The Best Credit Cards for Travel

We have searched far and wide for credit cards that have the qualities we look for. Our standards may vary from what you desire but we hope that this post will assist you in your search to save money by travel hacking.

swa_premier_card

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

If you haven’t flown with Southwest Airlines by now we hope this will change your mind! We usually fly Southwest for any trips we take in the  United States and a few locations outside. Southwest typically has flights for much less than the cost of other airlines and offers conveniences such as two free checked bags and no change fees. Not to mention you could qualify for the Southwest Companion pass that allows you to fly with another person for free every time you fly for an entire year!

Current promotion: 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of the account opening. But, if you click our link above you can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first three months.

Pros:
-No foreign transaction fees (plus save 3% on all foreign purchases)
-2pts/$1 spent on all Southwest flights, hotel, and car rental partners
-1pt/$1 spent on all other purchases
-6,000 pts added to your account each year on your cardmember anniversary
-Southwest Airline flights in 90+ locations
-Gift cards at over 70 merchants for as little as 3,000 pts

Cons:
-$99 USD annual fee (however you do receive 6,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary)
-Limited flights to locations outside of the United States
-Only eligible for Southwest Airlines flights (most are U.S. locations)

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Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select

Another card perfect for those who are wanting to be loyal to a specific airline company, this one is American Airlines.

Current promotion:
30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of the account opening.

Pros:
-No foreign transaction fees on purchases
-First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
-Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights
-2mi/$1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
-Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back
-Reduced Mileage Award

Cons:
-$95 USD annual fee (waived for the first 12 months)
-Only eligible for American Airlines and partners

sapphire_preferred_card

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Voted the best travel credit card of 2015 by Money Magazine, this one is the most “well-rounded” travel credit card and is perfect for those only looking to have one or even many. It also offers one of the best sign-up bonuses.

Current Promotion:
50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months (equivalent to $625 airline or hotel credit). Earn an extra 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of opening.

Pros:
-No foreign transaction fees
-2x points on travel and restaurants
-20% off travel redemption
-1:1 point transfer (British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards)

Cons:
-$0 annual fee for the first year, $95 annual fee every year after

marriott_premier_card

 

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card:

This card is perfect for those that are loyal to a specific hotel chain, this being Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties. With the many locations and price ranges, all are sure to find something within their budget.

Current Promotion: 
80,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening. Earn an extra 7,500 points after adding an authorized user within the first 3 months of opening.

Pros:
-No foreign transaction fees
-5pts/$1 for Marriott or Ritz-Carlton hotel reservations
-2pts/$1 for airline tickets, car rental agencies, and restaurants
-1pt/$1 for any other purchases on the card
-Annual free night stay in any category 1-5 Marriott hotel after each year anniversary
-15 credits towards elite status annually, giving you guaranteed Silver Elite status each year
-1 credit toward elite status for every $3,000 spent on purchases

Cons:
-$85 annual fee (however you do receive a free night stay at any category 1-5 Marriott hotel annually which more than covers the cost of the card)

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CapitalOne Venture Rewards:

By far one of the most flexible travel credit cards that are perfect for those who want to earn extra points from their daily spending (2X miles/$1rather than the typical 1pt/$1 spent and 2pt/$1 on travel).

Current promotion:
earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening (equivalent to $400 of travel credit).

Pros:
-Earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase

Cons:
-$0 Annual fee the first year and $59 after that.

-OR-

www-venture-one-visa-sig-flat-9-14CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards 

The biggest difference you’ll see here is the earn rate. There are fewer miles per dollar but it comes without the $59 annual fee.

Current promotion:
earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

Pros:
-$0 annual fee
-Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase

Cons:
-0.75 fewer travel rewards than the CapitalOne Venture Rewards credit card per $1 spent

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Extremely similar to the CapitalOne Venture Rewards program but with a better introductory APR (0%) on balance transfers but does have a 3% balance transfer fee.

Current promotion:
  earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days (equivalent to a $400 travel statement credit).

Pros:
-No foreign transaction fees
-2x miles on all purchases

Cons:
-$0 the first year $89 annual fee after

-OR-

bcus-arrival1Barclaycard Arrival

Again, similar to the CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards program, fewer miles earned per dollar, however, no annual fees.

Current promotion:
 earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days (equivalent to a $200 travel statement credit).

Pros:
-$0 annual fee
-2x points on travel and dining
-1x points on all other purchases

Cons:
-Less rewards points than the Barclay Arrival Plus


What are some of your favorite credit cards that go the distance?

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Looking for credit cards that go the distance? These are some of the best credit cards for travel! www.pagesoftravel.org

Disclaimer: At this time we do not receive compensation for your application to any of the above credit cards. We are simply giving our honest opinions based on what we have used, seen, and/or researched.

 

  • Cheryl
    May 27, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    US Bank Flex Perks is a very good travel credit card. If airline ticket is under $400 it’s 20,000 travel points vs 40,000 points on other cards.

    • kallsypage
      May 27, 2016 at 9:09 PM

      Wow that’s a great tip! We will have to look into that. 🙂

  • Carol Mills
    December 29, 2016 at 8:01 PM

    Haven’t realized that there are so many perks out there. Will have to look into one of these sometime soon.

    • kallsypage
      January 22, 2017 at 10:32 AM

      I hope you do Carol! I hope one of these suits your needs and wants 🙂

  • Hang Around The World
    January 15, 2017 at 2:15 PM

    We are very satisfied about our credit cards but we have to say that we didn’t know all these types. One friend suggested to use the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select that has several pros-
    We have to try, thanks for the help 🙂

    • kallsypage
      January 22, 2017 at 10:34 AM

      Which ones do you use!? The Citi card is a favorite of ours 🙂

  • utravelshare
    January 17, 2017 at 4:21 AM

    Well this is an interesting post and something I usually don’t read around! Anyway I used my Australian card for my 2 big trip in the past: 4 months to South east Asia and 6 months to South America! This year I will probably go to USA and over there I can use my Italian card! thanks for sharing it, helpful 😀

    • kallsypage
      January 22, 2017 at 10:35 AM

      That’s awesome that you’ve been able to get so many trips out of your cards! Where in the USA do you think you’ll visit? 🙂

  • Aisha Sylvester
    January 17, 2017 at 5:00 AM

    Wow, this was great! I never really thought much about the efficacy of my credit card for all the travel I do but this is really make me think things through. I’ve got some questions to ask and some decisions to make now, thanks!!!

    • kallsypage
      January 22, 2017 at 10:38 AM

      I’m glad you found this helpful! There are so many out there so we only touched on a few of them that we’ve found to be beneficial. I hope you find what you’re looking for! 🙂