Top 15 Credit Cards That Will Save You Thousands of Dollars on Traveling

Which Card is Right for You?

With so many different credit cards available that all promise something different, it’s no wonder you’re overwhelmed trying to decide which one you would benefit from the most. Of course, there’s no law that requires consumers to choose one type of card or the other to the exclusion of the either. It might serve you well to have both a travel rewards card and a cash back card, and choose between them opportunistically, depending on your priorities at the time.

All Credit Cards are NOT Created Equal!

Here, we break down the best cards that earn you point/cash rewards or both so you can decide which one is best-suited for your lifestyle. Unlock huge savings and protect yourself during travel with the right credit card. Compare cards to find the one that offers the biggest benefits for your travel style.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Regular APR 6.99% – 23.99% Variable, Annual Fee: $99.

This is an excellent choice card for those who travel Southwest-served destinations regularly – the points add up quickly.

  • WOW! 40,000 points! (after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months).
  • There are no blackout dates or seat restriction.
  • Your bags fly free and you can change your flight anytime with no change fees.
  • You earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your card account is open.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Every year, you earn 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases;1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Excellent / Good Credit Rating Required.

How does 20,000 online bonus points for only $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days? A $200 statement credit! That’s pretty awesome!

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
  • No annual fee – no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire.
  • You have many option for redeeming points:a statement credit, flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles.
  • Balance Transfers Intro APR – N/A.
  • Regular APR  15.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%.

  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • No specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Excellent Credit Rating Required.

If you are a frequent flyer, this one is definitely for you. Spending $4k in the first 3 months should be a breeze, earning you 50,000 bonus ($625 statement credit) toward travel Regular APR 16.99% – 23.99% Variable.

First year annual fee is waived, then $95/year.

  • PLUS!!! Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

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United℠ Travel Bank Card

Excellent Credit Required.

This card caters to United Airline’s loyalty patrons. The program dividends are in the form of TravelBank cash that can be used $1:$1 when purchasing United airfare. $0 Annual fee.

  • $150 in TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 2% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased from United.
  • Earn 1.5% in TravelBank cash per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Enjoy 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food and beverages onboard United-operated flights, when you pay with your United TravelBank Card.
  • TravelBank cash is easy to use. $1 in TravelBank cash = $1 when used toward the purchase of a United ticket.
  • Your TravelBank cash accumulates in your United TravelBank account on United.com. There’s no limit to how much TravelBank cash you can earn.
  • Regular APR 16.99% – 23.99% Variable.

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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Excellent/Good Credit Rating Required.

Does Delta fly where you want to go? If so, your points add up quickly with this card. You earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Your first bag free on every Delta flight. If you fly with the family, that’s savings of up to $200 R/T for a family of 4.
  • You get Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 Annual Fee.
  • No Intro APR on purchases.
  • Balance Transfers Intro APR – N/A.
  • Regular APR – 16.74%-25.74% Variable.

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 Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Excellent Credit Rating Required.

The required spending to earn bonus miles is quite low on this card. It’s a great card if you like to eat out. There is no annual fee. Other terms may apply.

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Excellent Credit Required.

Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit.

  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
  • Annual Fee waived first year. $89 after that.
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem.
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad.
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Excellent/Good Credit Required

Spend $1000 in the first 3 months – earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles. PLUS!!! You earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year.

Your first checked bag, for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation, is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries.

  • You get to enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
  • There are no Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
  • You get a 25% discount on inflight food/beverages when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • You also get Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • Another nice perk is that the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
  • APR 16.74% – 24.74%* (Variable).

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JetBlue Plus Card

Excellent Credit Required

A new credit card can provide a wide array of benefits, there are many factors to consider. With the JetBlue Plus Card, you earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – $300 to $420. $99 annual fee.

  • Earn 6 points / $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points / $1 at restaurants & grocery stores and 1 point / $1 on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary.
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights.
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card.
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more.
  • 0% for 12 months on balance transfers within 45 days of account opening.
  • 12.99%, 20.99% or 25.99% Variable – Points don’t expire.

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®

With a small target of $750 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening will earn you 25,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles.

  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
  • Variable APR 16.99% – 24.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance transfer fee of  $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile/ for each $1 spent on purchases.
  • Reduced Mileage Awards: Fly for 5,000 fewer AAdvantage® miles roundtrip to select destinations.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Eighty out of 100 passengers fall into the category of infrequent, brand-agnostic travelers. They travel once or twice a year, and book flights and hotel stays based on price, resulting in no brand loyalty.

There’s no compelling reason for these travelers to carry an airline- or hotel-specific credit card. To do so, earning points within that program would entail foregoing the most convenient, lowest-price travel options.

Travelling so infrequently, the miles earned are insignificant; it would take years to earn enough for a complimentary ticket.

  • There’s a 40,000-mile bonus, worth $400 in travel, for new cardholders who charge $3,000 within the first 3 months.
  • 2 miles for every $1 spent. The miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for a statement credit for travel purchased on any website, whether direct from a travel supplier or from an online travel agent like Expedia or Travelocity.
  • No blackout dates or capacity restrictions.
  • The annual fee is $59, waived the first year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred card

At the other end of the travel spectrum are the road warriors; because they do business with multiple airlines, their best choice for a rewards card is one of the convertible-points cards that earn points that may be transferred into a range of participating programs.

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95.
  • 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining worldwide — 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve(™)

This is another good choice for road warriors; Cardholders receive $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year; $450 annual fee; $75 for each authorized user.

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit.
  • 3X points on travel/dining worldwide — 1 point/dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass(™) Select Membership to 1,000+ airport lounges, enrollment required.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express

The Starwood card offers the most utility and value due to its widely convertible points and the 5,000-mile bonus when converting 20,000 points to airline miles.

  • Redeemable for stays at Starwood hotels.
  • Starwood points can be converted into miles in the programs of more than 30 airlines, typically at a 1:1 transfer rate.
  • Starwood points may also be transferred into Marriott’s Rewards program and redeemed for complimentary Marriott stays.
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card

Want a 2% rebate in cash? The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card returns 2 percent of net purchases, deposited into either a Fidelity Investments brokerage, IRA, 529, or cash-management account.

  • Cash back on everyday purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • Spend or invest your cash back rewards.
  • Worldwide acceptance – Use this card at millions of places, both in the U.S. and globally.
  • Excellent service – Enjoy travel and emergency assistance, 24/7, EMV chip technology, fraud protection, zero fraud liability, and identity theft recovery.

*****Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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