Our Top Travel Credit Cards (Updated September 2022)


*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.

 

Miles and points can easily save you thousands of dollars in travel expenses, and enable you to enjoy luxurious experiences like business class flights and luxury hotel stays that you otherwise might not be able to afford.

A good travel credit card (or a few) is a tool that all financially responsible travelers should be using. However, knowing which travel credit card(s) to apply for can be confusing.

 

Between restrictions like Chase’s 5/24 rule and some bonus offers only being available for a limited-time, it’s important to strategize the time and order in which you sign up for new credit cards. To help you prioritize your credit card sign-ups, we update this post every month to include what we believe are the top credit card offers on the market. Since we’re covering what we consider to be the best offers — not just limited time offers — some of the cards on this list may remain consistent from month to month. 


Current Offer: Get 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.


Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee.


Why it’s great: Like the IHG card, this card offers amazing outsized value compared to its low annual fee. In addition to the enormous welcome bonus, you also receive 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges every year, complimentary Hilton Honors elite status, and some really high earning rates (especially at Hilton properties). From the welcome bonus and lounge passes alone, this card can give you roughly $1,000 of value without even accounting for the elite status, possible free night award and points earning rates. This is what we call a "keeper card" because of the amazing value.


Other Benefits:

  • Earn 12x points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at Hilton properties
  • Earn 6x points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. restaurants
  • Priority Pass membership with 10 free visits per year
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold elite status
  • Earn a Free Night Award every year you spend $15,000

 *Rates & Fees



Current Offer: A total of 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.


Annual Fee: $395


Why it’s great: At first glance the annual fee may seem expensive, but each year you receive a $300 travel credit that’s super easy to use. Plus, each year on your card anniversary, you’ll receive 10,000 bonus miles which are $100 in free travel. Those two perks alone cover the cost of the annual fee.

Plus, this card gives you free priority pass membership which gives you an unlimited number of visits to 1,400+ Priority Pass lounges worldwide.

I’ve saved the best perk for last, and that’s the 75,000 bonus miles you’ll receive after meeting the minimum spend! Capital One Rewards allow users to book travel or cover travel booked in the previous 90 days for one cent per mile. That means this card is would cover $750 on travel, even retroactively! Capital One miles can also be transferred to a number of airline programs at a ratio of 2:1.5, allowing for true flexibility in booking the best reward flights.


Other Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel
  • 10,000 mile anniversary bonus
  • 10x miles on hotels and cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases



Current Offer: Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.


Annual Fee: $95


Why it’s great: This is a great starter card for anyone looking for a simple, cheap option to start racking up points. The 80,000 points alone are worth at least $800 in value, or even more if you transfer them to travel partners like Emirates, Air France, KLM, JetBlue, or Virgin Atlantic. To make things even better, you'll earn 3x points at restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, air travel, and hotels (basically everything you normally spend money on).


Other Benefits:

  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on a single hotel stay of $500 or more booked through thankyou.com)
  • Transfer points to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic
  • No foreign transaction fees


4. IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Click the card or the title to learn more!


Current Offer: 140,000 points and a free night certificate (valued at up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of card opening


Annual Fee: $99


Why it’s great: Cardholders can earn a whopping 26 points per dollar when staying at IHG properties and receive a free night award every year after renewing the card (which alone makes this card pay for itself). Given IHG's massive global footprint and attractive new IHG One Rewards program, this card has become a lot more interesting in recent months. Plus, the welcome bonus of 140,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night on a $99 card is absolutely bonkers. If you aren't already interested in IHG hotels, you might be after seeing this offer.


Other Benefits:

  • 5x points on travel, dining and gas stations
  • 3x on all other purchases
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 points after spending $20,000 in a calendar year
  • Receive your fourth night free when booking IHG stays with points



Current Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.


Annual Fee: $0


Why it’s great: This $0 per year card offers a $100 statement credit as part of the current signup offer in addition to the 100,000 Hilton points. Given the excellent earning rates on general spending categories and 6 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, this card is an excellent option for anyone looking to enter the hotel loyalty game (and reap hundreds of dollars of value in the process).


Other Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
  • No annual fee

*Rates & Fees


6. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Click the card or the title to learn more!


Current Offer: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.


Annual Fee: $95


Why it’s great: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my favorite cards! Ultimate Reward points are very valuable, given their flexibility and ability to use to make an award booking. The points are worth more when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal, at 1.25 cents each. So your 60,000 bonus points are worth $750 in free travel! You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to the following airlines: United, Singapore, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic. Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently netting card holders 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 3x points on streaming services, and 2x points on all other travel spending.


Other Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $50 credit on Ultimate Rewards Hotels annually
  • Discounts on DoorDash with free DashPass subscription for one year (if activated by 12/31/24)
  • Car rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance



Current Offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within the first six months.


Annual Fee: $695


Why it’s great: The American Express Platinum Card offers some of the best perks available. The welcome bonus of 100,000 points is an excellent value, and the $695 is completely offset by spending credits. This card will also net 5x the points on select hotel and flight purchases. Of course, our favorite benefit from this card has to be entrance to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes access to the Centurion Lounge. Terms and restrictions apply to these fantastic benefits.


Other Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $200 statement credit for airline incidental fees, after enrollment
  • Up to $200 statement credit on select hotel spending (which requires a minimum two-night stay)
  • Up to $240 digital spending credit for Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times, after enrollment
  • Up to $200 credit for Uber, after enrollment.
  • Up to $300 credit for Equinox spending, after enrollment
  • $189 credit for Clear® membership annually
  • Global Entry spending credit, after enrollment

*Rates and Fees


8. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Click the card or the title to learn more!


Current Offer: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.


Annual Fee: $550


Why it’s great: The incredible travel rewards earned from this card more than make up for the high annual fee. One of the best perks is the $300 travel annual credit. Our favorite reward from this card is the free Priority Pass membership that gets the card holder and up to 2 guests free access to over 1,000+ airline lounges around the world! If you’ve ever watched our Youtube videos, you know we put this benefit to use almost every time we fly. This is a service we would gladly pay $250 for every year!

*** Chase Bank only allows you to sign up for one Sapphire card, so you have to choose between the Sapphire Preferred (mentioned below) and the Sapphire Reserve (this card). ***


Other Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3x points on travel (after the $300 travel credit is used) and dining purchases
  • 10x points on Lyft rides (ending March 31, 2025)
  • Discounts on DoorDash with free DashPass subscription (Must be activated by December 31, 2024)
  • Up to $100 application credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Car rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance



Current Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months


Annual Fee: $250


Why it’s great: The American Express Gold card has great earning potential, including 4x points on all restaurants, take out and delivery (in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarket spending as well as 3x points on booked flights.


Other Benefits:

  • $120 in dining credits, $10 per month, after enrollment
  • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • No foreign transaction fees

*Rates and Fees



Current Offer: A total of 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months


Annual Fee: $95


Why it’s great: Capital One Rewards allow users to book travel or cover travel booked in the previous 90 days for one cent per mile. That means this card is would cover over $750 on travel, even retroactively! Capital One miles can also be transferred to a number of airline programs at a ratio of 1:1, allowing for true flexibility in booking the best reward flights.


Other Benefits:

  • $100 rebate on Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fees
  • 2x the points on all spending
  • No foreign transaction fees



Current Offer: 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply.


Annual Fee: $650


Why it’s great: The Bonvoy Brilliant card is a great hotel card to pick up. It comes with automatic Platinum Elite Marriott Bonvoy status and the current bonus will net you 150,000 points, which can be used to book reward stays or can be transferred to a number of airline partner programs, usually at a 3:1 ratio. This card will earn you 6x points for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3 points at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points on all other eligible purchases. There is also up to a $300 statement credit each year for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide (structured as $25 per month), a $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit, and a $100 credit on Global Entry application fees. To top it all off, you'll get an annual free night certificate worth up to 85,000 points, which is enough to book almost any hotel in their entire portfolio.


Other Benefits:

  • Earns 6x points on purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Priority Pass Select membership, enrollment required
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel accident insurance

*Rates and Fees


12. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Click the card or the title to learn more!


Current Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $25,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!


Annual Fee: $0


Why it’s great: This card is great for anyone looking to earn cash back and book cheap travel out of pocket. What many people may not realize, however, is that you can actually turn your cash back into Chase Ultimate Rewards simply by holding one of their other cards that earn UR points. Given the multipliers in almost every spending category, this card is incredibly flexible. When you consider the excellent signup bonus of $300 in cash against a $0 annual fee, this is a great card to keep around for the long haul.


Other Benefits:

  • 0% intro APR for the first 15 months (then a variable APR of 16.49% - 25.24%)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all general purchases


That wraps up our review of the top personal travel credit card offers for this month. If you found this post useful, we’d be super grateful if you used our links to start your next credit card application!


If you're still confused after looking through this list, creditcards.com has a tool that can help give a recommendation based on your personal credit and situation:

CardMatch™

Opinions expressed here are 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.