February 29, 2024

Best Travel Credit Cards

The best travel credit cards offer a lot of flexibility and value through their rewards…

Best Travel Credit Cards

The best travel credit cards offer a lot of flexibility and value through their rewards programs and additional perks. While many of our top choices charge steep annual fees, they also provide ways for even casual travelers to make up for them and still enjoy top-tier perks like travel credits, airport lounge access, and more. There are also some solid options for people who prefer to limit their annual fees or even avoid them altogether. As you consider your travel habits, here are some of the top options to consider.



Capital One Venture X

This relatively new premium credit card from Capital One offers a lot of value for its $395 annual fee, and you don’t have to do a lot to make up for that yearly charge in card benefits alone. Here’s what you’ll get with the Capital One Venture X:


  • 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, five miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel and two miles per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your miles for travel at a rate of 1 cent per mile by booking through Capital One Travel or booking on your own with the card and requesting a statement credit.
  • Transfer your miles to 17 airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • 10,000-mile anniversary bonus.
  • $300 annual travel credit for bookings through Capital One Travel.
  • Up to a $100 credit toward your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges within the Priority Pass, Plaza Premium Lounges, and Capital One Lounge networks.
  • Access to reservations at exclusive restaurants and tickets to various culinary experiences.
  • Various trip protections, including primary auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, lost luggage reimbursement, and travel accident insurance.



Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you like the flexibility of Capital One Venture Miles but don’t want the high annual fee, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and its $95 annual fee may be a better choice. Here’s what the card offers:


  • 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • Five miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and two miles per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your miles for travel at a rate of 1 cent per mile by booking through Capital One Travel or booking on your own with the card and requesting a statement credit.
  • Transfer your miles to 17 airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • Up to a $100 credit toward your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Two complimentary lounge visits each year with the Plaza Premium Lounges and Capital One Lounge networks.
  • Complimentary Hertz Five Star elite status, which provides a wider selection of rental cars and the ability to skip the counter.
  • Five miles per dollar on Turo car rentals through May 16, 2023.
  • Access to reservations at exclusive restaurants and tickets to various culinary experiences.
  • Trip protections include auto rental collision damage waiver and travel accident insurance.



Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides a lot of premium travel perks, as well as some other valuable lifestyle benefits. While its stiff $550 annual fee is a bit harder to make up for than the Venture X Card’s, it’s still doable for savvy credit card users. Here’s what you can expect:


  • 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Chase Dining purchases; five points per dollar on flights booked through Chase; three points per dollar on other travel worldwide and other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out; and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your rewards for travel through Chase or for statement credits on rotating categories and get 1.5 cents per point in value.
  • Transfer your points to 14 airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • Up to a $100 credit toward your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $300 annual travel credit. 
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.
  • $10 monthly statement credit toward GoPuff orders through Dec. 31, 2023.
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for at least one year if you activate by Dec. 31, 2024, plus $5 in monthly DoorDash credits.
  • Complimentary 12-month Instacart+ membership plus $15 in monthly statement credits toward Instacart orders.
  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through Mar. 31, 2025.
  • Various trip protections, including primary auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, and emergency evacuation and transportation.



Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s sister card doesn’t offer the same premium perks, but you also don’t have to pay as much to carry the card with its $95 annual fee. Here’s what the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers:


  • 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • Five points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; three points per dollar on select streaming services, online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs) and on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out; two points per dollar on other travel purchases; and one point per dollar on everything else.
  • Travel rewards redeemable through Chase or for statement credits on rotating categories get 1.25 cents per point in value.
  • Points transferable to 14 airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • Up to $50 in annual statement credits toward hotel stays booked through Chase.
  • $10 monthly statement credit toward GoPuff orders through Dec. 31, 2023.
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for at least one year if you activate by Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Complimentary six-month Instacart+ membership plus $15 in quarterly statement credits toward Instacart orders.
  • Five points per dollar on Lyft rides through Mar. 31, 2025.
  • Various trip protections, including primary auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement. 



The Platinum Card from American Express

One of the most expensive travel credit cards on the market, the Platinum Card from American Express has a $695 annual fee. However, frequent travelers can get far more than that back in value every year. Here’s what the card has to offer:


  • 100,000 bonus points when you spend $6,000 in the first three months from account opening, plus an introductory 0% APR on eligible charges for six months.
  • Five points per dollar spent on flights booked with airlines or through the American Express Travel portal (up to 500,000 per year), five points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your points for travel at up to 1 cent per point with American Express. 
  • Transfer your points to 20 airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • Up to a $100 credit toward your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Up to $200 in incidental airline fee credits with one qualifying airline each calendar year.
  • Up to $200 in Uber cash benefits each calendar year. That’s up to $15 most months and $35 in December. 
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits each calendar year ($20 per month) toward subscription fees with Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment is required to receive this benefit.
  • Up to $200 in hotel credits each calendar year on select prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings when you stay at least two nights and book through American Express Travel. 
  • Up to $300 in credits each calendar year ($25 per month) toward a monthly membership to Equinox All Access, Destination or E by Equinox, or for Equinox+.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits each calendar year ($50 every six months) toward purchases made with Saks Fifth Avenue or on saks.com. 
  • Complimentary CLEAR membership, which expedites airport security.
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges through The Centurion Lounge, American Express Global Lounge Collection, Airspace Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Escape Lounge, Priority Pass Select, Plaza Premium and Lufthansa networks.
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status with Hilton Honors when you enroll. 
  • Complimentary Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, and National Car Rental Emerald Club status.



Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

If you’re thinking about just dipping your toes in the water of travel rewards, or you generally like to avoid fees, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card could be a great fit with its $0 annual fee. Here’s what you’ll get with the card:


  • 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days from account opening, plus an introductory 0% APR on purchases and on balance transfers made within the first 60 days for 18 billing cycles.
  • Three points per dollar on travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Earn up to 75% more rewards as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, which requires at least $20,000 in deposits between eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts.
  • Redeem points for travel through Bank of America at a rate of 1 cent per point.


While the card doesn’t offer any valuable benefits beyond its rewards program, it can be a great option for casual travelers who are unsure about paying a big annual fee.



How to Choose the Right Travel Credit Card for You

There’s no single credit card out there that’s the best fit for everyone. As such, it’s important that you take the time to consider your travel goals and spending habits to determine the right fit for you. Many of these cards offer bonus rewards on select spending categories, so if you spend a lot in one or two areas, try to find a card that will reward you more for those purchases.


While some of these cards charge hefty annual fees, if you travel often enough, it can be easy to make up for them. Look for benefits and features that are the most important to you and the type of experience you want to have. And don’t forget that most of the top travel rewards credit cards require good or excellent credit, which means a credit score of 670 or above. If you’re not there yet, take some time to work on building your credit before you apply.