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Travel credit cards

Compare more than 100 credit cards designed for travelers.

Use our table to compare travel credit cards and find the right option for your needs. To start, click "Show filters" to select your credit score and the features you want. You can also select specific card issuers to browse.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 in combined eligible purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases
$695

New Platinum Exclusive Offer

One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $7,000 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases
$250

Rose Gold is Back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and restaurants and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Limited Time Offer: 70,000 miles after spending $2,000 in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on other eligible purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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The best travel credit cards of 2021

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 2021 below.

Quick look at the best travel credit cards

Credit cardsBest for…Learn more
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardLounge access
Read review
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLarge welcome offer
Apply now
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiGas
Apply now
American Express® Gold CardGroceries
Apply now
Chase Freedom Unlimited®No annual fee
See offer
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Travel credits
See offer
Chase Freedom Flex℠Everyday spending
See offer
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit CardHotels
See offer
Discover it® Miles Travel Credit CardMiles match after the first year
Read review

Best for large welcome offer

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With a welcome offer worth up to $7,000 in redemption value when maxed out, based on our valuation, no other card can match this. Even if you don't max out the welcome offer, you get at least double the value compared to similar premium travel cards offer. 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 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 gas

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Citi's secure site
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 groceries

American Express® Gold Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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 US, 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 no annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the most rewarding no-annual-fee credit cards you can get on the market. Not only does it earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, Chase recently granted the card several additional reward categories that can earn even more. Now with up to 5% cash back on select categories on top of the original cashback rate, it's hard to find a better alternative.

Best for travel credits

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
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 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
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 Club Premier Credit Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier offers up to 25x 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 150,000 point bonus, easily worth several free nights, and is one of the highest welcome offers you'll find on a hotel card.

Best for lounge access

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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.

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.

What’s changed on our list for 2021?

The Amex Platinum Card gained a massive welcome offer increase making it come out on top in that category. The Amex Gold Card card got a boost to its dining credit, adding $120 annual Uber cash credit to its arsenal.

3 types of travel credit cards

While “travel credit card” is a catch-all term for any kind of credit card that earns rewards on travel, there are generally three major types of travel cards. Here’s a quick breakdown of how they differ and who should get each type of card.

1. Airline credit cards for frequent flyers

An airline credit card typically earns additional miles on purchases for a specific airline rewards program. Depending on the card and annual fee, you can also expect airline-specific perks as well, including priority boarding or free checked bags.

Get an airline credit card if:

  • You have a preferred airline.
  • You like the card’s perks.
  • You only plan on redeeming your card rewards back into travel with that airline.

2. Hotel credit cards for those dedicated to a particular hotel brand

A hotel credit card typically earns additional points on purchases for a dedicated hotel rewards program. Like an airline card, it also offers additional hotel-related perks depending on the card, such as anniversary points, free fourth nights, or early check-in and late checkout.

Get a hotel credit card if:

  • You have a preferred hotel brand you enjoy.
  • You plan on mostly redeeming your credit card rewards on hotel stays.
  • You want the card’s additional hotel perks.

3. General travel cards for travel perks and more

General travel cards aren’t tied to a specific airline or hotel. Instead, they may earn points on any type of travel purchase. You can redeem the points you earn on any redemption option offered through the card, though your points might be worth more when redeemed on travel. These cards usually earn fewer points compared to a hotel or airline card but make up for that in earning and redeeming flexibility. General travel cards are also more likely to come with more general travel perks, such as airline lounge access or travel insurance.

Get a general travel card if:

  • You tend to travel with a variety of airlines and hotels.
  • You don’t always want to redeem on travel.
  • You enjoy more general travel perks.

Travel cards vs. general rewards cards

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 narrow down your travel card options

You want to look at the nitty-gritty features of two or more credit cards when comparing which one best fits your needs. Here are a few perks you can compare and what you can look for.

  • Annual fee. Generally speaking, the more you pay for a travel card each year, the more features or benefits it offers. But to make that annual fee worth it, you need to make sure the included benefits are something you will use.
  • Earning rates and reward program value. The more points you earn per dollar spent, the better. But reward programs can value those points differently, so you’ll want to research each card’s rewards program closely before you make your decision.
  • Travel credits. Does one of the two cards come with a larger travel credit than the other? Is one card’s travel credits easier to use? Or does it have fewer restrictions?
  • Travel insurance. Travel card travel insurance coverage tends to vary wildly from one card to the next. See which of the cards you’re comparing offers wider coverage or covers a larger amount.
  • Companion passes. An airline companion pass allows you to bring a partner with you on a scheduled flight for little to no cost. These are insanely valuable and can easily sway a decision between two cards.

Travel credit cards pros and cons

Pros

  • Earn additional points or miles toward your next flight. Travel cards are one of the most efficient ways to earn bonus miles toward your next reward flight or hotel stay.
  • Travel perks. Most travel cards offer additional travel perks on top of reward earnings. Examples include free checked bags on flights or getting a free night stay when you book four or more nights at a hotel.
  • Plenty of options. Travel cards cater to all sorts of travel, whether flights or hotel stays or cruises. Travel cards may also cover multiple types of travel options, giving you plenty of choice in how you earn and redeem your rewards.

Cons

  • Can get pricey. The highest tier travel cards can cost upwards of $700 thanks to their array of perks and features.
  • May be limited by location. Depending on where you live, you might not find all travel cards worth your time simply because you don’t live near a corresponding airline.
  • Reward options can be limited. Your points or miles redemption options can vary greatly from travel card to travel card.
  • Planning needed to maximize value. Generally, travel cards require a bit more work than a cashback card in order to get the most value out of it.

It’s a good time to open a travel credit card

After COVID hit in 2020 most of us withheld from traveling for most of the year. But now that we have vaccines and the pandemic is contained a bit more, 2021 is looking like a better-than-average year for travel credit cards. Airlines, in particular, are eager for cardholders to get back to the skies, and many travel cards are sporting big incentives for new cardholders to do just that. These include big new signup bonuses to get you in the air even faster or additional reward categories to help you build even more miles. Depending on the airline, you may even find the costs of award flights lower than average as well. It’s tough to say if this bigger value will continue into 2022, so now is a perfect time to pick up a travel card if you’ve been on the fence.

Alex Miller, founder & CEO of UpgradedPoints.com agrees. “Right now, travel credit card bonuses are at quite a high, in an attempt to woo travelers back into the industry and to fly with a particular airline or stay with a particular hotel brand,” says Miller. “The travel industry is recovering quickly, and while COVID still lingers, most schools of thought currently don’t see a need for further lockdowns, so travel is likely to pick up and continue on an upward trajectory, making for increased usefulness for travel credit cards.”

Jeffrey Zhou, CEO of Fig Loans, tells Finder that right now is the perfect time to get a travel credit card. “Credit card rewards take a while to accrue and it is reasonable to assume that by the time you will have saved up the required points to take a trip there will be plenty of places to travel without having to worry about the pandemic.”

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Common perks of travel credit cards

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Bottom line

If you consider yourself a jet-setter, you could get a lot from a travel card. There are a variety of options for whatever you’re looking for.

Before you start your search, consider whether you want to pay an annual fee, what you typically spend on and which travel benefits you’re looking for. Take your time to compare different credit cards, and you’ll likely find a card that’s perfect for you.

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