Best Travel Cards​

Credit Card

Company

Credit Needed
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
JPMorgan Chase
Good or Excellent
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Capital One
Good or Excellent
The Platinum Card® from American Express
American Express
Good or Excellent
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
American Express
Good or Excellent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
JPMorgan Chase
Good or Excellent
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
World of Hyatt
Good or Excellent
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
JPMorgan Chase
Good or Excellent
American Express® Business Gold Card
American Express
Good or Excellent
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card:
Capital One
Good or Excellent
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
American Airlines
Good or Excellent
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Airlines
Good or Excellent
Clicking “Compare Cards” will redirect you to CreditCards.com’s secure website. Please note that the credit cards referenced on Make Lemonade may not be available on Creditcards.com’s website.

What are travel rewards credit cards?

Travel rewards credit cards are credit cards that offer travel rewards such as airlines miles, hotel points and other travel rewards. The best travel cards may be connected to certain airlines or hotels. For every dollar you spend with the travel credit cards, you earn travel rewards that you can redeem for airline travel, hotel stays or other travel rewards.

Top travel credit cards also come up with signup bonuses, which may offer bonus points or bonus miles if you spend a certain amount of money in the first few months of having your best travel credit card. You also may qualify for bonus miles in certain spending categories in addition to base earnings. Many of the best credit cards for travel points or best credit cards for travel miles do not charge a foreign transaction fee, which can help when you with international travel.

Here are the best travel rewards credit cards of 2020

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual Fee

$95

APR

15.99% – 22.9%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

APR

15.49% – 25.49%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Enjoy a 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 1.25x miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture.
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
  • 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual Fee

$550

APR

N/A
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December, for a total of $200 in annual savings with Uber.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Receive access to the Global Lounge Collection, which includes access to proprietary airport lounges around the world.
  • Get complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts.
  • Get $200 Airline Fee Credit and up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Annual Fee

$95

APR

15.74% – 24.74%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new credit card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual Fee

$550

APR

16.99% – 23.99%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
  • Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after your first purchase with your new Deserve EDU Mastercard (Lifetime Value of $59).
  • Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600.
  • No annual fees.
  • No deposit required.
  • No international transaction fees on purchases abroad.
  • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.
  • Refer A Friend Program: Refer anyone to Deserve using your personal referral code. Upon approval, card activation and use, you’ll receive $30 and so will your referral. Referral bonuses are unlimited.
  • Manage and track your spending, set automatic payments and securely freeze your card all through an easy app.
  • You can prequalify with no impact to your credit score in minutes.
  • The Deserve Mastercard is issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Receive benefits such as Mastercard ID Theft PreventionTM and Master Rental®.

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual Fee

$95

APR

15.99% – 22.99%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus points: 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after you open an account, plus 25,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 total within 6 months after you open an account.
  • Free nights start at 5,000 points.
  • Earn 9 points total per $1 spent at Hyatt – 4 Bonus Points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member.
  • Plus, earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships.
  • Receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort.
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
  • Get automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open and 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year.
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Annual Fee

$89

APR

15.99% – 22.99%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.
  • Earn 25 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®.

American Express® Gold Card

Annual Fee

$250

APR

15.99% – 22.99%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new American Express® Gold Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points for every $1 you spend at restaurants worldwide.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points for every $1 you spend at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X for every $1 spent).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points for every $1 you spend on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card:

Annual Fee

$95

APR

15.49% – 25.49%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®.
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs.
  • 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Annual Fee

$149

APR

15.99% – 22.99%
Variable

Credit Needed

Good or Excellent
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 you spend on Southwest® purchases as well as Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 you spend on all other purchases.
  • Earn 7,500 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary.
  • Receive a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • Receive four (4)upgraded boardings per year when available.
  • Receive 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Are travel credit card a good idea?

Travel credit cards are worth it if you are a frequent traveler and want to redeem your travel rewards points and travel rewards miles for travel.

Here is a helpful rule of thumb regard the best travel credit cards:
  1. If you prefer to travel with a particular airlines, you should find the best credit card with travel miles.
  2. If you are open to travel with any airline, you should find the best credit with points.

This strategy will provide you with the most flexibility when it comes to choosing the best travel card.

Should I get a travel rewards credit card?

Deciding to get a travel rewards credit card is an easier task than it seems. If you are interested in the best travel credit cards, ask yourself how much you travel and the types of rewards that you would like. Here are some considerations when deciding to choose the best travel credit card for you:

1. How often you travel

Travel credit cards are for people who travel frequently. Therefore, the best travel credit card or travel credit cards will be for people who travel often for work or vacation. Analyze your spending. When it comes to travel rewards credit cards, determine how much you plan to travel and spend on airfare, hotels or other travel. If you travel frequently, then you will want to compare the best credit card for travel points, the best credit card for travel miles or even the best card for international travel. This way, you can save money when it comes to travel because you can use travel rewards instead. If you are not a frequent traveler, then you may prefer the best cash back credit cards or the best rewards credit cards.

2. Whether you pay off your credit card balance each month

The best travel cards are for people who pay off their credit balance in full each month. If you plan to have a credit card balance each month, the interest rate with even the best travel credit cards can be costly. In fact, with the top travel credit cards, the interest rate can be higher than the travel rewards. Therefore, make sure to pay off your full credit card balance each month if you plan to have travel credit cards.

3. You like hotels and airlines

Many of the best travel rewards credit cards offer rewards for hotel stays and airfare. That’s great news if you are interested in the best credit card for travel points or the best credit card for travel miles. Travel rewards credit cards can be redeemed at many leading airlines and hotels. With the best travel credit card for you, you can earn free flights, free hotel stays and other travel rewards.

4. How do you choose the best travel credit card?

When choosing the best travel credit card, there are several factors to consider. Travel rewards credit cards can be evaluated in several ways. The best travel card is the one that makes most sense for your personal situation. Choosing the best credit card for travel miles or the best credit card for travel points may mean you are a frequent traveler. That’s why credit the best travel cards can help you earn points or miles depending on your preference.

Here are some helpful search criteria to find the best travel rewards credit card for you:

  • Points
  • Miles
  • Sign-up bonus
  • Other perks
  • Ongoing rewards
  • Tier levels
  • Annual Fee
  • Foreign transaction fee

How should frequent travelers use the best travel rewards credit cards?

1. Use your travel rewards credit cards when you travel

Your travel rewards credit cards will come in handy when you travel. First, you can earn more travel rewards when you travel and spend with your travel cards. Second, the best travel rewards credit for you may also include travel benefits such as no foreign transaction fee and other benefits with airlines, for example. Third, your travel credit cards may include free rental car insurance.

2. Choose your travel rewards credit cards with goals in mind

When you choose the best travel rewards credit card, make sure you have a goal in mind. Do you want to earn the best credit card for travel points? Do you want the best travel credit card for travel miles? Or perhaps you are most interest in the best travel card sign-up bonus. Overall, focus also on the ongoing rewards for the travel rewards credit cards you choose.

3. Travel off-peak to maximize travel rewards credit cards

If you are thinking about the best card for international travel, consider booking your travel during off-peak travel times. This will save you points and miles when redeeming. The best travel card may also benefit you if you travel mid-week and not during holidays to ensure the rewards are available.

4. Focus on having a strong or excellent credit score to qualify for best travel rewards credit card

The best way to be approved for top travel credit cards is to have a strong credit score or excellent credit score. If you have a strong credit profile, you will maximize your chance to be approved for the top travel rewards credit cards.  Credit card companies prefer customers with strong credit profiles to reduce their own risk. Therefore, you have a better chance to be approved for travel rewards credit cards.

Do the best cards for international travel protect you when you travel?

For the best cards for international travel, you can expect to consider the following when you travel internationally:

1. Vacation where the U.S. dollar is strong

This means to choose a location when the U.S. dollar is strong relative to the local currency. This will help you save money and maximize your benefits of travel credit cards.

2. Use your travel credit cards while you travel abroad

The best rewards travel credit cards should be used while you travel internationally. Typically, the best travel credit card will provide better currency exchange than changing your money at a bank or currency exchange kiosk in the country or at the airport. Plus, you will also earn more travel rewards with your best travel credit card when you spend more in the country you are visiting.

3. For international travel, try to use the top travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fee

Foreign transaction fees are incurred whenever you make a purchase in a foreign country. With the best credit card for international travel, you typically will have no foreign transaction fees, which will save you money. Many of the best travel rewards credit cards offer this benefit, and it saves you money whether or not you travel abroad. This is because even booking foreign airlines before your trip could result in a foreign transaction fee.

If you are not a frequent traveler, does it make sense to get the best travel credit card?

The best travel rewards credit cards probably may not be for you if you hardly travel. You may be better off with another best rewards card or the best cash back credit card, which can earn you 1-2% cash back typically.

What can the best travel rewards credit cards be redeemed for?

You can redeem the best travel rewards credit card for many rewards and benefits. Some of these benefits include free airline travel, flight upgrades, airport lounge access, in-flight refreshments and more. So, choose the best credit card for travel miles or best airlines for travel points, depending on your preference. Airline miles are helpful with specific airlines for free flights, whereas points are more flexible to redeem for free flights or free hotel nights.

Summary of Best Travel Cards​

Credit Card
Best For
Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Luxury travel benefits
$550
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Up to $100 toward Global Entry/ TSA PreCheck
$95
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUpSM Card
No limit on how many miles you can earn
$0
American Express® Gold Card
Baggage insurance
$250
Discover it® Miles
International acceptance
$0
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
No blackout dates
$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Priority PassTM Select
$550
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World EliteTM Mastercard®
Overall travel benefits
$99, waived for the first 12 months
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Baggage delay insurance
$69

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