There’s a myriad of travel credit cards that offer a variety of travel perks, including hotel discounts, airline miles, cash-back rewards and even a free trip!
When searching for a new travel credit card, you have several options. Which one is the best? To help you cut through the clutter, the editors at Credit.com picked a few of our favorite travel credit cards. See if one of these picks might be your best travel credit card for 2019.
The Best Travel Credit Cards of 2019
The Credit.com teams’ picks for the best travel cards of 2019—for full details on each card, please see the each card’s cardholder agreements:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Card Details +
Benefits: If you spend $4,000 in the first three months of having this card, you earn 60,000 bonus points. If you redeem the points through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, that’s equivalent to $750 you can use for travel.
On top of that sign-on bonus, you earn 2x points for every dollar you spend on all travel-related purchases, such as hotels and flights, and at restaurants worldwide. And you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend for all other purchases.
This card has no foreign transaction fees, which makes it perfect for international travelers. And there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Plus, you can transfer your points—point for point—to other leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Drawbacks: There is a $95 annual fee for this card, which gives it a pricier annual fee than other cards, but that 60,000 bonus miles make it worth it. The ongoing APR is a bit steeper than some cards too at 18.24% - 25.24% Variable. But, an intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases makes it worthwhile.
Benefits: CNBC named this card “The Best Travel Card” in 2018. That could be because if you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having this card, you get 50,000 bonus miles. That’s equal to $500 for travel.
You earn 2x miles on every purchase. And, through January 2020, you earn 10X miles at thousands of hotels—see hotels.com/venture for details.
When you redeem your miles, you can do so to fly any airline or stay at any hotel, anytime. There are no blackout dates. And you can transfer your points to 12 travel loyalty programs.
Added perks include a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And miles that won’t expire for the life of your account with no limit to how many you can earn.
Drawbacks: After the first year, the annual fee is $95, which hurts, but you do get $0 annual fee your first year. At least good credit is needed, excellent is preferred. Ongoing APR is 17.99% - 25.24% (Variable), making it steeper than some cards. And there’s no intro offer of a lower or no APR. So if you carry much of a balance, you’ll pay interest on that balance and may end up quickly negating the miles you earn in interest costs.
Benefits: This card has comparable benefits to the Capital One Venture Rewards card, but offers a 0% intro on purchases for 12 months for APR and a lower ongoing APR of 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable) after that. It also has a permanent $0 annual fee.
Rewards are a bit less, but if you carry a balance from month to month, this card may be your better option due to the lower interest. With it, you earn 1.25x miles on every purchase every day. And, as with the Capital One Venture Rewards card, through January 2020, you earn 10X miles at thousands of hotels—see hotels.com/venture for details.
You can redeem your miles to fly any airline or stay at any hotel, anytime. There are no blackout dates. And you can transfer your points to 12 travel loyalty programs.
As with the Capital One Venture Rewards card, added perks include miles that won’t expire for the life of your account with no limit to how many you can earn.
Drawbacks: The only potential drawback of this card is the slightly lower miles you can earn compared to the Capital One Venture Rewards card. But the Credit.com editors think the lower interest, may well be worth earning rewards a touch more slowly.
What’s the Best Travel Credit Card for You
While all of the credit cards included here offer great travel perks, there’s no one best travel credit card for everyone. Which card is best for you depends on your preferences, how much of a balance you carry from month to month, how much you spend each and how often you do or want to travel.
Some cards work great for frequent travelers. Other cards work better for those who don’t travel as often. All cards have their perks and quirks. The cards included here are simply some of the current best travel credit cards recommended by the Credit.com team with the intent of helping your compare travel credit cards for your needs.
About Getting a Travel Credit Card
To get a travel credit card—especially the best one for you—you have to consider three things:
- What’s my creditworthiness?
- How’s my credit?
- How much do I travel or want to travel?
Many travel credit cards—and definitely the best ones—require that cardholders have an excellent or good credit score for approval. And with any credit card with a variable APR, you’ll pay the higher end of that variable APR with a lower score—even one that’s still good.
If you don’t know what your credit score is, you can see your Experian credit score free on Credit.com. If your score is looking a little lackluster, you can also see your free credit report card. Your record card shows you where you stand in the five key areas that make up your score and offers steps to improve your standing before you apply for a new card.
You can generally raise your credit scores by paying down high credit card balances, disputing errors on your credit reports and addressing delinquent items.
Once your credit is in tip-top shape, consider how much you travel, how you travel and how much you spend. For instance, if you frequently fly one airline carrier or tend to stay at a particular hotel chain, an airline miles credit card—like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express—or a hotel-branded credit card—like the Hilton Honors American Express Card—may net you more bang for your buck.
If you travel a lot, you may want to look into elite credit cards. If you travel less often, a general-purpose travel credit card with a lower annual fee is probably the best fit for your wallet. Consider your spending habits carefully and read the fine print before you apply.
You can find all travel credit cards available from Credit.com to compare travel credit cards for yourself.
What About Rewards Credit Cards?
The Credit.com editors haven’t covered cash-back rewards credit cards in this article. But, a cash-back rewards card can be a great option for travelers too.
Both a cash-back rewards card and travel rewards credit card are rewards cards. The difference is that a cash-back rewards card rewards you with cash back for your purchases instead of the hotel rewards points or airline miles you earn with a travel rewards card.
With a cash-back rewards card, you can redeem the cash you get back to pay for travel expenses or anything else you want. And many of these cards have no foreign transaction fees, which makes them great to use for travel too.
Note: APRs listed here are for purchases and may or may not apply to balance transfers. For details see each card’s details page.
Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.
Advertiser disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this website are from credit card companies that Credit.com receives compensation from. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offer