The Best Premium Travel Credit Cards of 2021

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Last updated on March 8th, 2023

The end of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States appears to be in sight. Millions of Americans have already received their full COVID-19 vaccination dose, with more scheduled to do so in the coming months. With increased protection will come a strong desire to travel again. After more than a year of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, are you ready to get out and explore the world? Why not travel in style and comfort? Here are some of the best premium travel credit cards of 2021 to help you beat the COVID-19 blues:

Post-COVID Travel: The Best Premium Travel Credit Cards of 2021

Here are our top travel credit cards of 2021 – perfect for beating the coronavirus blues:

The Platinum Card from American Express is considered by many as the ultimate travel card. The card from Amex is the king of travel, offering lounge access in droves, heaps of statement credits, and more for its hefty $550 annual fee.

The Platinum Card caters to the regular traveler. Cardholders enjoy complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes the exclusive Centurion Lounge – only available to Centurion (Black Card) and Platinum Cardholders. Cardholders also receive access to Delta’s Sky Club and the more than 1,200 lounges within the Priority Pass network, with no limit to the number of visits they can enjoy.

The travel perks don’t stop with airport lounge access, however. Amex Platinum Cardholders receive a statement credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application costs, allowing them to bypass long waits at security and customs when flying. They’ll also receive a huge assortment of statement credits, including credits for:

  • Saks Fifth Avenue purchases
  • $200 airline credit for incidentals
  • $100 hotel credit
  • Up to $200 Uber credits each year ($15 in Uber Cash each month and $20 in December)

Cardholders also receive Gold Elite status in both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotel loyalty programs. After all these credits, exclusive access perks, and elite tiers, it’s easy to see why many experienced travelers keep a Platinum Card from American Express in their wallet – and don’t leave home without it.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another top-shelf card in the vein of the Amex Platinum Card. The Sapphire Reserve features the same $550 annual fee as the Amex and offers equally impressive perks that easily offset that charge for the dedicated traveler.

The Sapphire Reserve offers unlimited lounge visits through the Priority Pass network, for example. It also provides a $300 travel incidentals statement credit and credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees. These features combine to offer approximately $725 of value every year – easily offsetting the hefty price tag.

In addition to the travel benefits, Sapphire Reserve cardholders can take advantage of 3X Ultimate Rewards points on global dining and travel purchases, an impressive 60,000 bonus points sign-up offer, and 50% more redemption value when using their points towards travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The UBS Visa Infinite is one of several impressive travel cards that carry the Visa Infinite designation. What sets the UBS version apart from other premium cards, like the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve, for example, is UBS’s dedicated concierge and customer service team.

The UBS Concierge and Client Services team includes travel professionals that can assist cardholders with everything from flights, cruises, hotel, and dinner reservations. The local expertise and recommendations on offer from UBS’ team and the smaller client base means UBS Infinite cardholders get a dedicated concierge service that is very tough to beat.

Beyond exceptional customer service, the UBS Visa Infinite comes with a dizzying array of travel perks not found with many other Visa Infinite cards. Beyond the usual complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, UBS provides a $500 statement credit towards Any Airport Club, meaning you can buy your way into the club of your choosing.

New cardholders receive a 12.5-hour Jet Card, entitling them to 12.5 hours of flight time with the private jet service, a $250 annual travel credit, credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, 12 Gogo Wi-Fi coupons for complimentary inflight internet, and more.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass differs from many of the cards on this list in that it features a relatively modest $95 annual fee. It also earns reward points in the Hilton Honors program – and not in a versatile card-issuer rewards currency like Amex Membership Rewards.

One of the great features of the Hilton Honors Surpass is that it offers complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which permits access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. Ten free airport lounge visits each year normally costs $299 through Priority Pass. Hence, a card that charges just $95 for the same benefit is the perfect option for an occasional traveler that wants lounge access but can’t stomach the normal fees that Priority Pass charges for the luxury.

Other features of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass include 12X points on Hilton stays, 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, 3X points on all other eligible purchases, and complimentary Gold status through the Hilton Honors loyalty program.

Honorable Mentions

Want some more post-COVID travel credit card options to consider? Here are two cards that just missed out on our top spots:

Citi Prestige

A high-end rewards credit card with a high annual fee to match, the Citi Prestige® Card earns big on popular shopping categories and treats customers to welcome complimentary perks.


Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Through the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll be able to earn an unlimited 2X reward miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day, meaning there aren’t any annoying categories to memorize to maximize your miles.

The information related to the Citi Prestige Card has been collected by and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Featured photo by Jessica Devnani / Burst

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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