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Compare travel credit cards for fair credit

A fair credit score doesn’t have to stop you from earning up to 2% cash back.

Updated

Applying for travel credit cards isn’t always fun if you have a fair credit score in the 580 and 669 range. That’s because travel cards are usually aimed at consumers who have good credit in the 670 to 739 range.

But even with fair credit, there are a few solid options for your next trip — including credit cards with rewards, no annual fees and credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Compare travel credit cards for fair credit

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Annual fee Purchase APR Filter values
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Deserve® Edu Card
None
$0
18.74% variable
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Best travel credit cards for fair credit

If you have fair credit, secured credit cards may offer better approval odds. On the downside, you’ll have to put down an initial security deposit — typically $200 to $300.

As an alternative, you can shoot for an unsecured credit card that’s available to those with fair credit. Just watch out for high fees and interest rates from less-reputable providers.

Best airline credit card for fair credit: LATAM Visa® Secured Card

LATAM Visa® Secured Card
There are two key features of the LATAM Visa® Secured Card. The introductory annual fee is a welcome touch, making the card less expensive than the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card. You’ll also earn points on every purchase.

Since LATAM Airlines is in Oneworld Alliance, you can use your rewards for flights on other carriers such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways.

  • 1x points on every purchase.
  • 5,000 points after you use your card for the first time.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $25.

Best for cash back: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you want a card with flat-rate cash back, you’ll have more options with good to excellent credit. But the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card may be accessible right away, as it’s aimed at consumers with average credit.

Offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the card is a great choice on vacations and anything else you want to spend on.

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Get a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Best for no fees or security deposit: Petal® Visa® Credit Card

Petal® Visa® Credit Card
Petal has proprietary algorithms that help determine whether you’ll be a good customer, which means you may be approved even with less-than-perfect credit. The card also comes with no fees — including annual and foreign transaction fees.

While the 1% cash back isn’t immediately on par with that of the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, it can increase with time. As you make on-time payments, your cash back could grow as high as 1.5% — a good rate on travel and other categories. Petal also has an offers program, allowing you to earn up to 10% cash back from select merchants.

  • 1% cash back on purchases.
  • 1.25% cash back on purchases after six on-time payments; 1.5% cash back on purchases after 12 on-time payments.
  • No fees.

How we picked our best cards

We examined cards that fair-credit consumers may have good approval odds for, and those that offered rewards for travel. We gave heavier weight to cards with superior rewards and lower fees.

What’s changed in 2019

The Petal® Visa® Credit Card now offers rewards. What’s more, they can increase to as much as 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is a standard but solid rewards rate among cashback cards.

How to compare travel credit cards for fair credit

There are several factors to consider when choosing a travel credit card for fair credit. Some of these factors include:

  • Annual fee.
    You’ll find cards with and without annual fees. If you decide to pay an annual fee, be sure you’ll get sufficient value from your card to make the cost worth it.
  • Rewards.
    They may not be spectacular, but rewards in fair-credit travel cards do exist. Think about what you typically spend on, and consider a card that rewards you most for those categories.
  • Alliance partners.
    With an airline credit card, it might seem like your choices for reward redemptions are limited. But there are more choices than it seems. Because major airlines often operate under an airline alliances, you may be able to use your credit card’s rewards for flights on different carriers. Consider which airlines you fly on, and see whether your card offers rewards in the same alliance.
  • Signup bonus.
    Fair-credit travel cards typically don’t offer great signup bonuses. But if your decision is close between two cards, the bonus could be the difference maker.
  • Foreign transaction fee.
    The best fair-credit travel cards often come with no foreign transaction fees. Skipping this fee means saving up to 3% on every purchase made abroad and with foreign online merchants.
  • Secured vs. unsecured.
    You’ll need to put down a security deposit to open a secured card, but you might have more products to choose from. Meanwhile, you don’t need a security deposit for an unsecured card, but you might have fewer options.

Bottom line

While you don’t have your pick of travel cards just yet, you can still find decent options for your next trip. Look for the right combination of rewards and low fees to find the right product. If you’re worried about your credit score, consider a secured credit card, which might offer better approval odds.

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