Find the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, your perfect travel rewards credit card is ready and waiting to get you there. Browse BestCards’ selection of offers to find the best travel rewards credit card to suit your needs.

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Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee None
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months from opening your account
  • Earn 3X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™
  • Plus earn up to 10X points from Marriott for being a Marriott Bonvoy™ member
  • Earn 2X points for every $1 you spend on other travel purchases
  • Plus, earn 1X point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually - automatically qualify for Silver Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Regular Purchase APR 16.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 16.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $550, each authorized user: $75 per year.
  • Credit Needed Excellent
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Earn 10X points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3X points on Dining at Restaurants Worldwide, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
  • Earn 3X points on Travel Worldwide, immediately after the first $300 is spent annually on travel purchases
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more from your points when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 16.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 16.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $550, each authorized user: $75 per year.
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $95
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5X points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3X points on select streaming services and restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
  • Earn 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • Earn 2X points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on every other purchase
  • Get 25% more in travel redemption when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% Ultimate Rewards point bonus on each account anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of each transaction amount, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $95
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn up to 17X total points per dollar at Marriott
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Earn 2X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 1 Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

British Airways Visa Signature®

British Airways Visa Signature®
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $95
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 100,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 5X Avios for every $1 spent British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia flight purchases within the first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 3X Avios
  • Earn 3X Avios for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations within the first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 2X Avios
  • Earn 1X Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Take 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book through the website provided in your welcome materials
  • Up to $600 Reward Flight Statement Credits
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
Credit Card Deals

World of Hyatt Credit Card

World of Hyatt Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $95
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Plus, earn up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
  • Earn 4X Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt hotel, plus 5X Base Points from Hyatt per eligible $1 spent for being a World of Hyatt member
  • Earn 2X Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships
  • Plus, earn 1X Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive one free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary
  • Also receive one extra free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 in a calendar yea
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $99
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open,
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines® purchases
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 you spend on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on social media, SEM, an local transit and commuting, including rideshare services
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases
  • 9,000 anniversary points each year
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $40
Credit Card Deals

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $450
  • Credit Needed Excellent
  • Processing Network American Express
Best Benefits
  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy points on direct purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award each year on account anniversary
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Annual $300 statement for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Pre Check
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
Credit Card Deals

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $149
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 7,500 bonus points on each cardmember anniversary
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines® purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners, local transit and commuting, and internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year
  • 20% back on all in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi with Southwest
  • No foreign transaction fees
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% to 22.99% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $149
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
Credit Card Deals

Sonesta World Mastercard®

Sonesta World Mastercard®
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 16.99% to 26.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $0 for the first year, $75 after that
  • Credit Needed Excellent
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • 3X points on Sonesta purchases
  • 2X points on airfare, car rentals, and dining
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • Automatic Sonesta Travel Pass Elite Member status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 90 days
  • Earn additional 5,000 points after adding an authorized user within 90 days
  • Anniversary bonus of 30,000 points for spending $7,500 per year
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: $10 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 16.99% to 26.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $10 or 3% of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $75 after that
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
Credit Card Deals

What Are Travel Rewards Credit Cards?

Reward cards come in all shapes and forms. Some cards cater to those frequently stay in hotels. Others, to those who regularly use their cards to pay for gas or other car-related expenses. Still others provide business cards, and some cards for those who often fly – either for business or for pleasure. Just as there are many reward cards, so too are there many different types of travel rewards credit cards.

Travel cards can be broken down into three distinct types: airline credit cardshotel credit cards, and general travel credit cards. Each class offers unique benefits and perks to travelers. But how do they work?

How Do Travel Cards Work?

Travel cards earn points on every qualifying purchase – just like other rewards credit cards. These reward points can also be cash back or miles, but these varieties of rewards are all the same. Travel cards typically earn a base rate for purchases – usually 1X points or miles. They also receive additional rewards on bonus categories, which may include:

  • Travel purchases
  • Hotel stays
  • Airfare
  • Gas station purchases
  • Groceries
  • Restaurants

Points from purchases apply to awards. Like other rewards programs, cardholders can use their points for merchandise, gift cards, or cash back. The best value, however, is for booking travel.

There are several types of travel rewards credit cards to suit each individual’s unique travel needs. Some cards allow you to earn extra airline miles when flying with a certain carrier, for example. Others allow cardholders to earn bonus points for stays with a certain hotel chain. Finding a travel rewards credit card that aligns with spending habits, can help save thousands of dollars per year and provide excellent perks.

Other cards, such as Chase or American Express-branded cards, allow for bookings with their own travel portals, which offer additional value. Still other cards might offer the option of booking travel however you please.

What's the Best All-Around Travel Card of 2021?

Mastercard® Black Card™

mastercard black card new - small
Patented Card Construction and 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • 1.5% value for cash back redemptions
  • $4995 annual fee
☆ 22 Gram PVD-Coated Card Design
☆ Up to $100 Airline Credit Each Year
☆ Priority Pass™ Select
☆ 24/7 Luxury Concierge Access

There’s little doubt in our minds that the Mastercard® Black Card™ offers the best luxury benefits for a travel card that can carry a balance. Most luxury-oriented travel credit cards are heavy on the perks but feature an APR that isn’t competitive. These cards also do not offer value when not paying your balance in full each month – after all, the points, miles, and rewards lose value when you are paying interest.

With the Black Card, however, some of this worry goes out the window. Sure, points still lose their value, but carrying a balance isn’t nearly as punishing. The Mastercard® Black Card features a competitive APR of 14.99%. This interest rate varies based on the Prime Rate only, compared to others, which have a variable APR based on creditworthiness.

The 14.99% APR from the Black Card is 2% lower than the lowest available rate from the Sapphire Reserve and is almost 10% lower than the Platinum Card from Amex. Of course, the Amex Platinum is a charge card, but the numbers don’t lie: the Mastercard® Black Card™ won’t punish you for carrying a balance.

Excellent Value

The Mastercard® Black Card™ also features an annual fee significantly lower than both the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum. The Reserve is known as a points machine, and the Platinum is one of the kings of luxury, but don’t count the Black Card out just yet.

The Black Card offers enormous value for its $495 annual fee. The list of luxury perks is astonishing, including Priority Pass lounge access, airline credits, complimentary luxury gifts from leading brands, access to the Luxury Hotel Collection, no foreign transaction fees, and more. That doesn’t even mention the card’s award-winning Luxury Concierge service. All told, the card offers over $500 in hotel savings and credits – per stay.

Plus, the card gets 2% value for airline redemptions and 1.5% cash back redemptions, making it one of the better rewards cards for the heavy spender.

An All-Around Travel Juggernaut

This brings us to the heart of the matter: why we love the Mastercard® Black Card™. The card is the ideal combination of excellent rewards, a highly-competitive APR, and luxury perks – for a price that offers superb value for money. We think it holds it’s own against the big boys – and it’s why it’s our choice for the top travel credit card of 2021.

Pros & Cons of Travel Credit Cards

Benefits of Credit Cards with Travel Rewards

Credit cards for travel offer fantastic value for those who are frequently on the move. Those benefits include:

  • Make Travel Less Expensive: Credit cards for travel can make traveling significantly cheaper. That’s because they offer points. These points can apply to future travel, reducing costs. Some cards also offer discounts with hotel chains, airlines, or car rental companies.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Many travel rewards credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee – a charge on using the credit card outside of the United States. While this rate varies from issuer to issuer, the typical rate is usually around 3%. Fortunately, many travel rewards cards offer no foreign transaction fees, meaning travelers aren’t penalized for daring to spend money abroad.
  • Signup Bonuses: Signup bonuses and introductory offers are two of the best perks with this type of credit card. Some cards come with bonuses of up to 100,000 miles, with a cash value of hundreds of dollars. While these bonuses require a minimum spend, the reward rate is typically many times more than the normal rate – making them an excellent value.

Drawbacks of Travel Credit Cards

The benefits of rewards credit cards for travel are clear, but what about the drawbacks? Here are a few negatives with travel cards to consider:

  • Annual Fees: The best travel cards charge an annual fee. These fees range from approximately $95 to $550 per year. While there are plenty of great no annual fee cards, the rewards and points won’t be as plentiful as they are with a card that charges an annual fee.
  • Higher Credit Score Needed: Credit cards with travel rewards typically require an excellent credit score or a good credit score. There are secured travel credit cards, such as the LATAM Secured Visa, but these are rare. Generally, you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 to get a travel card.
  • Higher APR: Because they offer rewards and huge bonuses, credit cards for travel have higher than average APR. Interest rates with travel cards are, on average, one percent higher than cash back rewards cards and three-percent lower than 0% intro APR credit cards.

What to Look for In a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Travel credit cards are an excellent way to earn rewards for travel and everyday purchases. But what should you look for to find the best travel card for you?

  • Rewards Points: One of the most important things to consider when selecting a travel credit card is the value of points – and how to earn them. Programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards offer exceptional value for money. Others, such as those from credit unions, provide less value but might benefit customers with other banking products. Carefully gauge how you earn points with eh card (gas, groceries, travel, etc.) before applying.
  • Reward Flexibility: Rewards flexibility is another critical consideration when it comes to travel credit cards. Some cards have strict terms of redemption. General travel rewards cards, such as the Spark® Miles Select from Capital One®, offer more versatility, which can be spent with significantly reduced restrictions or transferred to loyalty or frequent flyer programs.
  • Signup Bonus: Many travel credit cards come with a signup bonus of points. Typically these bonuses require a minimum spend of between $500 to $3,000 within the first three months. Bonuses can range in value all the way up to several hundred dollars. This makes rewards an essential part of the travel card equation.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Some travel cards offer no foreign transaction fees. This perk makes this type of card an excellent option for using outside of the United States.
  • 0% Intro APR: Not all travel cards come with 0% introductory APR. Still, since most travel cards require good or excellent credit scores, the cards that do provide this feature should be within reach for most applicants. A lengthy 0% intro APR period on purchases can help a new account offset the costs of travel purchases by paying for those purchases over time, with no interest.
  • Loyalty Program Elite Status: Some travel rewards credit cards offer elite status in loyalty programs.The higher the annual fee, the better the elite tier with a program. The Platinum Card from American Express, for example, offers Gold Elite status in both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

The card also provides lounge access and a vast assortment of statement credits for an annual fee of $550. Even some mid-range and no annual fee travel rewards credit cards offer loyalty program status upgrades, however. So make sure to carefully examine each offer before applying.

  • Lounge Access: Lounge access is one of the best benefits of a travel rewards card. Lounge access grants the cardholder entry into airport or hotel lounges. As with loyalty program tiers, the higher the annual fee, the better the lounge access privileges.

Travel Credit Card FAQs

Travel credit cards cover a wide area of rewards. Since some cards earn 3x points on travel, 3x points on dining, or other unique rewards, there are cards to suit every budget, travel preference, and spending habit. A huge assortment of cards also means a vast amount of questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about travel rewards cards – and what you need to know to make an informed decision:

  • Travel rewards credit cards are ideal for anyone who travels frequently. Trave expenses can quickly add up, so earning points for those purchases makes perfect sense. These points can offset airline fees and are earnable for travel and dining, and other everyday spending.
  • Because there are so many travel credit card offers, any credit score can apply. The very best travel credit cards, like the Amex Platinum Card, Citi Prestige Card, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, require an excellent credit score to qualify. Others, like the LATAM Secured Visa, require no credit history at all.
  • Typically, travel cards that offer the best sign up bonuses, and most points charge an annual fee. Usually, the base rate is a $95 annual fee for the average travel card. Cards that provide impressive perks, like lounge access or credit for Global Entry, charge the very highest yearly fees. Before applying for any credit card, make sure you plan to make use of the rewards it offers – especially if there’s a high fee attached to it.
  • If your travel plans change and you can’t justify a high annual fee, consider downgrading to a no annual fee version from the same card issuer. Chase offers numerous paid -and no annual fee – versions of popular airline and hotel credit cards, for example.
  • The real value for most travel cards lies in the value of the rewards points they offer. These points might be in the form of airline miles, hotel loyalty program points, or general card issuer points. Chase points, for example, allow users to redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel expenses, cashback, or other award options.

Current airline mile valuations for leading carriers:

 Current hotel point valuations for leading brands:

  • Yes. Bank of America offers a dedicated student travel rewards card – the Travel Rewards Card for Students. There are also several general rewards cards for students that allow cardholders to redeem rewards for travel purchases. Travel rewards cards are an excellent option for students who go to college out of state. Some cards feature no foreign transaction fees, making them perfect for international studies.
  • Yes. Thee are some very good secured cards for frequent travelers. These include secured airline cards from SKYPASS (Korean Air) and LATAM. Beyond those airline cards, BB&T offers secured cards for general travel usage that earn points with every purchase.

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