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7 Best Travel Credit Cards to Apply for Right Now

AFAR logo AFAR 7/1/2022 Paul Rubio

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The second half of 2022 kicks off with a number of record-breaking introductory offers on some of our favorite credit cards. Citi Premier® Card has increased its welcome bonus to a best-ever 80,000 points, sweetening the deal on a card that carries the best extended warranty program in the credit card industry and earns triple points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotel stays. 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card has upped its welcome offer to an equivalent of a whopping 250,000 points (yep!) while the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card has bumped its bonus up to 100,000 miles to celebrate a limited-edition card constructed from a retired Boeing 747. There are numerous enticing offers to choose from this July—here are our seven picks to consider right now and why. 

1. Citi Premier® Card

Best for: Those wanting a versatile credit card for everyday purchases and travel spending without paying a high annual fee  

Why now? The card is offering its best-ever welcome offer of 80,000 points. It also carries the best extended warranty program in the credit card industry, which appeals strongly to tech-loving travelers, plus lots of flexibility for points redemptions.  

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. 

Annual fee: $95

Earn points: Earn three points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, on air travel and hotels, and then one point per dollar on everything else. 

Credits: Each calendar year, get a $100 credit on a single-stay hotel booking of $500 or more purchased through Citi ThankYou Travel.

Key perks: The card extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible purchases for an additional 24 months, up to a maximum of seven years from the purchase date and is additional to customer-purchase extended warranties like AppleCare+. Citi ThankYou points transfer to 15 airline partners, including Flying Blue (AirFrance/KLM) and JetBlue TrueBlue. Points can also be redeemed for gift cards with major brands like Best Buy and Starbucks at a ratio of 1,000 points to $10 (e.g., 80,000 welcome bonus = $800 in gift cards).

2. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Best for: Travelers who want to accrue hotel award nights quickly and don’t necessarily need to stay in Marriott’s top-of-the-line properties

Why now? The card dramatically increased its welcome offer this summer to grant new cardholders an equivalent of 250,000 points (versus 150,000 points). In addition, the card enhanced its benefits in February 2022 without increasing the annual fee. Those benefits include triple points at grocery stores and gas stations and for dining and a faster track to elite status by getting one Elite Night Credit for every $5,000 in spending (with no cap). 

Welcome offer: Earn five free nights (each worth up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening. That’s a total value of 250,000 points. 

Annual fee: $95

Earn points: Earn up to 17 points per dollar spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, three points at grocery stores and gas stations and for dining (up to $6,000 in combined purchases per year), and double points on all other purchases.  

Credits: None

Key perks: Cardholders receive 15 elite night credits per calendar year, which is enough for Silver status. Also, receive an annual free night award worth up to 35,000 points every year after your card anniversary. This certificate more than makes up for the card’s annual fee.

3. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Best for: Delta loyalists and big spenders who want to boost elite status through credit card spending and who can take advantage of the card’s upscale perks

Why now? Until August 3, new card members have the option to get the first-ever credit card made from repurposed airplane metal–a retired Boeing 747 to be exact. In addition, the card is currently offering a best-ever introductory bonus.

Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months. Offer ends August 3, 2022. Additionally, earn up to 60,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) each year (acquired as 15,000 MQMs after each $30,000 spent, up to four times a year). A total of $120,000 and 60,000 MQMs is enough for mid-level Gold Medallion status without taking a single flight.


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Annual fee: $550 (See rates and fees.)

Earn miles: Earn three miles per dollar on purchases made with Delta and one mile per dollar on everything else.

Credits: Get a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (worth up to $100) once every four years. Receive a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card. Enrollment required for select benefits; terms apply.

Key perks: Access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a Delta-marketed or operated flight and access to American Express Centurion Lounges when booking your Delta flight on the card. On Delta flights, expect one free checked bag for the cardholder and up to eight travel companions on the same itinerary plus priority boarding. 

4. Hilton Honors American Express Card

Best for: Those who plan on taking a few trips later in 2022 and would enjoy free hotel stays without paying an annual fee 

Why now? The card is offering a welcome offer of 100,000 Hilton Bonus points with no annual fee, plus up to $100 statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of membership. Previous welcome offers have required spending $5,000 to get a full welcome bonus. Currently, you’ll get it after spending $1,000 in the first three months. 

Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership (terms apply). Plus, earn up to $100 Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of membership.

Annual fee: $0 (See rates and fees.)

Earn points: Earn seven points per dollar at properties in the Hilton portfolio, five points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and three points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.  

Credits: None

Key perk: Get Hilton Honors Silver Status with card membership. Benefits of Silver status include 20 percent points earning bonus on stays, free bottled water, and the ability to participate in Hilton Honor’s “Fifth Night Free” program, in which your fifth night is no cost when booking four nights with points. 

5. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Best for: Those who value luxury benefits on land and in the air, including the best in airport lounge access, and understand such benefits (plus a program that includes copious statement credits) far outweigh a hefty annual fee. The card is also best for those who plan to add cardholders to their accounts; select benefits—specifically a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and that unbeatable lounge access—extend to every cardholder (which is not the case with most other cards). 

Why now? A good introductory welcome offer, travel benefits aplenty, and excellent benefits for additional cardholders.

Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. (Terms apply.)

Annual fee: $695 (See rates and fees.)

Earn points: Earn five points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines and on flights and prepaid hotel bookings made through American Express Travel. Earn one point per dollar on everything else.

Credits: Statement credits include up to $200 per calendar year on airline incidentals, $200 per calendar year on Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection bookings (minimum two-night stay) with American Express Travel, up to $200 annually for Uber/UberEats, up to $100 annually at Saks Fifth Avenue, up to $240 annually on digital entertainment (applicable toward charges on Hulu, Disney+, SiriusXM, and the New York Times), up to $300 annually toward select Equinox gym memberships, a $155 Walmart+ Credit (to cover the monthly membership cost of Walmart+), and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (worth up to $100) once every four years (for every cardholder). Enrollment required for select benefits; terms apply.

Key perks: The best in airport lounge access plus Gold elite status in Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, which extends to both primary and additional cardholders; in terms of points spending, Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to 19 airlines and three hotel partners, including Delta, Hilton, and Air Canada Aeroplan.

6. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Best for: Those who want extra perks at Hilton properties and airport lounge access, plus the chance to earn several free hotel stays without paying a large annual fee

Why now? The card is offering 130,000 Hilton Bonus points with an annual fee of just $95 plus up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any Hilton hotels in the first 12 months of membership. The card also has earnings multipliers in select key categories, making it easy to rack up points quickly through spending. 

Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership plus up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of membership. Terms apply. 

Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees.) 

Earn points: Earn 12 points per dollar at properties in the Hilton portfolio, six points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and three points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Key perks: Get 10 free lounge visits to 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges for every year enrolled in Priority Pass Select Membership through the Surpass card. No other personal credit card at this fee level offers such lounge access. Also, get Hilton Honors Gold Status with card membership. Benefits of Gold status include the following at stays within the Hilton umbrella: space-available room upgrades, complimentary Wi-Fi, and on-property food and beverage credits daily (the amount of which varies by brand, but for luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria run an impressive $50 per room per day, assuming two guests per room.)

7. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for: Those who want a solid travel credit card without paying a high annual fee and want flexibility in redeeming points, including transfers to a number of airline and hotel partners.

Why now? Though it’s not record-breaking, there’s still a solid introductory offer of 60,000 points at the moment. This card improved its earnings structure and benefits earlier in 2022 to include more points earned for dining and streaming services, plus $50 back each year in statement credits for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can cash out those bonus points for 1.25 cents apiece—a value equal to $750 in statement credits—through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Annual fee: $95

Earn points: Earn five points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (and two on travel not booked through Chase), three points per dollar on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery shopping (except for Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Earn one point per dollar on other spending. 

Key perk: Chase points can be transferred to 11 airlines and three hotel partners, including Hyatt, Southwest, United, and Air Canada Aeroplan.

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.

>> Next: 5 Credit Cards With Great Additional Cardholder Benefits

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