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Since the pandemic has limited international travel, for the most part, more and more people are looking to maximize domestic travel. There are countless destinations within the United States to visit. By maximizing the best credit cards for domestic travel, you can visit more of these places by paying with rewards points instead of cash. In most cases, redeeming airline miles for award flights will help you realize the most value from each point.

Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel

Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel in 2020

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.

Chicago Segway tours
Chicago Segway tours along Lake Shore drive

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

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Best Overall Domestic 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
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • British Airways

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.

Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DoorDash DashPass subscription. Activate your card by December 31, 2021.

Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides, through March 2022. Through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 2x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month.

Additionally, cardholders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. Points are worth 25% more now through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 25% more when redeemed through the new Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.

Best Flexible Travel Rewards Credit Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 2 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 Venture Rewards Credit Card travel portal.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also reimburses your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee. The annual fee is $95.

New cardholders can earn 60,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of the account opening.

Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards

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; Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year
  • Up to $200 in annual airline statement credits for incidental fees at one qualifying airline
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber savings for rides and eats in the U.S.
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry 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 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.

The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

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
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit up to $100
  • Free first checked bag for the primary cardholder and 1 companion
  • Two one-time United Club passes each year
  • Earn 2x miles on dining (including eligible delivery services), hotels, and United purchases

New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

Best American Airlines Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

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 class. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® 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: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card 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!) on Delta flights
  • 20% savings on in-flight purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, and on U.S. supermarket purchases (1 SkyMile per $1 for all other eligible 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.

With the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, you can earn 35,000 bonus SkyMiles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Plus, Gold cardmembers get a $100 Delta Flight Credit after spending $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year.

The annual fee for this card is $0 for the first year, then $99 (See Rates & Fees).

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

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)

Cardholders earn 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases. However, for a limited time, cardholders can earn 5x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases, up to $2,000 spent per month. This offer is available through March 31, 2021.

New cardholders can also earn up to 80,000 bonus points! New cardholders will earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Then, they can earn an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 9 months of account opening.

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.

Related articles:

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Josh Patoka

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.

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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.

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