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There are countless destinations within the United States to visit. By maximizing credit cards for domestic travel, you can visit more of these places by paying with rewards points instead of cash. In most cases, redeeming points for award flights will help you realize the most value from each point.

Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel

Whether you are loyal to a particular airline or like picking the best airline at the time, there are several ways to travel domestically without breaking the bank. One of the best ways is through using a travel credit card. As long as you use it responsibly, you can open up your travel options and even get more for your money.

Here are our picks of the best credit cards for domestic travel.

Best Overall Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

One of the best travel credit cards — EVER! — is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Every travel and dining purchase earn 2x points per $1 spent. Your travel redemption includes a 25% redemption bonus when booking award travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal powered by Expedia. You might find more value transferring your points to these 1:1 airline transfer partners:

  • United Airlines: Domestic flights start at 10,000 points each way when 700 miles or less
  • JetBlue: Bargain domestic routes from 7,900 points from NYC to LAX or upgrading to the luxury Mint service for 58,400 points each way
  • Southwest Airlines: Routes start at 4,000 points and cheaper than legacy carriers for many routes
  • British Airways: Book American Airlines partner flights starting at 7,500 points

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardmembers can also earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This bonus is worth $750 in award travel thanks to the 25% redemption bonus. But if you can transfer your points and get more than 1.25 cents value from each one, this bonus can be worth more than $750.

For all members, the annual fee is $95 per year. It’s recommended to have at least a 740 credit score to have the best approval odds. With all of the travel benefits, there was no way the Sapphire Preferred wouldn’t make the best credit cards for domestic travel list.

Best Premium Travel Credit Card: Platinum Card from American Express

Frequent flyers not loyal to a particular airline may benefit greatly from The Platinum Card® from American Express. This is a premium rewards card that comes with plenty of air travel benefits:

  • 5x Membership Rewards points on plane tickets purchased directly from airlines or AmexTravel.com
  • $200 annual air travel credit
  • $200 Uber travel credit cards
  • TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • Complimentary airport lounge access includes The Centurion, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Club

You can redeem your points for award flights at 1 cent each. Another option is transferring your points on a 1:1 basis to Membership Rewards airline partners including:

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue (250 Membership Rewards:200 JetBlue TrueBlue)

British Airways is also a 1:1 transfer partner you can use to book American Airlines partner flights.

New cardmembers can earn a welcome offer of 60,000 bonus points by spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Best Flexible Travel Rewards Credit Card: Capital One Venture

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent. Through January 2020, Hotels.com purchases earn 10 miles per $1 spent. If you want to maximize your daily spending and travel purchase, this is one of the best credit cards for domestic travel awards. The most convenient option is redeeming miles for 1 cent each as travel statement credits. You can also redeem miles for upcoming award flights on the Capital One travel portal.

Capital One also reimburses your TSA PreCheck application fee. New members also earn 50,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months which is worth $500 in award travel. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 annually.

Best United Airlines Credit Card: United Explorer Card

The $95-a-year ($0 the first year) United℠ Explorer Card is the best card for flying United Airlines. Award flights start at 10,000 miles for domestic flights 700 miles or less and 12,500 for all other economy fares.

The Explorer Card offers these benefits:

  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • Space-available Premier upgrades
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardholder and 1 companion
  • Two one-time United Club passes each year
  • Earn 2x miles on dining, hotels booked directly with the hotel, and United purchases

There’s also a limited time offer of earning up to 60,000 bonus miles. Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Then you can earn an additional 20,000 miles after spending $8,000 in the first 6 months of account opening.

Best American Airlines Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select

American Airlines award flights start at 7,500 miles for domestic flights shorter than 500 miles. Longer routes cost 12,500 each way in economy. The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select comes with these benefits:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions
  • $100 American Airlines flight discount after $20,000 in annual card purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on dining, gas station, and American Airlines purchases
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months

The annual fee is $0 the first year then $99.

Best Delta Airlines Credit Card: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express isn’t the most the benefit-rich of the Delta Airlines credit cards but it has plenty to offer, especially for domestic travelers. It includes several other travel benefits to save money flying Delta:

  • Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions (Up to $540 savings every roundtrip!)
  • 20% savings on all in-flight purchases
  • $29 per visit rate for Delta Sky Club access
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases (1 SkyMile per $1 for all remaining purchases)

It’s possible to find short haul flights for as low as 5,000 SkyMiles one-way including San Francisco to Seattle. But you can also find deals on longer flights if you have flexible travel dates as Delta award flight prices vary by day and demand.

Best Southwest Airlines Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

Southwest fares can cost less than the legacy carriers (especially when flying to Hawaii) whether you pay with cash or points. Your first two checked bags also fly free. The best Southwest credit card is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. The $149 annual fee can be easily offset with these card benefits:

  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • Four Upgraded Booking each year (when available)
  • 7,500 bonus points each anniversary year (enough for a free one-way flight)
  • 2x points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards partner purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Don’t forget that the most loyal Southwest passengers can save a small fortune with the Southwest Companion Pass. Using the sign-up bonus to earn the Companion Pass can result in many travel opportunities, making the Southwest cards the best credit cards for domestic travel.

Best JetBlue Credit Card: JetBlue Plus Card

JetBlue can also be an affordable way to fly in the eastern U.S. For luxury travel, the JetBlue Mint class is one of the best premium cabin experiences when flying coast to coast including New York to LA.

The JetBlue Plus Credit Card costs $99 annually and comes with these benefits:

  • Free checked bags for you and 3 companions
  • 5,000 bonus points each card anniversary
  • Points pooling with family members
  • Annual $100 statement credit when purchasing a JetBlue Vacation
  • Earn 6x points on JetBlue purchases
  • Earn 2x points on dining and groceries (1x point for all remaining purchases)
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

Summary: Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel

The best domestic travel credit card depends on your travel habits. If you tend to patronize a certain airline, a co-brand airline credit card can be the best option. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect a flexible rewards card with generous redemption options.

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Josh Patoka

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

8 Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel
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