Best Credit Cards For Travel Points

Money for nothing and your trips for free? Sounds like it's too good to be true, but savvy shoppers can use the best travel rewards credit cards to score airline miles and other perks. Find out how to get started and make the most of your rewards.

Now that the world is opening back up and travel has been deemed acceptable again, there is truly no better time to snag a travel credit card than right now. If you’re going to spend money you might as well know you’re getting something in return, right?!

In fact, there are so many incredible benefits to having a travel credit card. Between the airline miles, the potential for upgrades, and hotel points, there are plenty of incentives to grabbing a travel credit card ASAP. Not to mention, if you travel frequently for work, there is truly no reason why you shouldn’t have a travel card that is putting money and benefits back into your wallet. 

But, it is important to do your research ahead of time and know what you’re getting into. Many credit cards have annual fees or spending minimums you need to hit in order to reap the rewards.

So, rather than make you do all the work, here are the best credit cards for travel points right now. Happy traveling, folks! (And just remember, all of these credit cards require a solid credit score between approximately 670 to 850). 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

man using credit card

Intro offer: 100,000 points
Annual fee: $95

That 100,000 points intro offer is no joke, I promise. You’ll also earn two times the points on travel and dining with Chase Sapphire Preferred, so it’s a great card to use while on vacation. It also has incredible travel protection benefits, including trip cancellation insurance. 

No more worrying about plans falling through and losing money — you can cancel your trip whenever for absolutely zero cost. And, while the $95 annual fee isn’t wonderful, the benefits certainly outway the costs.

According to The Points Guy, it’s the most popular card on the market. “Sporting an all-time-high sign-up bonus and offering an excellent 2x points on all travel and dining purchases, the card packs a ton of value that easily offsets its $95 annual fee. Cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase or transfer points to one of Chase’s 13 valuable airline and hotel partners.”

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Intro offer: 100,000 miles
Annual fee: $95

This is a fantastic card for all the avid travelers out there. You will earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of you opening an account. You can also earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. While spending $20,000 on a credit card sounds like a lot, a great way to make sure you reach that minimum is to pay for everything in your life with the card. I’m talking about rent, car payments, utilities, trips, etc.

Heck, you can even offer to put your friends’ big purchases on your credit card and then ask them to pay you back. In fact, a lot of people who are looking to reach credit card minimum payments will pay for a big group dinner and then ask everyone to Venmo their part of the check. Win, win!

Not to mention, you’ll be able to earn two times miles on every single purchase you make. Plus,  the miles won’t expire, so you can save them up for a big trip you’re planning to take in a few years.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card From American Express

Intro bonus: 150,000 points
Annual fee: $450

Yes, the annual fee is high, but look at those 150,000 intro bonus points! For those who frequently stay at hotels, this is probably the best hotel travel credit card on the market. In order to redeem the 150,000 points you must spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months, but that’s relatively easy if you put all your purchases on the card.

You will be able to earn 14 times Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you use your card at participating hotels (that’s right 14 times), as well as receive Instant Hilton Diamond status. Plus, you will be able to enjoy a one-night reward at a Hilton hotel every year after renewal. You will also be able to earn an additional night if you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. 

According to Forbes, it’s worth the high price tag for those who are willing to spend. “The flagship card from Hilton, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with a price tag to match its top-tier status and perks. It’s a perfect fit for big spenders who haunt Hilton properties enough to leverage the rich suite of benefits that come with the complimentary Diamond status.”

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum

Intro bonus: 75,000 points
Annual fee: $550

I know, I know… the annual fee is very daunting. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend most people get this card if they’re not looking to use it all the time. However, it is worth it if you take full advantage of everything the card has to offer. This card offers a number of travel perks, including elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels, access to Centurion Lounges, access to a premium concierge service, and so much more. 

In fact, you could earn 10 times points on purchases at gas stations and supermarkets during your first six months with the card. 10 times the points!

According to Nerd Wallet, The luxury benefits come at a high cost, but if you’re willing to pay to be treated like a VIP when you travel, The Platinum Card® from American Express will be rewarding.”

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Intro bonus: 20,000 miles
Annual fee: $0

The Capital One VentureOne card is a great card for beginner travelers who are looking for something to start out with. Not only is there no annual fee, but you can earn 20,000 miles after spending $500 or more within the first three months of opening an account. You can also earn just over 1.25x miles on all purchases. It doesn’t offer quite as many major rewards as some of the other cards on this list, but it also doesn’t require as much high-spending to earn the rewards.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Intro bonus: 40,000 miles
Annual fee: $0 the first year, then $99 every year after

If you’re an avid Delta flyer, this is probably the card for you. You can earn two miles per dollar on every Delta purchase, as well as at restaurants, and grocery stores. So, if you are frequently buying Delta flights, it’s probably worth investing in.

According to Nerd Wallet, With double miles not just on Delta purchases but also everyday spending categories, you can pile up rewards fast with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. And the top-notch checked-bag benefit can save hundreds of dollars a year if you travel often and not necessarily light.”

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Intro bonus: 60,000 points
Annual fee: $550

Not to be confused with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is another great card for frequent travelers. You will get a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card every year, access to Chase Rewards hotels and airline travel partners, and three times the points on travel and dining. Much like the American Express Platinum Card, the $550 annual fee is daunting, but it’s worth it for people who travel a lot. 

According to Business Insider, “Not only do you get up to $300 in statement credits toward travel each year (and Chase has a very generous definition of travel — including everything from airfare to highway tolls), but you also earn 3x points on travel and dining (excluding the $300 travel credit). You also get airport lounge access through the Priority Pass network, which has more than 1,200 locations worldwide.”

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Intro bonus: 100,000 points
Annual fee: $95

According to Forbes, this is the best card for business travelers looking to rack up some points. “Frequent business travelers who spend generously within the bonus categories will find extreme value in this card.”

While the 100,000 bonus points are a major reason to get this card, there are plenty of other incentives. From earning three points per dollar on your first $150,000 spent to fraud protection to cashback, it’s a great card for those frequently on the road.

How to Choose the Right Card

couple using credit card

As you can see, there are plenty of great travel credit cards to choose from. While it can be hard to decide which is the best for you, the important thing is to do your research. Do you fly regularly for business or pleasure? Do you tend to eat out a lot? What airline do you typically fly? How much do you spend per month? 

Once you’re able to figure out your needs and wants you’ll be able to choose the right travel card for you. You should find a card that is actually working for you, not against you. We all have to spend money anyway, so we might as well find a credit card that offers us incredible perks along the way. Who knows, you may be able to fly first class or upgrade to a five-star hotel all thanks to the credit card you choose. 

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