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The 10 Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

GOBankingRates logo GOBankingRates 9/7/2018 Karen Doyle
Young female traveler with red backpack and hat enjoying the view from George's tower on Piran old town. © RossHelen / Shutterstock.com Young female traveler with red backpack and hat enjoying the view from George's tower on Piran old town.

Travelers can earn big perks with the best travel rewards credit card. But choosing the absolute best is nearly impossible — you have to choose the right card for your circumstances and keep up with the latest rewards card options.

Cards offer points that can be redeemed for discounted airfare, companion fares, and free add-ons like meals and checked bags. Points can also be used for hotel stays, rental cars, cruises and more.

Sifting through all the available travel credit card offers can seem like a full-time job, so GOBankingRates identified the best travel rewards cards for you to choose from.

10 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Keep some things in mind when you apply for a travel credit card, whether it’s one of these or any other card. Check your credit report to make sure it’s in good shape before you fill out the credit card application. If there are any errors, fix them before you apply. Your credit activity and how many applications you’ve submitted also can impact your attractiveness to card issuers, so be aware of your creditworthiness when you’re assessing the top travel card offers you personally qualify for.

Here’s a closer look at the best travel rewards credit cards available now:

Venture Travel Rewards From Capital One

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Venture from Capital One pays two points for every dollar you spend on anything — with no limits — making it one of the best credit cards for overall points. If you use your credit card for a lot of different types of purchases and also travel a lot, this might be the best card for you.

Rewards:

  • 10 points per dollar spent at participating hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on every purchase
  • Spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months and earn an additional 50,000 bonus points
  • Points never expire

Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • A credit of up to $100 when you purchase Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check services using the card

Compare: Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

Discover it Miles

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Discover it Miles is one of the best travel cards if you don’t want to pay an annual fee ever while you rack up miles. You’ll also pay no interest for the first 14 months. After that, you’ll pay between 13.74% and 24.74% APR.

Rewards:

  • 1.5 miles for each dollar you spend on anything
  • Match for all points earned at the end of your first year
  • No blackout dates
  • Points never expire, even if your account closes

Perks:

  • Free Credit Scorecard with FICO score
  • Free alert when a new account shows up on your Experian credit report
  • No foreign transaction fees listed

Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express has no annual fee the first year, but after that, you’ll pay a hefty $195 a year, one of the steepest fees for any rewards credit card. This card is suited for people who want to earn rewards for all types of travel and purchases, not just miles, for example.

Rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airlines
  • 2 points per dollar at gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • 25,000 bonus rewards points when you use your card for $2,000 in purchases in the first three months

Perks

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car rental and travel accident insurance
  • Up to $100 credit per year for incidental fees on an airline you choose
  • Personalized travel service

Do You Qualify? Best Credit Cards for People With Good Credit

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

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The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card is the best travel rewards credit card if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account. If you are a BofA banking customer, you get a 10 percent bonus on your points.

Rewards:

  • 1.5 points for every dollar you spend
  • Points never expire
  • 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 10 percent bonus on points if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account

Perks:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No blackout dates or booking restrictions

Check Out: The Top 10 Most Exclusive Black Cards You Don’t Know About

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card

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The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card is the best card for people who want one card that can offer a variety of rewards and perks. The annual fee is a reasonable $49 — but free for the first year — and you get two points per dollar on eligible charitable donations.

Rewards:

  • 2 points per dollar spent at airlines, gas stations, grocery stores, cellular providers and charities
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else
  • Redeem points at a higher rate than most cards: 25,000 points gets you $375 in airfare, hotel stays or car rentals

Perks:

  • No annual fee the first year, $49 per year after that
  • $400 worth of travel when you spend $2,000 on the card in the first four months
  • Up to $25 reimbursement per air travel award ticket toward incidentals
  • Complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi 12 times a year when you fly

Low Interest Rates: 10 Best Balance-Transfer Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred travel credit card is ideal if you travel a lot and want to rack up a lot of points quickly. This card provides bonus points if you book through Chase and a lot of travel-friendly perks.

Rewards:

  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days
  • 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 90 days
  • 10,000 bonus points when you refer a friend who also gets the Chase Sapphire Preferred — up to five friends for 50,000 points
  • Book your trip through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 25 percent more point value

Perks:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance

Don’t Miss: Best Credit Card Offers, Deals and Bonuses

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

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The Citi ThankYou Premier Card is good for frequent travelers who will use their points for more travel.

Rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, including gas stations
  • 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Fares booked through the ThankYou travel center receive a 25 percent bonus
  • Use points at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, LiveNation or for gift cards

Perks:

  • Transfer points from qualified airline loyalty programs with no fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 24/7 online and mobile concierge service

JetBlue Plus Card

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The JetBlue Plus Card is the best travel rewards card if you fly JetBlue frequently. It is issued by Barclays and has one of the best deals for bonus points when you first get the card: You only need to spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee to get 40,000 bonus points.

Rewards:

  • 6 points per dollar spent on JetBlue flights or incidentals
  • 2 points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • 5,000 bonus points on every account anniversary
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue flights
  • Points redeemable for any seat on JetBlue flights

Perks:

  • Free first checked bag
  • 50 percent off eligible in-flight purchases like food and drink
  • 0% APR on balance transfers made within 45 days

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the best travel rewards card for people who often stay at any of the more than 5,200 IHG hotels worldwide. If you are a fan of InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn or any of the other chains in this group, this card can save you some serious cash.

Rewards:

  • 10 points per dollar spent when used at an IHG hotel
  • 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else
  • 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Perks:

  • Free night each year on your account anniversary
  • Redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights and one night is free
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fee

See: 6 Easiest Credit Cards to Get

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

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Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is a good choice if you fly Delta Airlines frequently, as it offers a range of benefits, including savings on eligible in-flight purchases and discounted access to Delta’s SkyClub airport lounges.

Rewards:

  • 2 points per dollar on all Delta purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first four months

Perks:

  • First checked bag free on Delta flights
  • Priority boarding
  • Discounted Delta SkyClub access
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 20 percent savings on eligible in-flight purchases

10 Best Travel Credit Cards at a Glance

Here’s a quick look at the most important details of these top travel credit cards and their offer details:

10 Best Travel Credit Cards
Credit CardAnnual FeeRewardsBonus

Venture Travel Rewards from Capital One$0 first year, then $9510 points per dollar on some hotels, 2 points per dollar on everything else50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months

Discover it Miles$01.5 miles per dollar on everythingMatch all miles earned at end of first year

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express$0 first year, then $1953 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines, 2 points per dollar for gas, supermarkets, restaurants, 1 point per dollar on everything else25,000 points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

Bank of America Travel Rewards Card$01.5 points per dollar on everything25,000 points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card$0 first year, then $492 points per dollar on airlines, gas stations, grocery stores, cell provider, charity; 1 point per dollar on everything else26,667 points (worth $400 on travel) after $2,000 in purchases in first 4 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred$0 first year, then $952 points per dollar on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar on everything else50,000 points after $4,000 in 3 months

Citi ThankYou Premier Card$0 first year, then $953 points per dollar on travel, including gas stations, 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment, 1 point per dollar on everything else60,000 points after $4,000 in 3 months

The JetBlue Plus Card$996 points per dollar on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 point per dollar on everything else40,000 points after $1,000 in 90 days and pay the annual fee

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card$8910 points per dollar at IHG Hotels, 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, 1 point per dollar for everything else100,000 points after $3,000 in first 90 days

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from Amex$0 first year, then $952 points per dollar on Delta purchases, 1 point per dollar on everything else60,000 points after $3,000 in first four months

More on Credit Cards 

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article. All fees and rates are subject to change at the issuers’ discretion, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best Travel Credit Cards

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