This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.

Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, many people are looking to maximize domestic travel to 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. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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.

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. 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 in transferring your points to these 1:1 airline transfer partners:

  • United Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • British Airways

There are several Chase Sapphire reward categories. 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)
  • 5x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 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.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently has an offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Additional Sapphire Preferred Benefits

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 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. 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 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. 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.

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, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

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®.

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

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 is available to Basic Card Members 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.

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® from American Express 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 when you pay with your 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
  • 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.

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 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

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.

For a limited time, new cardholders can earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021. This is one of the best credit card offers.

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

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 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)

There’s also a limited-time offer. New cardholders can earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

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.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *