America’s Travel Rewards Credit Card*, you can earn points on every purchase you make to redeem toward future travel and dining. It’s not the most lucrative travel credit card available, but its flat points rewards and flexible redemption options make it a good choice for basic travel rewards without an annual fee.

Additional Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5x points on every purchase
  • Earn 3x points when you book travel through the Bank of America Travel Center
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on new purchases (14.74%-24.74% variable APR thereafter)
  • Score boosted rewards with Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. To qualify, you must have at least $20,000 in qualifying combined balances between Bank of America deposit accounts or Merrill investment accounts
  • No foreign transaction fees
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Learn More externa link icon
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn 75,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $149
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Welcome offer
  • Bonus points at cardmember anniversary
  • Travel benefits for Southwest flights
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Rewards not valuable if you don’t fly Southwest often
  • $149 annual fee
The Bottom Line
For loyal Southwest flyers, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card can enhance the travel experience when flying the airline. It comes with perks like a $75 Southwest booking credit, four upgraded boardings per year and 25% back on in-flight purchases. It can even fast-track you towards earning a Companion Pass, one of the most coveted benefits for Southwest’s frequent flyers.

Additional Card Details

  • 7,500 points per cardmember anniversary
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 25% off in-flight purchases on Southwest
  • Earn Southwest’s Companion Pass faster
  • 4 boarding upgrades per year, depending on availability
  • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • Travel protections
Hilton Honors American Express Card
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Hilton Honors American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (4.025/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Editor’s Score: (4.025/5)
  • Intro offer:
    100,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Rewards for Hilton purchases and in everyday categories
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Silver elite status
Cons
  • Rewards rate is lower than other Hilton credit cards
  • Other Hilton cards grant higher hotel elite status and more added benefits
  • Co-branded hotel rewards aren’t as flexible as other travel rewards programs
The Bottom Line
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a solid choice for anyone who prefers to vacation at Hilton hotels and resorts, especially if your travel is only occasional. The card has a great welcome bonus and rewards for no annual fee, though more frequent Hilton travelers could get higher points bonuses and enjoy more premium perks with other co-branded Hilton cards.

Additional Card Details

  • Complimentary Silver elite status with Hilton, with ability to upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold Status after spending $20,000 on eligible purchases with the card within a calendar year
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance when you pay for a rental car with your card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Access to American Express’s Global Assist® Hotline, which provides 24/7 travel assistance by phone
  • Access to additional cards for authorized users, such as your child, spouse, or employee
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Learn More externa link icon
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (4.25/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (4.25/5)
  • Intro offer:
    140,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $99
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Rewards on IHG hotel bookings and in everyday categories
  • Added travel benefits and automatic IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • $99
  • Few rewards redemption options outside of hotel stays at IHG properties
  • High APR for purchases
The Bottom Line
With the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, issued by Chase, you can earn points within the IHG Rewards Club and redeem them for stays in thousands of hotels and resorts worldwide. Reward nights start at 10,000 points, and most properties don’t have any blackout dates.

Additional Card Details

  • Get a free reward night each year on your cardmember anniversary (worth up to 40,000 points)
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status with the IHG Rewards Club program
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 each account anniversary year and make at least one additional purchase after meeting the $20,000 threshold
  • Fourth reward night free when you redeem points for three or more nights
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership every four years
  • No foreignt transaction fees
  • Travel and purchase protections
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
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The World of Hyatt Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.975/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (3.975/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Up to 60,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member. Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships.

Best Travel Credit Cards Summary

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Good for: Earning Miles on Every Purchase

Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase you make, regardless of category. You can earn 75,000 bonus miles, if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This card’s annual fee is $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Good for: Intro Bonus

Earn 3x points on dining and 2x points travel. Score 60,000 bonus points (worth $750 in travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can also get a 25% boosted points value for travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This card charges a $95 annual fee. 

American Express Gold Card

Good for: Earning Now and Redeeming Later

Earn 4x points on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per calendar year, then 1x), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amextravel.com, and 1x points on other purchases. Get annual dining, hotel, and Uber Cash credits, plus earn a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. You’ll pay a $250 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Good for: Maximum Redemption Value

Earn 5X points on air travel when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually), 3X points on dining, 3x on other travel and 1x points on all other purchases, among other benefits. Get 60,000 bonus points (worth $900 in travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 within the first three months. Redeem points for travel through Chase at a 50% boosted value. Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $550 annual fee. 

The Platinum Card from American Express

Good for: Luxury Benefits

Earn 5x points on flights purchased directly from airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases annually) and on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, and 1x points on other purchases. Earn a 100,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 within the first six months, and enjoy premium benefits like hotel elite status; up to a $200 annual airline fee credit; credits toward shopping, hotel stays, and Uber rides; airport lounge access; and more. This card charges a $695 annual fee.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Good for: Airline Miles

Earn 3x miles on purchases made with Delta and directly with hotels, 2x miles on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases. Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your first three months. You’ll also enjoy flight benefits like first checked bag free, an annual companion certificate, and more. Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex charges a $250 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Good for: Hotel Rewards

Earn up to 17x points on purchases with participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x points on all other purchases. For a Limited Time Only! Earn 5 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases. You’ll get additional Marriott benefits including an annual Free Night Award each cardmember anniversary, Silver Elite Status, and 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year. This card has a $95 annual fee. 

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Good for: Business Travelers

Earn 2x miles on every purchase. You’ll also get a 50,000-mile bonus after spending $4,500 within the first three months of account opening. This card charges $95 annually, but the fee is waived your first year.

CardIntro BonusRewardsAnnual Fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card75,000 miles after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening2x miles on every purchase$95
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening,• 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel booked with Chase
• 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases
• 2x points on travel not booked with Chase
• 1x points on everything else.
$95
American Express Gold Card60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within six months of account opening• 4x points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per calendar year, then 1x)

• 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amextravel.com

• 1x points on other purchases
$250
Chase Sapphire Reserve60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening• 10x points on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 10x points on dining through Chase Dining
• 5x points on air travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3x points on other travel and dining
• 1x points on other purchases
$550
The Platinum Card from American Express100,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 within six months of card membership
• 5x points on flights purchased directly from airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel

• 1x points on other purchases
$695
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your first three months
• 3x miles on purchases made with Delta and directly with hotels

• 2x miles on purchases at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets

• 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
$250
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit CardFor a Limited Time Only! Earn 5 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.• Up to 17x points on purchases with participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels

• 2x points on all other purchases
$95
Capital One Spark Miles for Business50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months of account opening2x miles on every purchase$95, waived the first year

Travel Credit Cards Also Worth Considering Summary

CardIntro BonusRewardsAnnual Fee
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account openingUnlimited 1.5 points per $1 spend on all purchases$0
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months• 3x points on Southwest purchases2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare

• 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming

• 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners

• 1x points on everything else
$149
Hilton Honors American Express CardEarn 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card the first three months. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of membership. • 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points on purchases charged directly to a Hilton hotel or resort

• 5x Points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations in the U.S.

• 3x Points on everything else
$0
IHG Rewards Club PremierEarn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three monthsUp to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel

• 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants

• 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
$99
World of Hyatt Credit CardEarn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. Plus, earn up to 30,000 additional bonus points in the first six months of account with 2 bonus points per $1 on up to $15,000 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point • 9x total points on eligible Hyatt purchases (5 base points for being a World of Hyatt member, and 4 bonus points)

• 2x points on dining, airline tickets purchased from airlines, local transit and commuting, and fitness club and gym memberships

• 1x points on other purchases
$95

The State of Travel 

As the summer travel season approaches, here’s everything you need to know before you book an upcoming vacation:

Ongoing Pandemic Restrictions 

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions still vary by country. While the United States and Europe have removed many restrictions, such as mask mandates on air travel, many countries still have more strict rules for travelers. And if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll still need proof of a negative COVID test one day prior to return to the United States. Before any upcoming trip, check the U.S. State Department’s country-specific COVID-19 information page for the latest advisories. 

Inflation Impacts Travel Costs 

Inflation continues to drive up costs on everyday purchases, and travel is no exception. The latest consumer price index rose to 8.3% in April. As a result, you’ll likely see increased prices on airline tickets and hotel stays this summer. Domestic airfare alone is up 40%, according to the latest Hopper Consumer Airfare Index Report, with the average round trip ticket costing $330. Prices are expected to continue to rise over the next few months. 

One way to save is by using travel credits, rewards, and other credit card perks to offset increased prices. so long as you’re using your credit card responsibly and don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off. A great welcome offer, like the limited-time Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus, can also help you earn more points upfront, after meeting a specific spending threshold. 

Supply Chain Shortages 

Staff and supply chain shortages are a major factor in rising inflation, and also impacts everything from your grocery list to rental cars for both business and leisure travel. In practice, this could mean there may be more cases in which you book a rental car online, but there’s no availability when you arrive to pick up your car. If you know you’re going to need a rental car, it’s best to book your car as soon as possible to better your chances. 

How Travel Credit Cards Work

Travel credit cards work like most rewards credit cards — you can earn rewards on your spending to apply to future purchases. Travel credit cards earn points or miles on purchases you make with the card which you can redeem within an issuer’s rewards program. Travel is typically the most valuable rewards option, though you may be able to redeem for other options, like statement credits, cash, gift cards, or purchases with partners. 

Travel redemption options for travel credit cards vary, but often include flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Some rewards programs allow you to transfer your points and miles to airline or hotel partner loyalty programs, where you may be able to increase the value of your original points depending on how and when you book. 

How to Choose a Travel Credit Card

General Travel Credit Cards

What You Get With a General Travel Credit Card

General travel credit cards earn points or miles in select categories, which may be travel-focused (flight, hotels, car rentals) or more broad (dining, groceries, gas). These cards typically offer flexible redemptions for your points and miles toward future travel bookings and are ideal for travelers who don’t always fly with the same airline or stay with the same hotel brand.

Choosing a General Travel Credit Card

To choose the right general travel card for you, consider how the card’s rewards categories align with your spending — both while traveling and your everyday purchases — as well as how any added benefits may help you maximize value. Then look into the redemption options available. Is your preferred loyalty program among the transfer partners? How much are your points or miles worth when you redeem for travel? What other options are there besides travel that you might consider? 

And remember, though premium benefits can offset the cost, these cards often carry high annual fees. Approach your options with a realistic view based on previous travel spending or future trips you’re already planning. If you choose a card based on your ideal annual travel budget or benefits that sound nice but aren’t actually suited to your spending, the card may end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Airline Credit Cards

What You Get With an Airline Credit Card

Unlike general travel credit cards, airline cards earn miles toward a single airline’s rewards program, like Delta SkyMiles from Delta Air Lines or AAdvantage from American Airlines. These cards may earn rewards on non-airline categories (like dining or groceries) but your redemptions are limited to purchases with a specific airline. Benefits are also typically airline-specific, and may include free checked bags, upgrades, priority boarding, and more. 

Choosing an Airline Credit Card

You’re going to want to choose a credit card with an airline that you fly with almost exclusively.
It won’t make sense to get an airline credit card if you frequently fly with different airlines, or don’t fly very frequently at all. 

It may make sense to choose a card with an airline that has frequent flights, or has a hub at, your local airport. 

Hotel Credit Cards 

What You Get With Hotel Credit Cards 

Similar to airline cards, you should only open a hotel-specific travel credit card if you have a strong preference for one hotel chain, such as Marriott or Hilton, and you travel to locations where that chain is an option. You’ll earn rewards within the hotel’s rewards program and, though you may earn bonus points on non-travel purchases, redemptions are typically limited to bookings and other hotel purchases. These cards also generally offer added benefits for brand loyalists, like elite status, annual free night credits, complimentary services during stays, and more.

Choosing a Hotel Credit Cards

Like an airline credit card, you’ll want to choose a hotel card with a chain that you stay at almost exclusively. Your rewards will be limited to that one chain, so make sure you stay there enough to justify the credit card.

How to Compare Travel Credit Cards

Rewards and benefits are important, but they’re not the only factors that should go into your decision when choosing a travel credit card. Here are some card details you should consider — and compare with your individual card needs and spending habits — before you apply:

Annual Fee

A no annual fee travel card can be a great deal, but those with an annual fee offer some of the most valuable travel rewards and benefits. Before applying for a new travel credit card, evaluate how well your spending aligns with a card’s benefits and whether you’ll gain enough value from those benefits to offset the cost of the annual fee. 

Rewards Rate

Travel credit cards often offer great rewards on your travel spending, but you should look beyond points earned on flights and hotels. Many of the best travel cards also offer rewards on everyday spending, like dining, groceries, and rideshare services, so you can maximize your most frequent purchases. 

Sign-up Bonus

A great sign-up bonus shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing a travel credit card, but it can add hundreds of dollars in rewards value. Look for a sign-up bonus that’s attainable (they often require a minimum spend within a limited time) and high-value. These offers are especially helpful if you can plan ahead and give yourself time to score the sign-up bonus before you’re ready to book, so you can use your bonus points or miles toward your trip.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you plan to take your travel credit card along on any international trips, you’ll want to avoid foreign transaction fees. These fees range from 1%-3% of each transaction you make in another country or in a foreign currency, and can quickly add up when you spend internationally.

International Acceptance

If you travel internationally, it’s important to choose an issuer that’s widely accepted in the countries you plan to visit. Visa and Mastercard are the most common networks you’ll find accepted worldwide, while you might struggle to find merchants that accept American Express and Discover in some countries (though even those networks are increasingly more widely accepted).

Travel Protections

Travel protections aren’t the most flashy travel credit card feature, but they can be among the most valuable. Look for protections like auto rental collision waiver, travel accident and delay insurance, roadside assistance, lost luggage and delayed baggage coverage, and more.

Perks 

Added perks offered by travel credit cards are often unmatched by any other cards on the market. Benefits vary widely by issuer, individual card, and price range, but can go a long way in maximizing your card’s value and adding convenience to your travel plans. Some examples of these perks include annual credits, partner discounts, memberships, and more.

APR

Generally, any travel credit card is going to charge a high APR on any balance you carry. That’s why it’s important to only charge purchases you know you’ll be able to pay off in full when your statement balance is due. Otherwise, any rewards or benefits the card offers will be quickly wiped out by interest charges.

Should You Get a Travel Credit Card?

Pros

  • Bonus rewards on travel and everyday purchases

  • Added perks and benefits

  • Travel and purchase protections

  • Save on future travel with points and miles redemptions

  • Valuable welcome bonus offers

Cons

  • Usually charge annual fees

  • High ongoing APR

  • Maximizing value often depends on already high travel spending

  • Lower rewards value for non-travel redemptions

How to Make the Most of Your Travel Credit Card

  • Take time to research how your spending aligns with a card’s rewards categories
  • Understand the ins and outs of how you earn and redeem rewards
  • Take advantage of all the benefits and perks your card has to offer
  • You may get the most value by booking directly through the rewards program or — depending on when and where you book —  by transferring points to a travel partner

Travel Credit Cards vs Cash Back Credit Cards

Travel rewards credit cards and cash back credit cards can both add value to your everyday spending. They differ in how you earn and redeem the most rewards, and in the added benefits you’ll get as a cardholder. 

Usually, you’ll earn a certain amount of points or miles per dollar spent with a travel credit card. Most card issuers let you redeem your points at a value of at least 1 cent per point. However, you may be able to boost that value for certain redemptions, like booking travel through the issuer’s portal or transferring to travel partners. Travel credit cards are more likely than cash back cards to carry an annual fee, but usually come with travel credits and perks to offset the cost for frequent travelers. 

Cash back credit cards are more geared toward everyday spending, and offer a percentage back on each purchase. They typically don’t have an annual fee, so you can start getting value from your card right away. Most commonly, you’ll redeem cash back rewards for a statement credit on your account. You won’t get as many travel-related perks with these cards, but some do come with annual credits or travel and purchase protection benefits.

If you’re not a frequent traveler, you may benefit from a cash back card that still offers rewards and perks that you can use on vacation and for everyday use. You’ll have more flexibility to redeem your rewards for a statement credit, to apply to other purchases without losing value. But if you’re a frequent traveler and value free flights and hotel stays, a travel credit card can help upgrade your travel experiences and save money on your vacations. 

Co-Branded vs General Travel Credit Cards

If you’re loyal to one airline or hotel, you may choose a co-branded credit card to get more perks with the brand you use the most. You’ll earn the most rewards when you make purchases with that specific hotel or airline, and may get other benefits like elite status, upgrades, and more.

For instance, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. You’ll also earn points on other purchases, like 3 points at restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points on all other eligible purchases, but get the most rewards on Marriott spending. You’ll also get the best value from your points when you redeem them for nights and purchases at a Marriott resort or hotel. 

With general travel credit cards, you’ll still earn the most rewards on travel purchases. But you’re not limited to a single hotel or airline brand. You’ll earn rewards on more general travel spending — such as flights booked directly with airlines or travel booked through the issuer’s rewards portal — and you’ll have more flexibility in your redemption options. Instead of getting the most value by redeeming your rewards towards one brand, you’ll get more out of redeeming your points using your credit card issuer’s travel portal or transferring to travel partners to get the best deal and maximize your rewards. 

If you’re focused on getting the best deal for your trips, you may choose a travel card to have more options and flexibility. But if you often book with the same airline or enjoy hotel-specific perks, you’ll get more of those benefits with a co-branded credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s the difference between points and miles on a credit card?

A point and a mile are two rewards currencies that you can get from a rewards credit card. Miles are most valuable when you redeem them directly for airline travel, though some cards allow you to redeem your miles for other things as well. Points are more flexible, and can generally be redeemed for a ton of different things from airline travel, to goods and services, to gift cards.

How much is a point or mile worth on a travel credit card?

A mile is generally worth one mile of airline travel, and while points values vary, a baseline is 1 point = 1 cent.

What credit score do I need to get a travel rewards credit card?

This will depend on the card, issuer, and your personal credit history, but you’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a good travel rewards card.

How many miles do you need for a free flight?

The number of miles you need to get a free flight depends on your travel itinerary and the site you’re using to book. It can depend on your preferred airline, departure and arrival locations, times, days of the week, travel class, and more. 

Many airline programs use dynamic pricing, so flights to different destinations, or even flights to the same destination booked at different times can greatly vary in price. Keep in mind that your miles also may not cover applicable local sales tax or other fees.

How does travel insurance work?

How your travel insurance works can depend on your card issuer and insurance plan. Generally, travel insurance covers money lost before or during your trip due to unforeseen circumstances.

For instance, if you become sick before your trip and need to cancel, you may file a claim through your travel insurance to recover fees that weren’t refunded. Travel insurance can also help you with other costs, such as medical emergencies, car rental loss and damage, or lost or delayed luggage.

How do I know if my card offers rental car insurance?

Whether your card covers rental car insurance and the details of your coverage are listed on the card issuer’s site, as well as in your individual card agreement. You may also call your travel rewards credit card issuer using the number on the back of your card to ask if rental car insurance is included in your card’s benefits.

Can you pair travel credit cards together?

You can pair travel credit card, anduse them to maximize the value of your travel. However, you should carefully evaluate your travel spending and the benefits of each card you consider before you apply. Because these cards usually have annual fees, and may offer similar rewards that help make up the cost of those fees, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the maximum value of each card in your wallet.

You’ll also want to strategize how you redeem your rewards with multiple travel cards, especially if they’re issued by different credit card companies or earn rewards under different loyalty programs. Because you may not be able to pool your rewards and redeem them together, make sure you compare redemptions to get the best value before you book.

Can you pool travel points with another person?

You may be able to pool travel points with another person to earn points faster and maximize your options when redeeming them. Check with your issuer about specific requirements, though, since you may only be able to pool points with other members of your household, such as a spouse or partner.

Methodology

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

To determine the best travel rewards cards, we evaluate travel rewards cards currently available from major card issuers with an eye for those most valuable to a broad range of cardholders. We prioritize cards with flexible rewards in both travel and everyday categories, as well as added benefits that help offset annual fees. Each card must charge no foreign transaction fees and offer travel and purchase protections to make our list. Other details considered for our final picks include specific rewards categories, added benefits and perks, welcome offer, redemption value, rewards program, and how well the card serves its stated purpose.

*All information about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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

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

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, click here

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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