Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Before we dive in, we must emphasize the importance of caution with credit cards when it comes to making smart financial decisions and building your wealth. It’s not uncommon for people to spend carelessly and get themselves in trouble with high interest-rate debt. If you are not in a place financially where you can feel comfortable with a credit card, trust yourself with it, and easily pay it off every month, don’t use one. However, if you are comfortable with your financial situation and feel like you can exercise control, then more power to you. A travel rewards card can provide a lot of perks for those who can use a credit card wisely. If you pay your balance off every month, your trips to the grocery store, or dinners out,  can pretty easily turn into free airfare, hotel stays, and other perks. Check out our guide to travel rewards credit cards. 


Let’s take a look at the top 5 travel rewards credit cards currently on the market, the perks they have to offer, as well as what to watch out for.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    • Perks:
      • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Equates to $625 towards travel when you book through Chase’s rewards site.
      • 2x points on travel and dining worldwide.
      • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
      • Add your first authorized user (likely spouse or SO), and earn 5,000 bonus points if you both add them and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
      • No foreign transaction fees.
      • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
      • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
      • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards    
    • What to watch out for:
      • High-interest rate – varies between 16.99% and 23.99%. If you rack up a balance, this could cost you a lot.
      • Steep spending (over $1300/mo) in first 3 months to get the bonus points.
      • $95/yr starting year 2 (free first year).
      • You likely need a 730 credit score or higher to get approved for this one.
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

      • Perks:
        • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $400 in travel.
        • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
        • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
        • Travel when you want with no blackout dates.
        • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn.
        • No foreign transaction fees.
      • What to watch out for:
        • $59 annual fee, but free for the first year.
        • 13.99%-23.99% APR.
        • Steep spending in first 3 months to qualify for bonus points.
  • Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card

      • Perks:
        • One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
        • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee.
        • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
        • Low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 12.99% – 22.99% variable APR after that.
        • Travel when you want with no blackout dates.
        • No foreign transaction fees.
        • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn.
      • What to watch out for:
        • With no annual fee and low-interest rate, if you have good credit, this is a great all around or beginner travel rewards card.
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Card

      • Perks:
        • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire.
        • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days – that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases.
        • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
        • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees.
        • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals.
        • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.99% – 23.99% Variable APR
        • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account.
        • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%.   
      • What to watch out for:
        • Just the higher interest rate. Otherwise, great travel card, especially if you already bank at Bank of America.
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

    • Perks:
      • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
      • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
      • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem.
      • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
      • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad.
      • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a fee for balance transfers.
    • What to watch out for:
      • $89 annual fee after the first year.
      • High-interest rate.
      • Need pretty good credit to get approved.

So which one is the best? Well, the Chase card has the most perks of any travel rewards card out there bar none. However, to really reap its rewards, you need to be a person who either travels a lot, eats out a lot or both. You also need to have a very good credit score and a high enough income to be able to spend over $1k/mo on it and still pay it off every month. For those just looking for a simple all-around, no annual fee credit card, I’d point them towards the Bank of America card. Despite its middle-of-the-pack APR, it’s got a decent sign-up bonus of 20k miles equal to $200 in travel credit, unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, and additional perks for being an existing Bank of America customer. To determine which one is the best fit for you, take a look at your spending habits, your confidence in using a credit card, and your credit score first, then prioritize the perks that are most appealing to you along with what you’d be willing to pay to have access to those. We’d also recommend considering where you already bank and any additional benefits that might be available having a credit card there. Armed with all that information, you should be in a pretty good place to decide what will be the best fit for you. We hope our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards was helpful.