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2019

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

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Travel credit cards can help you travel for free, while making your trips a bit less stressful and more enjoyable. You can earn valuable rewards — like points and miles — and, depending on your card, you'll get perks that can elevate your experience, like airport lounge access and elite hotel status. Travel cards also come with a variety of handy protections and insurance benefits, which can help if your trip is delayed or your bags are lost.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

  • Redeeming rewards: Do you know how to get a good value for your rewards? This usually means redeeming for flights or hotel rooms, but take note that point values can vary widely. You should be able to redeem for purchases or experiences that fit with your travel plans.
  • Introductory bonus: Introductory bonuses (or signup bonuses) are great ways to earn a ton of points fast. These bonuses often give you a return on your spending of around 20%, but are sometimes as high as 50% or even more, making them some of the most lucrative offers in the credit card game.
  • Fits your travel habits: Do you love Delta, Southwest, Marriott Bonvoy, or any other travel brand? Then one of their co-branded cards might be for you. If you don’t have a favorite, consider a general travel rewards card instead.
  • Travel perks: Premium and mid-range travel cards tend to have valuable, cost-saving benefits like travel credits, airport lounge access, elite hotel status, or fee credits for expedited airport screening. Understand what you’ll be getting before you apply so you can make the most of your new card.
  • Protection benefits: When something goes wrong, it’s good to have some backup. The best travel cards will help in certain unfortunate circumstances, with reimbursement for delayed trips or damaged bags, for example. Some even provide primary auto insurance for rental vehicles so your premiums won’t go up if you get in an accident.
  • Foreign transaction fees: Most travel cards don’t have foreign transaction fees, but some do. If you’re going to be traveling outside the U.S. or purchasing anything in foreign currency, be sure to use a card without a foreign transaction fee.
  • Chip-and-PIN EMV technology: If you’ll be traveling abroad it’s often a good idea to bring along a card with Chip-and-PIN capability. Although regular Chip-and-Signature cards are accepted at many locations, some terminals outside the U.S. only accept PIN cards.
Is a Travel Card Right for You?
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is a Travel Card Right for You?

As long as you’re a responsible credit card user, a credit card with travel rewards can help you travel for free and have a better time while you’re at it.

The best travel card for you depends on your preferences and travel habits. It could make sense for you to get more than one card (if you travel a lot, this is probably the case).

Travel credit cards come in several types:

If you travel infrequently, like once per year or less, you should probably consider a card with no annual fee. If you spend a lot of time in the air, an airline-oriented card might be right. And if you stay at hotels — that’s right, there are hotel credit cards for you.

Do you have a favorite airline or hotel brand? You might enjoy using a co-branded credit card, which offers rewards and special perks with that company. If you don’t have any favorites, that’s OK too — there are plenty of general-use travel cards that are good for a variety of travel spending.

Are you a student traveling abroad? Check out The Best Credit Cards for Studying Abroad.

If you’re planning to travel to a different state or country, be sure to set a travel notice ahead of time to prevent your card from being declined while making purchases away from home.

Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

No Annual Fee

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review) is an excellent no-fee choice for general travel expenses, although hotels are its strong suit.

Check out the runners up below for some options that provide equal rewards for hotels, airlines, and other types of travel.

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $200–$400 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20%–40%

The Venture miles you earn with this card are typically worth 1 cent each, but Capital One recently introduced the ability to transfer your miles to a variety of airline partners.

Transfers could provide 2 cents per mile or more, which would give you a cash back equivalent of 20% at Hotels.com (a very high rate!), and 2.5% everywhere else.

So, although this card’s base rewards are fairly small, it has valuable airline and hotel-related features that some travelers could find very useful.

  • Point transfer: Transfer points to a dozen airline partners at a rate of either 2:1.5 or 2:1, depending on the airline.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Get perks for eligible hotel stays, including a $25 food and beverage credit, room upgrades when available, complimentary in-room WiFi, and more.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call any time for non-emergency assistance, like help making reservations or finding gifts.
  • Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for for 12 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

  • 3X points per dollar at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • 1.5X points per dollar for every other purchase
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 17.24%–25.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • 3X points per dollar on:
    • Dining
    • Gas
    • Travel
    • Streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar for every other purchase
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 15.74%-27.74% Variable (for transfers requested within 120 days)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% cash back in your choice of one category every month:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores and Wholesale clubs
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined spending per quarter (then 1%).
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable (for transfers made during the first 60 days)
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Uber Visa Card

  • 4% cash back on Dining
  • 3% cash back on Hotels and Airfare
  • 2% cash back for Online purchases
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
2 4
BEST PICK FOR

General Travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 17.99% - 24.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) makes a great first travel card.

It’s popular as an inexpensive and flexible way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to a variety of travel loyalty programs. It has an excellent signup bonus which could be worth over $1,000, and it’s also known for being made out of metal.

  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining at restaurants
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–30%

Use this card when you pay for travel or restaurants, whether you’re in the U.S. or traveling abroad.

You can get a 25% point bonus by redeeming for travel expenses through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, which would give you a value of 1.25 cents per point. At that rate you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 2.5% on travel purchases and dining.

But to maximize your point value you’ll need to transfer them to a partner airline or hotel. That could give you upwards of 2 cents per point, which comes to a cash back equivalent of 4% on travel and dining.

At 2 cents per point, the signup bonus of 60,000 points would be worth $1,200, quite a nice return on your spending. With travel cards like these it generally pays to hold your points until you can redeem them at a good rate; otherwise you should just pay with your card as normal to earn more points.

  • Point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to leading airline and hotel frequent travel programs, like Marriott Bonvoy or United MileagePlus.
  • 10,000-point referral bonus: Get 10,000 points for every friend you refer who applies for the card and is approved.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Book eligible rooms to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, and unique gifts.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers marketplaces.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, any time, day or night.
  • Premium Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Get primary coverage on eligible rental vehicles so your premiums won’t go up after an accident.
  • Annual fee: $95

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar on Travel and Dining
  • 1.5X points per dollar on everything else
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 2X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for for 12 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
2 3
BEST PICK FOR

Premium Travel Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 18.99% - 25.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is the better (and more expensive) cousin of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

It earns points at higher multiples for dining and travel, has a better redemption bonus, and comes with a variety of perks and services that can help you save money and access interesting experiences.

  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel (after using the full $300 travel credit)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5%–25%

The Sapphire Reserve provides a 50% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through the Ultimate Rewards portal, which would make your points worth 1.5 cents each. That’d give you a cash back equivalent of 4.5% on travel and dining purchases, which isn’t too bad.

But the best way to use Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to a partner airline or hotel loyalty program. That could give you 2 cents per point or potentially quite a bit more, depending on how you use them.

At 2 cents per point you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 6% on travel and dining, which is pretty competitive with the best credit cards.

  • Point transfer: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott.
  • $300 annual travel credit: A $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied toward a broad range of travel-related expenses charged to the card.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants. The cardholder and two guests can enter for free; additional guests cost $32 each.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Provides complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, including room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and special gifts.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of applying for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years.
  • Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Accelerated progress toward Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show.
  • Special Car Rental Privileges: Rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental.
  • Shopping and Travel protections: You’ll get Purchase Protection, a Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Want to see how these two premium travel cards compare? Check out The Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Amex Platinum: Which One Is Better for You?

  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each billing period.
View card details

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on Hotels and Cruise lines
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $495
View card details

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

  • 3X points per dollar for Travel and Mobile wallet purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,500 in the first 90 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $400
View card details
2 3
BEST PICK FOR

Airport Lounge Access

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR N/A
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

When it comes to lounge access, there’s really no beating The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) and its Global Lounge Collection.

There are quite a few cards offering the popular Priority Pass Select membership, but the Platinum card grants access to that along with a host of other lounge brands, including Delta Sky Clubs and Amex’s own exclusive Centurion lounges.

See everything you get with the Global Lounge Collection here.

It’s worth noting that the Platinum card’s Priority Pass Select membership excludes non-lounge experiences, though they’re still offered through competing premium cards, like the Sapphire Reserve.

The business version of this card provides the same excellent lounge access, though some other card features are different: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Review).

Premium credit cards aren’t your only options for lounge access; check out the full marketplace of Credit Cards that Provide Airport Lounge Access.

  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12%–24%

Normal redemptions for flights will yield 1 cent per point, which is a poor way to use your rewards. It would be better to save up for point transfers, which could provide upwards of 2 cents per point.

At 2 cents per point you’d earn a cash back equivalent of 10% in the 5X categories. But take note that those bonus categories are a bit limited compared to what you’ll get from some other premium travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) or Citi Prestige® Card (Review).

  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Good for incidental costs like checked bags and inflight food (not flight tickets) at your selected airline.
  • $200 annual Uber credits: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $35.
  • $100 annual Saks credits: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years).
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties.
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each month.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Authorized users for the Sapphire Reserve cost $75 each per year, and they get their own Priority Pass Select memberships.

  • Priority Pass Select membership: Provides access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants. The cardholder and two guests can enter for free; additional guests cost $32 each.
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on Travel (after using the full $300 travel credit) and Dining
  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

Citi Prestige® Card

Authorized users for the Citi Prestige cost $75 each, and they get their own Priority Pass Select memberships.

  • Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 1,200 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world. Free access for you and two guests; additional guests cost $32 each.
  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on Hotels and Cruise lines
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $495
View card details

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Authorized users of this card do not get their own Priority Pass Select memberships.

  • Priority Pass Select membership: Complimentary airport lounge access for you and up to two guests (additional guests cost $32). Excludes non-lounge experiences.
  • 34X points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 20X Base points per dollar for being a Hilton Diamond member
  • 7X Bonus points for Flights booked on Amex Travel or directly with airlines, Car rentals from select companies, and U.S. restaurants
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

UNFCU® Elite Visa® Card

Authorized users of this card do not get additional free visits.

  • Priority Pass Select membership: Five free lounge/restaurant visits per year; additional visits cost $27 per person.
  • 2X points per dollar spent at Grocery stores, Restaurants, and for Online food delivery
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months, then 11.90% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $50
View card details
2 4

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BEST PICK FOR

Long Hotel Stays

Citi Prestige® Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $495
Regular APR 17.99%–25.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Frequent travelers have had a long-lasting love affair with the Citi Prestige® Card (Review).

This card offer is unique for its fourth night free on hotel stays of four nights or more, a valuable perk that could help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year, if you stay at high-end properties.

The Prestige used to be a powerhouse because you could use that benefit as often as you wanted, but now it’s capped at two uses per year.

This new limitation is a bit of a downer, but most people shouldn’t mind too much because Citi stated that the average cardholder didn’t use that perk more than twice per year anyway.

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5%–25%

ThankYou points are only worth 1 cent each when redeeming for past travel expenses, and so, like with many travel cards, the best way to use your rewards is a point transfer.

Citi has a variety of airline travel partners, but unfortunately there are no hotel partners. You’ll find some popular and some less-popular airlines, and point values could reach 2 cents per point or higher.

At 2 cents per point, you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 10% in the 5X categories, and 6% in the 3X categories. That’s as good or better than what you’ll get from other top travel cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review).

  • Point transfer: To a variety of frequent flyer programs, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses.
  • Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 900 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years.
  • Citi Prestige Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
  • World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at Avis, Silvercar, and National.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $495

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Both of the Capital One Venture cards are great for general hotel spending thanks to their 10X category with Hotels.com, and the fact that Hotels.com gives you a free night for every ten nights you stay. Together, those two features can provide massive savings compared to what you typically find on low or no annual fee cards.

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 2X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for for 12 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Premium Co-Branded Hotel Rewards

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 17.74%–26.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

You can get a lot out of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card if you’ll stay at Hilton properties several times per year. You’ll be able to earn lots of points, and there are a variety of hotel credits and perks to make your stays less expensive and more enjoyable.

See The Best Hotel Credit Cards for more hotel cards for different travel brands.

  • 34X points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 20X Base points per dollar for being a Hilton Diamond member
  • 7X Bonus points for:
    • Flights booked on Amex Travel or directly with airlines
    • Car rentals from select companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Bonus points for all other purchases
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–37.5%

You can earn tons of Hilton points per dollar with this card, but Hilton points aren’t usually valued as highly as points with other hotel reward programs.

At a value of 0.4–1 cent per point, you’ll be earning a cash back equivalent of 13.6–34% at Hilton properties, and 2.8–7% in the three 7X categories.

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status: With a 100% bonus on Base points, digital check-in, gym access, and more.
  • $250 annual Hilton resort statement credit: Good for charges from Hilton resorts.
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit: Good for incidental charges at participating Hilton properties, for every eligible stay of two-nights or more.
  • $250 annual airline cee credit: Good for incidental airline fees, not ticket prices.
  • Two annual Weekend Night Rewards: One free weekend night per year, and you can earn an additional night by spending $60,000 in a given year.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Complimentary airport lounge access for you and up to two guests. Additional guests cost $32 per person. Excludes non-lounge experiences.
  • Personal Concierge: Call for assistance with a variety of tasks, like making reservations at restaurants or for travel.
  • Purchase and Travel protections: Like Premium Roadside Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, and Return Protection.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 18.5X points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12.5X Base points per dollar for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar:
    • For flights booked directly from airlines
    • At U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Premium Co-Branded Airline Rewards

United MileagePlus® Club Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 18.24%–25.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The United MileagePlus® Club Card (Review) is the premier card for flying United, with perks like access to the United Club lounge, free first and second checked bags, and priority treatment at the airport.

See The Best Airline Credit Cards for more airline cards for different travel brands, or learn more about the other co-branded cards available from United.

  • 7X miles per dollar for United Airlines purchases
    • 5X miles per dollar or more as a United member
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
  • 1.5X miles per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$750 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 16.67%–25%

This card isn’t too valuable when it comes to spending rewards — only providing a cash back equivalent of about 7%–10.5%. The real value of this card comes mainly from the airline perks.

  • United Club membership: Complimentary membership to the United Club airport lounge, with free access for you and two guests.
  • Premier Access airport travel services: Includes priority check-in and security screening, and boarding/baggage handling privileges.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Hotel perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, and room upgrades when available.
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: A 10% point bonus, room upgrades, and other benefits at Hyatt properties.
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Elite Status: Get a 25% point bonus, upgrades, and exclusive offers at Hertz.
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United award flights: MileagePlus Premier members can get award ticket upgrades when available.
  • Free first and second checked bags: For you and one traveling companion on United flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

  • 7X miles per dollar for purchases made directly with Delta Airlines
    • 5X miles per dollar or more as a Delta member
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
View card details

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

  • 7X miles per dollar for American Airlines purchases
    • 5X miles per dollar or more as an AAdvantage member
    • 2X miles per dollar from the card
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Chip-and-PIN Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $495
Regular APR 17.99%–25.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

If you’ll be traveling outside the U.S., you’ll probably want a credit card or two with Chip-and-PIN capability.

Most cards in the U.S. are only Chip-and-Signature, and, although many checkout terminals in foreign countries accept both Signature and PIN cards, some terminals only accept PIN cards (like some automated kiosks in Europe and other regions). So if you’re looking for the best credit cards for international travel it’s useful to have some Chip-and-PIN cards in the mix.

A few U.S. credit card issuers offer Chip-and-PIN cards (see a full list here), and out of those options it’d be tough to beat the Citi Prestige® Card (Review). Although this premium credit card is known for its fourth night free perk on hotel stays, its PIN capability will come in handy while traveling abroad.

If these bonus categories and benefits aren’t very appealing, check out the runners up below for some other PIN card options with different features, including some cards without annual fees.

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5%–25%

Your ThankYou points will be worth from 1 cent to potentially over 2 cents each, depending on how you redeem them. Point transfers will be your best option.

At a rate of 1–2 cents per point, you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 5%–10% in the 5X categories, and 3%–6% in the 3X categories.

  • Point transfer: To a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses
  • Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 900 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years
  • Citi Prestige Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
  • World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at Avis, Silvercar, and National
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $495

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar on Travel and Dining
  • 1.5X points per dollar on everything else
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

  • 3X points per dollar at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • 1.5X points per dollar for every other purchase
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 17.24%–25.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Citi Premier Card

  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on Travel (including gas stations)
  • 2X ThankYou points per dollar spent at Restaurants and on Entertainment
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • 2% cash back on every purchase
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then None
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Uber Visa Card

  • 4% cash back on Dining
  • 3% cash back on Airfare, Hotels, and Travel agencies
  • 2% cash back for Online purchases
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
2 5
BEST PICK FOR

Student Travelers

Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students

Our rating
Credit range No Credit
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 16.24%–26.24%Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Student travelers actually have several good options here, of travel cards designed for people with limited credit histories.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students (Review) is the best all-around student card for travel, but you’ll need to plan your travel spending a bit in advance to get the most out of it. That’s because this card allows you to choose your 3% bonus category each month, and you’ll need to set it to Travel for the appropriate time frame before making purchases.

  • 3% cash back in your choice of one category every month:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back for everything else
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days
    • Return on spend: 30%

Take note that your 3% and 2% cash back categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined spending per quarter; after that you’ll earn 1% back.

With this flexible card you can adjust your bonus category each month to fit your expected spending. So if you’re going on a trip beginning at the end of a month, for example, you could use the Travel category to get 3% back on your airfare and hotels, and even a car rental. Then, when the new month begins, you can switch your category to Gas to help fuel your adventure.

  • Bank of America Preferred Rewards: Eligible bank account holders get a 25–75% bonus on rewards earned, depending on how much money is held in BofA bank accounts.
  • Free credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Visa Platinum or Signature benefits: Depending on creditworthiness
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 16.24%–26.24%Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card for Students

  • 3X points per dollar on purchases from the Bank of America travel center
  • 1.5X points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 17.24%–25.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Applicants of Deserve credit cards have a better chance of approval because Deserve checks factors like education and income potential, in addition to the typical credit scoring criteria.

  • 1% cash back for all purchases
  • Limited one-year Priority Pass Select membership for spending $1,000 in 120 or 155 days; $27 fee per visit, per person (not all cardholders will receive this offer).
  • Annual fee: $0

Take note that Deserve will need to connect to your bank account to verify your balance. If you have privacy or security concerns this might worry you, but it seems logical because Deserve bases its decision on more than the typical credit approval criteria.

View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Best for Various Hotels

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review) has an excellent reward program for anyone who tends to stay with different hotel brands, thanks to Capital One’s partnership with Hotels.com.

We chose this no annual fee card over other more expensive cards because it provides a very high return on your hotel spending for no annual fee, about equal to anything you’ll find on high-end general use cards. Although it doesn’t offer much in the way of extra benefits, the VentureOne makes it very easy to get 10% back on your hotel spending, without worrying about how to redeem your rewards.

If you’re looking for more expensive cards designed for use at various hotels check out the alternatives below.

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

Each mile is worth 1 cent when redeeming for past travel expenses, meaning you can get an equivalent of 10% cash back at Hotels.com with this card. Or you can transfer your miles to a partner airline loyalty program, which may provide more than 1 cent per mile and would give a higher cash back equivalent.

That’s an excellent deal, almost as good as what you’ll find on co-branded cards, but in this case you have access to a wide selection of hotels rather than being limited to one brand.

  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides several benefits at eligible hotels, like a $25 food and beverage credit, complimentary WiFi, automatic room upgrades, and more
  • Shopping Discounts: Get discounts at select retailers, like Overstock.com and Lenovo
  • Fine Wine & Food: Benefits at over 50 wineries in Sonoma County, California
  • Sports & Entertainment offers: Exclusive offers and discounts at sports events and other interesting experiences
  • Shopping and travel protections: Including Purchase Security, Roadside Dispatch, an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more
  • Mile transfer: To a variety of airline loyalty programs
  • Intro purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for for 12 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

The VentureOne comes as a Visa Signature if your credit limit is $5,000 or above, which will have some nice perks like the ones mentioned above. If your credit limit when approved is less than $5,000 you’ll get a Visa Platinum card, which only comes with a few basic protections.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5X Membership Rewards points on eligible prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, and flights booked directly with airlines
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $550 (Rates & Fees)
View card details

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points on travel (after using the full $300 travel credit) and dining worldwide
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $550
View card details

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar at airlines and restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar at hotels and cruise lines
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $495
View card details

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • 10X miles at Hotels.com/venture through January 2020; 2X miles for every other purchase
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points for travel and restaurant purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details
2 5
BEST PICK FOR

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 17.74%–26.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

American Express issues four different cards that are co-branded with Hilton hotels, including one luxury card and one business card. The luxury card obviously offers the best perks, and comes with the highest annual fee.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card will cost $450 per year, but it comes with a variety of rewards and cost-saving benefits to offset that price.

  • 34X points per dollar at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 20X Base points per dollar for being a Hilton Honors Diamond member
  • 7X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • Select car rentals
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–37.5%
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual Free Weekend Night Award: One free night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • $100 Hilton On-property Credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more, valid for incidental fees only
  • Annual $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • Annual $250 Airline Fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • Airport lounge access: Complimentary access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 30X points at Hilton properties
    • 12X points from the card
    • 18X points from Hilton Honors Gold status
  • 6X bonus points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • 125,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, and Diamond status for spending $40,000 per year
  • Weekend Night Awards: Spend $15,000 on purchases in a given year to earn a Weekend Night Award, with another Weekend Night Award for spending $60,000
  • Airport lounge access: 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • Annual fee: $95 (Rates & Fees)
View card details

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 19X points at Hilton properties
    • 7X points from the card
    • 12X points for Hilton Honors Silver status
  • 5X bonus points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, and Gold status for spending $20,000 per year
  • Annual fee: $0 (Rates & Fees)
View card details

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • 30X points at Hilton properties
    • 12X points from the card
    • 18X points for Hilton Honors Gold status
  • 6X bonus points at:
    • U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. wireless telephone services, U.S. shipping, select car rental agencies, and flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
  • 125,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, and Diamond status for spending $40,000 per year
  • Weekend Night Awards: Spend $15,000 on purchases in a given year to earn a Weekend Night Award, with another Weekend Night Award for spending $60,000
  • Airport lounge access: 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • Annual fee: $95 (Rates & Fees)
View card details
2 3

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Hyatt Hotels

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 17.99% - 24.99% Variable

Your only option for a Hyatt-branded credit card is the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, but it comes with quite a few perks you’ll be able take advantage of every year.

  • 9X points per dollar on eligible purchases from Hyatt
    • 4X points per dollar from the card
    • 5X points per dollar for your Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 2X points per dollar for:
    • Restaurants
    • Local transit and commuting
    • Flights purchased directly from airlines
    • Fitness club and gym memberships
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $250–$500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 8.33%–16.67%
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months after account opening
    • Value: $250–$500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 4.17%–8.33%
  • Free Night Stay: Get one free night stay at a category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort, every year after your cardmember anniversary
  • Additional Free Night Stay: Spend $15,000 in an anniversary year to get another free night stay at a category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: Includes perks like premium internet, free bottled water, room upgrades when available, and more
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call for help with all sorts of non-emergency tasks, like travel information or dining reservations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95
BEST PICK FOR

IHG Hotels

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $89
Regular APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

If you’re looking for a credit card branded with the InterContinental Hotels Group the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is your best option, allowing you to earn a wealth of points at IHG properties.

For the first 12 months:

  • 40X points per dollar at IHG properties
    • 25X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 15X Base points per dollar for IHG Platinum Elite status
  • 4X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 80,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $320–$800 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 16%–40%

After the first 12 months:

  • 25X points per dollar at IHG properties
    • 10X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 15X Base points per dollar for IHG Platinum Elite status
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1X Bonus point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Free Night Stay: An annual free night’s stay at any eligible IHG property worldwide
  • Fourth Night Free: Fourth reward night is free when redeeming points for stays of four nights or more
  • Point Discount: 20% discount when purchasing points
  • Complimentary IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status: Includes a 50% bonus on base points earned, free internet, priority check-in, room upgrades when available, and guaranteed room availability (72 hours in advance)
  • Annual bonus offer: 10,000 Bonus points for spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase per account anniversary year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $89
BEST PICK FOR

Marriott Bonvoy Hotels

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 17.74%–26.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Since the merger of Marriott with Starwood, which included Ritz-Carlton, there are now three consumer cards and one business card that are co-branded with these hotel chains and open for new applicants. Each card earns points through the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program.

That includes one luxury card with a $450 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Review).

  • 18.5X points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12.5X Base points per dollar for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar:
    • For flights booked directly from airlines
    • At U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.8–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20%–50%
  • $300 Annual Marriott Bonvoy Hotel Credit: Up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award: Every year after your account anniversary you’ll get a Free Night Award, good for redemption values of 50,000 points or less
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges for you and up to two guests (excludes non-lounge experiences)
  • $100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85), once every four years
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Includes perks like a 25% bonus on base points, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits towards a higher member status
  • $100 Property Credit: Starting March 28, 2019, earn up to $100 in property credits when booking at least two nights direct with a special rate code at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis
  • Bonus points for airline transfers: Get 15,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points transferred to airline programs
  • Annual fee: $450

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

  • 3X points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Silver Elite (must redeem the 15 Elite Night Credits)
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

  • 6X points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Silver Elite
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

  • 6X points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. wireless telephone providers
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Silver Elite
  • Free additional cards to distribute to employees
  • Annual fee: $125 (Rates & Fees)
View card details
2 3

The information related to Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Radisson and Club Carlson Hotels

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $75
Regular APR 15.99%–24.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

You’ll have a couple different options for Radisson-branded hotel cards. The Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card is the best offer, but there’s also a no annual fee card for those who won’t stay at Radisson very often.

  • 35X points per dollar at Radisson properties
    • 10X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 25X Base points per dollar for being a Radisson Gold member
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 Bonus points after making your first purchase
    • Value: $150–$500 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)
  • 35,000 Bonus points for spending $2,500 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $105–$350 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 4.2%–14%
  • 40,000 Bonus points each year after renewing your card
    • Value: $120–$400 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)
  • Radisson Rewards Gold status: Includes perks like a bonus on Base points, a 15% discount on food and drink, welcome gifts, room upgrades, and more
  • Free Night E-Certificates: Earn one Free Night E-Cert for each $10,000 spent in a given year, up to 3 free nights per year
  • Concierge: Call for non-emergency help with travel planning, making reservations, finding restaurants, and more
  • Visa Signature perks: Like entertainment offers, shopping discounts, and invites to sports events
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2%
  • Annual fee: $75

Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card

  • 23X points at Radisson hotels
    • 3X from the card
    • 20X from Radisson member status
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Hotel status: None
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $75
Regular APR 17.24%–25.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is one of the more popular airline cards thanks to the yearly Companion Fare, which can completely offset the annual fee and make this card basically free to use.

In fact, as long as you avoid interest and other fees, you’re effectively getting paid to use this card as long as you always take advantage of the Companion Fare.

This is also one of the best credit cards for earning airline miles, offering 3X miles for flight purchases when most airline cards only provide 2X, along with extra miles at some restaurants.

  • 5X miles per dollar at select restaurants
  • 3X miles per dollar for Alaska Airlines purchases
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $600–$800 (assuming 1.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 30%–40%
  • Companion Fare credit ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: varies, about $120–$400 or more
    • Return on spend: 12%–40% or more
  • Annual Companion Fare credit: A yearly Companion Fare credit ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Additional mile-earning opportunities: Use Alaska Airlines’ shopping portal to earn bonus miles at select retailers
  • First checked bag free on Alaska Airlines flights: For you and up to six other travelers on the same reservation
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $75
BEST PICK FOR

American Airlines

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 17.49%-25.49%* (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the premier card for flying American Airlines, with a hefty price tag of $450 per year. But if you’re already spending a lot of money and time with the airline, this card’s benefits, particularly the Admirals Club airport lounge membership, could make your life quite a bit more comfortable.

Authorized users of this card have no cost and actually get Admirals Club access as well, a rare feature on premium travel cards like this. Up to ten authorized users can be added.

  • 2X miles per dollar for American Airlines purchases
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
    • Value: $500–$750 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 10%15%
  • Admirals Club membership: You and up to ten authorized users have access to the Admirals Club airport lounge
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application credit: Get a credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85) once every five years
  • Elite Qualifying Miles: Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 on purchases in a given year
  • Reduced Mileage Awards: Get discounted travel for round trip (7,500 miles off) and one-way flights (3,750 miles off)
  • Enhanced Airport Experience: Including priority check-in, screening, and boarding privileges
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases on AA flights: The 25% discount will be applied to in-flight purchases of food and beverages only
  • First checked bag free on AA flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at American Airlines
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $2,500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $99, waived the first year
View card details

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at American Airlines
  • 60,000 bonus miles and a Companion Certificate for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after paying the annual fee and making a purchase in the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at American Airlines
  • 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
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BEST PICK FOR

Delta Air Lines

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Regular APR 17.49–26.49% Variable
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The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is expensive, but it comes with complimentary Delta Sky Club access and an annual Companion Certificate.

  • 2X miles per dollar spent at Delta Airlines
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 75,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $750–$1,125 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–22.5%
  • Delta Sky Club membership: Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $29 each
  • Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
  • Miles Boost tier 1: Spend $30,000 on purchases in a given year to earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs
  • Miles Boost tier 2: Spend $60,000 on purchases in a given year to earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding
  • Priority Checkpoint on Delta flights: Access the Sky Priority security lane at participating airports
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450 Annual Fee ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 2X miles per dollar spent at Delta Airlines
  • 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $1,000 in first 3 months; $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
  • $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
View card details

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 2X miles per dollar spent at Delta Airlines
  • 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months; $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in first 3 months
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. (Rates & Fees)
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $79
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
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The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard (Review) is one of the less expensive cards on this list, but it offers miles at a relatively high rate and has a good signup bonus, too. Frontier miles usually aren’t valued very highly, however, typically coming in around 1 cent each.

Take note that your Frontier miles will expire unless there is some account activity at least once every 6 months. Any purchase will qualify as account activity, so you can just buy a pack of gum to keep your miles active.

This is quite a bit more strict than other airline programs, which either give you a longer period or have miles that don’t expire. We recommend setting alerts or notifications of some kind so you don’t forget.

  • 5X miles per dollar for Frontier Airlines purchases
  • 3X miles per dollar at Restaurants
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus miles after paying the annual fee and spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $400 (assuming 1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 80%
  • Award redemption fee waiver: A fee waiver when you pay for flights using Frontier miles, starting at $5.60 for one-way tickets
  • $100 Frontier Flight Voucher: Get a $100 Flight Voucher after your account anniversary for every year that you spend at least $2,500
  • Fast track to Elite Status: Earn 1 Qualifying Mile for every $1 spent on purchases
  • Priority Boarding on Frontier flights: Zone 2 priority boarding privileges
  • 15-month 0% intro APR: For balance transfers made in the first 45 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $79
BEST PICK FOR

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee first year, then $99
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% variable Variable
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The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® (Review) is your only consumer card option for flying Hawaiian Airlines.

The spending rewards are about average for an airline card, but it has a valuable annual companion discount that can completely offset the $99 annual fee.

  • 3X miles per dollar for Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 2X miles per dollar at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $600–$780 (assuming 1–1.3 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 30%–39%
  • $100 annual companion ticket discount: Each year you’ll get a $100 discount on a companion ticket for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America
  • One-time 50% companion ticket discount: Eligible for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America
  • Free first checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights: For the primary cardholder only
  • Discounted flight award prices for Hawaiian Airlines flights
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $99, waived the first year
BEST PICK FOR

JetBlue

JetBlue Plus Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $99
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The JetBlue Plus Card is one of three rewards cards available through JetBlue. It offers more points than your average airline card, along with an excellent discount rate on in-flight purchases.

  • 6X points per dollar for JetBlue purchases
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $400–$600 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 40%–60%
  • 10% point redemption bonus
  • 5,000 annual bonus points: Get 5,000 bonus points every year on your account anniversary
  • First checked bag is free on JetBlue flights: For you and up to three traveling companions
  • 50% discount on in-flight purchases on JetBlue flights: 50% off eligible in-flight purchases, like food and cocktails
  • Fast track to TrueBlue Mosaic status: Spend $50,000 on purchases in a given year to get TrueBlue Mosaic status for a year
  • $100 vacation package credit: Get a $100 statement credit every year that you buy a vacation package of $100 or more
  • 12-month 0% intro APR: For balance transfers made in the first 45 days
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $99

JetBlue Card

  • 3X points per dollar at JetBlue
  • 2X points per dollar at Restaurants and Grocery stores
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $149
Regular APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable
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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Review) is the newest entry in Southwest’s line of credit cards, offering an annual flight credit to help offset the $149 annual fee.

Read more about how you can fly for free with Southwest Airlines credit cards.

  • 2X points per dollar at:
  • 1X point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $400–$600 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 40%–60%
  • 7,500 annual bonus points: You’ll receive 7,500 bonus points every year on your account anniversary
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit: An automatic statement credit every year for Southwest purchases, excluding upgraded boardings and in-flight purchases
  • Upgraded Boardings: Get four upgraded boardings per year (reimbursed as a statement credit at the end of the year)
  • Tier Qualifying Points: Every $10,000 spent earns 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List status, up to $100,000 spent
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases on Southwest flights: 20% off eligible in-flight purchases, like food, drinks, and WiFi
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $149

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar spent at Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar spent at Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Annual fee: $69
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

United Airlines

United MileagePlus® Club Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 18.24%–25.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Compared to the other United co-branded credit cards available, the United MileagePlus® Club Card (Review) is expensive ($450 annual fee), but it comes with several perks to help make your time spent at airports and hotels more enjoyable.

  • 2X miles per dollar for United Airlines purchases
  • 1.5X miles per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$750 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 16.67%–25%
  • United Club membership: Complimentary membership to the United Club airport lounge, with free access for you and two guests
  • Premier Access airport travel services: Includes priority check-in and security screening, and boarding/baggage handling privileges
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Hotel perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, and room upgrades when available
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: A 10% point bonus, room upgrades, and other benefits at Hyatt properties
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Elite Status: Get a 25% point bonus, upgrades, and exclusive offers at Hertz
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United award flights: MileagePlus Premier members can get award ticket upgrades when available
  • Free first and second checked bags: For you and one traveling companion
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

United℠ Explorer Card

  • 2X miles per dollar for United Airlines purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
View card details

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

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