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Travel has been a bit unpredictable this summer thanks to staff shortages and rising Covid-19 cases. Because of this, many people are looking to stick to domestic travel and avoid extra stresses that come with an international venture. Of course, 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

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel in 2022

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 by 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.

Laguna Niguel Beach.

Best Overall Domestic Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

One of the best travel credit cards — EVER! — is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Redeem your points for travel and get a 25% redemption bonus when booking award travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. You might find more value in transferring your points to one of the 1:1 airline transfer partners including United Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, or British Airways. You can also transfer to Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns unlimited:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit)
  • 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target®, Walmart®, and wholesale clubs)
  • Also 3x points on select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • 1x point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases 

There is a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit. It comes in the form of a statement credit that will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for hotel accommodation purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards program, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $50.

Plus, on each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. So, if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Additional Sapphire Preferred Benefits

Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.

For all members, the annual fee is $95 per year and a $0 foreign transaction fee. 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 our list of the best credit cards for domestic travel.

Thanks to the low annual fee, numerous benefits, and flexibility, we believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth trying for.

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

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 2x miles per $1 spent. However, earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com (through May 16, 2023). 

If you want to maximize your daily spending and travel purchases, 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 and there are $0 foreign transaction fees.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

You may have noticed that the Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture Rewards have a lot in common.

If you are torn between the two options or just want to learn more, visit our Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture Rewards comparison.

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.

Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.

Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.

Plus, American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide.

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 $189 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

Cardholders earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. They also earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

The Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.

Another exciting benefit is the ability for cardholders to enjoy up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when they pay with their Platinum Card®. This amounts to up to $300 annually. Enrollment required. 

There is also a $155 Walmart+ credit to enjoy. This covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

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. 

Redeeming Points

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 and Hawaiian Airlines. You can also use British Airways, a 1:1 transfer partner, to book American Airlines partner flights.

Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, they can apply and select their preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier® Card is another flexible option that might be worth trying for you. There is a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. There is no limit to how many points you can earn. Points don’t expire.

The Premier Card comes with a $100 hotel savings benefit. Use this perk by booking a prepaid hotel stay of $500 or more through ThankYou.com.

You can redeem points on gift cards, merchandise, travel, and cash. Use your points on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. You can also transfer points to airline and hotel partners.

For a limited time, new Citi Premier® Card cardholders can earn 80,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months (worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com).

Related: 8 Best Credit Cards For Everyday Spending (Groceries, Gas, & More)

United Airlines 777 Polaris LAX to HNL February 28 2022. Photo by Johnny Jet

Best United Airlines Credit Card: United Explorer Card

The United℠ Explorer Card is the best card for flying with 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 United® 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

This is one of the best United credit cards.

New United℠ Explorer Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Plus, there’s a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

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 is one of the top airlines in the United States, with oneworld partners around the globe. Having an American Airlines card can get you more perks both domestically and internationally. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® comes with these benefits:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions booked on the same reservation
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after $20,000 in annual card purchases or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • Earn 2x miles at restaurants, gas stations, and eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases

New cardholders can earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $3,500 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

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 of food, beverages, and audio headsets
  • $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit after spending $10,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year
  • Terms apply

You get priority boarding on Delta flights plus Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card earns 2x Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (1x Mile for everything else that is eligible). 

New Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles after they spend $2,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 6 months. 

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

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

Best Southwest Airlines Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit 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)
  • Additionally, get 25% back on inflight purchases

Cardholders earn unlimited:

  • 3x points on Southwest® purchases
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases

New Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

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

The information for the JetBlue Plus Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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 from New York to LA.

The JetBlue Plus Card has a $99 annual fee and comes with these benefits:

  • Free first checked bags for you and 3 companions
  • 5,000 bonus points after each card anniversary
  • Points pooling with family members
  • Annual $100 statement credit when purchasing a JetBlue Vacation
  • Earn 6x points on eligible JetBlue purchases
  • Earn 2x points at restaurants and eligible grocery stores (1x point for all remaining purchases)

New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

Related: Visa Platinum or Visa Signature: Which is Better?

Summary

The best domestic travel credit card depends on your travel habits. If you tend to use 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.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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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