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Best Travel Credit Cards for May 2024

 Best Travel Credit Cards for May 2024


Travel can be expensive, but for many, it’s a price worth paying. Once it’s all said and done — your hotels are booked, your plane ticket is in hand and your rental car is ready to be picked up — you’re probably looking for a way to save. Luckily, travel credit cards can help reduce some travel costs through their rewards, perks and welcome offers.

Usually in exchange for an annual fee, a travel credit card can help you save time and money through its perks. These might include an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry or could help limit the stress of a layover with airport lounge access. They’ll sometimes even include annual credits to put toward your travel expenses, or free checked bags and travel insurance. Here are some of the top travel credit cards to choose from.



CNET’S PICK


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Intro Offer


75,000 bonus points



Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.


Rewards Rate


1x
– 5x



5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.; 2x on all other travel purchases.; 1x on all other purchases.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


21.49% – 28.49% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred®️ Card has the best travel rewards program relative to the annual fee.

The rewards and welcome bonus are roughly equivalent to other cards at its price point, but the 25% redemption value boost for points when booking travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal puts this card’s rewards program far ahead. Couple that with its 1:1 point transfer rate to Chase’s partner airline and hotels, and you’ve got one of the best travel rewards programs on the market.

It also includes other common travel card perks like no foreign transaction fees and some travel insurance coverage. This card also offers a $50 Annual Hotel Credit for hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠ each account anniversary.

See more details in our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.

3x

3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.

2x

2x on all other travel purchases.

1x

1x on all other purchases.



The Chase Sapphire Preferred®️ Card has the best travel rewards program relative to the annual fee.

The rewards and welcome bonus are roughly equivalent to other cards at its price point, but the 25% redemption value boost for points when booking travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal puts this card’s rewards program far ahead. Couple that with its 1:1 point transfer rate to Chase’s partner airline and hotels, and you’ve got one of the best travel rewards programs on the market.

It also includes other common travel card perks like no foreign transaction fees and some travel insurance coverage. This card also offers a $50 Annual Hotel Credit for hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠ each account anniversary.

See more details in our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.

3x

3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.

2x

2x on all other travel purchases.

1x

1x on all other purchases.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Intro Offer


75,000 bonus points



Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.


Rewards Rate


1x
– 10x



Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.; Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.; Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.; Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


800 – 850

Excellent

APR


22.49% – 29.49% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Reserve may look expensive at first glance, but the credits and rewards can easily compensate for the cost for frequent travelers. Not only will you earn great travel rewards, but you’ll receive perks that save you time and energy during your journey. You’ll get a statement credit reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (worth $100 for Global Entry or $85 for TSA PreCheck, both valid for five years), which can save you the hassle of long security lines at the airport.

You’ll automatically be reimbursed for up to $300 of travel expenses per year via the annual travel credit, plus you’ll get airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select and a number of other VIP-style travel perks.

For more details, see our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
22.49% – 29.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater

10x

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.

5x

Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.

3x

Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.

1x

Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.



The Chase Sapphire Reserve may look expensive at first glance, but the credits and rewards can easily compensate for the cost for frequent travelers. Not only will you earn great travel rewards, but you’ll receive perks that save you time and energy during your journey. You’ll get a statement credit reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (worth $100 for Global Entry or $85 for TSA PreCheck, both valid for five years), which can save you the hassle of long security lines at the airport.

You’ll automatically be reimbursed for up to $300 of travel expenses per year via the annual travel credit, plus you’ll get airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select and a number of other VIP-style travel perks.

For more details, see our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
22.49% – 29.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater

10x

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.

5x

Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.

3x

Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.

1x

Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Intro Offer


70,000 bonus points



Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com


Rewards Rate


1x
– 10x



Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.; Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.; Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is Citi’s competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Though the Sapphire Preferred may offer higher rewards rates on certain travel, the Citi Strata Premier Card is less restrictive in the purchases that earn you points — and 3x points is a respectable rate to offer for so many categories. The 70,000 point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months is fairly competitive too: If you earn it, it’s redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at Thankyou.com.

There is a travel credit — $100 Annual Hotel Benefit toward a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com, — but it’s more restrictive than that of some of its competitors.

For more information, check out our full review of the Citi Strata Premier Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Go-to Purchase APR (All are variable)

10x

Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.

3x

Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.

1x

Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases



The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is Citi’s competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Though the Sapphire Preferred may offer higher rewards rates on certain travel, the Citi Strata Premier Card is less restrictive in the purchases that earn you points — and 3x points is a respectable rate to offer for so many categories. The 70,000 point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months is fairly competitive too: If you earn it, it’s redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at Thankyou.com.

There is a travel credit — $100 Annual Hotel Benefit toward a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com, — but it’s more restrictive than that of some of its competitors.

For more information, check out our full review of the Citi Strata Premier Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Go-to Purchase APR (All are variable)

10x

Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.

3x

Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.

1x

Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Intro Offer


75,000 miles



Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel


Rewards Rate


2x
– 5x



Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options; Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* is a straightforward, easy-to-use option for those who want to book travel with travel reward miles generated from general spending, instead of worrying about eligible purchase spending categories. Besides the rewards and welcome bonus, the Capital One Venture also gives cardholders up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, as well as travel accident insurance and auto rental collision insurance (terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details).

Check out our full review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
$0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

5x

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options

2x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.



The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* is a straightforward, easy-to-use option for those who want to book travel with travel reward miles generated from general spending, instead of worrying about eligible purchase spending categories. Besides the rewards and welcome bonus, the Capital One Venture also gives cardholders up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, as well as travel accident insurance and auto rental collision insurance (terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details).

Check out our full review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
$0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

5x

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options

2x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


American Express® Gold Card

Intro Offer


60,000 Membership Rewards® Points



Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.


Rewards Rate


3x
– 4x



Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


See Pay Over Time APR

The American Express Gold Card is good for travelers with a proclivity for eating out or cooking from where they’re staying, as it offers high rewards at restaurants or U.S. supermarkets. It does have a high $250 annual fee, so you’ll want to be sure it fits into your budget before you apply.

Along with its strong rewards, it features no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and a number of annual credits to take advantage of, including up to a $120 dining credit (up to $10 in statement credits each month) at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. How much your points are worth will vary, however, and you’ll want to be sure you’re redeeming for airfare through American Express Travel to get the most from them.

You can find out more in our Amex Gold Card review.

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.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

4x

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

4x

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

3x

Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

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



The American Express Gold Card is good for travelers with a proclivity for eating out or cooking from where they’re staying, as it offers high rewards at restaurants or U.S. supermarkets. It does have a high $250 annual fee, so you’ll want to be sure it fits into your budget before you apply.

Along with its strong rewards, it features no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and a number of annual credits to take advantage of, including up to a $120 dining credit (up to $10 in statement credits each month) at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. How much your points are worth will vary, however, and you’ll want to be sure you’re redeeming for airfare through American Express Travel to get the most from them.

You can find out more in our Amex Gold Card review.

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.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

4x

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

4x

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

3x

Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

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

Best travel card with no annual fee

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Intro Offer


25,000 points



25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.


Rewards Rate


1.5x



Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


19.24% – 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

For travel cards with no annual fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card* offers one of the best flat rewards rate at 1.5 points per $1 spent on purchases. If you use the card to book your flights, hotels or other accommodations when you first get it, you’ll likely be able to earn the welcome bonus — and then later spend it on your charges as a statement credit. The introductory APR on purchases can offer some security as an emergency card while you’re traveling, as well. If the unexpected happens and you need a last-minute flight back, you’ll have time to pay it off.

For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A fee of 3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4% will apply.
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
19.24% – 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%

1.5x

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.



For travel cards with no annual fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card* offers one of the best flat rewards rate at 1.5 points per $1 spent on purchases. If you use the card to book your flights, hotels or other accommodations when you first get it, you’ll likely be able to earn the welcome bonus — and then later spend it on your charges as a statement credit. The introductory APR on purchases can offer some security as an emergency card while you’re traveling, as well. If the unexpected happens and you need a last-minute flight back, you’ll have time to pay it off.

For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A fee of 3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4% will apply.
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
19.24% – 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%

1.5x

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Intro Offer


50,000 miles



Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening


Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards Rate


2x
– 5x



Unlimited 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won’t expire for the life of the account.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business* offers a simple way to earn miles and turn them into trips.

It’s especially useful thanks to its application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Anyone who has spent time in airports knows what a pain TSA can be, but with this card you could skip right through it.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
26.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
$0 at this Transfer APR

5x

Unlimited 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

2x

Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won’t expire for the life of the account.



The Capital One Spark Miles for Business* offers a simple way to earn miles and turn them into trips.

It’s especially useful thanks to its application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Anyone who has spent time in airports knows what a pain TSA can be, but with this card you could skip right through it.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
26.24% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
$0 at this Transfer APR

5x

Unlimited 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

2x

Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won’t expire for the life of the account.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Rewards Rate


1x
– 10x



Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site; Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas; Earn 1x points on all other purchases


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


580 – 739

Fair – Good

The Credit One Bank Wander Card could be a rewarding choice, but its rewards are more restrictive than most travel cards.

You’ll earn a high 10x points per dollar on eligible hotel and car rentals but only with a designated travel provider (through the Credit One Bank travel partner site) that may change from time to time. It does offer 5x points per dollar for eligible travel including airfare, hotels and car rentals outside of the designated travel provider. It has an annual fee of $95 but doesn’t offer too much in the way of travel protections.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
29.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

10x

Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site

5x

Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas

1x

Earn 1x points on all other purchases



The Credit One Bank Wander Card could be a rewarding choice, but its rewards are more restrictive than most travel cards.

You’ll earn a high 10x points per dollar on eligible hotel and car rentals but only with a designated travel provider (through the Credit One Bank travel partner site) that may change from time to time. It does offer 5x points per dollar for eligible travel including airfare, hotels and car rentals outside of the designated travel provider. It has an annual fee of $95 but doesn’t offer too much in the way of travel protections.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
29.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

10x

Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site

5x

Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas

1x

Earn 1x points on all other purchases


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Intro Offer


Earn 40,000 Miles



Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.


Annual Fee

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.

Rewards Rate


1x
– 2x



Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


20.99%-29.99% Variable

For travelers who fly Delta frequently enough, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card offers a way to put some money back in your pocket while gaining a few travel protections.

It includes an annual $200 Delta flight credit each calendar year you spend $10,000 or more on the card. It’s a high spend requirement with a small payout, but a little back is better than none at all. You’ll also get your first checked bag free of charge and 20% back on eligible in-flight Delta purchases, plus it’s one of the few airline cards that offers good rewards for non-airline purchases.

You can learn more in our Delta SkyMiles Gold card review.

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.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

2x

Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.

1x

Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

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



For travelers who fly Delta frequently enough, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card offers a way to put some money back in your pocket while gaining a few travel protections.

It includes an annual $200 Delta flight credit each calendar year you spend $10,000 or more on the card. It’s a high spend requirement with a small payout, but a little back is better than none at all. You’ll also get your first checked bag free of charge and 20% back on eligible in-flight Delta purchases, plus it’s one of the few airline cards that offers good rewards for non-airline purchases.

You can learn more in our Delta SkyMiles Gold card review.

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.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A

2x

Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.

1x

Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

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


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Discover it® Miles

Intro Offer


Discover Match®



Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.


Rewards Rate


1.5x



Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase – with no annual fee.


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


17.24% – 28.24% Variable APR

The Discover it® Miles* has a simple yet lucrative rewards program that offers miles for everything you buy. It also has one of the best welcome bonuses around: Discover will essentially double the rewards you earn for your first year with the card at the end of your first year.

It doesn’t offer many additional travel perks, but you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees if you use this card abroad. You could get used to how a travel card operates before moving on to a more advanced card offering that includes more bells and whistles.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% – 28.24% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

1.5x

Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase – with no annual fee.



The Discover it® Miles* has a simple yet lucrative rewards program that offers miles for everything you buy. It also has one of the best welcome bonuses around: Discover will essentially double the rewards you earn for your first year with the card at the end of your first year.

It doesn’t offer many additional travel perks, but you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees if you use this card abroad. You could get used to how a travel card operates before moving on to a more advanced card offering that includes more bells and whistles.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% – 28.24% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

1.5x

Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase – with no annual fee.


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Intro Offer


Earn 100,000 bonus points



Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.


Rewards Rate


1x
– 3x



Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year; Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


21.24% – 26.24% Variable

The Ink Business Preferred is best if you travel relatively often on business. It has better redemption options than most cards, a high welcome bonus and a selection of travel protections.

Not only does it feature a 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners (1 point equals 1 partner point/mile), but you can also get a 25% redemption bonus for redeeming for travel through Chase Travel℠. Its welcome bonus is higher than most cards at this fee level, and it provides cardholders with primary auto rental collision damage waiver.

Find out more in our Ink Business Preferred review.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.24% – 26.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

3x

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year

1x

Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn



The Ink Business Preferred is best if you travel relatively often on business. It has better redemption options than most cards, a high welcome bonus and a selection of travel protections.

Not only does it feature a 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners (1 point equals 1 partner point/mile), but you can also get a 25% redemption bonus for redeeming for travel through Chase Travel℠. Its welcome bonus is higher than most cards at this fee level, and it provides cardholders with primary auto rental collision damage waiver.

Find out more in our Ink Business Preferred review.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.24% – 26.24% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

3x

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year

1x

Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn


CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards


The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Intro Offer


Earn up to 60,000 Bonus Points



Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.


Rewards Rate


2x
– 9x



Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member; Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships


Rec. Credit



Recommended Credit: A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.


670 – 850

Good – Excellent

APR


21.49% – 28.49% Variable

The World of Hyatt Credit Card* offers extra amenities and rewards at World of Hyatt properties. It features a welcome bonus plus an annual free night award after your cardmember anniversary.

It charges a $95 annual fee, but it could be worth it if you stay at World of Hyatt properties often enough. Hyatt properties dot the US but don’t have many international locations. Along with its hotel rewards, it provides World of Hyatt Discoverist status, which gives cardholders expedited check-in and late check-out, as well as preferred room upgrades when available.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

9x

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member

2x

Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships



The World of Hyatt Credit Card* offers extra amenities and rewards at World of Hyatt properties. It features a welcome bonus plus an annual free night award after your cardmember anniversary.

It charges a $95 annual fee, but it could be worth it if you stay at World of Hyatt properties often enough. Hyatt properties dot the US but don’t have many international locations. Along with its hotel rewards, it provides World of Hyatt Discoverist status, which gives cardholders expedited check-in and late check-out, as well as preferred room upgrades when available.

Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

9x

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member

2x

Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships

Should you get a travel rewards card?

If you travel a few times a year, then yes. Travel credit cards are great tools for making your trips less stressful and in some cases, less expensive. Which travel card you should get depends on which one provides you with the most valuable rewards and benefits.

Pros

  • Cut down on travel expenses with credit card rewards

  • Gain useful travel perks that can save you time and money

  • Earn rewards for booking travel

Cons

  • The best travel credit cards typically require an annual fee

  • Usually require good to excellent credit

  • Travel rewards cards tend to have higher interest rates

What are the benefits of travel rewards credit cards?

Travel rewards cards are designed for a few purposes. They can help you earn points or miles to be redeemed for travel expenses, insure trips from unexpected mishaps or upgrade your accommodations. Some even let you earn a companion pass. Annual fees for travel cards can range from $0 to hundreds of dollars, so it’s important to understand what you’ll get before signing up.

Common travel card benefits include:

Boosted travel rewards: Many travel credit cards offer elevated rewards rates for travel purchases, such as flights and hotels.

Travel booking portals: Several major credit card issuers have their own travel portals for booking flights, hotels, rental cars and more. Using your points rather than cash to book travel can limit your travel expenses.

Trip insurance: Many travel credit cards offer some combination of baggage insurance, trip delay, trip cancellation, trip interruption or car rental collision insurance. You’ll have to check the card’s guide to benefits for the specific details.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Some credit cards will offer a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. TSA PreCheck helps you get through security lines at the airport faster, while Global Entry expedites immigration.

Lounge access: A perk common among premium travel cards, some credit cards offer access to airport lounges. There, you can wait for your flight in comfort with refreshments and private work areas.

Annual travel credits: Many travel cards offer some sort of annual travel credit, whether for hotels, flights or general travel purchases. These credits can range from $50 to hundreds of dollars, but they only come with travel cards that charge an annual fee.

Weigh the value of the rewards and benefits against a credit card’s annual fee to choose the best one for you.

How to choose a travel rewards card

There are a number of different card features you’ll need to consider when deciding which travel card is right for you, including the fees, rewards, redemption methods and additional card perks.

Foreign transaction fees: If you plan to travel out of the US, you’ll want to be sure the card you’re eyeing doesn’t require foreign transaction fees. Many credit cards tack these fees on while you’re abroad. They’re typically 3% of your transaction. Most travel credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees.

Annual fees: You’ll want to make sure that the card’s rewards and benefits provide enough value through your normal spending to cover its annual fee. That means your spending generates enough rewards to cover the fee and you travel enough to use all of the card benefits. A travel card without an annual fee is better for travelers who don’t travel too often throughout the year, but it won’t provide as lucrative card perks like annual statement credits.

Rewards: A travel credit card’s rewards are one of the most important things to consider. They should match how you usually spend while traveling and have a competitive value when it’s time to redeem. Choose a credit card that matches your travel budget and spending habits to avoid overspending.

Rewards redemption: Generally, you’ll have a better chance to maximize your rewards if you have more options available. Avoid redeeming for statement credits and instead use your points for airfare or hotels. If you’re looking to get the most from your points, consider a credit card that offers point transfers to the credit card issuer’s partners.

Travel perks: And lastly, consider the card’s additional perks. Does it offer annual statement credits? How about amenities like airport lounge access or an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck? Many premium travel cards will offer ways to offset their annual fees through their benefits, but you’ll need to make sure you can make full use of them to do so.

How experts suggest choosing the right travel credit card



Gerri

Gerri Detweiler

Expert Reviewer

Full Bio






Julia

Julia Menez

Credit card expert and host of the Geobreeze Travel Podcast

Full Bio






Daniel



There are dozens of travel credit cards, so finding the right fit can be daunting. 

“The most important factor you need to look at when choosing a travel credit card is whether you value a specific brand,” said credit expert Gerri Detweiler.

If you always fly with one airline or stay at a particular hotel, you may want the benefits that come with a co-branded card that earns rewards specifically for that brand, Detweiler said. Perks could include jumping up to a higher airline membership tier for airline cards or annual free night stay certificates with hotel cards. But if you’re not loyal to one brand, Detweiler instead suggests a general travel credit card for avid travelers.

You also want to consider the type of rewards the card earns, said credit card expert Julia Menez.

“For those looking to travel with points and miles, the best way to pick the right travel credit card is to work backward,” Menez said. Once you choose your destination, Menez said it’s important to check which type of points will most effectively cover the cost.

“Once you know which type and how many points you’ll need to earn,  select a travel credit card that earns those types of points,” she said.

Since many of the best travel cards charge an annual fee, figure out if you can justify it with the rewards and card perks you’ll earn. “If you’re going to pay a high annual fee, then you really need to look at whether you’ll earn enough in benefits to offset most or hopefully all of that fee,” Detweiler said. 

If you won’t earn enough to make up for an annual fee, consider a lower-annual-fee credit card or even a cash-back card that might better suit your spending and budget, Detweiler added.

Lastly, consider how you can redeem a card’s points, the value of its rewards and whether you plan to transfer points to travel partners.

“Flexible points currencies like Chase, American Express, Capital One, Citi and Bilt are some of the most valuable because they can be used with many different airlines and hotel chains,” Menez said.

Once you’ve chosen the right travel card for you, the next step is to make sure you can get value from it. According to credit expert Daniel Braun, the best way to do that is to redeem your rewards correctly.

“To get the best value from travel credit card rewards, people should be looking to redeem points and miles for travel and not cash back or gift cards,” he said. “Many times I’ll see people earn flexible points currencies from banks and then just cash them out at lower values, but if they can be patient and learn a few ways to redeem for flights and hotels by transferring those points to transfer partners, then the value of their points could double, triple or multiply by even more!”

What are travel points and miles worth?

The value of points and miles will vary depending on the card and how you redeem them. Travel credit cards usually have two main forms of redemption: Using rewards for past travel expenses and transferring them to hotel and airline partners.

Point transfers could provide a higher per-point value than standard forms of redemption, but again, it depends on what card you’re using and which brands you’re transferring them to. Generally, travel cards encourage you to redeem for travel, which could mean booking airfare, hotels or rental cars.

When redeeming for airfare or hotels, factors including the time of year you’re booking your travel will also impact the value of your points or miles. But generally speaking, points and miles will always be worth the most when used for travel as opposed to statement credits or other forms of redemption.

How to maximize your travel card

To maximize your cards’ value, use it strategically for purchases that provide the most rewards and then redeem those rewards in the most lucrative way — that usually means for airfare or hotel stays, but you could find the best per-point value by utilizing point transfers. Choosing your travel date ahead of time could also give you the opportunity to shop around for the most lucrative transfer deals.

Remember to take advantage of any annual statement credits that may apply to you to offset your card’s annual fee. Using airport amenities like airport lounges, priority boarding or having checked bag fees waived are other ways to ensure you’re getting the most from your card.

How to apply

Follow these steps to apply for a travel rewards card:

  1. Find the card that best fits your travel habits.
  2. Follow the links above to a secure application on the credit card issuer’s website.
  3. Fill out all the required financial and personal information.
  4. Use your card responsibly and pay on time.

Make sure to redeem your travel rewards in the way that provides the greatest value and to use its perks whenever possible.

FAQs

While most don’t, you’ll need to read the terms that come with your credit card to be certain.

No, the IRS categorizes credit card reward redemption as non-taxable.

It varies from airline to airline. For travel rewards or frequent flyer miles, you can check on the respective airline’s website when booking a flight by choosing the option that lets you pay for a flight with credit card rewards.

Other credit cards we researched

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, click here

*All information about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business, Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, World of Hyatt Credit Card, and Discover it Miles has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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