Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Best Travel Reward Credit Cards of 2024

Travel reward credit cards represent a broad category of rewards cards. They encompass everything from airline miles cards to more generic rewards cards. Some cards offer miles, others use points. As a result, picking the best travel rewards card can be a challenge. Here are our top picks for 2024.

Types of Travel Reward Credit Cards

To narrow down the list, I divided travel cards into three categories:

1 All-purpose travel cards: These cards aren’t part of an airline or hotel brand. Instead, they offer miles or points that can be used with any travel. As you’ll see below, the top cards in this category offer at least 2% in rewards. The “catch,” if you will, is that these rewards must be used for travel to maximize their value.

2 Airline miles cards: Offered from every major airline, these cards can offer the highest value in rewards. The key is to understand your travel patterns. These cards are ideal for those who fly frequently with the same airline.

3 Hotel rewards cards: As with airline miles, these cards can offer good rewards for those who stay with the same hotel brand.

We’ve covered each of these types of cards below.

Best Travel Reward Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Pick: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns top honors for an all-purpose travel rewards card. It has 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2x points on other travel, and 3x points on dining, groceries purchased online, and streaming.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other purchases
2x points
Travel
2x points on all other travel purchases
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3x points on online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
3x points
Streaming services
Earn 3x points on select streaming services
3x points
Dining
3x points on dining
5x points
Travel
5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)

Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee: $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved08/03/2023
872
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved04/19/2023
737
Equifax
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
Experian
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
TransUnion
$16,000
Approved11/11/2023
800
Not Provided
$16,800
Approved04/18/2023
790
Experian
$17,300
Approved05/21/2023
703
Experian
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
735
Equifax
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
825
Experian
$17,300
Approved07/06/2023
735
Experian
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
745
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
755
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved10/19/2023
720
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved06/14/2023
759
Experian
$6,000
Approved04/06/2023
897
Not Provided
$23,800
Approved04/14/2023
765
Experian
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
Equifax
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
TransUnion
$7,200
Approved10/23/2023
745
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved10/03/2023
761
Equifax
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
767
Experian
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
774
TransUnion
$18,000

Read our Review


Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an elite credit card for frequent travelers. The welcome bonus, generous rewards, and a $300 travel credit per year make it worth the high annual fee. Other excellent perks include airport lounge access and concierge service.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
3x points
Dining
Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
5x points
Travel
Earn 5x points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
10x points
Travel
10x on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee: $550

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/08/2023
720
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved05/08/2023
830
Experian
$27,000
Approved02/06/2023
677
Experian
$10,700
Approved04/19/2023
806
Experian
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
810
Equifax
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
823
TransUnion
$18,600
Approved08/03/2023
700
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved09/30/2023
698
Experian
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
730
TransUnion
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
733
Equifax
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
766
Equifax
$25,500
Approved12/14/2023
750
Experian
$10,000
Approved03/22/2023
719
Equifax
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
752
TransUnion
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
789
Experian
$21,700
Approved01/07/2023
821
Experian
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
828
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
838
Equifax
$25,000
Approved10/23/2023
751
Experian
$10,000
Approved10/23/2023
785
TransUnion
$10,000
Denied10/19/2023
749
TransUnion
---
Denied10/19/2023
765
Experian
---

Read our Review


American Express® Gold Card 

The American Express® Gold Card offers excellent rewards, especially if you travel mainly within the U.S. It offers 4x membership reward points at U.S. restaurants and 4x membership reward points at U.S. supermarkets. That means you earn high rewards every time you eat. While there’s no airport lounge access with this card, you do get access to a global emergency hotline and access to presale tickets and special events. There’s also a nice welcome bonus which makes up for the annual fee.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other eligible purchases
3x points
Airfare
3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
4x points
U.S. supermarkets
4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year.
4x points
Dining
4x points at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $250

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved06/13/2023
699
TransUnion
$1,750
Approved02/03/2024
688
Equifax
---
Approved02/03/2024
690
Experian
---
Approved02/03/2024
731
TransUnion
---
Approved02/27/2023
700
Experian
---


Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a premium travel rewards card with a lower annual fee than most premium travel rewards cards. You get a generous welcome bonus, plus you get a $300 statement credit annually for travel booked through Capital One’s travel portal. And you get 10,000 bonus miles every year on your cardmember anniversary.

Rewards:  

2x miles
On all other eligible purchases
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
5x miles
Airfare
5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
10x miles
Hotels
10 Miles per dollar on hotels booked through Capital One Travel
10x miles
Rental Cars
10 Miles per dollar on rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $395

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved10/19/2023
776
Not Provided
$20,000


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a travel rewards credit card that offers unlimited 2x rewards miles with every purchase. You’ll also earn unlimited 5x miles on travel booked through Capital One Travel, and miles can be transferred to various partners. This makes it a great choice for an everyday card that happens to earn travel rewards as well.

Rewards:

2x miles
All eligible purchases
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
5x miles
Hotels
5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Welcome Bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved07/11/2023
686
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved07/11/2023
688
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/11/2023
691
Experian
$5,000
Approved04/19/2024
783
Experian
$3,000
Approved04/19/2024
803
Equifax
$3,000


Wells Fargo AutographSM Card 

Wells Fargo AutographSM Card is a travel rewards card, but it also offers rewards on things like gas, phone plans, and restaurants, so it’s a good card even if your plans don’t include travel. There’s a 0% introductory offer on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening months so that you can book your travel interest-free. You also get some nice perks, including cell phone protection.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1x points on other purchases
3x points
Cell phone service
3x on cell phone and landline providers
3x points
Streaming services
3x on popular streaming services
3x points
Travel
3x on airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals
3x points
Dining
3x on restaurants, dining in, take out, delivery, catering and more
3x points
Gas
3x at gas stations and electric charging stations
3x points
Transit
3x on subways, ride shares, parking, tolls and more

Welcome Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $200 cash redemption value.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved10/17/2023
825
Equifax
$30,000
Approved04/03/2023
748
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved04/03/2023
754
Equifax
$15,000
Approved04/03/2023
767
Experian
$15,000
Approved04/22/2023
695
Experian
$2,500
Approved06/17/2023
768
TransUnion
$30,000
Approved11/19/2023
741
Experian
$14,000
Approved11/19/2023
743
Equifax
$14,000
Approved11/19/2023
746
TransUnion
$14,000
Approved10/27/2023
765
TransUnion
$16,000
Approved10/27/2023
786
Equifax
$16,000
Approved10/27/2023
788
Experian
$16,000


Wells Fargo Autograph Journey(SM) Card 

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey(SM) Card is a brand new card, just launched in March. It has a generous welcome bonus and decent ongoing rewards. Wells Fargo does not make you book travel through a portal to earn rewards, which is great because you are free to book the lowest price you can find. On the other hand, travel partners are limited right now, but Wells Fargo says they are working on adding more.

Rewards:  

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other purchases
3x points
Travel
3x points on other travel
3x points
Dining
3x points on restaurants
4x points
Airfare
4x points on airlines
5x points
Hotels
Earn 5x points on hotels

Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that’s $600 toward your next trip.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Denied03/12/2024
829
Equifax
---
Denied03/24/2024
835
Not Provided
---
Denied03/21/2024
800
Not Provided
---


Citi Strata Premier® Card

Citi Strata Premier® Card is a brand new card from Citi that replaces the Citi Premier Credit Card. If you had the Citi Premier, you’ll get a new Citi Strata Premier® Card soon, if you haven’t already. If you received the welcome offer on the Citi Premier within the last two years, you won’t be eligible for the bonus on the Strata. There are some additional travel benefits added, such as luggage protection and trip cancellation insurance.

Rewards:  

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X points on all other purchases
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3X points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets
3x points
Airfare
Earn 3X points per dollar spent on air travel
3x points
Hotels
Earn 3X points per dollar spent on other hotel purchases
3x points
Dining
Earn 3X points per dollar spent at restaurants
3x points
Gas
Earn 3X points per dollar spent at gas stations and at EV charging stations
10x points
Select Categories
Earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  

Welcome Offer:  For a limited time: Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $750 in gift cards or travel rewards on thankyou.com.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved12/29/2023
814
Equifax
$12,000
Approved12/29/2023
829
Experian
$12,000
Approved12/29/2023
830
TransUnion
$12,000
Approved04/07/2023
804
TransUnion
$3,000
Approved04/07/2023
808
Experian
$3,000
Approved04/07/2023
816
Equifax
$3,000
Approved12/07/2023
791
TransUnion
$11,000
Approved12/07/2023
808
Equifax
$11,000
Approved12/07/2023
808
Experian
$11,000
Approved01/10/2023
803
Experian
$11,000
Approved11/04/2023
722
TransUnion
$7,000



The Platinum Card® from American Express 

The Platinum Card® from American Express card has an excellent welcome bonus, travel perks, and annual credits. But before you apply for this card, consider whether you will use the benefits and rewards, because the annual fee is a whopper. Someone who travels frequently should find it easy to justify the fee.

Rewards:  

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x on other purchases
5x points
Airfare
5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases each calendar year
5x points
Hotels
5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

Welcome Offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $695

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/28/2023
812
Equifax
---
Approved04/28/2023
820
TransUnion
---
Approved04/28/2023
825
Experian
---
Approved08/16/2023
698
Equifax
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
709
Experian
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
728
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved01/04/2023
696
Not Provided
---
Approved01/23/2023
675
Not Provided
$6,000


Airline Miles Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card 

Editor’s Pick: My favorite airline card is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. It gets my vote for two reasons. It offers an excellent and easy-to-earn signup bonus, plus the rewards are generous, and all points count towards a Companion Pass®, including the 6,000 points you earn every year on your cardmember anniversary.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1x point on everyday purchases.
2x points
Streaming services
Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
2x points
Transit
Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
3x points
Southwest Purchases
Earn 3x points on Southwest® purchases.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee: $99

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved08/06/2022
680
Experian
$9,600

Read our Review

See also: Southwest Credit Cards: Which One Is Right for You?


Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is a great card for travelers who enjoy flying Delta and don’t want to pay an annual fee. The welcome bonus is small, but the spend is easily attainable for most travelers.

Rewards:

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
2x miles
Delta Purchases
Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved09/28/2020
685
Experian
$1,000
Approved09/28/2020
762
Experian
$1,000
Approved03/14/2022
665
Experian
$1,000
Approved05/14/2020
670
Experian
$1,000
Denied01/29/2018
627
Experian
---


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers Delta travelers some nice travel perks for a very reasonable annual fee, which is waived for the first year. You get one free checked bag per flight and priority boarding. If you spend $10,000 on your card in the first year, you’ll get a $200 credit towards your next Delta flight.

Rewards:

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
2x miles
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 2X Miles at U.S. Supermarkets.
2x miles
Delta Purchases
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases.
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved09/20/2023
702
Experian
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
678
TransUnion
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
695
Experian
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
698
Equifax
$10,000


British Airways Visa Signature® Card 

British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a generous welcome bonus for a very reasonable annual fee. If you travel with British Airways frequently (or one of its oneworld® partner airlines), this card is a worthy addition to your wallet. If you spend $30,000 on your card per year, you can earn a Travel Together Ticket, which is good for two years.

Rewards:

1Avios
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
2Avios
Hotels
Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.
3Avios
Airfare
Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL.

Welcome Bonus: Limited time offer! Earn 85,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee: $95


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

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is the card for you if you prefer to fly American Airlines. You get a generous welcome bonus, preferred boarding on American flights, and on domestic flights, you get a free checked bag for you and up to four guests flying under the same reservation. And you earn 2 miles on gas and restaurant purchases which can be redeemed for travel on American Airlines.

Rewards:

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
2x miles
American Airline Purchases
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants.
2x miles
Gas
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $99, waived for first 12 months

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved02/04/2022
750
Equifax
$9,800
Approved06/15/2023
834
Not Provided
$12,400
Approved04/07/2022
758
TransUnion
$9,000
Approved04/07/2022
779
Equifax
$9,000
Approved04/07/2022
804
Experian
$9,000
Denied03/08/2022
750
Not Provided
---


United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card offers United Club access, so if you want to rest and perhaps get some work done while you’re waiting for your next United flight, this card could be a good fit. Airport lounge access doesn’t come cheap; without this card, it’s valued at $650. Plus you get a welcome bonus, two free checked bags, and a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus fee credit.

Rewards:

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
2x miles
Travel
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel.
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other dining.
4x miles
United Purchases
Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases.

Welcome Bonus:  Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee: $525

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved05/01/2022
771
Experian
$31,900
Approved02/24/2022
812
Experian
$15,800
Approved05/12/2022
779
Experian
$23,100
Approved12/15/2022
746
Equifax
$29,018
Approved12/15/2022
747
Experian
$28,971
Approved12/15/2022
756
TransUnion
$29,000

Learn More


Hotel Rewards Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card 

Editor’s Pick: The top pick goes to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. It offers excellent value in terms of redemptions, and you can earn free night stays fairly quickly.

Rewards:

2x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
3x points
Dining
Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
3x points
Gas
Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
17x points
Hotels
Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/25/2022
798
Experian
$10,000
Approved08/12/2023
800
Experian
$5,000
Approved09/02/2023
747
Not Provided
$10,500
Approved02/22/2023
801
Experian
$12,000
Approved07/28/2022
825
Experian
$23,300
Approved04/26/2022
720
Experian
$6,000
Approved06/09/2022
611
Not Provided
$9,500

Read our Review


Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card 

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is a great card for business travelers who enjoy staying at Marriott hotels. You automatically get Gold Elite Status with your card, which grants you bonus points on hotel purchases, late checkout, and complimentary enhanced internet access. You also get a free night’s stay when you renew your card, valued at up to 35,000 points. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.

Rewards:

2x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
4x points
Cell phone service
Earn 4x points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.
4x points
Select Categories
Earn 4x points on U.S. purchases for shipping.
4x points
Dining
Earn 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide.
4x points
Gas
Earn 4x points for purchases made at U.S. gas stations.
6x points
Hotels
Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 5 Free Night Awards, valued at up to 50K points each for eligible stays. Offer ends 7/10. Resort fees & terms apply.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee:  $125

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved12/04/2023
757
Equifax
$3,000
Approved12/04/2023
773
Experian
$3,000
Approved12/04/2023
794
TransUnion
$3,000
Approved05/06/2022
704
Not Provided
$3,000


Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is a terrific card for those who are loyal to the Hilton brand. The Hilton Brand encompasses hotels such as DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Waldorf Astoria properties, among others, so you have several options at all levels of service. This card offers a generous welcome bonus, and you don’t have to be much of a big spender ($15,000 in a year) to earn a Weekend Night Reward. You can easily spend that much in a year if you use this card for groceries, gas, dining, and a couple of monthly bills.

Rewards:

3x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
4x points
Select Categories
Earn 4X Points for each dollar on U.S. Online Retail Purchases.
6x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 6X Points for each dollar of purchases on your Card at U.S. supermarkets.
6x points
Dining
Earn 6X Points for each dollar of purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants.
6x points
Gas
Earn 6X Points for each dollar of purchases on your Card at U.S. gas stations.
12x points
Hotels
Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $150

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved10/02/2022
770
Experian
$10,000
Approved10/25/2022
668
Experian
$1,000
Approved02/07/2022
744
Experian
$15,000
Approved03/28/2023
819
Experian
$25,000
Approved10/25/2022
677
TransUnion
$1,000
Approved09/21/2022
759
Equifax
$4,000
Approved09/21/2022
778
TransUnion
$4,000
Approved09/21/2022
791
Experian
$4,000
Approved02/07/2022
731
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved02/07/2022
732
Equifax
$15,000


Hilton Honors American Express Card 

Hilton Honors American Express Card has a decent welcome bonus and good rewards, all for a $0 annual fee. You get automatic silver status, which is good for small perks such as free bottles of water and your 5th night free on reward stays.

Rewards:

3x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
5x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. supermarkets.
5x points
Dining
Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants.
5x points
Gas
Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. gas stations.
7x points
Hotels
Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0

*Terms Apply

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved06/09/2022
728
TransUnion
$2,000
Approved03/05/2022
704
Experian
$15,000
Approved07/18/2022
704
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/18/2022
713
Experian
$5,000
Approved06/09/2022
730
Equifax
$2,000
Approved07/18/2022
713
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved09/09/2023
679
Not Provided
$15,000


Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card is a solid card for those who enjoy staying at Marriott hotels and want a card with a $0 annual fee. Since it’s a Visa Signature, you’ll earn benefits such as lost baggage insurance and trip delay reimbursement.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
2x points
Travel
Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains) through 7/10/2024. Beginning 7/11/2024, this benefit will no longer be available.
14x points
Hotels
Earn up to 14X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved05/06/2022
800
Not Provided
$21,700
Approved03/31/2022
780
Equifax
$2,000

Read our Review


World of Hyatt Credit Card

World of Hyatt Credit Card is a great value, even if you only stay at a Hyatt hotel once a year. You get a welcome bonus, generous points on Hyatt purchases, and a free night once a year. All this is for only $95 a year. Hyatt Hotels includes a variety of hotels in more than 134 countries worldwide.

Rewards:  

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 Bonus Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
2x points
Select Categories
2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on fitness club and gym memberships
2x points
Airfare
2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
2x points
Dining
2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants
2x points
Transit
2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on local transit and commuting
9x points
Hotels
4 Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases at all Hyatt hotels. Plus, 5 Base Points from Hyatt per eligible $1 spent for being a World of Hyatt member.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Annual Fee:  $95

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved05/06/2023
663
Experian
$5,000
Approved04/03/2023
755
Experian
$15,400
Approved12/18/2022
763
Equifax
$12,200
Approved12/18/2022
757
TransUnion
$12,200
Approved12/18/2022
764
Experian
$12,200

Learn More

Pros and Cons of Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Pros:

  • Rewards: One of the biggest benefits is the ability to earn rewards, such as points or miles for making purchases with the card.
  • Sign-up bonuses: Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses for new cardholders who meet a minimum spending requirement, which can be a great way to earn a substantial amount of rewards quickly.
  • Additional benefits: Some credit cards come with additional benefits such as travel insurance, purchase protection, or extended warranty coverage.
  • Perks: Some credit cards offer exclusive perks such as access to airport lounges, concierge services, or special event invitations.

Cons:

  • Fees: Some credit cards come with annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or other fees that can reduce the value of the rewards earned.
  • Limited redemption options: Some credit cards may have limited redemption options, making it difficult to redeem rewards for the benefits that you want.
  • Temptation to overspend: The temptation to earn rewards can lead to overspending, which can result in high balances and interest charges.
  • Complexity: Rewards credit cards can be complex, with different earning rates, redemption options, and rules for earning and redeeming rewards.

What Is a Rewards Credit Card?

A rewards credit card is a type of credit card that offers incentives or rewards to cardholders for using the card to make purchases.

These rewards can come in the form of cashback, points, miles, discounts, or other perks. The more you use the card, the more rewards you can earn, which can be redeemed for various benefits such as travel, merchandise, statement credits, or even cash. Rewards credit cards are designed to incentivize customers to use their cards frequently and to build customer loyalty for the card issuer.

However, it’s important to use them responsibly and pay off the balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest charges.

How Do Rewards Credit Cards Work?

To earn rewards with a rewards credit card, you simply need to use the card to make purchases. Each time you use the card to buy something, you earn a certain number of reward points, miles, or cashback, depending on the card’s rewards program. The best rewards credit cards offer bonus rewards for certain spending categories, such as gas, groceries, or travel.

Once you have earned enough rewards, you can typically redeem them for various benefits such as travel, merchandise, statement credits, or even cash. Redemption options and the value of rewards can vary depending on the card’s rewards program and the issuer.

How to Choose the Best Travel Rewards Card

Choosing a travel rewards credit card can be a bit overwhelming, as there are many options available with different rewards programs, fees, and benefits. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a travel rewards credit card:

Think About How Often You Travel

If you travel frequently, do you travel more by plane or do you drive? If you usually drive, then you might choose a card that rewards you for gas and hotel stays instead of air travel.

If you only travel once or twice a year, a travel card might not be worth having. Instead, you might consider one of our best cash back credit cards.

Evaluate Your Spending

You’ll want to choose a card that best fits your normal spending habits. Look at your monthly budget and identify the categories where you spend the most money. This could include groceries, dining, travel, gas, or other categories. Knowing your spending habits will help you choose a credit card that offers the most rewards for your preferred categories.

Consider the Annual Fee

The annual fee can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the card and its benefits. Be sure that the rewards you earn are worth more than the fee.

Look for No Foreign Transaction Fees

The best travel rewards cards don’t have foreign transaction fees. This fee is an added cost for using your card outside of the United States. It’s usually about 3% of each foreign transaction you make. That fee can add up quickly. That’s why carrying a card with zero foreign transaction fees is a must when you travel internationally.

Do You Prefer a Specific Hotel or Airline?

Consider whether you want a co-branded card or a general travel card. Co-branded cards let you earn points with a specific hotel or airline. When you earn enough points, you can redeem them for free stays or free flights.

If you prefer a specific airline or hotel, a co-branded card might work for you, but if you don’t have a preference, go with a general travel card. General travel cards (usually) earn fewer points but offer greater flexibility.

Don’t Pay for Benefits You Won’t Use

Premium cards can come with high annual fees but offer more travel perks and benefits. Some travel perks can include free checked bags, travel insurance, airport lounge access, and 24/7 concierge.

Some cards may also offer a credit for TSA Pre-check to get you through an airport with a minimum amount of stress. But if you won’t use the benefits, or don’t care about the benefits, then the annual fee isn’t worth the cost. Do some math to figure out if the fee is worth it for you. 

Can You Easily Earn the Welcome Bonus?

Many travel rewards credit cards offer attractive welcome bonuses, but most of them also require you to spend a certain amount within a timeframe (often three months). If you don’t regularly spend that amount of money anyway, then the welcome bonus might not be worth it.

For example, if you need to spend $3000 on the card in the first three months, do you have $1,000 of monthly expenses that you can put on the card in the first three months? More importantly, can you pay off that $1,000 in expenses each month? You don’t want to put yourself in debt to earn the welcome bonus.

Keep in mind you can only get a welcome bonus once, so the benefits of the card might dive after the first year. And if you have to change your spending habits to get the bonus, it’s not worth it. 

Know Your Credit Score

Many rewards credit cards require a good or excellent credit score, typically around 670 or higher. Your credit score is based on factors such as your payment history, credit utilization, and length of credit history. A history of missed payments or high credit utilization may impact your ability to qualify for a rewards credit card.

How Can I Maximize My Rewards Earnings With a Credit Card?

Here are some tips to help you maximize your rewards earnings with a credit card:

  • Choose a card with rewards that align with your spending habits: Look for a rewards credit card that offers bonus rewards in the categories where you spend the most money. For example, if you spend a lot on groceries and gas, look for a card that offers extra rewards in those categories.
  • Use your credit card for all your purchases: Use your rewards credit card for all your purchases, including everyday expenses like groceries, gas, and dining out. This will help you earn rewards more quickly.
  • Pay your balance in full each month: To avoid interest and fees that can offset the value of your rewards, pay off your credit card balance in full each month.
  • Take advantage of sign-up bonuses: Many rewards credit cards offer sign-up bonuses that can be worth hundreds of dollars in rewards. Make sure you meet the spending requirements to earn the bonus.
  • Keep track of expiration dates: Some rewards have expiration dates or require you to redeem them within a certain timeframe. Make sure you keep track of these deadlines to avoid losing your rewards.
  • Use your rewards wisely: Choose redemption options that offer the most value for your rewards, such as travel, statement credits, or gift cards. Don’t redeem your rewards for items you don’t need or for a lower value than they’re worth.
  • Consider stacking rewards: Some credit cards offer additional rewards when you shop through their online shopping portals or link your card to other reward programs. Look for opportunities to stack rewards and earn even more.

Are Rewards Credit Cards Worth It?

It depends on how you use the rewards credit card. If you pay the card off in full and on time every month and use the rewards you generate then yes, they can be worth it.

If you struggle to pay the card off in full every month or pay late, you are paying interest and fees that are offsetting the value of any rewards you will accumulate.

Also, if you tend to overspend when you use credit cards, or if you don’t use your rewards then rewards credit cards are probably not worth it.

Who Are Travel Rewards Credit Cards Best For?

Keep in mind that there’s an aspirational carrot attached to travel rewards credit cards: the idea that you will travel more once you have a card with a big bonus or valuable rewards. However, if you don’t already travel quite a bit, you might be better off with a card that rewards you for dining, gas, or groceries. If you do travel often then travel rewards cards can be a valuable addition to your wallet.

If you mostly travel for business, a business card might offer rewards and perks better suited to your travel needs.

Is There a Limit to the Rewards I Can Earn With My Credit Card?

Not really. The average user will not come up against limits on earnings of rewards. There may be bonus categories that earn extra points up to certain limits, but you’ll still be able to earn points as regular spending after that limit is reached.

However, there can be “shadow” limits in place for those who abuse the programs. Trying to get around the rules may cause your points to be canceled and for you to be removed from the program.

For the average user, here are some common types of limits you may encounter with a rewards credit card:

  • Spending limits: Some rewards credit cards may have limits on the amount of rewards you can earn in a specific category or within a certain time frame, such as a month or a year. For example, they may offer extra cash back on gas for the first $500 spent on gas per month.
  • Redemption limits: Some rewards credit cards may have limits on the amount of rewards you can redeem at one time or within a certain time frame, such as a month or a year.
  • Account limits: Some rewards credit cards may have limits on the total rewards you can earn or redeem over the life of the account.

It’s important to read the card’s terms and conditions to understand the limits of the rewards program and how they may impact your ability to earn and redeem rewards.

Can I Redeem My Rewards for Cash?

Yes, in many cases, you can redeem rewards earned with a credit card for cash. However, the specifics of cash redemption options will depend on the card’s rewards program and terms and conditions. Here are some common ways you may be able to redeem rewards for cash:

  • Statement credit: Many rewards credit cards allow you to redeem rewards for statement credits, which can effectively reduce your account balance or provide you with cash back.
  • At the retailer: Some cards will link to your Amazon or PayPal account and you can use your rewards to pay for things when you shop.
  • Direct deposit: Some rewards credit cards may offer direct deposit options for cash redemption, allowing you to receive the cash directly into your bank account.
  • Check: Some rewards credit cards may offer the option to receive a physical check for cash redemption.

It’s important to note that the value of rewards when redeemed for cash may be lower than the value when redeemed for other rewards, such as travel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s the best way to redeem travel rewards?

Travel rewards are usually variable, meaning they can be worth more or less depending on how you redeem them. Most travel credit cards partner with various airlines or hotels and offer the best bang for your travel points when you transfer the points to a partner loyalty program. You’ll get the highest value using your rewards for travel, although it does require some research. Usually, the least valuable way to redeem your points is to take them as a statement credit.

How many points or miles do I need to get a free flight?

Some airlines have straightforward reward charts, and some either don’t publish them at all, or they’re incredibly complicated. In general, the number of points or miles you need will depend on factors like destination, airline, travel dates, and credit card. You’ll need fewer points for a short, domestic coach flight and more points for longer flights and to fly first class.

What’s the best credit card for traveling abroad?

Look for a card with no foreign transaction fees. After that, you’ll need to do some research to find the best card for you. Weigh the benefits against the annual fee, and consider how much you’ll use those benefits. If you only travel abroad once or twice a year, consider whether you need a travel card at all, and if you might do better with a cash back credit card instead.

Final Thoughts

The top travel rewards credit cards include those that offer generous sign-up bonuses, high rewards rates in popular spending categories, and flexible redemption options. Choose a travel rewards credit card that aligns with your spending habits and financial goals. Compare fees and other costs associated with each card, including annual fees and foreign transaction fees.

The bottom line here is that the best travel card is the one that fits your needs. Think about how you travel and what card would offer you the best benefits and rewards that you would use.

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