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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.
By Brendan Harkness
By Brendan Harkness
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.
There’s a diverse selection of travel rewards cards, designed for different lifestyles and purposes. Some of our favorites are:
You’ll get the most diverse airport lounge access with this pair of American Express cards:
The value of your points or miles depends on the particular card you have. In some cases your points will be worth 1 cent each, but many cards come with redemption options that can provide more (or less) value.
American Express Membership Rewards points, for example, typically give 0.6 to 1 cent per point for statement credits and certain travel expenses. But you can also transfer your points to loyalty programs from a wide variety of airline and hotel partners, where you could book travel that provides a higher value per point.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are similar when it comes to point transfers (in this case, all transfers are at a 1:1 ratio). And certain Chase cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), provide bonuses for travel redemptions through Chase’s own travel portal (which come to 1.25 and 1.5 cents per point, respectively).
And then there are travel cards from Citi and Capital One. Depending on the card, you may see a value of 1 cent per point for normal redemptions. But you’ll also have some point transfer opportunities, although the options here may not be as robust as those from Amex and Chase.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, please click here.
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The information related to Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Citi Prestige® Card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, American Express® Green Card, Discover it® Miles, American Express® Business Gold Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.