What Is The Best Travel Rewards Card
We think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best overall travel rewards card, but the best card for your particular situation will depend on what benefits you care about the most, as well as how you feel about paying a high annual fee.
We’d recommend opening a travel rewards card that earns Amex or Chase points, since these are among the easiest rewards to redeem and you have various travel partners to utilize. But if you’ve investigated your options and are confident that you can get value out of their rewards, cards that earn Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou points can make sense as well.
How To Redeem Miles From A Credit Card
Different rewards credit cards offer different redemption options. For example, co-branded rewards cards allow you to redeem your rewards for flights or hotels directly with that airline or hotel chain. Chase and American Express cards will also allow you to redeem your points through their flexible travel portals, which can maximize the value of your rewards and offer a wider variety of redemption partners.
Should I Get A Cashback Or Travel Credit Card
When it comes to cash back versus miles, the answer is all about your spending habits and how you prefer to redeem rewards. If you travel at least a few times per year, it’s often wiser to go for a travel credit card because they come with additional benefits that make travel easier and more affordable. However, if you don’t travel often or don’t want to spend your rewards on travel, a cashback card is usually a better option.
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How Does Travel Credit Card Insurance Work
Across the country, Americans are taking advantage of travel credit cards as a simple way to pay for their vacations. From airline miles to points that can be redeemed for hotel stays and more, these programs can be incredibly beneficial to anyone who wants to travel for a fraction of the cost.
Yet, what many cardholders do not realize is that travel credit cards offer advantages beyond points and miles. For example, most travel credit cards offer insurance that can be incredibly important as you traverse the country and the globe.
Travel insurance through credit cards can be very valuable, as it protects users from a number of potentially bad situations. This includes trip interruption or delay, trip cancellation, lost baggage, accidents that happen while you travel, rental car insurance, and even stolen property while you are on your trip.
The way it works is relatively simple: if you book your trip with a travel credit card, you will likely have some form of protection if these events occur. Read on to learn more about how you can gain access to these protections just by using your travel credit card.
Trip interruption or delay insurance
Rental car collision insurance
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Lost baggage insurance
Stolen property insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
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Travel accident insurance
Best Hotel Card: World Of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt loyalty program is way of ahead of its competitors and this card is the best way to enjoy premium card benefits.
- Earn up to 60,000 bonus points after meeting purchase requirements
- Receive a free-night-stay certificate each year, and a second after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
- Receive entry level status and earn night stay credits towards higher status
- 4x points at Hyatt plus 2x points on transit, restaurants, flights, fitness clubs and gyms
- $95 annual fee
- Hyatt has moved to a more dynamic award pricing system which will charge more points for the most desirable properties during peak travel.
The World of Hyatt card really let’s you unlock more value from the popular loyalty program, as it offers plenty of bonus points, free-night-stay certificates and credits towards elite status. To start, you can earn up to 60,000 bonus points earn the first 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening and another 30,000 points more by earning 2x points per dollar spent on purchases within first six months of account opening.
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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best For Flexible Travel Credit
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers you double miles on all purchases, which are worth one cent each as statement credits towards any travel purchase.
- Earn up to 60,000 bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within 12 months of account opening
- Receive 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with no limits
- Miles are worth one cent each as travel statement credits or can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points, most at a 1:1 ratio.
- Receive up to $100 in credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee
- $95 annual fee
The Venture Rewards card is great for those who want to make travel reservations the same way they always have, but pay for them with rewards. Youll earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Points can be redeemed for statement credits towards travel reservations at a rate of one cent per point, or you can use your rewards for shopping when you check out with PayPal. This card also lets you transfer miles to participating airline partners like British Airways, Air France, JetBlue and Wyndham hotels. Youll enjoy a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck, and there is a $95 annual fee for this card.
Perks And Benefits Of The Chase Sapphire Preferred
Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDashs subscription service. Activate by 03/31/22.
Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides, through March 2022.
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Best For Luxury Travel
Who’s this for? The Discover it Miles card comes with a generous rewards program all for zero annual fee that makes it a standout among travel cards.
The Discover it Miles card offers users unlimited 1.5X miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. But for higher spenders, Discover offers a welcome bonus that’s hard to beat: It will do a mile-for-mile match of all miles earned the first year . If you rack up 35,000 miles within the first 12 months, Discover will match you with 35,000 miles. That’s a total of 70,000 miles or $700 toward travel.
With this card, there are no blackout dates when you pay for travel purchases using your card. And, you can easily redeem miles as a statement credit for travel, restaurant or gas station purchases, as well as a deposit to your bank account. The best part is, miles earned never expire even if your account is closed.
New Travel Credit Card Strategy: How To Choose Your Next Credit Card For 2022
Perhaps your 2022 goals include being smarter with your finances and credit card strategy so that you can maximize points and get rewarded for your regular purchases. With a bit of extra care and consideration of your needs and spending habits, you can choose the best travel credit card that allows you to benefit greatly. These tips will help you choose your next credit card for 2019.
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Travel Cards Are For Travelers
Travel cards vs. cash-back cards
The very first question to ask yourself when choosing a travel credit card is: Should I get a travel card at all? Travel credit cards are best for frequent travelers, who are more likely to get enough value from rewards and perks to make up for the annual fees that the best travel credit cards charge. A NerdWallet study found that those who travel only occasionally say, once a year will probably get greater overall rewards from cash-back credit cards, most of which charge no annual fee, than from a travel card.
American Express Platinum: Best For Travel Perks
If you expect to be back in the skies often in 2022, The Platinum Card from American Express provides many elite VIP benefits when you traveland a few even when you arent.
Right now, new card members can earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership, plus a whopping 10 points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. for the first six months after you open the account, up to $25,000 in combined purchases.
The Points Guy values American Express Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, making this offer worth as much as $2,000, plus any additional points you earn from the limited-time 10x bonus categories.
The list of benefits that come with the Amex Platinum card are endless. But with a $695 annual fee , youll have to make sure you can use those benefits.
One of the most popular perks that comes with the card is access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world, including Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass Select lounges . Youll also receive complimentary Marriott Gold and Hilton Gold elite status , which offers special perks such as room upgrades , complimentary breakfast at participating properties, bonus points on paid rates and more.
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The Platinum Card From American Express: Best Luxury Travel Card
Why we picked it: The popular premium card from American Express comes fully-loaded with travel benefits, including luxury lounge access, Hilton Honors gold status , which entitles you to free Wi-Fi, late checkout and room upgrades , and a laundry list of travel credits thatll help you recoup its pricey $695 annual fee. Those credits include an up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as up to $200 in annual Uber Cash credits for rides or eats in the U.S. .
Pros: For base rewards, cardholders earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X points on eligible prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. They also receive 1X points on general purchases. The card currently touts a generous welcome offer: You can earn 100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in your first six months, which we estimate to be worth around $1,000 when you book through AmexTravel . Plus, youll receive 10X points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. in your first six months.
Who should apply? This card ticks off all the boxes for big spenders and frequent travelers looking for luxury travel perks, particularly complimentary airport lounge access.
Who should skip? Infrequent travelers who wont use the card benefits enough to justify the annual fee should look elsewhere.
What Are The Best Travel Credit Cards Right Now
With its welcome bonus of 50,000 points and 3x points for general travel and dining, Chase Sapphire Reserve is our current top pick for the best travel credit card for most people. American Express Gold Card has emerged as the best card for foodies, while The Platinum Card from American Express is the choice for first-class flyers.
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Best Overall: American Express Gold Card
Rewards rate: 1x 4x
Annual fee: $250
Editors thoughts: This card offers a generous welcome bonus, has some of the highest bonus category rewards rates, and comes with a variety of added benefits
The American Express® Gold Card is our top-rated card for travel. New cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $4,000 within the first six months of account opening.
The $250 annual fee can be covered each year as long as you use this card for dining, groceries, and booking flights. Additionally, there are credits youll receive as an added benefit for being a cardholder.
Here is the rewards rate breakdown:
- 4x points on restaurants
- 4x points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year
- 3x points on flights booked directly with the airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1x points on other purchases
Blue Cash Preferred: Best For Groceries
Even as travel returns, you might prefer a credit card that puts cash right in your pocket. Thats where the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express comes into play, and right now, new card members can earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first six months after opening an account.
The card also currently comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 per year thereafter . That means youre easily coming out ahead in the first year, and the $3,000 minimum spending requirement averages out to just $500 per month.
The Blue Cash Preferred is also one of the best cards to use for groceries, since youll earn 6% cash back as a statement credit on up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases each year . With home-cooked meals becoming more popular over the last year, this could mean some serious cash back.
Youll also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions with the Blue Cash Preferred, 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations and 1% on all other purchases. But if youd prefer a card that never has an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express might be the better choice. It offers less in cash back and has a smaller welcome offer, but it could make sense if you dont spend that much on groceries each year.
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The Best Travel Credit Cards For Every Type Of Traveler
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Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. We don’t review or include all companies, or all available products. Moreover, the editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of Condé Nast Traveler’s editorial team.
There are several reasons someone might want to take out a travel credit card. For many, the driving factor is the ability to earn points that can later be turned into free flights or hotel staysbut the best travel credit cards also offer perks like free night certificates, elite status, trip delay protection, and annual travel credits that are pretty motivating, too.
Theres just one issue: Choosing one to go with. Theres no shortage of travel rewards credit cards out there, and while having plenty of options is great for consumers, it can also make things a little confusing.
The truth is, theres no single consensus pick. If you want to find the absolute best travel credit card for you, youll need to take into account a number of factorsincluding where you live, where you want to go, and your spending habits. All of this means that a card that’s great for you may not be such a hot pick for someone else.
Key Features In Finding The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
There is truly an overwhelming selection of travel rewards credit cards on the market, with options for just about every kind of traveler. So, to narrow down those options a bit, weve picked out the best travel rewards cards and compared their most appealing features. But before we break it down, there are a few key terms to understand.
Were comparing these based on a few features that might sway your decision:
Some travel rewards credit cards come with no annual fee, some come with a massive annual fee, and some waive their fee for the first year. Generally, the more you pay, the bigger the perks.
Dont cheat yourself out of points or miles by signing up for a travel card with no sign-up/welcome bonus. Once you decide on what kind of spending minimum you can reliably meet, you can compare the best travel rewards credit cards based on which will give you the most points for that initial spending.
Extra points or miles
Some travel cards will give you 2x points or miles on all of your purchases, and some will award as much as 5x points or miles on specific spending categories. Its worth the time to look through your recent credit card statements and compare the rewards you would have earned with different travel cards.
No foreign transaction fee
If youll be traveling abroad, having no foreign transaction fee is worth it, especially as many cards have this benefit.
Travel perks, benefits, and protections
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How Do You Choose The Best Travel Credit Card
The points and travel benefits that you accrue through a travel rewards program are often redeemed through your credit card issuer’s website or appear as a statement credit that reimburses you for past travel-related and everyday purchases you made with your travel credit card. Points or miles can also be transferred to travel partners — mostly hotels and airlines — at a fluctuating conversion rate, where they can then be used to book a flight or hotel room.
To choose the best travel credit card, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Annual fees: Every single travel rewards program reviewed here has annual fees, with some climbing as high as $695, but those fees are usually mitigated by monthly or annual credits.
- Exclusive perks: Some of these travel rewards card options also grant access to exclusive travel perks, like airline lounges, priority boarding or VIP welcomes at hotels. The value of those perks is subjective and something you’ll have to evaluate based on your needs and wants.
- Foreign transaction fees: None of the best travel cards makes users pay a foreign transaction fee, so a foreign transaction fee is not something you have to worry about with any of the credit cards recommended here.