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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

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Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel in 2021

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.

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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 Card

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 cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is the highest bonus offer ever for the Chase Sapphire Preferred!

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. 

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 Sept. 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 Sept. 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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Premium Travel Credit Card: The 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, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year
  • Prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel earn unlimited 5x points
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee reimbursement
  • Complimentary airport lounge access includes The Centurion, Priority Pass (enrollment required), and Delta Sky Club

Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.

If you ride Uber or use Uber Eats, this credit will make you happy. Cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.

Plus, American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.

Terms apply. Enrollment may be required.

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 The Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

There’s also a new digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $179 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

Another exciting new benefit is the ability for cardholders to enjoy up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. This amounts to up to $300 annually. Enrollment required. 

Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400.  

Welcome Bonus 

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. New cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms apply. 

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

The United Explorer Card has a sign-up offer of up to 70,000 bonus miles. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

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

The information for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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 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, including takeout and delivery, and on U.S. supermarket purchases (1 SkyMiles per $1 for all other eligible purchases)
  • Terms apply

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.

New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

Plus, Gold card members will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit after spending $10,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year. Cardholders can use the Credit on future travel.

The introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (See Rates & Fees).

Terms apply.

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. Non-bonus purchases earn 1x point per $1 spent.

New cardholders can earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.

Don’t forget that the most loyal Southwest passengers can save a small fortune with the Southwest Companion Pass®. Earning the Southwest 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.

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