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10 best travel credit cards of 2023

We compared more than 100 travel credit cards to find the best.

Our pick for no annual fee: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Up to 1.25%

Cash back

  • 18 months of intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • 1.25x miles on all purchases
  • No annual fee
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To determine our top travel card picks for 2023, we spend more than 400 hours each month comparing and reviewing travel cards. We weighed factors such as reward opportunities, quality and monetary value of travel perks, and the ability to earn rewards on more than just travel. Unlike our competitors, Finder’s experts provide unbiased, trustworthy evaluations of all travel credit cards and providers, not just those we partner with on the site.

The best travel credit cards of 2023

Finder reviewed more than 100 travel cards and picked the best of the best to help you easily choose the card that best suits your financial needs. Check out our breakdown of the big winners of 2023 below.

Quick look at the best travel credit cards

Credit cardsBest for…Learn more
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardNo annual fee
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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardLounge access
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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardEasiest luxury card to max out
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The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLarge welcome offer
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American Express® Gold CardGroceries
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®Travel credits
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Chase Freedom Flex℠Everyday spending
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IHG® Rewards Premier Credit CardHotels
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiGas
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Discover it® Miles Travel Credit CardMiles match after the first year

Best for no annual fee

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Capital One's secure site
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A simple travel rewards card that offers great perks and charges you nothing to own the card. The VentureOne Rewards card charges cardholders a $0 annual fee and still offers a host of other benefits, including paying $0 in foreign transaction fees. This card is a gem in the rough among other credit cards whose members could pay an annual fee of anywhere from $95 up to $500 or more for card ownership.

Best for lounge access

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Capital One's secure site
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This card offers 2x miles on every purchase, which is the highest flat-rate travel card you can find. Similar cards typically offer 1.5x miles. But what sweetens the pot for this card is the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit, which you typically only find on premium travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Easiest luxury card to max out

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Capital One's secure site
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Capital One's Venture X is the provider's first luxury travel card and it comes out of the gate with a terrific spread of perks and rewards. Aside from the excellent welcome offer worth around $750 according to our recent valuations, it's incredibly easy to negate the annual fee of this card and start generating value with the Venture X — even more so than the Chase and Amex luxury offerings.

Best for large welcome offer

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5★★★★★

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on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With a welcome offer worth up to $1,600 in redemption value based on our valuation, The Platinum offers one of the largest welcome offers on the market. Another way of looking at this welcome offer: if you manage to earn it and squeeze the most value out of it, it can pay the card's annual fee for nearly 3 years, letting you enjoy those travel perks without feeling pressured to make up for the card's annual fee.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for groceries

American Express® Gold Card

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Creditcards.com's secure site
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While you could find a card that earns higher rewards on groceries, the same card can't stand up to the suite of travel perks and benefits offered by the Amex Gold Card. If you're frequently traveling within the U.S., the value you'd earn on the card's monthly statement credits and Uber credits make for a perfect on-the-go everyday travel card.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for travel credits

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Creditcards.com's secure site
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a $300 annual travel credit with no airline or hotel restrictions. This is higher than competitor premium cards that offer either $200 or $250 in credit, or restrict your credit to travel fees only, like the American Express Platinum. Combined with a strong suite of perks, including Priority Pass access and the ability to transfer your points, and this is a must-have pick in the Chase ecosystem.

Best for everyday spending

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

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Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 5% cash back on purchases made through the Chase travel portal. This is the same rewards rate you earn with premium travel cards. But unlike the $500 annual fee you pay with these cards, the Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee. With the additions of rewards categories on dining, travel and drugstore purchases combined with the lack of annual fee, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a monster of a rewards card that exceeds the earnings of even the Chase Sapphire Preferred, a higher-tier card offering.

Best for hotels

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5★★★★★

Terms apply, see rates & fees
The IHG® Rewards Premier offers up to 26x points on IHG purchases, which comes at around 15% back. You also get a free night on your card anniversary each year and fourth free night when you book with points. Most hotel cards get you between 5% and 10% back on hotel purchases and rarely give out free reward nights. Plus, the signup bonus offers a huge 175,000 point bonus, easily worth several free nights, and is one of the highest welcome offers you'll find on a hotel card.

Best for gas

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Finder Rating: 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Offering a terrific 4% back on gas for the first $7,000 spent each year, the Costco Anywhere Visa offers one of the highest sustained cashback rates on gas in the market. And while your rewards are only earned toward a coupon for Costco purchases, the breadth of purchasing options at Costco make this an excellent addition to your everyday shopping. Only the Sam's Club Mastercard comes close in terms of this warehouse value.

Best for miles match after first year

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

Finder Rating: 3.7 / 5★★★★★

Where most credit cards offer a simple signup bonus, the Discover it® Miles offers something better: a cashback match. In other words, Discover matches all the miles you earn during the year, without limits. This kind of welcome offer is exclusive to Discover cards and can result in serious value at the end of your first year. But to make the most of this offer, you'll need to focus your spending around this card.

Compare all travel credit cards

To get a better sense of which travel card best suits your travel and financial needs, you’ll want to compare all of your options. Check out our full travel card comparison guide for advice and a breakdown of how travel credit cards work.

How to choose the best travel credit card

In addition to the basics like APR, there are a few additional major factors to look at when choosing a travel credit card:

  • Loyalty program. If you spend heavily with a certain airline or hotel chain, consider a cobranded card. Otherwise, pick a flexible-rewards card so you can earn rewards regardless of which airline or hotel you use.
  • Annual fee. While annual fees can run high on travel cards and you might not like paying for them, annual-fee cards tend to have better signup bonuses and more features.
  • Earn rate. If you find you spend more on everyday purchases such as groceries and gas, look for a card that has a high earning rate in those categories.
  • Signup bonus and rewards. Many travel credit cards offer a sizable signup bonus and great that you can use for flights or hotel stays after earning them.
  • Foreign transaction fees. If you often travel abroad, you’ll want to make sure you don’t rack up fees when using your card overseas.
  • Travel perks. While both general travel cards and cobranded travel cards come with perks, cobranded cards are typically tailored to the cobranded business.

Should you get a travel card or a general rewards card?

Travel cards and general rewards cards are both valid choices if you’re looking for strong returns on your spending. Which type of reward card you choose ultimately comes down to your financial needs as well as your desired features. Here are a few quick examples.

  • Travel cards offer travel perks. Just about every travel card will offer some form of travel perk, such as free checked bags or room upgrades. You’re less likely to find these perks on a general rewards card.
  • Rewards card earn points on a wider variety of categories. Many travel cards in just a few categories, usually travel or dining. Rewards cards often cover a wider range of spending, such as groceries or entertainment.
  • Travel card rewards more complex. Since travel miles are tied to the shifting prices and valuations of travel programs, travel cards can prove a little trickier to use effectively compared to rewards cards.

Of course, you could ultimately choose to have both these types of cards in your wallet and use them for relevant purchases.

5 ways to maximize your travel card value

Travel cards are chock-full of valuable features that you’ll want to take full advantage of if you want to make up for the cost of your card and start generating value. Here are some quick tips for squeezing the most out of your card.

  1. Use all of your statement credits. Travel cards often come with annual statement credits you can use on select travel or other travel services. Using these statement credits are one of the most important things you should do with your travel card and can wipe out much of a card’s annual fee on its own.
  2. Enroll in complimentary status or memberships. Many travel cards offer complimentary membership or elite status bumps for certain travel programs. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, offers a year of Lyft Pink with enrollment and many travel cards offer Priority Pass membership. These memberships and status bumps are often worth hundreds of dollars on their own.
  3. Redeem your rewards on travel. Though many cards offer several redemption options, your biggest value play is in travel redemptions. Points redeemed on merchandise or gift cards are typically worth much less than if you use them on flights or hotel stays.
  4. Jot down your miscellaneous card perks. Some higher end travel cards come with valuable perks that require more effort to use than a statement credit. A card may, for example, offer a certain number of free breakfasts, but only at select eligible hotels. You can often review a full list of card perks by logging into your card account online and looking for a benefits section.
  5. Transfer your points or miles. Though a more advanced and time consuming technique, transferring your points to partner airlines can more than double the value of those points depending on when and where you transfer them.

Bottom line

The best travel credit card for you depends on your spending and travel habits, as well as your credit score. If none of these feel like the right fit, compare more travel credit cards.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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