7 Best Travel Credit Cards

best credit cards for travel - singapore finance district

Travel credit cards have grown to become a valuable part of airline travel, especially among regular travelers. Travel credit cards are reward cards that help users earn free travel, attain elite member status with airlines and hotels, and enjoy many other travel-related perks. Basically, travel credit cards work by rewarding users with points or miles that can be spent on travel expenses and if you are loyal to a particular airline or hotel chain, you should consider getting that company’s branded credit card.

In selecting a travel credit card, you should look to balance the benefits and the handicaps of the credit card. In doing this, some things you must consider include:

  • The type of points or miles the card offers
  • Are you earning rewards in a program run by the card issuer, or by a co-branded partner such as an airline or hotel chain?
  • How much value do you receive per point or mile redeemed?
Sometimes Credit Card points will let you upgrade to first class tickets

Your finances and needs also play a major role in determining which card works best for you. Here, we will be taking a look at the best travel credit cards available today and they include: 

7 great credit cards for travel

Capital One Venture

Capital One Venture travel card is an excellent choice for new travel hackers and miles collectors who intend to travel overseas on a regular basis. Basically, if you are an international traveler who’s looking to spend sparingly, this card is meant for you as it offers an impressive ease-of-use and is as straightforward as it is flexible.

It has a sign-up bonus of 50, 000 bonus miles for $3000 spent on the card within three months which is one of the best in today’s market. On every single purchase, you get twice the miles which means it is only a matter of time before you gather a substantial amount of points. It gets better as the points you gather don’t expire nor are there earning/spending caps to worry about.

Also, you don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees as you can make the most of Capital One’s CreditWise program which provides a range of tools that offers a range of tools to help you manage your credit score.

On the downside, the Capital One Venture card is a little elitist as you cannot apply for the card if you don’t have credit or have a poor credit history. The annual fee for the card is $95 which kicks in after the first year and the cash back option on the card is not fantastic neither are the credit statements. However, to get the most out of this card, you need to focus on its travel benefits cause there it truly excels.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s large sign-up bonus and generous travel allowance is a fair bargain for its massive $450 annual fee. Other benefits of the card are a $300 annual travel credit; $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit; zero foreign transaction fee; complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges; select Visa Infinite hotel, air, and car rental perks. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, car rental insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance and trip delay insurance are covered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. There’s also purchase protection; return protection; extended warranty; 24/7 customer service; exclusive events and experiences; zero fraud liability and an excellent year-end summary. If you travel often and want value for your money, this card is one of the “must haves” out there.

Other high-value benefits include zero blackout or expiration dates; no point limits and easily redeemable points for gift cards, travel merchandise and cash back. You could also pay for travel with partial points while getting a 50% bonus on travel rewards redeemed through the Chase website. Unfortunately, to access all those goodies, you need excellent credit. You will also get lower rewards value for merchandise while paying an exorbitant annual fee. To be honest, it is a bit pricey for the average spender.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Travelers who are looking for beginning points are advised to get this card. This is because it offers a huge intro bonus, great rewards rates, transferrable points, and trip cancellation insurance (which is great to have). Once you travel at least three times a year you should apply for this card. Especially if you make travel-related expenses. Sadly, its statement credits provide poor point value as you must redeem or use point transfers to get the best value for your travel expenses. You will also experience lower reward value for merchandise. However, with its 2x points on travel and dining, rich signup bonus, great insurance, and no foreign transaction fees policy makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is great for international travel. It also allows you to combine points from other Chase cards. Check this out. You get 60,000 potential bonus points to earn and a 25% point bonus whenever you redeem rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You are also allowed to transfer points at a rate of 1:1 while getting loads of travel and shopping protection.

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

With this travel credit card, you are not limited to specific websites so you can book your journeys however and to wherever you want. You can also redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, rentals, and vacation (among others) up to 12 months after making a travel purchase. The card offers a great sign-up bonus (25,000 points) and valuable reward on all purchases (earn 1.5x points on all purchases with no limits).

It’s also a flexible travel credit card that allows you to travel whenever you want. The best part is that it allows you to travel based on your rewards especially as there are no limits on points earned.

The downsides are that the card has no bonus reward category, no balance transfer and your cash redemption is only 0.006 per point.

Although the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card might not be as flashy as some other travel rewards cards, it’s one of the best—especially if you want to avoid an annual fee. Therefore, if you are looking for good rewards and the ability to use your card overseas without incurring fees, then the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is your best bet. It’s perfect for people who want to travel internationally but can’t afford a premium travel card.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

With this card, you can earn rewards without worrying about loss in value due to fees incurred. With a $0 annual fee, you’ll earn rewards while paying next to nothing to carry the card just as long as you pay your balance each month. It is well suited for international travel and since there are no foreign transaction fees and it is widely accepted.

Travel Credit Card   Reward Rates Annual Fee Yearly Reward Value Intro Bonus
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card 10X Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels;1.25X Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day   $0 $293 20,000miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening  
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 10X Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels;2X Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day $95 after the first year which is free $447         50,000 points
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 2X 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide 1X 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases   $95 $412   60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months    
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card 3X Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in 3X Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares, and transit 3X Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals 1X Earn 1X points on other purchases   $0 $383 30,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card   1.5x on all purchases $0 $322 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  Chase Sapphire Reserve   $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, 3x points on dining, $300 in annual travel reimbursement, lounge access, and 50% more point redemption value via Chase Ultimate Rewards   $450     50,000points
The Platinum Card from American Express       5:1 flight booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel   5:1 eligible hotel booked with amextravel.com    1:1 general purchase    $550 $797 60,000 points

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card allows you to rack up 1.25 miles for every $1 spent which in addition to other perks makes this card a must have. So if you choose to travel aboard with it, you will be able to save a lot of money since the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

The interest rate is reasonable – although not great – the array of other features makes VentureOne Rewards Card worthy of consideration although it is not the most popular card out there. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is best suited for people who do not travel a lot or spend enough on credit cards to pay annual fees. It allows you to travel when you want without blackout dates, foreign transaction fees or threats of expired miles. What’s more, there are no limits to miles earned.

However, your reward value will be reduced if you want cash back and if you are looking for a rewards card that will gain miles quickly, this is the wrong card to have, given the 1.25 mile per $1 ratio.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card offers you three points for every $1 spent on travel-related purchases and does not limit you a lot when you choose to redeem your points. You are allowed to redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards, digital downloads or get your cash back. You can also donate your points to charity, a family member or friend.

One other great thing about this card is that you can combine its rewards using other Wells Fargo cards in the program. The best part is that you are allowed to pool rewards with family and friends so that way you and your friends and family have better trips when you travel.

On the downside, for the transferability of points outside loyalty programs; a minimum of 2,500 points is required for airline tickets and the fact that flights have to be redeemed via Go Far Rewards.

The Platinum Card from American Express

These cards are meant for the rich and classy section of society. They are designed to allow those living the high-end lifestyle to enjoy it even more. This card is somewhat like a magic wand that unlocks an extensive array of benefits. It has the potential to turn a comfortable trip into a travel experience of a lifetime: automatic upgrades, premium services, exclusive access, and other benefits.

However, it offers limited rewards earning. You won’t earn more than 1 point per dollar with The Platinum Card® from American Express. It is what it is.

Best Credit Card for Travel?

In conclusion, the different credit cards come with their unique perks so it’s important you take the time to research what works for you. Although there are travel credit cards that offer their cards out even though your credit score is poor, it’s better you fix your credit before you consider getting a travel credit card as only then can you maximize the benefits which premium credit cards offer.

We also advise you to remain aware of your card’s point-earning rates. Which means if your card offers a higher rate on dining, you’d need to prioritize using it in such instances. It’s also possible a travel credit card is not even right for your particular lifestyle especially if you don’t travel much.

Frequently asked questions about Travel Credit Cards

Is it worth getting a travel credit card?

If you are traveling a lot, credit cards will earn you valuable points to use during your trips, or exchange for upgrades. Some credit cards also include travel insurance. With these things in mind you might find a travel credit card useful.

What is the best card for airline miles?

Usually the airline companies or the alliances themselves can recommend a card that suits you. What is the best card depends on which airline you fly the most with.

What is the best travel credit card with no annual fee?

There are a lot of travel credit cards without annual fees, so which the bests one for you is depends on what kind of benefits you like and which airline you fly the most.

Are airline credit cards worth it?

If you fly a lot and pay the bills on time, the airline credit cards are usually worth it for the points, rewards, upgrades and insurance.

Images: Gary Bembridge, Ray in Manila

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