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Travel Credit Cards

Travel Credit Cards

By helping you earn miles or points toward airfare, hotel stays, and more, travel rewards cards can be a great way to make your next trip more affordable. Whether you're a frequent business traveler wanting elite perks or a family looking to save, you should be able to find a travel rewards card that's right for you.


How to Choose a Travel Credit Card

When deciding on a travel credit card, you need to decide what type of benefit is most important to you. Click on any of the links below to find out more information about cards that will pay you back in points or rewards for:

Travel Rewards

If you like to travel but are not loyal to any particular airline, try the Barclaycard Arrival. This card allows you to redeem toward any airline of your choice.

There are two Barclaycard Arrival credit card offers available (both with no foreign transaction fees):

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card If you spend over $1,000 per month on your credit card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening (worth $500 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards). There is a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year).

If you do have a favorite airline such as AA, it's worthwhile to consider their specific cards, as you'll often get extra travel benefits such as free check-in for your first bag.

Travel Offers

International Travel
For overseas travelers, consider using a credit card with no foreign transaction fee to help save money while abroad. Most credit cards have a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

Airline
If airfare is your biggest concern, look for an airline credit card to help you earn free flights. Several of these cards include great introductory deals, such as bonus miles, free flights or free checked baggage.

Hotel
To save on hotel expenses, consider applying for a hotel credit card. Special offers may include bonus hotel points and free hotel stays.

Gas
With gas prices soaring, gas credit cards can help stretch your budget. Read our guide on Summer Road Trips to see how using credit cards can help you save big.

Redeeming Points
Some travel rewards cards give you points or miles with a particular company’s frequent traveler program, such as United Mileage Plus or Hilton HHonors. Other cards give you points for the credit card issuer’s reward program which you can redeem with various companies.

Also consider how you would like to book your reward travel: some cards require you to book through the card issuer’s website, while others have more flexible options. Be sure to review the card's terms and conditions to see whether it has blackout dates or other restrictions on redeeming points.

Most travel credit cards require very good to excellent credit to apply. Like most rewards cards, travel and airline credit cards tend to charge higher interest rates compared to other types of credit cards, so if you don't plan on paying your balance in full each month, consider a low interest credit card instead.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the company whose products are featured on this site. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.


Compare Credit Cards with Travel Rewards

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard - Earn 2x on All Purchases
Read ReviewApply for Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard - Earn 2x on All Purchases
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next travel redemption!
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel statement credits (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use your card to book through any airline, hotel or discount travel engine with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits towards all or a portion of your travel purchases within the last 90 days
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Arrival cardmembers
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsTravel RewardsTravel Accident InsuranceEmergency Assistance
Travel Rewards Benefit: Redeem miles for statement credits toward travel purchases (airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, motels, resorts, cruise lines, car rental agencies). Travel statement credit redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25.

Exclusive Carry-on Miles - earn 10% of your miles back when you redeem for travel statement credits
Airline Rewards: Earn 2X miles on all purchases
Our Review: If you want to earn 2x miles with all purchases and have the flexibility to redeem miles toward any airline purchase, consider the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. The $89 annual fee card lets you earn miles quickly with no mileage caps. In addition, a 40,000 bonus mile offer makes this card an attractive choice... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.99% or 18.99%* (Variable)
$89 - Waived first year

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 additional bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Travel Rewards Benefit: 2X points per dollar spent on travel. 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
Our Review: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a very generous point bonus and extra travel rewards to those with excellent credit. Keep in mind, the card does have an annual fee. It is the premium version of the Chase Sapphire Card... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard - Earn 1x on All Purchases
Read ReviewApply for Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard - Earn 1x on All Purchases
  • Start by earning 20,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 20,000 bonus miles equates to $200 off your next trip!
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining purchases,1X miles on all other purchases, and no mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary one year subscription of TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer - a $49 value
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsTravel RewardsDining RewardsNo Limits on RewardsTravel Accident InsuranceEmergency Assistance
Travel Rewards Benefit: Earn 2X miles on travel purchases
Airline Rewards: Earn 1X miles on all other purchases. Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
Our Review: If you like to travel, you can earn 2X miles on travel and dining purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases with the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. Every time you buy something on this card, you earn miles. These miles are good for statement credits toward flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. This program is especially generous when you consider that this card does not have an annual fee... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.99% or 18.99%* (Variable)
$0

Chase Sapphire Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Card
  • 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that's $100 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)!
  • 2,500 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more
  • Earn an additional point per dollar spent when you book airfare and hotel accommodations online through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • No Annual Fee!
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
$0

Travel Rewards Benefits

Travel rewards credit cards not only help you save money on expenses, such as flights and hotel rooms, they also usually offers points (or miles) that can be redeemed toward other discounts or benefits. A travel-focused credit card might also provide additional benefits when it is used to pay for travel expenses.

The majority of travel rewards credit cards work like regular rewards cards, with cardholders earning a certain number of points for each dollar spent on purchases using the card. The difference is that cards focused on travel rewards usually offer bonuses, either when you use them to pay for travel-related expenses, or when you redeem points for travel savings. Some examples may include:

  • Some cards let you earn double or even triple points or cash back for each dollar spent on airfare or gas, in addition to awarding bonus points when you sign up.

  • Other possibilities include receiving credits to cover incidentals such as baggage fees, access to special lounges at airports, or concierge services to help trip planning.

  • Some programs may require fewer points to redeem award flights or hotel stays, particularly if you book through the card issuer’s travel website.

A Focus on Business

Many credit cards aimed at businesspeople also emphasize travel rewards, as work-related travel remains common despite today’s challenging economy:

  • You may be able to receive a discounted companion airplane ticket when purchasing one at a high enough fare rate.

  • You may also be able to easily transfer points and miles between your credit card and particular frequent flyer programs.

  • Other benefits can be perfect for business travelers, including reduction or elimination of foreign transaction fees and additional car rental insurance.

Corporate Tie-ins

Some cards bear the name of a travel-related company, such as an airline or hotel chain, and provide even better bonuses for purchases at that particular business. Potential perks include:

  • Some cardholders may be able to take advantage of special benefits or avoid certain fees when booking with the selected airline or hotel chain, in addition to earning bonus points or miles.

  • Blackout dates or other restrictions may not apply when booking with the appropriate card.

  • Just remember to be aware that some of the benefits of these cards are only awarded at the particular company’s properties or flights.


Articles on Travel Rewards

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    Best Cities to Visit Solo

    March 19, 2014 - By Lauren W - Money Tips
    Traveling alone comes with plenty of perks: you can create an itinerary to suit your own interests and preferred pace and you’re completely free of anyone else’s whims. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of the best cities in the country to ...

    Best Suitcases

    December 19, 2013 - By Ross F - Reviews
    When you travel, your luggage should act as a steady companion. The relationship is simple: the luggage carries your stuff and you carry the luggage. Assuming you both arrive at the same place and at the same time, the relationship is a success.

    Thanksgiving Travel Tips

    November 14, 2013 - By Jasmine W - Money Tips
    As Thanksgiving approaches and thoughts of pie, family and shopping put you in the holiday spirit, one negative aspect of the holiday – traveling to your destination – can quickly put a damper on the mood.
    Columbus, Ohio

    Best Places to Travel in August

    By Tracy J - Money Tips
    Looking to make a last-minute trip before the end of summer? There are many cities where August is the best time of year to visit. We've compiled the best major cities in the United States to travel to based on several factors, including:

    How to Travel the World

    By Leah N - Money Tips
    Thinking of taking a trip around the world? It’s not cheap to travel anywhere these days. The cost of airfare alone can be enough to make you think twice about traveling internationally to one location, let alone take a multi-country journey. ...

    How to Save Money While Traveling

    By Leah N - Money Tips
    Planning a vacation? Hotel and transportation costs are high enough without the added costs of food, entertainment, and attractions. But, there are some easy ways to save money during your trip without sacrificing experience.

    Summer Vacation Statistics 2013

    June 17, 2013 - By Mike Foster - News
    Summer is the season for vacations, but it's also the season for saving for many Americans. That's according to a new CreditDonkey.com survey, which showed over 30% are planning to spend less on their summer break this year.

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.