Best Travel Credit Cards

Whether you’re taking a gap year, traveling during the summer or just trying to get home for Christmas, travel can put a strain on your budget. Your best bet is to find a card that works as hard as you do. By finding something with perks, low interest, and flexible options, you’ll never have to miss spring break in Boca or Thanksgiving with the fam. We’ve rounded up our favorite travel cards here.

Best travel credit card for flexibility: Capital One® Venture®

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

Why it’s best

Some cards force you into brand loyalty, which could mean spending more for travel just to get your points and discounts. But the Capital One Venture card transfers your points to 14 different travel partners, so you get to shop around for the best deals. And, with two miles for every dollar you spend, you’ll rack them up even faster. Capital One really hangs their hat on being fuss-free, and the Venture card is one of the easiest for point redemption on travel, cash back and upgrades.

Bonus Points

  • 50,000 bonus points if you hit $3K in spending the first three months 
  • Your first year is free ($95 annual fee after that) 
  • Up to $3K in lost luggage insurance and $250K in travel accident insurance

Best travel credit card for points on a budget:  Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why it’s best

If you love the idea of getting points fast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a low-cost credit card with a great points allowance program without the high annual fee. You’ll get an extremely generous double points for travel and restaurants, and one point for everything else. It’s easy to rack up points quickly and Chase makes it easy to redeem them (and at a 1.5x rate if you choose to redeem them for travel with any of their airline transfer partners). 

Bonus Points

  • 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4K in the first three months (which equals $750 in free travel).
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Low annual fee of $95

Best travel credit card for VIP perks:  Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why it’s best

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest travel cards on the market because it comes with some incredible VIP perks. From airline lounges throughout the world to a $300 annual travel credit (that offsets the relatively high $450 annual fee), the Sapphire Reserve makes it easy to rack up points with 3x on travel and food purchases. You’ll also get a 1.5x point bonus if you redeem your points for travel through their rewards portal.  

Bonus Points

  • Waived Global Entry and TSA Pre-check fees
  • No blackout dates for travel or redemption
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4K in the first three months.

Best travel credit card for no-fee travel rewards:  Wells Fargo Propel®

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value.

Why it’s best

Love the idea of a points card but can’t stomach the high fees? The Wells Fargo Propel card offers the most without any pesky nickel-and-diming. There’s no annual fee and what’s more, you’ll still get 3x the points on travel, dining, and streaming services. It might not be as exclusive as other cards, but you’ll still bonus points and flexible travel.

Bonus Points

  • 30,000 bonus points after spending $3K in the first three months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first year

Best travel credit card for ridesharing: American Express® Platinum Card®

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Why it’s best

While it’s one of the most expensive credit card options (a $550 annual fee), the American Express Platinum is heavy on the perks. You’ll score VIP status with Uber and $15 in free rides every month. The card also offers a whopping 100,000 bonus points for spending $5K in the first three months. With a $200 travel credit and $200 baggage allowance each year, this card also gives you 5x the point if you redeem them for travel and VIP benefits at a bevy of hotels around the world. 

Bonus Points

  • Gold Elite status with Marriott and Hilton hotels
  • Access to partner airport lounges all over the world
  • $20 bonus Uber credit in December and up to $100 in statement credits at Saks Fifth Avenue

Best travel credit card for newbies:  Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles
Discover it® Miles
Unlimited Bonus: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.

Why it’s best

If you’re just learning about travel rewards cards, all of the terms, conditions and rewards redemption options can be confusing. The Discover It® Miles card helps relieve some of that confusion by making travel and points simple. You don’t need to worry about which categories earn which points: every transaction earns 1.5 miles per dollar, period. Each mile is worth one cent, and you can redeem them for a credit after booking travel. No need to worry about blackout dates. Simple, easy, and no confusing small print. 

Bonus Points

  • No annual fee and no interest for the first 14 months
  • You can use miles for travel or for a statement credit
  • Discover matches mile earnings for the first 12 months

Jae Curtis

Personal finance writer