Traveling is fun. Moving around the world experiencing new cultures is mind-blowing and a dream for many. But it does not come cheap. That is why you need a travel credit card to help cover the costs.
The beauty of travel credit cards is that they offer you a way to earn rewards for your spending. Money spent on traveling can be redeemed through gifts and other purchases.
Many different travel credit cards are available, so it can be hard to choose the right one. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you, and here is a list of the ten best travel credit cards of 2023.
What is a travel credit card?
A travel credit card is a type of credit card that offers rewards specifically designed to help cover travel expenses. These cards come with different benefits, such as travel insurance, dining, and airport lounge access.
Are travel credit cards worth it?
When it comes to travel, we all want the best bang for our buck. That’s why it’s important to choose a travel credit card that will give you the most rewards for your spending.
For starters, is it even worth owning a travel credit card? If you travel often, then the answer is most likely yes. Travel credit cards typically have high annual fees, but they also come with a lot of perks.
Some travel credit cards offer travel insurance, which can protect you in the event of a canceled flight or lost luggage. Other travel credit cards offer rewards like free hotel stays or rental car discounts.
In the end, it will come down to your likes and needs, plus a good credit score, to decide if a travel credit card is worth it.
What to look for in a travel credit card
To help make a better decision when choosing a travel credit card, here are some things to look for:
The signup bonus
Many travel credit cards offer a signup bonus worth thousands of dollars. Take advantage of the signup reward by meeting the spending requirement. It has been an open secret that certain travel credit cards offer exciting signup bonuses.
Some will reward you with free flight trips, while others will give you a huge amount of travel credit that can be used to offset the cost of your travel expenses. If you travel often, it is worth looking into these offers.
The annual fee
Some credit cards come with a yearly fee, while others do not. An infrequent traveler may go for cards with an annual fee. However, if traveling is not your thing, the card’s benefits may outweigh the cost of the annual fee.
Again, avoid credit cards with higher fees unless the travel benefits make it worth your while.
The interest rate
Travel credit cards are notorious for higher rates as compared to common credit cards. They are designed for people who travel often and may need to have a minimum monthly balance.
It’s prudent to look for a travel credit card with a lower interest rate. This will be helpful down the line.
The travel rewards program
Many travel credit cards offer a rewards program that allows you to earn points for every dollar you spend. These points can compensate for travel expenses like flights and hotels.
In general, most cards will offer rewards of between 2-3% of what you spend. This can add up quickly, so make sure to use your travel credit card for all of your travel expenses.
Make sure to choose a card that can resonate with your personality. If you travel occasionally, look for a card that offers fewer points but has other perks like travel insurance.
In addition to the rewards program, many travel credit cards offer other benefits like airport lounge access and travel insurance. If you often travel, these benefits can be worth a lot of money.
The foreign transaction fees
Many travel credit cards come with a foreign fee on most transactions. This is a charge given by the bank or card company for every purchase made outside the United States. If you plan to do a lot of travel outside of the country, look for a card with little or no such fees.
This will help you keep travel-related expenses low.
There comes a time when you may want to use your travel credit card for something other than travel. If this is the case, make sure that the card is transferable to other rewards programs.
This helps travelers gain the highest value from your travel rewards card. Additionally, the points transferability should be very straightforward. In this case, make sure that the card allows for point transfers.
As mentioned earlier, travel credit cards usually have an exorbitant interest as compared with other cards. They are designed for people who travel often and may need to maintain a monthly balance.
A low-interest rate travel credit card will work wonders for you as it is big on savings.
Look out for insurance coverage
In a bid to outdo their competitors, some travel credit cards offer travel insurance as part of their benefits.
This is a great perk if you often travel, as it can help you save money on travel insurance premiums.
However, ensure you comprehend what’s on the fine print before taking up any travel credit card with this benefit. Some cards only offer basic travel insurance coverage, while others may not cover you at all if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
General vs. Co-branded
This is probably the biggest question people have when choosing a travel credit card: should I get a general travel credit card or a co-branded travel credit card?
A general travel credit card is not affiliated with an air passenger carrier or hotel. These cards usually have a higher signup bonus and more rewards points for travel expenses.
Co-branded travel credit cards are not associated with any air passenger carrier or hotel. These cards usually come with perks like free luggage checking and preference plane boarding.
A general travel credit card is probably the better option if you travel often. They offer some flexibility that is not always there with co-branded travel credit cards.
If you travel occasionally, a co-branded travel credit card is your go-to card. This is because you can take advantage of the perks of the card.
On top, if you prefer a particular airline or hotel chain, a co-branded travel credit should be your card of choice.
Well, this is it – the moment of truth.
Most travel credit cards come with an expiration date. This is when the card becomes invalid and can no longer be used.
Make sure to read and understand the nitty-gritty on the travel credit card before applying. This will give you a good idea of how long you have to use your points and the expiration date.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to use all of your points before they expire, look for a travel credit card with a longer expiration date. Or one with no expiration date.
In an era where data breaches are becoming more and more common, security is a top concern for many people.
When choosing a travel credit card, make sure to choose one that offers some kind of fraud protection. This will help keep unscrupulous people far away from your personal information should misplace the card.
There are cards with an instant freeze button that will immediately freeze your account if you lose your card or someone tries to use it without your permission.
The best travel credit cards offer a variety of security features, so make sure to do your research before applying.
The application process for travel credit cards is usually very simple. Most applications are done in neck-breaking speeds.
Ensure you have your social security number and driver’s license handy when applying, as you will need to provide this information.
If you are approved for a travel credit card, you will usually receive your card in the mail within a few days.
Know and understand the fine print of your card before using it. One day, you may avoid any fees or penalties by knowing the terms.
Travel Credit Cards vs. Cash-back: Which is the better travel rewards card?
Frequent travelers always ponder this question: travel credit card or cash-back?
Travel credit cards are perfect when the redemption value is low and travel expenses are high. For example, if you’re redeeming your points for a free night at a hotel, the value is usually quite low.
On the other hand, cash-back is perfect when the redemption value is high and travel expenses are low. For example, if you’re redeeming your points for a flight, the value is usually quite high.
Travel credit cards will mostly cover most of the travel-related expenses like air tickets and maybe a hotel night. But since one trip will require much more than that, a cashback card can come in handy as it gives you a good amount of cashback on all other types of purchases.
In the end, it comes down to what is more important to you: travel-related perks or cashback? If travel-related perks are more important, then a travel credit card is the way to go. If the cashback is more important, then a cash-back credit card should be a no-brainer.
[Top 10] Best Travel Credit Card Reviews
No matter what you choose, make sure to do your research and find the best travel credit card for you.
1. Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
Bank of America has a rich history in the banking sector, and its Travel Rewards card is among the best. This card is an excellent option for those who often travel as it offers unlimited points that can be redeemed for travel expenses.
With no foreign-related fees or annual fees, this travel rewards credit card is an excellent option for those who want to travel cheaply. As a welcome bonus, users are given 25,000 points for spending $1000 in the first 90 days.
This is a general travel credit card and will not limit how you spend your rewards. This flexibility makes it ideal for travelers looking for more ways to enjoy their trips.
The travel rewards points can be used for flights, hotels, and dining at a place of your choice. Initially, the card has a zero APR, which applies in the first 15 billing cycles. After this, users are charged a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%.
How much reward does one get?
In this travel rewards credit card, Bank of America provides a travel points system. For every $1 purchase made, the cardholder earns 1.5 travel points. These travel points can later be redeemed against travel-related expenses such as airfare and hotels.
But if you subscribe to the Preferred Rewards program, which is free to join, you will get up to 75% more points for everything you buy. This means customers can earn up to 2.6 points for every dollar spent under this plan.
With a credit score between 690-850, this travel rewards credit card from Bank of America is an excellent option for those who want to earn travel rewards without any annual fees.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you are after a card with huge sign-up bonuses and travel perks, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is perfect for you. New cardholders are rewarded with 60,000 points if they spend $4000 in the first three months.
This travel credit card is popular as it gets offering great value for money. Converting the points is as easy as it gets, and you can also share them with friends or loved ones.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is even more appealing because there are no foreign fees applicable. Owning this card will help make your trip seamless.
The annual fee of $95 is notwithstanding, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great asset to own while on a trip.
The main stand-out feature with Chase Sapphire Preferred is that it offers a travel points system. Through their Chase Ultimate Rewards Program, users can get twice more on other purchases, three times in dining, and times on travel.
What are the other benefits?
Chase Sapphire Preferred also comes with a few other perks that make it one of the best travel credit cards around. These include:
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
All in all, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great travel credit card for those who want to earn travel rewards and enjoy some added perks while they are at it.
3. The Platinum Card® from American Express
Want to travel in style? Then The Platinum Card® from American Express is perfect for you. This card comes with a host of travel perks that will make your trips even more enjoyable.
These perks include 100,000 travel rewards points for spending $6000 in the first six months, access to $200 hotel credit, $155 on Walmart plus credit. $240 on digital entertainment and Airline Fee Credit totaling $200.
With no international transaction charges, this card is ideal for those who travel often.
The annual fee of $695 notwithstanding, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great travel credit card for those who want to travel in style and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
There are several credit card designs to choose from, including Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, Classic Platinum, and Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
How many reward points does one get?
Get rewards of between 1X to 5X with this card. You get five times more points if you book your air tickets using American Express or dealing directly with the airliner. Use up $500,000 travel purchases per calendar year through this program.
Though it’s not one of the cheapest, the American Express Platinum card is popular and with good reason. With a range of travel perks and a great rewards system, this card will make your trips that much more enjoyable.
4. Discover it® Miles
Is miles transfer top among your preferences? If so, Discover it® Miles is your go-to credit card. The main reward here is to use the miles accumulated to cover the travel-related costs.
What’s more, they match up your miles for miles rewards in your first year. This means that you essentially get double the rewards for your first year of use.
There is no annual fee with this card, which makes it a great option for those who want to earn travel rewards without paying any additional charges.
With this card, you can transact in any place that accepts Visa, Master Card, or any other credit card. . Wondering if you can convert your miles into cash? Well, you can. And you can use the card to pay for almost everything travel-related, including airfare, hotels, and rental cars.
Overall, the Discover it® Miles offers amazing perks that are hard to ignore.
How are the points earned?
The card offers 1.5 points for $1 a traveler spends. The points amassed can be easily converted to cater for dining, and air tickets.
The card also gives you control over using it with an instant freeze button on your account and travel notifications.
5. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Are you a business owner? Then the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is perfect for you. The credit card offers 100,000 travel points when you use $15,000 in the first quarter of use.
This is one of the richest travel cards in the markets. See, if you use $1250 in the first three months, you will get $1000 back in rewards. Astonishing!
The card also has no foreign transaction charges, making it perfect for frequent sojourners. And there is a $95 fee paid yearly.
One stand-out feature with this card is the constant monitoring of fraudulent activities on your card. You will be alerted as soon as any suspicious activity is detected on your card so you can take appropriate action.
You can exchange the points to cover travel-related costs, or gift cards, and cashback. On top of all this, which shields you from any unauthorized transactions.
How the reward system works
During an anniversary year, for every dollar spent, you can earn 3 points for the first $150,000 spent on travel and certain business activities. On other purchases, one dollar equals one point.
Want to earn more from your travel points? Join the Chase Ultimate Rewards, where the points are worth 25% more.
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great travel credit card for business owners who want to earn rewards while they travel. With its generous rewards system and lack of foreign transaction fees, this card is sure to be a hit with business owners everywhere.
6. Delta SkyMiles Gold Express Card
Are you in search of an airline credit card? The Delta SkyMiles Gold Express Card is a notable credit card to own. This card has many perks, including priority boarding and free checked luggage.
What’s more, you can earn up to 70,000 bonus miles if you use $2000 in the first 90 days. And that’s not all – you also get a free year with no annual fees before the fee is applied.
The annual fee for this card is $99, which is fairly reasonable considering all the benefits that come with it.
You get two times miles when you use Delta purchases, including other purchases like supermarkets and takeouts.
If your purchases exceed $10,000 in a calendar year, you get Delta flight credit of up to $100 that you can use on future flights.
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Express Card is a great travel credit card for the regulars on Delta. This card will make your trips more enjoyable and hassle-free with a host of travel perks and a great rewards system. That extra luggage will not be as bad anymore.
7. World of Hyatt Credit Card
This is not as big as other travel credit cards on this list. But what it doesn’t have on size, it makes up with its benefits.
The card offers 30,000 points after you use $3000 in the first 90 days of using the card and another 30,000 points if you transact a total of $15000 in the first six months.
You also get a free night stay at any Category 1 to 4 Hotel every year, on the purchase anniversary, as long as the card is active. On top, if you spend more than $15,000 in a twelve-month period, you get an extra night.
How the reward system works
The World of Hyatt Credit Card gives you four points for a $ transacted at any Hyatt hotel & two points for every $ paid for dining in restaurants, travel purchases, & local transportation. That’s a lot of points!
The World of Hyatt Credit Card also has a tier system to encourage members to spend more. Upon opening the account, one receives 5-tier qualifying night credit and more per year as long as the account is open.
If you spend more than $15,000 per year, you get two qualifying nights that will go to your tier status. The higher the tier, the more benefits you unlock, like a free night at any category of hotel and a suite upgrade.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is perfect for those who travel frequently and use Hyatt hotels most. With its generous rewards system and a plethora of benefits, this card is sure to make your travel experience even better.
8. Capital One Venture Rewards Card
There are a few general cards that can match Capital One Venture Rewards Card for the rewards and ease of application. With its simple rewards system, a dollar earns you five miles.
On top, they don’t cap the number of miles one can accumulate.
Though there’s an annual fee of $95 for this card, the benefits easily outweigh the cost. For example, you get a free travel credit every year that can be used to cover any travel expense, no matter how big or small.
Plus, you can use your miles to book travel with any airline or hotel chain, making it easy to find flights and accommodations that fit your needs.
What makes Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card stand out?
For the sigh bonus, you get 60,000 miles after spending $3000 in the first three months. To put it in simple terms, you will get 600 dollars with the first $3000 you spend.
That, and the fact that you can transfer your points to 15 other programs and lack a foreign transaction fee, makes the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card a great travel companion.
9. Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier® Card goes beyond air miles. You get three points on every dollar used on travel and gas, dining and entertainment, and even gas with this card. This is one of the highest non-travel-related rewards card rates available.
Plus, there are no foreign transactions fees to worry about, making it a great card to use when traveling abroad. And with an annual fee of $95, the Citi Premier® Card is affordable for nearly everyone.
The 60,000 points sign-up bonus one gets after using $4000 in the initial 90 days is lucrative. That translates to about $600 worth of gift cards for $4000.
There is no limitation or expiration on the points you earn, so you can travel for years to come and rack up rewards.
If those benefits don’t convince you, how about this? You will get an annual hotel credit that’s enough to cover the annual fee the card requires.
The Citi Premier® Card is a decent travel reward card, and though it does not reward as high as other travel cards listed here, it is still worth a shot.
10. U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
Are you looking for a more road-oriented travel card than air travel? Look no further than the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card. This card gives you up to four points on all travel, restaurants, and gas stations.
As one of the highest reward cards, most give three times; this is a great way to rack up points. You can use these points on travel how you see fit, with no blackout dates or travel restrictions. Plus, you can use the points on gas stations, making it a good road trip card.
The introductory offer of 50,000 points is also not too shabby. You get this by spending $2000 in the first four months. That’s a travel value of $500, which can go a long way.
The annual fee of $95 can be recouped through some amazing offers like the ongoing credits. In the end, the card will take care of most of your local travels and ease the pressure on the gas.
What more can you find with this travel reward Card?
Use the Altitude Rewards Center and get five times more points on travel booked through the center. There are different categories one can choose from, making it easy to plan your travel with the help of this card.
The U.S Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is a great road-trip-oriented travel card that rewards generously for all types of spending related to travel. Though you will not be able to transfer the points to other travel programs, this card offers great travel benefits that make up for it.
Now that you know a little bit more about travel credit cards, it’s time to choose one that’s right for you.
Be sure to compare different travel credit cards before applying.