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Best travel credit cards with no annual fee

You don't have to shell out every year for helpful travel benefits.

Updated

Fact checked
It’s true that the best travel cards typically have annual fees — some running $95, $450 or more each year.

Luckily, you can get a great travel card without the hassle of paying an annual fee. Many card providers want your business, and they’re willing to offer attractive travel benefits to get it.

We took a look at all travel credit cards with no annual fee and features such as rewards rate, signup bonus, intro APR and additional perks. Then, we selected the credit cards with the best combination of benefits for travel.

Best travel credit cards with no annual fee

While comparing these products, consider your spending habits. If a card’s bonus-rewards categories match with your shopping style, you may have found an effective travel card.

Quick look at travel credit cards with no annual fee

Best card with flat rewards

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card logo
Finder Rating: 3.2 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.5x
Points
25,000
Points welcome offer
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is one of the best travel credit cards because you get 1.5x points on all purchases, you get to earn a solid signup bonus, and you won't pay foreign transaction fees abroad.
  • Rewards points. Earn unlimited 1.5x points on all of your purchases. Redeem points for statement credit toward flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, baggage fees and more.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 25,000 bonus points, worth around $250, after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days of card membership.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Use this card freely abroad or online at foreign merchants and you won't pay any foreign transaction fees. As a Visa card, it's also widely accepted worldwide.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards 1.5x points on all purchases

Best for a welcome offer and co-branded hotel card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 7x
Points
75,000
Points welcome offer
The Hilton Honors American Express Card welcome offer and accelerated rewards on Hilton properties and everyday purchases makes it a strong travel credit card.
  • Rewards. Earn 7x Hilton Honors points when you make eligible purchases at a property in the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. Earn 3x points on other eligible purchases.
  • Welcome offer. 75,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Complimentary Silver status in the Hilton Honors program. Enjoy in-room and lobby Wi-Fi, late checkout, a 20% Base Point bonus, Elite Rollover Nights and the 5th Standard Reward Night Free when you book five consecutive nights at the same property with all points and more.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer 75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases

Best for hotels

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.25x
Miles
20,000
Miles welcome offer
Consider this card if you're a frequent traveler. It offers decent rewards on every purchase.
  • Rewards. Earn 1.25x miles on every purchase.
  • Signup bonus. 20,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • Intro APR. 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months following your account opening. After that you'll pay the standard APR of 15.49% to 25.49% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable
Welcome offer 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 1.25x miles on all purchases

Best for a guaranteed-value welcome offer and gas rewards

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
20,000
Points welcome offer
This card's biggest strength is its welcome offer, but that's definitely not its only feature. It offers accelerated points in everyday spending categories.
  • Welcome offer. 20,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Rewards. Earn 3x points on eating out, ordering in, gas, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and select streaming services. Earn 1x points on other purchases.
  • Intro APR. 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months of card membership. A standard APR of 13.99% to 25.99% variable applies after the intro period ends.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 25.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 25.99% variable)
Welcome offer 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 3x points on dining, gas, transit, travel and streaming and 1x points on all other purchases

Best for Uber and Uber Eats

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$100
Welcome offer
You might be surprised to see this card on this list. But it's a legit travel pick, offering accelerated rewards on hotels, airfare and dining. You'll earn even more rewards on Uber, Uber Eats and JUMP spending.
  • Rewards. Earn 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats and JUMP spending. Earn 3% back in Uber Cash on hotel, airfare, restaurant and bar spending, and 1% back on all other spending.
  • Signup bonus. $100 in Uber Cash after spending $500 in the first 90 days.
  • Mobile phone protection. Pay your cell phone bill with your card, and you'll receive up to $600 in phone protection against damage or theft.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 15.74%, 21.74% or 26.49% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.74%, 21.74% or 26.49% variable
Welcome offer $100 Uber Cash after spending $500 in the first 90 days
Rewards 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats and JUMP
3% back on dining, hotels and airfare
1% back on all other purchases

Best signup bonus

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.5x
Miles
Other
Welcome offer
The Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card comes with a non-standard signup bonus where you can double all miles earned during your first year. If you're a large spender, the bonus miles you earn can be bigger than the signup bonus on more premium cards.
  • Mile match. At the end of the year, Discover will match the miles you earn for the entire year. For example, if you earn 35,000 miles on your purchases, Discover will match it with additional 35,000 miles.
  • Reward miles. Earn 1.5x miles on all of your purchases. Redeem miles for electronic bank deposits or statement credit toward flights and hotel stays.
  • Intro APR period on purchases. Get 14 months of 0% intro APR period on purchases. After the intro period passes, your rate reverts to 11.99% to 22.99% variable.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 14 months (then 11.99% to 22.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 10.99% intro for the first 14 months (then 11.99% to 22.99% variable)
Welcome offer Discover will match miles earned at the end of your first card year
Rewards 1.5x miles on all purchases

How to choose the best travel credit cards with no annual fee

  • How important are rewards to you?
    This is one of the key factors travelers usually consider when comparing travel cards. If you’re looking at a tiered-rewards card, check if your spending lines up with the card’s bonus categories. You’ll accumulate rewards faster this way. If you want a greater earning rate, you’ll likely need to look at cards with annual fees.
  • Do you want a large signup bonus?
    A signup bonus is an excellent benefit from a no-annual-fee card, as it’s all upside. Plus, you can find cards with low spend requirements. bonuses between cards and consider how you might use them.
  • Consider what you want to use your rewards on.
    If you’re sure you want to use your rewards for a certain loyalty program, you might like a cobranded card. For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card can be useful, but you must use your points through American Airlines’ rewards portal.
  • Are you making any large purchases soon?
    Generally, travel cards with intro APRs can be few and far between, which is why you might want to pay special attention to a card that has one. An intro APR on purchases or balance transfers can give you a helpful break from interest.
  • Look at the Travel perks. A card’s travel perks can amount to hundreds of dollars in value if used correctly. Travel cards with no annual fee tend to have fewer travel perks, but you can still find plenty of no annual fee cards with worthwhile travel features.
  • Do you need additional cards?.
    A travel card that offers free cards for authorized users can often let you double up on a card’s perks and rewards.

Frequent flyer picks

If you’re a frequent flyer on a particular airline, you might like one of these cards.

  • United℠ TravelBank Card.
    Earn 2% in TravelBank cash on tickets purchased from United. Earn $150 in TravelBank cash on all other purchases. Earn in TravelBank cash after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months card membership. Get a 25% discount in the form of statement credit on in-flight food, beverage and Wi-Fi purchases.
  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.
    Earn 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores. Earn 1x miles on all other purchases. Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and a statement credit after you make $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Get a 25% discount in the form of statement credit on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
The information about American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.
    Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide. Earn 1x miles on all other eligible purchases. Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you make $500 in purchases within 3 months of your account opening. Get a 20% discount in the form of statement credit on in-flight food, beverage and audio-headset purchases. As of January 30, 2020, the card has no foreign transaction fees. It also qualifies you for Pay with Miles fares, which lets you reduce your dollar-based fare cost with SkyMiles.

Getting the most out of a no-annual-fee travel card

Here are a few ways to maximize value out of your no-annual-fee travel credit card. For more tips, check out our guide to travel credit cards.

  • Scoop up the signup bonus.
    No-annual-fee cards typically have lower spend requirements to obtain their signup bonuses. Plan out your spending over the spend window so you get the bonus. This will give you a burst of points or miles you can put toward great travel redemptions.
  • Earn rewards.
    Your card may offer accelerated rewards in certain categories. If that’s the case, use your card more for those spending areas. For non-bonus categories, a flat-rate cashback card might be useful.
  • Use extra perks.
    If your card offers benefits like travel credits or elite status in loyalty programs, take advantage of them when you can.

Is a no annual fee travel card right for me?

These cards are for travelers who want to earn travel points with a credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee for the service. They can also be a good starting point when you are new to travel programs or credit cards because they give you a chance to test the waters without paying any upfront costs.

However, if you’re a big spender, a travel card with an annual fee and a higher earn rate could give you more value than the savings you’d get from a $0 annual fee.

Compare travel cards with no annual fee

Want the benefits of a travel card but don’t want to pay a large annual fee?

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ credit card
30,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x on travel and 1x on all other purchases
$0
30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
$0
Redeem your rewards for travel including flights, hotels, cruises and more.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
75,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
15x total points at IHG hotels, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Travel cards are a very competitive space, and there are plenty of no-annual-fee products that offer excellent travel benefits.

Look for a card that offers bonus rewards for your preferred spending categories. Pay attention to signup bonuses, too, as they can give you an attractive burst of initial rewards. If finding a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees is more important to you than travel benefits, no-annual-fee and no-foreign-fee cards.

If you’re not sure about the credit cards we listed above, consider other travel products.

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