A Guide to the Best Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards let you transform your daily buys into thrilling journeys. They are a way to earn advantages, gather points and miles, and get rewards. From enjoying free flights and getting into airport lounges to having travel insurance, they give you many choices.


Choosing the Right Travel Credit Card

When you are choosing a travel credit card, consider the advantages it offers and the expenses.


Rewards and Bonuses

In the captivating world of travel rewards cards, a plethora of rewards and bonuses await, promising a journey where every purchase transforms into points towards your next travel.

From airline miles to cash back and exclusive access to events, the landscape of rewards is as diverse as the destinations they can take you to.

A noteworthy aspect of travel rewards cards is the offer of extra points or miles to newcomers. Numerous cards give additional rewards to those who spend a predetermined amount of credit within the initial months.

Navigating through the initial phase of owning a travel rewards card, one encounters the importance of strategic spending. By aligning expenditures with the card’s rewards structure, every transaction turns purchases into a way to redeem your rewards.

Each card presents a variety of earning rates, redemption options, and partner affiliations. Whether it’s maximizing points on dining and travel or leveraging partnerships with airlines, the reward optimization is a journey in itself.

Moreover, travel rewards cards are ever-evolving, introducing new partners, categories, and redemption opportunities. Every update brings forth the potential to realign spending patterns, explore new destinations and experiences that were once beyond reach. 

The accumulated points hold the key to premium cabins, luxury resorts, gourmet dining, and VIP access to events.


Advantages of travel credit cards vary, but may include:

  • Elite status upgrade
  • Airport lounges access
  • Travel insurance
  • Credits towards TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR® Plus
  • Statement credits toward travel purchases
  • Discounts on travel reward redemptions
  • Free Luggage
  • Priority boarding


The rewards and bonuses offered by travel rewards cards are diverse and dynamic. The quest for the perfect travel rewards card entails finding the right balance between specific affiliations and diverse redemption options.


Annual Fees and APR

The understanding of annual fees and APRs helps to weigh the advantages towards the expenses, thereby aligning your card choice with your financial requirements.

Annual fees, the recurring expense that cardholders pay for card ownership, presents a spectrum of possibilities. On one end, a multitude of cards extends the allure of no annual fees, an attractive proposition for those seeking to minimize expenses. Yet, as we traverse to the other end of the spectrum, we encounter cards that levy significant charges each year.

The cards with high annual fee, often described as the golden keys to luxury and convenience, open the doors to a myriad of experiences. From the exclusivity of airport lounges to the reassurance of comprehensive travel insurance, the offerings are designed to enrich your travels.

Turning the financial compass towards APR, we delve into the intricacies of interest rates. APR represents the interest you are obligated to pay if the card’s balance remains unpaid at the month’s end. It’s noteworthy that travel credit cards are often accompanied by a higher APR, underscoring the importance of fiscal diligence. Paying the full balance in a timely manner emerges as a strategy, mitigating the impact of interest rates and fostering financial well-being.

Equipping yourself with knowledge about these expenses and navigating through their nuances serves as the foundation for taking financial decisions.

Moreover, the exploration of costs invites a reflection on personal spending habits, travel frequencies, and financial priorities.

Promotional offers, introductory rates, and loyalty incentives all add layers of complexity and opportunity to the travel credit card expenses equation. Understanding annual fees and APR is unlocking the potential of your travel credit card, enabling you to traverse the world, enjoy the advantages and maintain financial equilibrium.


Foreign Transaction Fees

Foreign transaction fees represent additional charges that are incurred when making purchases in foreign countries. They come from transactions that involve a currency conversion. These fees typically vary from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount. While they may seem small individually, they can significantly impact your travel expenses on longer trips or frequent international travels.

Fortunately, there are many travel credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. This makes it more cost-effective to explore the world without worrying about unnecessary charges. Before your next overseas adventure, check if your travel credit card has these fees or opt for one with no foreign transaction fees to make the most of your travel budget.


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance benefits offered by travel credit cards provide a guarantee, knowing you're covered in case of unexpected events during your travels. These benefits may include trip cancellation, interruption coverage and reimbursing non-refundable expenses.

Many cards also offer baggage loss and delay coverage, as well as rental car insurance, saving you from unexpected costs. Before your next trip, review your travel credit card's insurance benefits to understand the coverage.


Additional Advantages

One of the most appealing aspects of travel credit cards is the advantages they offer, enhancing your overall travel experience. These advantages often include airport lounge access, priority boarding, and more.

Airport lounge access gives you a comfortable place to relax before your flight, with complimentary snacks, drinks, and Wi-Fi. Priority boarding lets you skip long boarding lines, making your embarkation less stressful. Travel credit cards can also offer benefits like free checked bags, concierge services, and exclusive event access.

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!


Top Travel Credit Cards in the USA


Chase Sapphire Reserve®:



$300 annual travel credit

60000 bonus points when $4,000 are spent on purchases in the first 3 months from opening the account, 

Generous rewards

Extensive insurance including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage insurance and more

Access to more than 1300 airport lounges worldwide after enrollment in Priority Pass™

$100 application fee credit for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®



High variable APR varying from 22.49% to 29.49%

High annual fee $550

Limited airline partners


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:



Earn high rewards on travel & dining

Annual fee of $95

60000 bonus points when $4000 are spent within the first 3 months from account opening

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Transfering points to travel partners keeping their value

Trip cancellation or interruption insurance



The best earning rates are limited for bookings through Chase


American Express Platinum Card®:



Luxury travel advantages,

Lounge access

Statement credits

80000 rewards points when $8000 are spent on purchases within the first 6 months of card membership



High annual fee

Limited airline credits

Maximizing the statement credits is more complicated than using other cards

Reward rates for no travel purchases are low


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card:



Simple rewards

Flexible redemption

Lower annual fee than similar cards $395

75000 bonus miles when $4,000 are spent in the first 3 months from account opening

$300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel

10000 bonus miles every year

Unlimited complimentary access for the card owner and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges

$100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®



Modest travel benefits

Lower points value

Variable APR varying from 21.99% to 28.99%


Citi Premier® Card:



Competitive rewards

No foreign transaction fees

Flexible points

60000 bonus points when $4,000 are spent for purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account

No expiration of rewarded points

No limit to the amount of rewarded points



No lounge access

Annual fee

High variable APR varying from 21.24% to 29.24%


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card:



Generous Southwest advantages

50000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months from account opening

Travel credit

No foreign transaction fee

Earn points toward A-list status



Limited for non-Southwest travelers

Annual fee $149

High variable APR from 21.49% to 28.49%


United℠ Explorer Card:



United Club passes

Priority boarding

Bonus miles

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months after the account is open

2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, like tickets, Economy Plus®, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges

25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board of United flights



Limited to United

Annual fee of $95 after the first year


Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card:



3X miles on Delta purchases

No foreign transaction fees

Bonus miles

15% off when booking Award Travel flights with miles

Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®



Limited to Delta

Annual fee of $250

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!


How to Get the Most From Your Card

To make the most of your travel credit card, follow these tips:

  • Learn about earning rewards with the rewards program of the card
  • Spend more on bonus categories that give you extra points like travel or eating out
  • Take advantage of signup bonuses
  • Plan your trips in advance
  • Explore transferring points or miles for higher redemption rates
  • Stay updated on your card's advantages and policies

Travel credit cards have lots of benefits like rewards, insurance, and special advantages, making them great for travelers. These cards give you rewards for buying things, which you can use to pay for travel expenses.

While some cards might have a high annual fee, the benefits for frequent travelers often outweigh the cost.

If flying is your main type of travel, airline credit cards could be a better choice. Each card usually has partnerships with specific airlines, offering benefits like priority boarding and extra miles. And, of course, having a card with no foreign transaction fees is a big plus for those who travel internationally.

To get the most out of the myriad of advantages that travel credit cards offer, it’s imperative to be well-acquainted with the various avenues available for earning rewards.

Spend more on bonus categories, such as travel or dining out, as these often yield extra points, thereby accelerating your rewards accumulation.

Taking advantage of signup bonuses provides a substantial increase to your rewards balance. Once you’ve accrued a significant amount of rewards, being flexible with your travel dates and planning your trips meticulously can help you maximize the value you receive. Furthermore, explore the possibility of transferring points or miles, as this can sometimes result in higher redemption rates.

The partnerships that card issuers have with airlines, hotels, and car rental companies are diverse and can significantly influence your travel experience. For instance, if flying is your primary mode of travel, airline credit cards, which often have partnerships with specific airlines, could be a better choice. These collaborations can offer benefits such as priority boarding and additional miles, enhancing your travel experience.

Staying updated on your card’s advantages and policies is equally crucial, ensuring that you’re always in the know about any changes that could affect your rewards. The travel credit card landscape is laden with opportunities to make your journeys more memorable and cost-effective – from saving on travel expenses to enjoying luxury advantages, the possibilities are virtually endless.

With the right travel rewards card, you can enjoy a world of travel advantages. From saving on travel expenses to enjoying luxury privileges, the possibilities are endless. Start turning your everyday spending into extraordinary travel experiences!

Did you have a delayed flight in the last 3 years?

Check your compensation for delayed flights for free!