Choosing the right travel credit card takes a little bit of work and thought. It’s a little tricky understanding what each card offers and figuring out if a particular card is right for the type of travel you want.
Below is a list of highly recommend travel reward cards that makes it hard to go wrong, no matter which one you choose. Many of them are the cream of the crop premium travel cards that earn you a lot of points towards travel and also have high bonuses to start you off – both of which are really important when you want to get free flights and hotels.
Also, I have included the best travel cards that do not have an annual fee for those of you looking to collect points without costing you any money. Have a look through the list below and click on the links to get more info about each card.
7 Best Credit Cards For Free Flights, Hotels & Other Travel Perks
The Chase Sapphire preferred credit card is one of the best travel credit cards to have in your wallet. Accumulating points and miles for free flights and hotels starts with obtaining large sign up bonuses, and this card typically offers very large sign up bonuses.
Right now, the Sapphire Preferred offers 50 000 sign up bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $3000 in the first 3 months. The 50 000 points equates roughly to $600 in free travel. So by signing up for this credit card, you earn $600 in free travel.
Along with the great sign up bonus (one of the best in the travel industry), the first year’s annual fee will be waived. Otherwise, it will be $95 a year after that. There are no foreign transaction fees for using this card, which is great if you will be using this card while traveling overseas. The points you accumulate with this card can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. Some airlines included are British Airways, Southwest, and United. Hotels include Hyatt, Marriott, and the Ritz-Carlton.
You will earn 1 point for every dollar spent.
The Chase Freedom card is also an excellent credit card to have in your wallet. Many people like to carry both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire preferred credit card together, because the points accumulated on the Chase Freedom credit card can be pooled together with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and you can buy flights and hotels with the Sapphire preferred, which has better travel perks because it’s a more premium card.
Chase Freedom credit card accumulates points more quickly than the Sapphire preferred if you use it strategically. For example, you get 5% cash back with the Freedom card on certain categories per quarter year.
The sign up bonus is $150 after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. This card comes with the usual zero liability protection found in many credit cards. It also has low introduction interest rate. 0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. However, if you want to use this card for accumulating travel points and miles, you shouldn’t carry a balance on your credit card because it negates the bonus points you accumulate.
Overall, the Chase Freedom is an excellent travel rewards card on its own, and combined with the Sapphire preferred, it’s basically Batman and Robin good.
The Venture Rewards card by Capital One currently has a sign up bonus of 40000 miles when you spend $3000 in the first 3 months. These bonus points equals about $400 in travel.
Other perks include earning 2x miles per dollar on every purchase you make. You can fly any airline and stay at any hotel with this credit card. There are no blackout days for flights and your miles never expire. You can also accumulate as many miles as your heart desires. With no foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee for the first year ($59 after that), the Venture Rewards card by Capital One is a very solid travel credit card for people looking to earn rewards with a minimal annual fee.
This rewards credit card is one of the best card on the market. Currently it has a 40 000 bonus miles after you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 90 days. This equates to about $400 in travel statement credits.
How the Barclaycard Arrival Plus works is that you book your travel expenses like flights, hotels, tours, car rental, etc, through a travel agent or website and then contact Barclaycard and they will redeem your points for a credit card statement.
You will earn 2 miles for every dollar spent (which is pretty good). There are no foreign transaction fees when you use this credit card while traveling abroad, an you also receiver a complimentary online FICO credit score access as a member of the Barclaycard Arrival card.
Overall, this card has very strong rewards rate at 2x points for every dollar spent and has 0% into on balance transfers. There is a $89 annual fee that will be waived the first year. For a premium travel rewards credit card, the annual fee price is expected.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is easily one of the best hotel credit cards you can have. It has a strong bonus Starpoints of 25000 after you use your card and spend $3000 in the first 3 months. There are no foreign transaction fees when using this card abroad, which means you won’t be charged anything extra for simply using a credit card outside the United States.
One of the nicest bonuses this card has that other travel credit cards do not is that this card will give you a free night at over 1200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries without any blackout dates just for holding this card and being a valued member.
There is an annual fee of $95 per year which is waived for the first year. You may have noticed that the bonus points is only 25000 compared to some of the other cards on here that give you 40000 or 5000 points, however, SPG’s points are valued more than most other credit cards. Therefore the 25000 points are worth more.
You will earn 1 point for every dollar spent. Again, other cards like the Sapphire Preferred will earn you 1 point per dollar spent as well, however the SPG cards points are worth more in terms of value when you redeem it for hotel stays.
SPG cards points can also be transferred to partners and be used to redeem for flights with AMEX’s airline alliance.
You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this credit card so make sure to check your credit score if you’re not sure before applying.
If you’re looking for a strong credit card to earn rewards for travel but don’t necessary need a premium credit card, then the Discover it Miles card should be on your radar.
This card bonus works a little different then most of the cards on this list, in that it will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earned 30000 miles, Discover will give you 30000 miles which will bring your total to 60000 miles for travel.
One of the nice things about this card is that it has no annual fee. This is important for people who are looking for cards that don’t cost anything and just want to earn miles without any cost whatsoever.
This card has a good miles earning reward at 1.5x points per dollar spent. 100 miles will equal $1 towards travel. You can also redeem the miles in the form of cash which can be deposited into your bank account. Essentially, you can use this card as a 1.5% cash back credit card.
Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card is one of the best no annual fee credit card for travel. You will earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on purchases and your points will never expire. You can also accumulate as many points as you can without any limit.
This card gives you 20000 bonus points for signing up and making at least $1000 in purchases on it within the first 90 days. The sign up bonus is pretty good for a credit card that does not have an annual fee. You’ll notice some of the other cards on this list have larger sign up bonuses, however they will come with an annual fee, albeit it’s waived the first year typically.
The 20000 sign up bonus points are worth $200 in travel, so you basically make $200 for signing up for this credit card. How this card works is when you are ready to travel, you book your travel costs like flights, hotels, car rentals, tour packages, with any online company or travel agent, and then redeem your points for a statement credit.
Because of the way this card works, you book whatever you want and get your money back on your credit card when you redeem points, which means there aren’t any blackouts or restrictions on the type of flights you can redeem. So it’s a very flexible card.
If you are a Bank of America banker and have a checking or savings account, you get an additional 10% customer bonus points on every purchase.