You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Best Travel Credit Cards to Apply for in April 2021

AFAR logo AFAR 4/2/2021 Eric Rosen

a close up of some grass: Best Travel Credit Cards to Apply for in February 2021 © Courtesy of American Express Best Travel Credit Cards to Apply for in February 2021

AFAR partners with CreditCards.com and may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact the presentation of offers or affiliate links on this site. AFAR does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Our coverage is independent and objective, and has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of the AFAR editorial team.

Our loyalty expert, Eric Rosen, posts a list of the best travel rewards credit cards currently available each month. Check back to find updated offers, terms, and bonuses.

Part of any good travel rewards strategy is applying for the right credit card at the right time. Doing so can help you rack up the points or miles you need for your next trip, as well as ensuring that you enjoy some valuable day-of-travel perks such as free checked bags, airport lounge access, or hotel elite status. However, bonuses rise and fall, benefits come and go, and new cards are introduced all the time, so it can be tricky to ascertain which deals are worthwhile. Let us do the hard work for you with our roundup of the best travel rewards credit cards to apply for right now and why you might want to consider each.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Best card for: Best card for versatile travel rewards
  • Annual fee: $95

One of the most popular travel rewards credit cards is back with its best-ever welcome bonus

Current welcome offer 

Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases within your first year. That’s 20,000 more points than usual.

Reasons to apply now

Put simply: the welcome bonus. Not only is the Chase Sapphire Preferred offering 20,000 more points than normal, but this is only the second time in the card’s decade-plus history that it has come with this many points. If you missed out before, this is your chance to get in on it, and there’s no telling if or when an offer this good might come around again. 

Aside from that, the card earns two points per dollar on dining and travel, as well as on up to $1,000 on grocery store purchases per month through April 2021. But it also comes with a $50 grocery statement credit at the moment, which offsets more than half the $95 annual fee. Chase points can be transferred to over a dozen airline and hotel partners including JetBlue, Southwest, United, Hyatt, and Marriott, which makes them extra useful for travel. Or you can just redeem them for travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents each. 

>> Read More: The Best Ways to Use 80,000 Chase Points for Travel

2. The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Best card for: Premium travelers
  • Annual fee: $550

One of the all-time best travel rewards credit cards also just happens to be posting one of its all-time best introductory bonuses.

Current welcome offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first six months of card membership. Plus, earn 10 points per dollar on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets in the first six months of card membership.

Reasons to apply now

You might be hesitant to take on that annual fee, but this card comes with a lot of statement credits including up to $200 per calendar year toward incidental fees (like for checked bags) on a U.S. airline that you designate, plus $15 in Uber cash for rides or Uber Eats orders in the United States every month (plus $20 extra in December). Even if you’re not traveling much these days, that welcome bonus is still worth considering since, if you max it out, you’re looking at a whopping 225,000 Amex Membership Rewards points, which transfer to 19 airlines and three hotel partners including Delta and Hilton.

>> Read More: 8 Reasons You Should Apply for an Amex Platinum Card Right Now

3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Best card for: Racking up miles that are easy to use on a variety of travel expenses
  • Annual fee: $95

This card just relaunched its highest-ever 100,00-mile sign-up bonus, so apply now if you missed out last time.

Current welcome offer 

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Reasons to apply now

The Capital One Venture normally offers just 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Right now, though, you can earn twice that number–100,000 miles worth $1,000 in travel–if you can meet the spending requirement of this limited-time offer. The card earns a solid two miles per dollar on all purchases. Capital One miles also transfer to over a dozen airline and hotel partners, including JetBlue TrueBlue, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Wyndham Rewards, which makes them especially versatile.

Finally, the Venture is one of the few credit cards with an annual fee of under $100 that offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application statement credit once every four years.

4. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Best card for: Hilton hotel hoppers
  • Annual fee: $450

This card is hands-down the best for Hilton loyalists who book frequent stays. But if you’re a more occasional guest, you might want to consider the more budget-friendly Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card with an annual fee of just $95. 

Current welcome offer

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you use your card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months. This is the highest bonus this card has ever fielded.

Reasons to apply now 

Yes, this card charges $450 per year. However, you can get a lot more value than that from its benefits, including a free weekend night reward that you can redeem at most Hilton properties around the world, including ultra-expensive ones like the Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi Maldives. Not only that, but the cardholders can register for Priority Pass Select membership and airport lounge access, receive up to $250 in airline incidental fee credits per calendar year on a U.S. carrier that they designate, and enjoy up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges on stays of two nights or more at participating Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels booked through a dedicated link

That’s all in addition to automatic top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond elite status with perks like complimentary breakfast for two at most full-service hotels and up to $250 in statement credits each account year for purchases made directly at participating Hilton Resorts. 

>> Read More: New Hilton Credit Card Offers Could Lead to Free Nights at Waldorfs and Conrads

5.  American Express® Gold Card

  • Best card for: Earning on groceries and takeout
  • Annual fee: $250

A high bonus and strong everyday earning are this card’s two biggest strengths.

Current welcome offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months. That’s 25,000 points more than usual.

Reasons to apply now

The Amex Gold is uniquely positioned to help cardholders accumulate rewards points for travel at a time when people are taking far fewer trips than usual. It earns four points per dollar at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and on up to $25,000 per calendar year in spending at U.S. supermarkets. Members also get up to $10 per month in Uber Cash towards rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S. Like points earned with the Amex Platinum, those you accumulate with this card can be transferred to over 20 airline and hotel partners.

>> Read More: Travel Credit Card Matchup: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Gold

6. Chase Sapphire Reserve® 

  • Best card for: Travelers who want a lot of ways to redeem their points
  • Annual fee: $550

Current welcome offer 

For a limited time, you can earn up to 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. That is 10,000 points more than this card usually offers. Its annual fee is $550.

Reasons to apply now

You might think that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better option given that it’s offering 20,000 more bonus points than the Chase Sapphire Reserve right now. But remember that points earned with the Reserve are worth 1.5 cents apiece compared to 1.25 cents with the Preferred when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. So the initial bonus is worth $900 instead of $1,000 you would net with the Preferred. 

This card also earns three points per dollar on travel and dining, and comes with other benefits like up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every four years, and the ability to enroll in Priority Pass Select for lounge access. So it might just be the better choice for premium travelers.

>> Read More: Which Credit Card Is Better: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve?

7.  Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Best card for: Delta die-hards who want a mileage boost
  • Annual fee: $250

For a short time, this card is fielding one of the highest welcome offers in its history.

Current welcome offer

Now through April 28, 2021, you can earn 90,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. Normally, you can only earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward elite status after spending $2,000 in the first three months, so this is a huge boost.

Reasons to apply now

The eye-popping bonus alone is worth applying. However, this card combines great earning rates with value-added travel benefits that almost anyone can take advantage of. It earns three miles per dollar on Delta purchases and those made directly with hotels; two miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery; and one mile per dollar on everything else. 

Cardholders are eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications once every four years (4.5 for PreCheck), and enjoy free checked bags and priority boarding for themselves and up to eight companions on the same reservation on Delta flights. Most valuable of all, this card also comes with an annual companion certificate that can be used to book a second ticket (you just pay taxes and fees) on a domestic round-trip itinerary in Main Cabin that can be worth hundreds of dollars depending on how you redeem it.

>> Read More: Earn up to 90,000 Miles With These Delta Credit Card Bonuses

8. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Best card for: An annual free night
  • Annual fee: $89

IHG Rewards Club is the loyalty program of brands like InterContinental, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo, and Holiday Inn, so there’s something for everyone.

Current welcome offer

Earn 140,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Reasons to apply now

The sign-up bonus is a good 60,000 points more than this card typically offers, and enough for two free nights at world-class hotels like the InterContinental London Park Lane. More than that, it comes with automatic IHG Platinum status and perks like room upgrades, as well as a free night award each year worth up to 40,000 points (this rules out most top-shelf hotels, but still provides a lot of value). Carrying it also means you get the fourth night free on award redemptions, which can amount to huge potential point savings.

9. Citi Premier® Card

  • Best card for: Earning transferable points on a variety of purchases
  • Annual fee: $95

Another excellent earner with points that transfer to over a dozen airline frequent flier programs.

Current welcome offer

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Reasons to apply now

This card’s bonus has hovered at a steady 60,000 points for a couple years now, so you don’t have to time it just right. But you might want to apply when you’re ready because it is one of the best cards for earning points on everyday purchases. It racks up three per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, on air travel and hotels, and then one point per dollar on everything else. 

Those points can be transferred to 16 airline partners including Emirates and Singapore Airlines, as well as used to book travel directly through the Citi ThankYou portal at a rate of one cent per point.

10. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

  • Best card for: An annual companion fare worth hundreds of dollars
  • Annual fee: $75

Even if you don’t fly Alaska Airlines often, you might still want to get in on this particular offer.

Current welcome offer

Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus a Companion Fare voucher after spending $2,000 within the first 90 days. 

Reasons to apply now

This introductory includes not just 10,000–20,000 more miles than usual, but also a Companion Fare ticket, which is not usually part of the welcome terms. To use it, you pay $99 plus taxes and fees of around $22 for a second ticket on a single reservation. So this could be worth a lot of money depending on where you’re flying. Plus, you get another Companion Fare voucher after every account anniversary, which easily outweighs the card’s annual fee.  

This is one of the best times to apply for a new travel rewards card that we have seen in years thanks to so many unprecedented welcome bonuses. Before you open a bunch of new cards, think about your specific needs, your purchase activity, and your trip goals, and pick the card or cards that can take you the furthest. 

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: The Best Rewards Credit Cards for International Travel

AdChoices
AdChoices

MORE FROM AFAR

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon