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Travel Credit Cards

The Best Travel Credit Cards Around

Choosing the best travel credit card can be difficult. There are literally hundreds of them out there. To make things even more difficult, so many of them seem to be the same! You’re likely asking yourself at least one of the following questions:

  • Which one is best for you?
  • How do you decide?
  • Which one gives you the best points?
  • Are the fees worth it?

The whole experience is unnerving and confusing for any individual not deeply involved with the travel industry. However, when all is said and done, the best travel credit card is the one that best aligns with your travel goals.

Does brand loyalty pique your interest? Free rewards? Avoiding fees? Do you want to work the rewards and bonus system to earn free flights, or do you just want a card that won’t charge you a fee for using it at that restaurant in Jamaica…do you prefer the coveted status of ‘elite’ cards…do you want points you can use like cash for anything?

Naturally, the airline and hotel cards you’ll pick are going to be based on those you use a lot. For instance, I personally have a Marriott and Delta card since those are my brands of choice.

However, you’re likely wondering if some of those general points cards are better than others for daily use. In our opinion – yes. Some basic points cards are most certainly better than the rest of the pack. If you don’t have any specific goals in mind and are just looking for some you can use in your day-to-day life…we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of what we think are the best travel credit cards around, along with their features, and why you should use them!

Top Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the gold standard among travel credit cards in our opinion. Yes, there’s a high fee tied to the card, but I think the fee is worth it since you get a ton of perks and cashback. You get the following when you first sign up:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases
  • $300 in annual travel credit
  • 3x points on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • The ability to transfer points to a dozen other brands
  • A statement credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application
  • Free Priority Pass lounge access (huge perk!)
  • No foreign transaction fees

When you factor in the $300 credit, you’re really only paying $150/year for the card. Furthermore, you get 3x on restaurants and travel. This can add up fast for any globetrotter. Combined with the other perks, this is our all-around favorite card and the one we use most for day-to-day spending. All in all, this card provides the most value, especially if you’re a frequent traveler.

Travel Credit Cards

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Chase Preferred

The Chase Preferred card is similar to the Chase Sapphire, except it comes with training wheels. You don’t get as many perks, but the annual fee is far lower – $95 to be exact. In all honesty, you really can’t go wrong with this card. It’s great for the more infrequent traveler. When you sign up, you’ll get:

  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000
  • 2x points on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees

All in all, it’s simple and easy to use!

Citi Prestige

We’re not huge fans of this card and don’t have a lot of Citi cards in general due to their transfer partners. However, this card is great for people who stay at a lot of hotels because the fourth-night0free option will cover the card’s fee right away. Plus, you get a $250 travel credit with this card too. One major upside is that you can actually make money with this card. The Citi Prestige card comes with a $495 annual fee and the following perks:

  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000
  • 5x points on airfare and restaurants
  • 3x points on hotels and cruises
  • 1x points on everything else
  • Complimentary fourth night at a hotel when booking through ThankYou.com (capped at twice per year though)
  • Free Priority Pass
  • $250 travel credit every year
  • Points transfer to their partners, including 16 different airlines
  • No foreign transaction fees

We’re not huge fans of this specific card since we don’t use many of their transfer partners. However, this card is a must if you stay in a lot of hotels and use some of their transfer partners on a regular basis. All in all, the card essentially pays for itself and is easy to earn points through the spending bonus structure.

American Express EveryDay

This fee-free Amex card is great because of the bonus points and the 2x points at supermarkets. We use it when we buy groceries since it’s a simple way to score Amex points. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • 20% extra points when you use your card 20 or more times each billing cycle
  • 2x points at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year)
  • 1 point for every dollar spent
  • Double points on every dollar of eligible travel purchases when you book through AmexTravel.com

It’s simple, easy and a quick way to rack up points!

Travel Credit Cards

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Capital One Venture

We didn’t always like this card. However, with recent changes made over the past year and the addition of transfer partners and 10x points on hotels via hotels.com, this is now one of our all-time favorite cards. We totally encourage you to look into this card, especially if you’re looking for a no-fee, easy to use card. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • No fees for the first year, $95 after that
  • 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first three months
  • Unlimited 2x miles on every dollar spent
  • 10x miles on bookings via hotels.com
  • Transfer miles to any of their 10+ travel partners
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Freedom

If you’re on the hunt for something more along the lines of cashback and/or want to stick with Chase points over Amex points, this is the best card for you. It’s wicked simple and easy to use and the cashback points give you more flexibility than points. For travelers such as ourselves, we prefer points, but for some people, such as our parents, they’d prefer to get cashback. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • No annual fee
  • $200 cashback after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months
  • 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, and unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases

Closing Thoughts

It’s important to remember that there isn’t one card for every occasion. Each card has its perks, so you want to maximize your point earning by sticking and matching your spending. We use three or four cards for all of our expenses. Chase for travel and restaurants, American Express for groceries, Delta for travel perks on the airline, and Marriott for hotel stays. This way we always get the most points possible for every dollar we spend without spreading our points around too much.

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