Best Travel Credit Cards in 2024

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Travel Credit Cards

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If you’re planning to travel in the near future or travel regularly, it’s a smart move to have a travel credit card. If you’re good at managing your money and paying off your credit card in full each month, having a travel credit card can help you travel for less. Continue reading...

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Best Travel Credit Cards of February, 2024

Travel
World of Hyatt Business Credit Card

World of Hyatt Business Credit Card

Cash back: 9 bonus points for every $1 spent at Hyatt, 2 bonus points for every $1 spent in your top 3 spending categories, 1 bonus point for every $1 spent everywhere else
Annual fee: $199
Best for: Business, Travel rewards
Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $7,500 on your card in your first 3 months

Our take: The World of Hyatt Business Credit Card is a no-brainer for business travelers. You get 9 reward points for every $1 spent at Hyatt properties around the world, plus 75,000 bonus points when you spend $7,500 on your card within the first 3 months.
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Travel
Synchrony Premier World Mastercard®

Synchrony Premier World Mastercard®

Cash back: Unlimited 2% cash back on all travel related spending
Annual fee: $0
Best for: Travel & Cash back

Our take: The Synchrony Premier World Mastercard® is an excellent Travel cash back credit card with no annual fee. Get approved for an APR as low as 13.99% if you have excellent credit. This card has additional benefits such as free identity theft monitoring and access to a personal travel planning concierge service.
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Travel
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

Cash back: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on groceries and American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual fee: $0
Best for: Travel, Airlines

Our take: The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is an excellent option for frequent travelers. You can earn bonus miles for every dollar you spend and an extra 10,000 AAdvantage® miles after you spend $500 within the first 3 months.
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Travel
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Cash back: 3X points on dining, 5X points on travel when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 2X points on all other travel-related spending
Annual fee: $95
Best for: Travel Rewards, Intro Offer

Our take: One of the best cards on the market for travel rewards, you should run, not walk, to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
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Travel
Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Cash back: 5% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, 5% cash back on travel when you book with Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 1% cash back on everything else
Annual fee: $0
Best for: Cash back, Intro offer, Balance transfer
Welcome bonus: 0% Intro APR offer for 15 months, earn a one-time $200 reward when you spend $500 on your card within the first 3 months

Our take: The Chase Freedom Flex card is a great choice if you're looking for a flexible cash back card with a 0% intro APR offer. This card is one of our top choices because it offers cardmembers a lot of rewards without charging an annual fee.
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Not sure which credit card is right for you?

No worries, we've got you covered! Compare multiple credit card options to choose the best card for your needs.

What is a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is a type of rewards credit card that offers you perks when you spend. In the case of a travel credit card, these perks usually help discount (or pay entirely for) flights, hotels, and other things you may need or want while you travel.

How does a travel credit card work?

On a day-to-day basis, a travel credit card works just like any normal credit card. You apply for the card, are given a maximum credit limit, and an interest rate (APR). The difference is that what you pay for with the card and the amount you use the card can translate to rewards in the form of air miles or points you can redeem for hotels and other travel needs and desires.

What can a travel credit card be used for?

A travel credit card can be used for any purpose, but you may only receive rewards for purchases from certain vendors or in certain categories. For this reason, you’ll want to be mindful that you use the card primarily for the things you’ll be rewarded for.

Who should consider getting a travel credit card?

If you have good or excellent credit and always pay your credit cards off in full each month, and you want to travel frequently, a travel credit card can help make your travel costs much more affordable. In some cases, you may find you can even travel for free.

What are the different types of travel credit cards?

  • Airline: These cards usually reward you “air miles” (or a similar name) that help get you discounts on your flights (or even free flights). These miles are usually for one particular airline’s loyalty program, so think carefully about which airline you’re happy with before you take out the card. You usually get other perks, such as seat upgrades, priority boarding, a lounge, or a free checked bag. The cards with the best perks usually have a high annual fee, so think carefully about what you need and want from your card.
  • Hotel: This type of card will gain you points for a certain hotel chain’s loyalty program, and you can often double your points if you are making a booking at one of their hotels. These points will help you get upgrades and free stays.
  • Flat-Rate: this type of card will earn you miles or points for all your purchases, no matter what they are or where you make them. You usually get fewer miles per purchase than some of the other cards that specialize, but you may be able to use the card more frequently.
  • Transferable Points: this is another type of travel credit card that is the ideal option if you don’t want to be tied into one loyalty scheme with a particular airline or hotel chain. These cards are usually only offered by American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi. These are great cards to have, but the annual fees are high (usually around $100) so you need to be sure you can make them worth it.

What are the pros and cons of reward credit cards?

PROS

  • They often offer you cash back for everyday expenses
  • You can sometimes “backdate” them and apply them to a past trip (reducing your future credit card balance)
  • You often get lounge access, upgrades, discounts, and other perks
  • Some allow you to apply them to any airline or hotel chain
  • You often have the option of redeeming your points for gift cards or cash back instead of travel
  • Introductory bonuses are usually worth getting

CONS

  • You may feel encouraged to spend more
  • All most all have high annual fees (up to $500)
  • You may lose all the benefits if you miss a payment or don’t use it for a prolonged period
  • The APR is often high
  • Most charge you high fees for using the card while abroad
  • It’s not a great time for international travel, so if you like to travel a lot, you may not get to use your rewards as frequently as you’d like
  • Some cards blackout dates you can use your rewards on, forcing you to travel at less-than-ideal times

How do I use a travel credit card?

Make sure you understand what you need to spend on to earn points (hopefully you did this before applying) and then use your card as normal for those purchases. You’ll earn points that will accumulate in your account (usually accessed via an online portal) which you can then redeem for free or discounted travel (or travel perks and upgrades).

How many travel credit cards should I have?

In most cases, you’ll only need one travel credit card. If you do your research before you apply and decide on the right type of card, you won’t need to have one for each airline or hotel chain. Indeed, spreading your money out like that will make it take longer before you can redeem your rewards.

How much is a mile or point worth on a travel card?

This does vary from issuer to issuer, but generally you can expect one mile or point to be worth 1 cent.

Do travel credit cards provide travel insurance?

Not all do, but yes, you can get it with your travel credit card. Just make sure you do your research and find a card that is right for you and includes it (and don’t forget to find out what cover that insurance includes). If you can’t find a travel credit card that includes the right level of travel cover, some debit bank accounts offer it as a perk, so that’s another avenue to explore.

Do I need to notify my credit card issuer when traveling?

You usually don’t need to, but it’s often a good idea to so they won’t block your card, thinking it has been stolen.

Do I have to pay an annual fee on a credit card?

Some credit cards come with annual fees, and travel credit cards nearly always have them. Travel credit card fees are usually between $100 and $500 per year, so make sure you know what the card will cost you to maintain and make sure it’s worth it for you.

Do travel credit card miles or points ever expire?

No – fortunately, unlike other forms of reward cards, your travel miles will never expire. If your travel credit card accumulates points instead of miles, they usually don’t expire unless your card has been inactive in point-earning activities for over 2 years.

What credit score do I need to apply for a travel credit card?

You’ll need a good or excellent credit score to apply for the best travel credit cards, so anything over 670 is best. The closer you are to 850, the better.

4 Essential Tips for Choosing the Best Travel Credit Card

  • Have good or excellent credit: if you don’t, you’ll likely struggle to get a travel credit card that’s worth your time.
  • Make sure you know what out of it: do you want free flights or hotels? Both? Do you want lounge access when you fly? Think about what you’ll actually use.
  • Make sure you can use it often: look for a card that gives you points for most of your normal spending habits so you can accumulate the most points.
  • Keep an eye on the annual fee: some of the top cards have a $500 annual fee, which makes it an impractical card for anyone who doesn’t travel often. If you travel monthly or have family on the other side of the world, however, a card with this kind of fee may offer enough benefits that it’s worth it for you.

Are travel credit cards worth it?

If you’re saving up for a big trip, travel at least 4+ times a year, like the finer things when you travel, or have family in another country, you may find a travel card helps bring down the expense of travel dramatically, while offering you convenient perks.

Apply for a travel credit card

A travel credit card makes a lot of sense for many of us, but only if the annual fees don’t eat into your benefits. If you’re someone who will get a great deal out of your travel credit card, make sure you compare the best travel credit cards here to find the one that offers you the best perks. When you’re ready, simply apply. The application process usually only takes a few minutes and you usually get an instant decision. Soon, you’ll be enjoying those free upgrades and loyalty point perks!

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