A good travel credit card can help you save on flights and hotel stays, upgrade your travel experience, and even provide insurance coverage if something goes wrong. With so many travel credit cards on the market, you’ve got plenty of options to match your spending habits and budget.
Typically, the higher the annual fee, the more perks you get, like lounge access and statement credits. However, if you can’t splurge on a travel credit card, there are plenty of affordable travel credit cards that offer generous welcome offers, high rewards rates, and different types of travel insurance and protections.
We have analyzed over 50 travel credit cards by looking at factors like the welcome bonus, annual fee, and miles or points rates to determine which ten cards are the best.
See our full methodology here.
Note: Rates, fees, and account requirements are subject to change.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
With the Platinum Card® from American Express, cardholders pay a steep $695 annual fee in exchange for a host of statement credits totaling nearly $1,500, lounge access, a hefty welcome offer, and many types of travel protections and insurance.
Despite the flashy perks and benefits, the Amex Platinum is best for cardholders whose spending habits align with the card’s statement credits. So if you’re a regular at Equinox gym or a frequent Saks Fifth customer, this card can help cover expenses like your gym membership, department store purchases, streaming services, and more.
Beyond statement credits, the card offers Global Lounge Collection access so cardholders can visit Delta Sky Club, Centurion Network, and Priority Pass Select lounges. However, if you want generous rewards on your regular spending, think again.
Cardholders only earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and 1x points on other purchases. In other words, cardholders earn 1x points on most spending.
In fact, numerous cards on our list offer better rewards rates with lower annual fees and fewer frills, too.
If you’re in the market for an affordable travel credit card with lots of redemption options, a sizeable welcome bonus, a handful of useful travel protections, and a decent rewards rate, look no further than the Capital One Venture Rewards card.
This $95 annual fee card offers a flat 2x miles on every purchase, plus a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®. When you sign up for the card, you also have the potential to earn a large welcome bonus: You can earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Once you’re ready to redeem your miles, you can transfer them to a travel partner, book a trip through Capital One Travel, buy gift cards, pay for purchases on PayPal or Amazon, or earn cashback in the form of a statement credit or check.
For more information about the Venture card, check out our review.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.
With the Gold Card® from American Express, you get dining perks and earn rewards on (almost) all of your food-related spending, whether it’s on grocery runs or outings at restaurants.
Cardholders earn 4x Membership Rewards® Points at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x), 3x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1x points on other eligible purchases.
And the Amex Gold Card isn’t just a good card option for foodies because of the rewards. Cardholders also get up to $120 dining credit and up to $120 Uber Cash, which can be used to cover Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. You can use the dining credit for purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations.
While the card provides generous rewards and perks, it comes at a cost—the annual fee is $250, so it’s best for cardholders who think the benefits will outweigh the cost.
For more information about the Amex Gold, check out our review.
When it comes to travel credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a favorite amongst credit card enthusiasts because of its modest annual fee, solid welcome bonus, rewards flexibility, and decent rewards rates.
One of the major upsides of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that cardholders get more bang for their buck when they redeem points for hotels, airfare, and more through the Chase Travel portal. When booking through the travel portal, each point is worth 1.25 cents. That means you can earn more with the welcome bonus, which is 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (that's $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
Plus, if you want even more travel redemption options, you can transfer your points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. You can also use your points to buy merchandise, gift cards or purchases at Amazon and PayPal, but the redemption value may be lower than if you used your points to buy travel.
And while the Sapphire Preferred rewards rates don’t get as much attention as the rewards redemption options, cardholders still earn a high rewards rate on Lyft (through March 31, 2025), dining out and takeout, and streaming services.
For more information about the Sapphire Preferred, check out our review.
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If you frequently fly with United, the United Explorer Card is a low-cost card option that offers valuable perks and benefits that can help you cut down on airline expenses.
The Explorer Card has a $95 annual fee, but cardholders get their money’s worth. You and a companion can get the first checked bag for free (up to $35, each way, per person) on United Flights, United priority boarding, and a statement credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS every four years.
Though the rewards rates aren’t remarkable, you do earn a higher miles rate on United purchases.
Cardholders earn 2x miles on dining (including eligible delivery services), hotel stays, and United® purchases.
And if anything goes awry when you’re traveling, Explorer cardholders can have peace of mind knowing they’re covered by multiple types of travel insurance. So if your trip is delayed or the carrier loses your luggage, you could be eligible for reimbursement.
Marriott has locations across the globe, so if you’re a frequent visitor of any of their hotels—like The Ritz Carlton or Sheraton—the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless could help you make the most of your hotel stays.
The Bonvoy Boundless is a $95 annual fee card with a unique yet generous welcome bonus, lavish rewards, and a plethora of Marriott-specific and general travel perks and protections. We analyzed more than ten hotel credit cards, and the Bonvoy Boundless had one of the best welcome offers.
You can earn three free night awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. And you’re also eligible for a free night every anniversary year—no spending required.
Of course, the most valuable perks of the card are automatic Silver Elite status. With Silver Elite status, cardholders get priority late checkout, extra points on their Marriott stays, free wifi, and more. Plus, if you want to achieve Gold Elite status, you’ll get an initial boost of 15 elite night credits with the card. Then, you’ll only need 25 total credits to earn Gold Elite status.
Most travel credit cards require a good credit score or better to be eligible. But if you have less than stellar credit, you can earn rewards on your spending and build your credit score with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Secured Card.
With a secured card, you must put down a security deposit, which acts as collateral if you fail to make payments. Then, if you make payments on time and in full, you’ll be eligible to receive your security deposit back.
The security deposit also determines your credit limit—if you put down $2,000, you’ll receive a $2,000 credit limit. To open a card, you’ll need a minimum security deposit of $200 (the maximum is $5,000).
When it comes to rewards, you won’t be raking it in, but you’ll still be scoring a modest rewards rate: Cardholders earn 1.5 points for every $1 they spend on all purchases.
And since this is a secured card, don’t expect much in terms of perks or benefits—the card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, a 0% intro APR period, or any type of travel insurance or protections.
While people use the rewards they earn from travel credit cards to book flights, hotel stays, cruises, and more, some travel credit cards also offer cardholders the ability to earn extra rewards on their travel-related spending.
With the Citi Premier Card, cardholders earn 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels, plus 1x points on all other purchases. The annual fee is also a reasonable $95, so it’s accessible to cardholders who might not want to splurge on a travel card.
And if you’re planning to book any hotel stays, you’ll get a $100 annual hotel savings benefit. With the benefit, you’ll get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more every calendar year. When you’re ready to redeem your points, there are a variety of ways you can use your ThankYou® points.
You can redeem your points for travel by transferring them to one of Citi’s airline or hotel partners or booking a trip through Citi Travel. You can also use points to shop at select retailers, buy gift cards or earn cash rewards.
If you want a travel credit card but don’t want to pay an exorbitant annual fee, consider the Wells Fargo Autograph Card. With this $0 annual fee card, you can earn rewards on everything from restaurants to transportation.
Autograph cardholders earn 3x points on travel, gas, transit, popular streaming services, phone plans, and at restaurants, and 1x points on all other eligible purchases. So if you want to earn rewards on your daily subway commute or your Hulu subscription, you can.
This card offers stellar rewards and some solid perks: You can score a modest welcome bonus and get benefits like phone protection, which provides up to $600 of reimbursement if your phone is damaged or stolen.
Plus, if you’re planning to finance a big-ticket item and need a longer period to pay it off (without interest), the Autograph can be a solid card option because it offers a 12-month 0% intro APR period on purchases (20.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable APR thereafter).
For more information about the Autograph card, check out our review.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a no-frills travel credit card for those who want a $0 annual fee card with a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
Whether you need time to pay off a big purchase or you’re trying to consolidate your credit card debt, Bank of America Travel Rewards cardholders get a 0% intro APR on their first 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers (these must be made within the first 60 days of opening your account). After that, 18.24% to 28.24% variable APR.
Since this is a no-annual-fee card, you won’t get a lot of perks or protections. You will, however, get a decent rewards rate, 1.5 points on eligible purchases, and a solid welcome bonus—cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus points by making $1,000 of purchases within 90 days of account opening.
The Fortune RecommendsTM team analyzed more than 50 travel credit cards across various issuers to come up with the top picks.
Here are the key elements we ranked each card by:
Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
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