Last updated on May 21st, 2021
BestCards is known for its robust reviews from those who have spent the time looking for the best credit card products and benefits available to consumers and businesses. But we’re more than just reviews. We provide the insight and analysis on all aspects of credit cards, including discussions of the latest industry developments and trends. This includes the best credit cards for holiday travel.
At BestCards, credit card discussions extend well beyond the end of the business day. Our staff are always discussing what to look for in a credit card, and rarely is there a 100% consensus. Here are the top holiday travel credit card picks from our senior editorial staff, Allan and Cory:
Cory's Holiday Travel Card Picks:
The U.S. Bank Cash+ is an excellent credit card year-round, but it pulls most of its weight during the holiday season. The card earns 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in eligible purchases per quarter on the two categories of the holder’s choosing. Those 5% back categories include ground transportation, select clothing stores, electronics stores, department stores, and more. Plus, cardholders choose from one “everyday” category where they earn 2% back on all qualifying purchases. And since those everyday categories include gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, there is a whole lot to be cheerful about this holiday season.
Having bad credit does not mean you cannot earn rewards for holiday travel. The Discover It Secured Card is the ideal travel companion when hitting the road this December. The card features the same rewards as the Discover It Chrome, meaning cardholders will earn an unlimited 2% back on gas station and restaurant purchases. Very few secured credit cards offer rewards – and the fact that the Discover features no annual fee is a bonus. Plus, Discover offers the same Cashback Match with all their card products, meaning the 2% back now becomes 4% back total after your first 12 months.
The Green Card is the only premium card to make my “Top Holiday Travel Credit Cards” list, but it is easy to see why. The card is the junior member of the Amex charge card line and offers the lowest annual fee ($150 per year). For that membership fee, cardholders enjoy 3X Membership Rewards points on travel – including local transit and rideshares. That wide selection of travel categories makes the card the ideal companion regardless of where holiday travel takes you. Plus, if you need to fly, you can take advantage of statement credits for CLEAR security fast pass and LoungeBuddy fees to help make the process less tedious.
Allan's Cash Back Picks:
The Citi Premier Card is versatile because it earns rewards no matter how you’re traveling or how you get around once you’re there. You can earn 3X ThankYou points in a handful of categories such as air travel, hotels, and gas stations (as well as restaurants and supermarkets). One new perk is the annual hotel savings benefit, which gives you $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more – essentially a 20% discount per stay once a year. And, if you’d rather use your preferred airline’s loyalty program, you can transfer your ThankYou points to multiple partner carriers.
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card’s first impression is huge – as in, 150,000 bonus points huge. Granted, you’ll have to spend $3,000 to attain that welcome bonus, but if you can do responsibly you would get one of the biggest signup bonuses currently around. And the long-term benefits are pretty great, too. Up to 12X points per $1 spent – including a minimum of 3X points on most purchases – as well as complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. The card makes most sense for those who frequently travel – whether for business or leisure – as well as those who are loyal to the Hilton brand. If you fall into one of those categories, this card can shower you with rewards.
If you plan on (safely) flying in the coming weeks or months, the United Gateway Card is a trusty companion. Assuming you fly often with United (or want to), you’ll earn MileagePlus miles on every purchase – with enhanced earning at gas stations, transit and commuting, and direct bookings with United. You’ll also get 3 miles per $1 spent at grocery stores until September of 2021. All the additional convenient details, however, are what make this an all-around great travel card: no annual fee, no blackout dates, no foreign transaction fees, and a 25% statement credit for in-flight purchases on United flights. Plus, the MileagePlus rewards program offers plenty of opportunities to get extra perks