Nothing beats a card that maximizes your return on rewards redeemable towards travel. Review the best travel credit cards and calculate which cards can earn you the most rewards based on your spend.
- Best For Everyday Spending & Travel: Citi Premier® Card
- Best For Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders: American Express® Gold Card
- Best For Lounge Access & Luxury Travel: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best For Flat-Rate Travel Rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards X Credit Card
- Best For High Value: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best For Flexible Travel Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Best For Flat-Rate Travel Rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Best For Everyday Spending & Travel
The Citi Premier Card is a great well-rounded credit card for earning points across popular everyday and travel categories.
It earns 3X Citi ThankYou Rewards Points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, air travel, and hotel purchases which makes it easy to earn points at home and earn points when on the road.
Points earned with the card can easily be redeemed for 1 cent each towards travel or you can transfer them to Citi's airline partners which includes JetBlue Airways and a load of international airlines including Etihad, Singapore, and Qantas.
Don't forget to pair the this card with the Citi® Double Cash Card or Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to truly maximize the ThankYou Rewards program. Cash back earned with both of these no-annual fee cards can be converted to ThankYou Points which can then be transferred to airline partners when you hold the Citi Premier Card!
Intro Bonus: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Best For Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders
The American Express Gold Card is one of the best credit cards on the market and is a great option if you're looking to build rewards points towards travel.
The card offers 4X Membership Rewards Points at restaurants and on U.S. supermarket purchases, 3X points on airfare booked directly with an airline or through the American Express Travel Portal, and 1X points on all other purchases.
The American Express Gold Card also offers up to $120 in annual Uber credits and up to $120 in annual dining credits, both broken up into $10 per month.
Points earned with the card can be redeemed for an easy 1 cent towards airfare via the American Express Travel Portal, but you also transfer points to AMEX's airline and hotel partners for a chance to squeeze some superb value out of your rewards. Transfer partners includes Delta Airlines, Marriott, Hilton and more.
Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
Best For Lounge Access & Luxury Travel
The Platinum Card® from American Express is at the top of the list when it comes to luxury travel.
It offers a very long list of benefits, but it is mostly known for the American Express Global Lounge Collection which grants access to: American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, Delta SkyClub Lounges (when flying Delta), Airspace Lounges, and Escape Lounges.
Other top benefits of the card include $1,400 in credits between Uber, Equinox, CLEAR, Saks Fifth, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, digital entertainment purchases, airline incidentals, and AMEX Travel prepaid hotel purchases. The Platinum Card also grants complimentary elite status with both Marriott and Hilton. (Enrollments required for select benefits and offers).
While The Platinum Card gets most of it's value from it's long list of benefits, the card also delivers a fantastic return of 5X Membership Rewards Points on airfare booked directly with airlines and on airfare or hotels booked through the American Express Travel Portal.
Points earned with the card can be redeemed with American Express for a value of 1 cent each towards airfare or be transferred to AMEX's airline and hotel partners.
Intro Bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Best For Travel Purchases
The card earns a whopping 10X Venture Miles per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel, 5X on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2X on all other purchases. With points being worth an easy 1 cent each towards travel, you're looking at a 2% to 10% return at minimum on all your everyday purchases.
To make matters even better, Capital One recently improved their transfer ratios to 1:1 for the majority of their travel partners. This means you can easily squeeze over 2 cent in value out of your points depending on the partner you're transferring them to.
Along with the exception earning rates, the card offers up to $300 back in statement credits annually for bookings made through Capital One Travel and 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary. That's basically the whole $395 annual fee back in your pocket.
Another major benefits include complimentary lounge access for yourself, authorized users, and up to two guests per visit to Capital One Lounges and access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide.
And the cherry on top is that the Venture X Card has no foreign transaction fee which means you can earn an exceptional return on all of your purchases, worldwide.
Intro Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
Best For High Value
If you spend a great deal on travel and dining, you can't get much better value than what the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers.
It earns earns 10X Ultimate Rewards Points on Chase Dining purchases and both hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5X on airline travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on dining and other travel purchases, and 1X on everything else. Points can be redeemed at a value of 1.5 cents each (that's a 50% point value bonus) towards travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Along with being able to redeem points for a high return through the portal, points can also be transferred to Chase's airline and hotel partners such as United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Hyatt, and IHG.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is also stacked with benefits which includes $300 in annual travel credits, Priority Pass Select Membership, up to a $100 statement credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, and top-notch travel insurance.
Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Best For Flexible Travel Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best credit cards if you're new to dealing with rewards points.
It earns 5X points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on online grocery purchases, select streaming services, and dining purchases, 2X on other travel purchases, and 1X on everything else.
The card offers a 25% boost to point value when redeeming them towards travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards for an easy redemption value of 1.25 cents and an annual $50 hotel credit that can be used when booking hotel stays through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
As with just about every Chase credit card, it offers superb travel insurance which includes Trip Cancellation Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, and more. That makes this a money saver in the event something stops you from traveling.
If you're big on travel, love to dine out, and plan on redeeming your points for high value, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will probably offer you more value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is typically the best if you plan on redeeming points for lower value (~1 cent) or plan on transferring points to partners for standard redemption values (Hint: Use the calculator at the bottom of this page to find out which is best).
Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Best For Flat-Rate Rewards
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the best travel rewards card if you're looking for flexible rewards that you can put towards just about any kind of travel purchase.
The card earns an unlimited 2X Venture Miles on all purchases. These miles can be redeemed for 1 cent in value towards travel purchases made to the card which gives it a lot more flexibility than most of the top travel cards in the market.
You also have the option to transfer Venture Miles to Capital One's airline and hotel partners which can give you a chance to obtain more than 1 cent in value. Partners include JetBlue Airways, Wyndham, Choice, and many more.
With Venture Miles being able to be applied towards travel purchases, there's no blackout dates to worry about. It's as simple as using your card and erasing the travel purchases from your card once they post.
Intro Bonus: New Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles once they spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Best Travel Credit Cards Summary
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Best For|
|American Express® Gold Card||$250||Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders|
|Citi Premier® Card||$95||Everyday Spending & Travel|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695||Lounge Access & Luxury Travel|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||$395||Travel Purchases|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$550||High Value|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||$95||Flexible Travel Rewards|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||$95||Flat-Rate Rewards|
Travel Credit Card Rewards Calculator
Use the Travel Credit Card Rewards calculator to find out which cards will earn you the most points and miles based on the spend amounts you enter.
Results will consist of top-rated travel credit cards from our partners. They will be sorted by net return which is the average value of the total rewards earned, plus annual credits, and minus annual fees.
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These estimates are to help guide you towards making the best decision when it comes to picking up a rewards credit card. They should be used for illustrative purposes only.
All spend entered in the fields above will carry over to every credit card rewards calculator on the site so there's no need to re-enter spend.