Best Travel Credit Cards
A travel rewards card is one of the smartest financial tools for frequent flyers. By using these credit cards, they can unlock valuable reward points that can be exchanged for airfare, hotels, rental cars, and other travel expenses. They also help frequent travelers build credit while they conduct business around the world and can even grant access top-of-the-line insurance and 24/7 customer support.
As of 2022, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card is the number one credit card for frequent travelers. It comes with a 75,000-mile sign-up bonus for qualifying members, which is equal to $750 of free rewards points. Depending on your credit score, you can sign up for a low variable-rate APR of 18.49%.
Not all credit cards are equal. Some offer exclusive deals, enticing welcome bonuses, and low interest rates that set them apart from the pack. In this article, we'll introduce you to 5 of the best credit cards for travel, with all types of credit scores in mind. So, if you're regularly jetting across the world for work, build credit and reap the benefits while you're at it.
The Top Travel Cards of 2022
It's easy to leverage an average credit score into sizeable rewards when you fly out for business or leisure. The trick is to qualify for a credit card with quality traveler rewards points. For every purchase you make, you'll earn a percentage back, which can then be turned into hotel stays, trips to the spa, flights, and more.
To maximize these perks, we recommend the following five credit cards
1. Capital One Venture X Rewards Card
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Card is without a doubt the best credit card for travel. New members are automatically awarded 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Additionally, cardholders can earn points at expedited rates when they make travel purchases through the Capital One Travel® platform:
- Hotels and rental cars earn 10x as many points as standard purchases
- Airline tickets earn 5x as many points as standard purchases
Capital One Travel® also offers exclusive deals, lower rates, and special packages to card members that can't be found elsewhere. After the first year, cardholders are also awarded 10,000 free bonus points annually as a curtsey.
To qualify, applicants should have a 720 credit score and must pay a $395 annual fee. Depending on their credit history, applicants will be awarded a variable-rate APR between 18.49% and 25.49%. As a Visa Infinite Card, all approved applicants will be awarded a minimum credit line of $10,000, although some cardholders have reported starting credit lines of $30,000 and more.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card was specifically designed with frequent travelers in mind. Its perks are quite similar to the Capital One Venture X, though slightly less impressive. But what it lacks in glitz, it makes up for in flexibility and easier qualification requirements:
- New members can earn 60,000 bonus reward points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, which is equal to $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Points are worth more when redeemed to cover the cost of airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, and other travel expenses.
- Cardholders earn a free $50 hotel credit
- Purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards® earn 5x as many points
- Purchases made at restaurants earn 3x as many points
- Chase Sapphire offers guaranteed travel insurance and free cancellations
To qualify, applicants should have a 700 credit score and pay a $95 annual fee. These requirements are more relaxed than the Capital One Venture X and more inclusive for average American families.
3. The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Express Card has long been seen as a staple of travel rewards cards. It offers access to a variety of high-end perks and amenities, such as:
- 5x as many points on airfare booked directly with the airline
- 5x as many points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- 1x as many points on all other eligible purchases
- $200 in annual Uber credits
- $200 in annual airline fee credits
- Access to over 1,200 airport lounges
To qualify, applicants should have a 720 credit score and pay a $550 annual fee. These requirements make the Platinum Express Card one of the more exclusive travel rewards cards on the market but for those who can qualify and are looking for the best of the best, the card's perks are hard to beat.
4. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card
The thing with travel rewards cards is that they usually require applicants to have good or excellent credit scores. Yet, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card was designed with the average American in mind. It offers many of the same features and benefits as other travel rewards cards but with more relaxed qualification requirements:
- 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- 5% cash back on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel®
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
To qualify, applicants should have a 620 credit score and pay a smaller $39 annual fee. These requirements make the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card one of the most accessible travel rewards cards on the market and something most families can qualify for.
5. Discover it® Secured Card
The Discover it Secured Card is another good option for those with average credit scores. It offers many of the same features and benefits as other travel rewards cards but with a few key distinctions:
- 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Free FICO® Credit Score checks
- $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee
- $200 minimum credit line
Unlike the other cards listed here, applicants can qualify for a Discover it Secured Card regardless of their credit scores. Additionally, the card doesn't come with an annual fee, making it one of the most inclusive travel rewards cards on the market.
The Bottom Line
There's no shortage of great credit cards out there for travelers. The trick is to find one that best suits your needs and qualifications. Whether you have excellent credit or no credit at all, you can apply for a credit card and start earning rewards points today.