Best Travel Credit Cards – May 2023

Most people looking for travel credit cards gravitate toward cards with flexible rewards — programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One’s Venture miles program. Which program to choose and which card within that program to choose will depend on your travel habits or travel aspirations:

Best Luxury Travel Credit Cards: American Express

Frequent travelers often choose American Express because their cards offer more features to make travel easier. However, those features come at a higher price (as luxury often does), so you’ll want to think about your travel plans and card spending patterns before jumping in. The two best American Express cards for travel:

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card_name – If there is one travel credit card that is most associated with “prestige” or “luxury”, the American Express Platinum is it. Rewards and perks galore including 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year) and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com.

In addition, enjoy probably the best, most extensive airport lounge network of all the luxury travel cards (The Global Lounge Collection), strong travel insurances & protections, plus a wealth of potential credits on airline and hotel purchases as well as certain purchases from Uber, Clear, Saks Fifth Avenue, Equinox and more.

Points can be redeemed for travel booked at AmexTravel.com or you can transfer Membership Rewards points into the loyalty programs of American Express travel partners including Delta, Hilton, Marriott, as well as a number of international airlines and other partners. (You can use your points in other ways, too, if you choose.)

NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: bonus_miles_full annual_fees annual fee. card_name. American Express is a ProudMoney advertiser.

 

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card_name – If you aspire to travel more (but maybe don’t spend a lot on travel now), you might prefer the American Express Gold with is lower $250 annual fee and more points-earning opportunities on “everyday living” purchases.

You can earn: 4X points at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4X points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on other eligible purchases.

Points can be redeemed for travel booked at AmexTravel.com or you can transfer Membership Rewards points into the loyalty programs of American Express travel partners including Delta, Hilton, Marriott, as well as a number of international airlines and other partners. (You can use your points in other ways, too, if you choose.)

Potential Credits Include: Up to $120 in Uber Cash annually (add the Card to your Uber account to earn $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.) and an up to $120 Dining Credit annually (up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.)

New Cardholder Bonus Opportunity: bonus_miles_full card_name. American Express is a ProudMoney advertiser.

 

Most Flexible, “Best All Around” Travel Credit Cards: Chase / Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program gives you the most flexibility as a cardholder when it comes to redeeming the points you receive, and the right combination of Chase cards can really supercharge your rewards earning and spending power. Here’s how:

  1. Chase lets you redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for travel through its own travel portal OR you can transfer your points into desirable travel partner loyalty programs including Southwest, United, Hyatt, Marriott and more. Even better, you can still opt to redeem them for cash back at a penny-per-point rate, which is much better than the “cash out” rate from American Express or Capital One.
  2. If you hold the card_name or card_name, the points you earn get a “boost” in value when used through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards booking portal — a 25% boost with the card_name and a 50% boost with the card_name. IN ADDITION, you can earn points from other Chase credit cards like the card_name and combine those points with the points from the card_name or card_name — and get that 25% or 50% boost on ALL the points!

 

Here are the two Chase Sapphire Cards to consider:

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card_name – The Chase Sapphire Preferred recently beefed up its rewards (including 3 points per dollar on dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards┬«), making it attractive as your everyday credit card.

But, as noted above, it’s maybe even more attractive as the foundation to a larger strategy of obtaining multiple Chase cards and combining points to redeem at a 25% premium through Chase’s travel booking site or to get access to Chase travel transfer partners including United, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott and more. annual_fees annual fee.

NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: bonus_miles_full

 

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card_name – Why We Like It: Despite a annual_fees annual fee, a frequent traveler can often find plenty of value to justify the Chase Sapphire Reserve, starting with yearly travel reimbursements of up to $300, airport lounge access, and solid travel insurances.

Maybe even better: a 50% boost in reward point value when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and a great list of travel transfer partners, allowing you to transfer points into the loyalty programs of Southwest, United, Hyatt, JetBlue, Marriott, and a number of international airlines.

NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: bonus_miles_full.

The everyday rewards: earn 5 points per dollar on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 3x points on other travel. (Note that points aren’t earned on purchases toward the yearly $300 travel credit.) Also: 3x points on dining, including restaurants, eligible delivery services, and takeout (earn 10x if dining reserved through Chase Dining). 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

 

Easiest To Understand: Capital One Miles

Capital One has long emphasized simplicity in its credit cards. If you are new to travel credit cards, Capital One may be the easiest to immediately understand, both in terms of what you earn from your card purchases and how much your “miles” will be worth when redeemed.

With both the card_name and card_name, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar on most purchases, with miles usually worth a penny each when redeemed for travel. (For example, 10,000 “miles” generally equals $100 of travel value.) You do earn a bit more in miles when you book through the Capital One Travel booking portal. See card details below for more specifics.

Capital One’s simplicity may limit the “home run” redemptions (where points give you unexpectedly high value under certain circumstances). If you love to comb through travel deals or dissect airline alliances for “sweet spot” opportunities, you might find American Express or Chase cards more to your liking. But if you want simplicity while still getting good value, Capital One could very well be for you.

 

Our favorite Capital One travel credit card:

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card_name – Why We Like It: Capital One’s Venture X offers the most desirable features of more expensive travel cards, but strips away the fluff to keep its annual fee at a reasonable annual_fees. And you can easily offset $300 of that fee when you book through Capital One Travel (you’ll get the first $300 in bookings credited back to your card).

Plus, there’s the Early Spend Bonus: bonus_miles_full. And then an Anniversary Miles Bonus of 10,000 miles (equal to $100 toward travel) kicks in starting on your first card anniversary! You can easily get more value in miles and credits each year than the annual fee ($300 potential credits + $100 in miles = $400 value)!

Don’t forget the everyday purchase rewards: Earn unlimited 10 miles per dollar in purchases on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and unlimited 2X miles on ALL other purchases. Plus, airport lounge access through the Priority Pass network as well as access to the Capital One Lounges, and much more.

You might also consider:

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card_name – If the Venture X has too high of an annual fee for you (even with the sweet credits), the OG Venture Rewards card still offers plenty at a more do-able annual_fees annual fee.

Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase (but 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel), and use those miles to pay for travel or even transfer them into the loyalty programs of Capital One travel partners.

Other perks include a credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application (up to $100 when paid with the card), Hertz Five Star status, no foreign transaction fees on purchases outside of the United States and more.

EARLY SPEND BONUS: bonus_miles_full.

 

Airline/Hotel Credit Cards

If you often travel on a particular airline or stay at a specific hotel chain, you might also consider cards like:

card_name

card_name – Earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles on all purchases, enjoy preferred boarding, your first checked bag free, and bonus_miles_full

Everyday earnings include 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, 2 miles per dollar at gas stations, 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases. Annual fee: annual_fees.

 

card_name

card_name – Southwest credit card offers 2 points per dollar on Southwest flights booked with the card, as well as 2X points on local transit and commuting (including rideshare/Uber/Lyft), 2X points on Internet, cable, select streaming, and phone services, 2X points at Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 1X everywhere else. Annual fee: annual_fees

Bonus Opportunity: bonus_miles_full (You’ll also get 3000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary each year.)

 

card_name

card_name – This is maybe Delta’s most popular credit card because it offers generous rewards with a modest annual fee (annual_fees).

Earn 2X Delta SkyMiles per dollar at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., 2X miles at U.S. supermarkets, 2X miles on purchases made directly with Delta, 1X on all other purchases. Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.

Bonus Opportunity: bonus_miles_full card_name. American Express is a ProudMoney advertiser.

 

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card_nameNo Annual Fee Hilton credit card offers generous points-earning opportunities, including 7X points for eligible purchases at hotel and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 5X points on dining (in the U.S.), 5X points on groceries (at U.S. supermarkets), and 5X points on gas at U.S. gas stations.

You’ll also enjoy a great potential bonus for new cardholders (bonus_miles_full), complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status, no foreign transaction fees, and more. card_name. American Express is a ProudMoney advertiser.

 

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card_name – United Airlines’ flagship credit card offers Priority Boarding, first bag checked free, up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry, TSA Precheck┬« or NEXUS every 4 years as application fee reimbursement, and a strong welcome bonus opportunity for new cardholders (bonus_miles_full)

And, of course, the Everyday Rewards: 2 United MileagePlus miles per dollar on dining purchases charged to the card, 2 miles per dollar on hotels when purchased directly from the hotel, 2 miles per dollar on United purchases, 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. annual_fees.


Author: Adam Jusko