Calculator: Best Credit Cards For Travel Rewards [2021]

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.

If you're looking to earn rewards redeemable towards travel, you'll want to make sure you have the best travel rewards credit cards that fits your type of spend. This page details or top picks for best credit cards for earning travel rewards. You can also calculate which cards earn you the most travel rewards and the best return based on your spend, the value of card benefits, and annual fees.

The Point Calculator's top picks for best credit cards for travel rewards are:

American Express® Gold Card
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.
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.
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%
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
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Rewards Rates
2X
Earn an unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day.
Intro Bonus
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
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
Citi Premier® Card
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
Intro Bonus
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
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
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Rewards Rate
10X
Earn 10X points per $1 spent on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 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.
Intro Bonus
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee
$550
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%
Main Card Highlights
  • 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 is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Rewards Rates
3X
3X per $1 spent on travel after earning your $300 travel credit
3X
3X per $1 spent on dining
1X
1X per $1 spent on all other purchases
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®
Annual Fee
$550
Authorized User Fee
$75 for each additional user
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
Main Card Highlights
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Rewards Rates
1.25X
Earn an unlimited 1.25X miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day.
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
Annual Fee
$0
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
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
Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Rewards Rate
3X
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
1X
Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases – with no limit to the amount you can earn
Intro Bonus
Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
Main Card Highlights
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Rewards Rates
2X
Earn unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
Intro Bonus
Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee
$0 the first year, then $95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
Main Card Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Transfer your miles to 15+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2X miles on all purchases
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Rewards Rate
12X
Earn 12X at hotels & resorts in the Hilton portfolio
6X
Earn 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases
3X
Earn 3X on all other eligible purchases.
Intro Bonus
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee
$95
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%
Main Card Highlights
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to more than 1,300 lounges across 140 countries and counting.
  • Terms Apply.
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For Best Travel Rewards Cards
See all available offers and apply for the best travel rewards cards all in one place. Get additional details such as:
  • Current Sign-Up & Welcome Bonuses
  • Rates & Fees
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Best Credit Cards For Travel Rewards

Credit Card Annual Fee Best For Rewards Calculator
American Express® Gold Card $250 Best For Dining & U.S. Supermarket Calculate
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card $95 Best For Flexible Rewards Calculate
Citi Premier® Card $95 Best For Dining & Travel Calculate
The Platinum Card® from American Express $550 Best For Airport Lounge Access Calculate
Chase Sapphire Reserve® $550 Best For High-Value Rewards Calculate
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card $0 Best For Rewards at No Annual Fee Calculate
Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card $95 Best For Business Travel & Expenses Calculate
Capital One Spark Miles for Business $0 the first year, then $95 Best For Flat-Rate Earnings On Business Spend Calculate
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card $95 Best For Business Hotel Travel Calculate

Best For Dining & U.S. Supermarket: 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 U.S. supermarkets, 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 travel, but can be transferred to airline and hotel programs for a chance at significantly higher value.

Best For Flexible Rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Card is the best travel rewards option if you want to earn rewards at a flat rate redeemable towards travel. The card earns an unlimited 2X Venture Miles on all purchases with each mile being worth 1 cent each when redeemed towards travel purchases made to the card. You'll also have the option to transfer Venture Miles to Capital One's airline and hotel partners which can also offer good value.

Best For Dining & Travel: Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card is a great well-rounded credit card for earning points easily redeemable towards travel. It earns 3X ThankYou Points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, air travel, and hotel purchases, and 1X points on everything else. Points can be redeemed for about 1 cent on average or be transferred to Citi's airline partners for a chance at increased value.

Best For Airport Lounge Access: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card is one of the best options in the market if you're looking to experience luxury travel benefits. The card offers a long list of benefits, but it's 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 benefits include annual Uber credits, annual airline incidental credits, annual Saks Fifth credits, complimentary elite status with Marriott and Hilton, and much more. (Enrollments required for select benefits and offers).

In terms of points, the card earns 5X Membership Rewards Points on airfare booked directly with airlines, 5X points on airfare or hotels booked through the American Express Travel Portal, and 1X points on everything else.

Best For High-Value Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Big on travel and spend a great deal between the categories of travel and dining? If so, you'll want to check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It earns 3X Ultimate Rewards Points on travel and dining and 1X points on all other purchases. The card offers a long list of benefits including up to $300 in annual travel credit, Priority Pass Membership, superb travel insurance, and much more. As a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you'll be able to redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards for 1.5 cents each which is great when compared to other rewards programs. You can also transfer your points to Chase's airline and hotel partners for a chance at even more value.

Best For Rewards at No Annual Fee: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

If you're trying to avoid the annual fees and want a credit card that earns simple and straightforward rewards, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a great option. It earns 1.25X Venture Miles on all purchases ran through the card. Miles can be redeemed for 1 cents each towards travel or be transferred to Capital One's airline and hotel partners for a shot at more value.

Best For Business Travel & Expenses: Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

If you want to turn your business spend into valuable rewards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is one of the best business cards on the market. It earns 3X Ultimate Rewards Points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising purchases and 1X on everything else. The card offers a 25% point value boost to travel redemptions made through Chase Ultimate Rewards which gives you an easy redemption value of 1.25 cents. You can also transfer your earned points to Chase's airline and hotel partners.

Best For Flat-Rate Earnings On Business Spend: Capital One Spark Miles for Business

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is a great business card option if you're looking to earn rewards at a flat rate across all purchases that can be easily redeemed towards travel. The card earns an unlimited 2X Spark Miles on all purchases and offers up to $100 towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each towards travel purchases or be transferred to a handful of airline and hotel programs.

Best For Business Hotel Travel: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

One of the best hotel business credit cards on the market is the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. It earns 12X Hilton Honors Points at Hilton properties, 6X on gas station, wireless telephone providers, shipping, and restaurant purchases in the U.S., 6X on car rentals and airfare, and 3X on everything else. Benefits of the card includes complimentary Hilton Gold status with the ability to spend your way to their highest status of Hilton Diamond. The card also offers 10 Priority Pass Visits which are great for lounge access throughout the year and up to 2 Weekend Night Rewards that you can earn running spend through the card. Overall, the card offers exceptional value if you're looking to turn your business spend into free nights at Hilton properties.

Best Cards By Spend Calculator

The Best Cards By Spend Calculator will give you an idea of which credit cards will offer you the most rewards based on your spend. Results will be sorted by net return which is the average value of the rewards earned, plus annual credits, and minus annual fees. Results will consist of top-rated travel credit cards.

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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. You can set any of the currencies listed below to 0 to calculate based on the non-transfer value (in which most are 1 cent per point with the exception of Chase's 1.25/1.5 cent redemptions). The values I have listed are what I think is the easiest value to get out of your points when transferring to partners or redeeming directly with the issuing bank. You can click on the to learn more about the value of the currency (opens in a new tab/window).
Depending on what you're calculating, 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.
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Updated 2021-05-22 By Robert Flowers III

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