Best Travel Credit Cards For September 2021 - Calculate Rewards

The best travel card is the one that earns you valuable rewards. Get our best picks and calculate which cards offer you max value based on your spend.

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 Travel Credit Cards

American Express® Gold Card
Best For Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Best For Flexible Travel Rewards
Citi Premier® Card
Best For Earning Across Popular Everyday Categories
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Best Beginner Rewards Card For Travelers
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Best For Airport Lounge Access & Delta Travelers
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best Overall Travel Card For High Value
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Best No-Annual Fee Card For Flexible Rewards
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Best Flexible Travel Card For Those With Large Savings/Investments

If you're looking to build up your rewards towards travel, there's no shortage of credit cards to do so. The best travel rewards credit card for you will depend on the type of spend you plan on running through the card, the benefits you're looking for in a travel card, and how you plan on redeeming your rewards.

This page details our top picks for the best travel credit cards from our partners. You can use the calculator to estimate which travel credit cards can earn you the best average return on your spend.

The cards on this page are updated periodically. New cards are introduced from time to time and the benefits of current cards could change at any time. You can use our Credit Card Finder Tool to search by spend across all credit cards in our database.


Best For Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders

American Express® Gold Card
American Express Gold Card

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.

American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
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.
Rewards Rates
4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3X
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
1X
Earn 1X Membership Rewards® point on all other purchases.
Main Card Highlights
  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: 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.
  • $120 Dining Credit: 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.
  • Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Authorized User Fee
$0 for the first five add'l cards, then $35 per card for the sixth card onward
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best For Flexible Travel Rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture 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.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Intro Bonus
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Rewards Rates
2X
Earn an unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day.
Main Card Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best For Earning Across Popular Everyday Categories

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card

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!

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier Card
Intro Bonus
FOR A LIMITED TIME, earn 80,000 Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Rewards Rate
3X
Earn 3X points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3X
Earn 3X points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel, and Hotels
1X
Earn 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
Main Card Highlights
  • Annual $100 Hotel Savings Benefit
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best Beginner Rewards Card For Travelers

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® 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).

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Intro Bonus
Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Rewards Rates
5X
Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3X
Earn 3X points on online grocery purchases, select streaming services, and dining.
2X
Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases.
1X
Earn 1X points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Main Card Highlights
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Backâ„ , your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best For Airport Lounge Access & Delta Travelers

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express

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, Equniox, 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Intro Bonus
A New Platinum Exclusive Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Rewards Rate
10X
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
5X
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 per calendar year.
5X
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
1X
Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on all other purchases.
Main Card Highlights
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$695
Authorized User Fee
$175 for up to 3 additional Platinum cards and $175 for each additional Platinum card after the first 3
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best Overall Travel Card For High Value

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve
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®
Rewards Rates
10X
Earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards®.
10X
Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5X
Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3X
Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
1X
Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Main Card Highlights
  • 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®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Backâ„ , your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Annual Fee
$550
Authorized User Fee
$75 for each additional user
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best No-Annual Fee Card For Flexible Rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers flexible rewards at a no-annual fee price.

The card earns 1.25X Venture Miles on all purchases with no cap on how many miles you can earn. Miles earned with the card can be redeemed for 1 cent each towards travel or be transferred to Capital One's airline and hotel partners.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Intro Bonus
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Rewards Rates
1.25X
Earn an unlimited 1.25X miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day.
Main Card Highlights
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn.
  • Use your miles to fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
Annual Fee
$0
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best Flexible Travel Card For Those With Large Savings/Investments

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America rewards those who bank and invest with them and their partners by providing additional benefits which includes bonus points.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card earns 2X Travel Rewards Points on travel and dining purchases and 1.5X points on all other purchases.

Depending on how much your relationship with Bank of America, you'll be able to earn up to a 75% point bonus. That means you can earn as much as 3.5X across travel and dining and 2.625X on all other purchases.

Another big plus is that this bonus applies to other consumer cards that Bank of America offers including their cash back credit cards (you're look at up to 5.25% cash back with those!) and several of their travel cards.

Points earned with the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card can be redeemed for 1 cent each. That makes this a great, flexible card as you'll be able to easily cash in your rewards towards just about anything.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card
Intro Bonus
Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Rewards Rate
2X
Earn an unlimited 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
2X
Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases - now through 12/31/21.
1.5X
Earn an unlimited 1.5X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
Main Card Highlights
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Credits annually and TSA Pre✓®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best Travel Credit Cards Summary

Credit Card Annual Fee Best For See All Available Offers
American Express® Gold Card $250 Best For Restaurants & Big Supermarket Spenders Learn More
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card $95 Best For Flexible Travel Rewards Learn More
Citi Premier® Card $95 Best For Earning Across Popular Everyday Categories Learn More
Chase Sapphire Preferred® $95 Best Beginner Rewards Card For Travelers Learn More
The Platinum Card® from American Express $695 Best For Airport Lounge Access & Delta Travelers Learn More
Chase Sapphire Reserve® $550 Best Overall Travel Card For High Value Learn More
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card $0 Best No-Annual Fee Card For Flexible Rewards Learn More
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card $0 Best Flexible Travel Card For Those With Large Savings/Investments Learn More

Find The Best Travel Credit Card For You

Use the rewards calculator to get an idea of which travel credit cards will offer you the most rewards based on your spend.

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.

Add Categories
Search for categories and click 'Add Category' to add it to the calculator. If you want to be more specific, you can specify domestic or international spend.
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Category Spend

Enter your spend per month, year, or quarter for the listed categories. You can then click Get The Best Cards to get the list of results.
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Spend Duration

You can set the duration of the spend for the categories listed above. If you're looking for the best card for only n-months worth of spend, this is where you change the option.

If you want to calculate based on a full year of spending, you can leave it set to a duration of '1 Year'.

Adjust Transferable Points

Some rewards programs allow you to transfer your earned points to airline, hotel, and other loyalty programs. These programs will generally have higher point values when doing such.

Since these matter so much when choosing a credit card, you can enter your own point value for these programs to include in the calculations.

When set to zero (0), they will calculate based on The Point Calculator's valuations. Any non-zero value you enter will be used in the calculations.

You can click on the to learn more about the value of the currency when applicable (opens in a new tab/window). Depending on the calculations, all programs listed below may not be featured in the results.

Results

Note: Results may take a few seconds to generate after doing a search. The results and values listed are estimates to help guide you towards making the best decision. They are for illustrative purposes only.
Results Will Appear Here
Updated 2021-08-15 By Robert Flowers III
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