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Best Travel Credit Cards

The 7 Best Travel Credit Cards

When traveling, you’re probably on the lookout for ways to maximize the rewards and benefits you can receive through certain travel cards– if these aren’t an incentive to book a flight overseas, we don’t know what is. With certain credit cards, you can earn travel miles, rewards, benefits and points which can then be redeemed at airports or through certain companies to earn free upgrades, free flights, complimentary rewards, etc.

You can earn points simply through purchases with the credit card– but, there are certain travel cards that can offer you more benefits than others. Let’s take a look at some of the best credit cards to use while traveling that will earn you the best rewards and benefits.

How to Choose the Best Travel Card for You

If you tend to purchase a lot of things while on vacation or traveling, then you’ll likely get the most out of using a travel card, which can act as an incentive for purchasing or traveling. In order to work out which travel card you should be selecting, here are some of the key factors to consider when choosing a travel credit card:

Compare Cash Back vs Points: Generally, points can work out to be worth more than cash back when used in a travel setting, i.e. for hotels, flights or purchases. Cash back, on the other hand, may mean you have more flexibility on more general purchases that are unrelated to travel. If you are a frequent traveler, you may benefit more from a points card as opposed to a cashback credit card, as you may earn more points and more benefits this way.

Annual Fees: Some credit cards charge annual fees which can vary depending on the bank and the card type, or the amount of rewards offered. While annual fees may put people off from using certain cards, annual fees may indicate that benefits offered by the card are higher than others. The rewards you earn from using the cards may cancel out the amount you pay in annual fees.

7 Best Travel Credit Cards

You may have heard of some of these cards, and some may be completely new to you, but here we will break down the top 7 best travel credit cards in terms of points, rewards, miles and benefits earned.

1. Capital One Venture X

Cited as one of the best travel cards purely for the benefits it offers, Venture X is a favorite of travelers across the US. Let’s find out why:

Best for: Luxury travel

Miles earned: You can earn up to 75,000 miles on this card. This is only after you have purchases to the value of $4,000. Double miles can be earned on certain purchases like hotels, car rentals and flights.

Annual Fee: $395

Additional Benefits:

  • Rewards can be redeemed for travel expenses.
  • Other account members can enjoy the rewards you gain
  • Miles don’t expire
  • Free miles on certain travel purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary access to Capital One and Partner Lounges across worldwide locations

Credit Score Needed: Excellent.

*Due to the high credit score and good credit history needed to apply and be approved for this card, Capital Venture X is considered to be reasonably hard to acquire. Those without an Excellent score may face long pending or approval periods.

Capital One Venture X

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Another popular travel card, this, along with Chase Sapphire Reserve card can earn you some great benefits and rewards on travel. This card is popular arguably due to the benefits available and the low annual fee, and is often ranked for best overall benefits and ease of use.

Best for: Frequent luxury or economy travel

Miles/Points Earned: 60,000 Introductory Points after spending $4,000 on purchases. Additional points on travel purchases such as hotels, food and shopping can be gained.

Annual Fee: $95

Additional Benefits:

  • Travel / Purchase Insurance
  • No foreign transfer or transaction fees
  • Up to $50 in statement credit– available on anniversary and can be redeemed for hotel stays when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Hassle-free spending as and when required
  • 24/7 usage

Credit Required for Eligibility: Good/Excellent

Chase Sapphire Preferred

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Much like its sister card Chase Sapphire Preferred, this card has similar introductory benefits and rewards, but can offer slightly higher amounts for travel credit and annual fees, making it a better option for more frequent travelers.

Best for: Frequent travel

Miles/Points Earned: 60,000 introductory points when spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of acquiring the card. Earn $900 towards travel when you redeem purchases using Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn additional points/benefits on shopping, dining and accommodation.

Annual Fee: $550

Additional Benefits:

  • $300 travel credit
  • Free airport lounge access for over 1,300 worldwide airports
  • Excellent partner benefits– transfer points across accounts easily
  • Purchase insurance and protection
  • No foreign transfer fees

Credit Score Needed for Approval: Very Good/Excellent (700+)

Chase Sapphire Reserve

4. American Express Platinum

A favorite of frequent luxury travelers, the rewards and benefits offered by this card arguably justify the high annual fee and credit score needed for approval. The high introductory offer acts as an incentive for travelers to opt for this card.

Best for: Luxury travel, larger reward scheme

Miles/Points Earned: Earn 80,000 membership points after spending 8,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of using this card.

Annual Fee: $695

Additional Benefits:

  • $200 Hotel Credit when booked with AMEX
  • Complimentary airport lounge access in over 140 countries
  • Luggage benefits
  • 5x credits on flights and hotels
  • No foreign transfer fees
  • Travel insurance + cancelation protection
  • Car rental benefits (certain suppliers/companies)
  • Hilton & Marriott Hotels gold status benefits

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent (General Score: 700+)

*No cashback is offered for this card, but points can be redeemed and statement credits can be earned through specific purchases.

American Express Platinum

5. Discover It Miles

One of the best travel cards with no annual fees, the Discover card is perfect for more infrequent or economy travelers due to its flexible spending policy. You can also redeem any statement credits you receive into cash.

Best for: Cashback

Miles/Points Earned: 16,200 miles, which is equivalent to around $162. After your first year, this amount increases to 32,400 miles, or $324. Plus, you will automatically receive 1.5x unlimited miles for every dollar you spend.

Annual Fee: $0

Additional Benefits:

  • Every mile matched
  • Unlimited miles that won’t expire
  • Miles can be redeemed for cash
  • No minimum spend

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

Discover It Miles

6. Wells Fargo Autograph Card

With this card, you can redeem the points you earn for cashback and experience no foreign conversion fees, making it perfect for more infrequent travelers. You’ll also be pleased to know that this card has no annual fees. Great general purchases too.

Best for: Cashback, infrequent travel, general credit

Miles/Points Earned: 20,000 points after spending $1000 on purchases within 3 months of card membership. This can be redeemed for around $200 in cash.

Annual Fee: $0

Additional Benefits:

  • Travel Insurance
  • 3x points on various purchases
  • No foreign conversion fees (converting to the local currency)
  • Protection of valuables (cell phones, etc)
  • Unlimited points no matter the purchase

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

Wells Fargo Autograph Card

7. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Perhaps an underrated card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred card is a favorite among business travelers who want a reliable and worthwhile credit card for overseas purchases, although the card is also ideal for all types of travel. Points earned through this card can be redeemed for cash back.

Best for: Business travel, cash back, large introductory bonus

Miles/Points Earned: 100,000 points after spending $8,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. This can be redeemed for $1,000 cash back or travel rewards. Rewards are flexible and redeemable in most cases.

Annual Fee: $95

Additional Benefits:

  • Travel/purchase insurance
  • No foreign exchange or transaction fees
  • 3X points on certain purchases, including business and travel
  • Redeemable rewards and cash back
  • Rewards never expire
  • Low annual fee

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

Overall, the type of card you should select greatly depends on your spending habits, how often you travel and what kind of traveler you are, i.e luxury, business, etc. Cards with a higher annual fee often include more rewards and benefits, so as to justify the annual fee price and act as a purchase or travel incentive.

If you are a frequent luxury traveler, cards with higher annual fees may be best for you, as the amount of travel can raise your card’s miles and earn you rewards or credit statements. Ideal cards for you would be AMEX Platinum, Venture X or Chase Sapphire Preferred.

If you’d prefer cash-back instead of travel rewards, and travel less frequently, choose Discover Card or Wells Fargo Autograph for more general purchase rewards and greater cash back. Most of these cards require an excellent credit score, so ensure your personal credit meets the eligibility criteria.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

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