Best Travel Credit Cards in June 2024

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Travel credit cards are an easy way to earn travel points or miles on purchases you make every day. And there’s a card for every budget — while premium cards come packed with perks (and high-end fees to match), you can also start small with a lower-fee card that will still help you accumulate rewards. 

The best travel credit cards offer lucrative welcome offers, flexible redemption options, and eye-popping perks like free lounge access, statement credits, and elite status.

Erika's Picks for Best Travel Credit Cards

  • Best for frequent travelers: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for budget travelers: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for maximizing points: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for luxury travelers: The Platinum Card® from American Express 
  • Best airline card: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express

. . .

Best for Frequent Travelers: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Rewards rate: 10x points on hotel stays and car rentals through Chase Travel℠; 5x points on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft purchases (through March 2025); 5x points on flights booked through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually); 3x points on restaurants and travel; 1x points on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $550
chase sapphire reserve

. . .

If you're a frequent traveler, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is hard to beat. You'll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This is in addition to a $300 annual travel credit — giving a big boost to your vacation budget!

Points are earned through different tiers:

  • 10x points on hotel reservations and car rentals booked through Chase Travel℠
  • 10x points on dining booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 5x points on flights booked through Chase Travel℠ (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases (again, after earning your $300 travel credit) 

Booking travel through Chase Travel℠ will also give you a 50% boosted points value. 

Other perks make this card essential if you frequently find yourself in an airport. You get access to more than 1,300 VIP airport lounges worldwide, including the new Chase Sapphire Lounges. You’ll also get up to $100 every four years as a statement credit for your application for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve does come with a pretty hefty annual fee of $550, and its interest rate is on the higher end, too.

That said, if you’ll make the most of all the card has to offer and won’t carry a balance (which is not something you should do with a rewards card anyway, since it’ll erase whatever you earn), then this card could be worth the big-ticket price. Do the calculations for yourself to see if that's the case for you. 

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or read our full review.

Best for Budget Travelers: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards rate: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; 2x on all other travel purchases; 1x on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
chase sapphire preferred

. . .

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the closest to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but for the more budget-conscious. It offers a similar sign-up bonus, plus rewards on travel and everyday expenses, but with a much lower annual fee. 

With the Preferred, you can earn:

  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit), and 2x on other travel purchases.
  • 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out), 3x points on online grocery purchases, and 3x points on select streaming services.
  • Purchases outside of these categories are rewarded at 1 point per dollar spent.

Like with the Sapphire Reserve, you can get additional value (25%) from your points when booking travel through Chase Travel℠. You can also earn a $50 anniversary statement credit every year for hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠.

Other travel perks include a 1:1 point transfer to many popular airline and hotel travel partners. Plus, you’ll be eligible for trip cancellation insurance and emergency assistance services, and you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees for using your card while traveling abroad.

If you’re not yet ready for the Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great introduction to the travel card space for a much more manageable annual fee.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or read our full review.

Best for Maximizing Points: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 5x miles on hotel and rental car purchases through Capital One Travel portal; 2x miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening (worth $750 when booking through Capital One Travel)
  • Annual fee: $95
capital one venture credit card

. . .

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best travel credit cards for beginner and experienced points collectors alike to have in their wallets.

You can earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 2x miles on all your purchases with no restrictions, plus 5x miles when you book a hotel or reserve a rental car through Capital One Travel.

Miles can be redeemed by booking travel through the Capital One Travel portal or reimbursed as a statement credit for travel-related expenses.

The card's annual fee is on the lower end for travel credit cards — and the cost almost pays for itself with lounge access. You'll get two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or one of 100+ participating lounges in their Partner Lounge Network.

If you plan on traveling internationally, you’re also eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 to cover the application cost for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Get started with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or read our full review.

Best for Luxury Travelers: The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Rewards rate: 5x points on directly booked flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel (up to $500,000); 1x on all other spending
  • Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $8,000 in the first six months
  • Annual fee: $695 (rates and fees)
American Express Platinum Card

. . .

If you enjoy fine dining and 5-star hotels, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a fantastic credit card packed with travel-related perks. However, this card also comes with a hefty annual fee that makes it one of the most expensive cards on the market.

To jumpstart your rewards balance, you can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points by spending $8,000 in the first six months. You’ll also earn:

  • 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
  • 1x points on all other purchases

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with lots of premium perks for both traveling and at home, including:

  • Up to $200 hotel credit for bookings at The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels + Resorts, given as a statement credit
  • Up to $200 airline credit with a qualifying airline, given as statement credit
  • Up to $189 CLEAR Plus credit
  • Up to $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application credit (every 4 years)*
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 in total statement credits per month) for Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, ESPN+, and The New York Times (enrollment required)
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash for rides and delivery ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December; renews annually, available to basic cardmembers only)
  • Up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases each year ($50 for Jan-June and $50 for Jul-Dec) (enrollment required)
  • Up to $155 per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits ($12.95 plus applicable local sale taxes, subject to auto-renewal; available as a statement credit; Plus Up Benefits are excluded)

Platinum cardholders also get additional perks like access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection and exclusive dining reservations through Global Dining Access by Resy. American Express’s lounge collection includes complimentary access to more than 1,400 lounges in 140 different countries.

If you’re able to take full advantage of the Platinum Card’s many travel benefits, you can easily offset the cost of the annual fee every year. But if you’re new to the travel game, or don’t quite see yourself cashing in on the card’s perks, this might not be the time for you to get The Platinum.

Get started with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Best Airline Card: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express

  • Rewards rate: 2x miles on Delta purchases; 2x miles at U.S. grocery stores; 2x miles at restaurants worldwide and on U.S. takeout and delivery; 1x miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $150 (rates and fees)
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express

. . .

If you love flying Delta, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express is a slam dunk. It comes with a welcome bonus of 65,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first six months. Your annual fee is also waived for the first year (it's $99 each year after that).

With the SkyMiles Gold, you can earn miles on travel booked through Delta as well as on everyday purchases:

  • 2x miles on travel booked directly with Delta
  • 2x miles at grocery stores
  • 2x miles at restaurants
  • 1x miles on all other purchases

On top of that, you get a 15% discount when you book travel on delta.com using your points.

This card also comes with extra perks that can make your next flight more enjoyable, like checking your first bag for free and getting 20% off in-flight purchases. If you spend $10,000 in a calendar year, you’re also eligible for a $100 Delta Flight Credit that can be used toward future travel.

A bonus for international travelers, the Delta SkyMiles Gold has no foreign transaction fees, meaning you won’t pay extra when using your card overseas.

Get started with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express.


How to Compare Travel Credit Cards

To figure out which travel credit card you should get, you’ll first want to evaluate how it fits into your budget and whether or not it helps you reach your travel goals. Some benefits, like lounge access, are a priority for frequent fliers but might not be important to you if you’re traveling on a budget.

When you’re shopping around for a travel credit card, you should compare:

  • Flexibility of rewards
  • Rewards earning potential
  • Size of welcome offer (and its spending requirement)
  • Annual fee
  • Ongoing interest rate

Once you find a card matching your budget and spending habits, assess how well it aligns with your travel objectives. These are a few things to consider:

  • Can you book travel on a third-party website or do you need to book through the card’s travel portal? 
  • How are travel costs covered? Can you spend points directly or do you have to wait to receive a statement credit?
  • Can you transfer points to loyalty programs managed by a specific hotel or airline?
  • Can you cash out your points for a gift card if you don’t use them before they expire?
  • How are premium perks like TSA PreCheck reimbursed?
  • Does your card come with travel benefits like lounge access or a free checked bag?

READ MORE: How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Types of Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards typically fall into two categories: general-purpose cards and co-branded cards with an airline or hotel chain.

If you have a favorite hotel or airline, you might find using those co-branded cards to be worth it. If you're a flexible traveler, a general travel card is good to have.

  • General-purpose travel credit card: Rewards credit cards like these offer points or miles for each dollar spent. Most will reward you more for using the card for categories like travel and dining, and offer a flat rate for everyday purchases.
  • Co-branded cards: While these cards are limited by where the points can be redeemed, they often have extra features like higher reward rates for purchases with the brand or the potential to earn free stays.

Pros and Cons of Travel Credit Cards

A travel credit card can unlock travel perks and offset the cost of future trips, but they're not for everyone. Consider the benefits and drawbacks before you apply.

Pros

  • Travel-centered rewards: Use points for free trips and then accumulate even more points while enjoying your vacation! This includes local transportation, like renting a car or dining out.
  • Luxury benefits: A premium credit card can get you access to lounges when you might not otherwise be able to. Other perks like statement credits, discounts, and travel-related reimbursements can make many high-end cards worth the big annual fee.
  • Big welcome offers: Travel credit cards have generous welcome offers. A sign-up bonus on a new card could jumpstart your rewards and bring you closer to an affordable vacation.

Cons

  • High annual fees: The best perks aren’t cheap. Competitive travel cards are about $100 per year, but premium ones can run you several hundred dollars a year. A card’s value ultimately depends on your travel plans and how it fits into your budget.
  • Credit score requirements: The better a credit card’s perks, the higher the credit score you’ll need to get it. Depending on your score, you might not qualify for the travel card you want.
  • Travel required: This might seem obvious but travel credit cards are designed for travel. You can often cash out earned points, but it's usually at a lower rate, diminishing their overall value.
Woman looking at phone and holding a card: Guide on Best Travel Credit Cards In December 2023

FAQs

Why do most travel credit cards have an annual fee? 

The annual fee covers the costs of maintaining a rewards program. Many credit cards offer their own travel booking websites and work with partners to offer special perks. The fee you pay helps cover these costs and is a part of the credit card issuer’s business model.

Are there any travel credit cards without an annual fee?

There are a few travel credit cards that have no annual fee. Some popular ones include:

No-annual-fee cards often have fewer perks and a lower reward rate, so consider potential trade-offs. Don’t expect to get into a premium lounge with one of these cards.


Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

* Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your American Express Card. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.