Top Travel Credit Cards

If travel is a major part of your everyday budget and you don’t own any type of rewards credit card, you are missing out. Opening up a rewards card, putting all finances on it that you are allowed, and paying it off every month, can net you free/massive discount travel throughout the year. We use Reward and Mileage cards at BootsnAll, so over the years, we’ve gotten sucked into the online credit card reward vortex of websites that lead you in more and more circles without getting to a concrete answer. With that in mind, here is our simple, 3 minute list of the BEST travel reward and mileage cards out there.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is perhaps the most versatile of travel rewards cards out there, as it offeres 2 miles per dollar on every single purchase, and those miles can be redeemed for any travel expense. Add in that Capital One does not charge any foreign transaction fees, and this is a great card for the international traveler. Benefits and rewards:

  • Earn double miles on every purchase, every day
  • Redeem those miles for any travel expense (flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, vacation packages, gift cards, and more)
  • Redeem your miles on any airline, any time – no blackout dates
  • Miles have no expiration date
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year ($59 after)
  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Apply here

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is right there with the Capital One Venture card as far as overall travel rewards and points. It offers 2 miles per dollar on all travel and dining purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. There are a few perks that make up for the lack of double miles on all purchases, though – including a 7% annual points dividend, 20% off all travel purchases when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards, and no foreign transaction fees. Benefits and rewards:

  • Earn double points on travel when you use your card to purchase airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, train tickets, taxis, and more
    • Earn 1 additional point (for a total of 3) when you book flights or hotels online through Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn double points on dining – from fast food to fine dining and everything in between
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 20% of all travel related purchases when you redeem through Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem those points for any travel related expense
  • Redeem your points on any airline, any time – no blackout dates
  • Earn a 7% annual points dividend on all new points earned throughout the year
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year ($95 after)
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points (equivalent to $500 towards travel rewards) if you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees

Apply here

 

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card may turn some off with its high annual rate after the first year ($175), but if you fly a lot or are planning a round the world trip, this may be the best bang for your buck. Triple points on all airfare, double points on gasoline and supermarkets (US only), and single points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Earn triple points on all airfare purchases (for flights booked with airlines)
  • Earn double points on all gas and groceries from US gas stations and supermarkets
  • Earn single points on all other eligible purchases (charges at tour operators, charter airlines, and superstores or warehouse clubs are not eligible for bonuses)
  • Redeem those points on nearly everything travel related
  • Redeem your points on any airline, any time – no blackout dates
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year ($175 after)
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points if you spend $30,000 in one year

Apply here

 

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Some travelers like to have rewards cards tied to a certain airline, and while they may not be as versatile as the options above, if free flights is what you’re after, then the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card may be for you. The 50,000 bonus points you are eligible to receive for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months (as of October 1, 2013, 50,000 points is enough for 2 average roundtrip flights).

  • Earn double points on Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. 
  • Earn double points on Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • Earn single points on all other purchases
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, hotel stays, and international flights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Receive 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary
  • $99 annual fee (not waived in the first year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Apply here

 

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

A great option for those who fly Delta frequently or collect miles with any airline in the SkyTeam alliance. Earning 30,000 bonus miles after spending just $1000 is a great initial perk, and if you fly frequently, you can start saving right away with perks like free first bag check (for up to 9 people – great for families!) and priority boarding.

  • Earn double miles on Delta (both airline and Delta Vacation) purchases
  • Earn single miles on all other purchases
  • Redeem miles for travel with Delta and oer 15 airline partners
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Check your first bag for free on every Delta flight (up to 9 passengers on the same reservation)
  • Receive priority boarding on all Delta flights
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year ($95 after)

Apply here