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.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
We can’t talk about travel credit cards in 2020 without talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. While domestic travel is an option and road trips have become more popular, travel is still an uncertainty for many. You may be wondering if a travel credit card is even worth it right now. We think it is worth it for several reasons.
We’ve seen credit card issuers adjust their policies and add new reward earning opportunities for everyday purchases. You can earn more miles, points, or cash back now on your daily spending that can be saved for future travel, redeemed for gift cards, and more.
Applying for one of the best travel credit cards in 2020 can help you maximize your spending and earn rewards. There are several bonuses worth over $1,000 in value, available for a limited time only. Plus, the best travel cards are flexible, so you redeem points/miles at your favorite airline or hotel loyalty program.
Whether you travel for personal reasons, business reasons, are new to award travel, or are a seasoned veteran, below are the top travel credit cards in 2020 you should consider. You can easily earn points/miles now to have for the future.
The Best Travel Credit Cards for 2020
- Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Best Card for Everyday Travel: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Best Card for Premium Travelers: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best Card for Premium Flyers: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best Card with No Annual Fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
- Avianca LifeMiles Credit Cards – Earn Up to 40,000 Bonus Miles
- United℠ Explorer Card – 40,000 Miles after Spending $2000 in First 3 Months
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
- World of Hyatt Credit Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card – 100,000 Point Business Bonus
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – $500 Business Card Offer
Chase Sapphire Preferred
When you’re just starting out earning travel credit card rewards, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This travel card offers some of the most valuable travel rewards points. Your points are worth 25% more when booking award travel on Chase. Or, you can also transfer them on a 1:1 basis to the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners.
As a new credit cardholder, you can also earn 80,000 bonus points worth $1000 in award travel after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. You also earn unlimited 2 points per $1 on all travel and dining spending. You won’t pay foreign transaction fees on this travel credit card either.
Perks and Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Additionally, there are new Chase Sapphire Preferred perks cardholders can enjoy:
- Get 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 DashPass subscription from DoorDash. This is worth over a $100 value. But, you must activate with your card by December 31, 2021.
- Earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Additionally, Chase offers a Pay Yourself Back feature that allows cardholders to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for their existing purchases across select categories and receive a statement credit. The categories include:
- Grocery stores
- Home improvement stores
- Dining (including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services)
- Charity donations
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus. New cardholders can earn the 100k mile bonus by spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
The Venture Rewards card stands out for awarding 2x miles on all purchases (unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 2x on only dining & travel), with miles worth 1 cent each as a travel statement credit. Plus, Uber Eats purchases earn 5x miles per $1 spent, through January 31, 2020. That means this card carries a flat rewards rate of 2%, with miles redeemable toward eligible travel-related purchases made in the last 90 days or toward travel purchases made through the Capital One portal.
The Venture Rewards is the best Capital One card for travel. Frequent travelers might get more value out of a card that offers extra points on travel spending. You won’t get much in the way of perks and protections out of the Venture Rewards card. Still, the card’s flexible statement credit redemption option and 2x miles on all purchases makes it a reliable option for people who want to rack up rewards on everyday purchases for their next trip.
And redeeming Capital One Venture miles just keeps getting more valuable with the addition of being able to transfer your miles out to airlines and hotels. The Capital One Venture is no doubt one of the top travel cards. Knowing the Capital One Venture credit score needed for approval might help you determine if this is the card for you.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Platinum Card from American Express
When you want a travel card to maximize air travel, get the American Express Platinum. You earn an impressive 5x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. You can also earn 5x points per $1 on prepaid hotels (hotel booked and paid in advance) booked on amextravel.com. Plus, you can enjoy 1:1 point transfers to airlines like Delta, British Airways, and Emirates.
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can also earn 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening (worth $600 in award travel). But it’s possible that you could be eligible for an Amex Platinum 100k offer. This travel credit card offers lots of air travel benefits that improve your flight experience:
- $200 airline fee credit
- Free access to airport lounge networks including The Centurion, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Club
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- $200 in annual Uber ride credits
This card does have an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees). The travel credit card earning and redemption options aren’t as flexible as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But, if you prefer award air travel benefits to flexibility, the American Express Platinum can be a better travel card. Compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum here.
Additional Perks Due to COVID-19
Amex has added additional bonus categories to help cardholders during the pandemic. These American Express bonus categories include rewards for streaming, groceries, takeout, and business purchases. The perks for the Platinum Card from American Express can earn up to $20 in monthly statement credits. You can earn up to $320 in total credits with either card by earning the full credit from May through December 2020.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
The budget-friendly Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card maximizes your travel and lifestyle spending. You won’t pay an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee. In addition to the 20,000 points welcome bonus when you spend $1,000 in purchases in 3 months (worth $200), you also earn unlimited 3x points on these purchases:
- Gas, rideshares, and transit
- Flights, Hotels, Homestays, and Car Rentals
- Popular streaming services (that are eligible)
While you won’t get the premium travel benefits that come with travel credit cards, the Propel offers similar purchase rewards earning and redemption values. The Wells Fargo Propel is one of the best metal credit cards and is a solid offering. It is also the best Wells Fargo credit card, in my opinion.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
When you’re not exclusive for a particular airline or hotel brand, premium flexible travel rewards credit cards provide better benefits and point redemption options for frequent flyers.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has some new perks, but still earns the valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You receive a 50% travel redemption bonus when booking award travels through Chase. Or, you can transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel travel partners, including Southwest, United, Marriott, and World of Hyatt. Key card benefits include:
- 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening (worth up to $750 in award travel)
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, up to $100
- 3x points on dining purchases
- 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
- 1x points on all remaining purchases
If you like flexibility in earning and redeeming travel rewards points, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the best travel rewards card options. However, be aware that there is a $550 annual fee (though the benefits can offset the cost).
New Perks and Benefits
Along with the many perks listed above, the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits update includes complimentary DoorDash DashPass and one free year of Lyft Pink. Cardholders also earn 10x points on Lyft purchases and $60 in DoorDash credits for 2020.
Chase also has added benefits in response to the pandemic, including the Pay Yourself Back feature available through the end of April 2021.
Plus, from June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, the $300 travel credit is redeemable at grocery stores and gas stations. Chase will automatically apply this credit for travel, grocery, and gas purchases. You may need to tactically time your bonus category purchases if you still have a travel credit. Note that the purchases your travel credit covers won’t earn bonus points.
Best Business Travel Credit Cards
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers the most valuable Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus. It’s worth up to $1,250 in award travel. To earn it, you must spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, you also enjoy 1:1 points transfers and a 25% Chase travel redemption bonus.
Consider the Ink Business Preferred if you want to earn 3x per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:
- Shipping Purchase
- Internet, Phone, and Cable Services
- Search Engine and Social Media Advertising
After maxing the 3x point per $1 spent, it is 1 point per $1.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
For a no annual fee business credit card, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card lets you earn bonus points on select purchases. You can redeem your points for cash or travel rewards. Unlike the Ink Business Preferred, you don’t get a travel redemption bonus or 1:1 point transfers.
But, you can pair this with the Preferred to pool your points and earn bonus points on more purchases. You earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year. This includes office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services.
You also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at either gas stations or restaurants each account anniversary year. All remaining purchases make an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
Which Travel Card Will Get Me a Free Flight Fastest?
Perhaps you’ve been intrigued by the world of accruing credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of gaining free flights and upgrades, but are wondering where to start. After all, there are many credit card options to choose from. You also don’t want to be stuck earning points and miles bit by slow bit, waiting over a year or more before you can cash in on that free flight.
If this sounds like you, continue reading. You can find out which travel cards will get you a free flight fastest.
Things To Remember Before Earning Your Free Flight Fastest
If your end goal is just to get a free flight, you’ll want to keep some things in mind.
Firstly, you’ll want to get a credit card that actually works for your travel purposes. For instance, if you want a free flight from United, don’t get a Delta credit card. Most often, general travel credit cards are best for earning free flights. These cards allow you to redeem travel with airline partners using that card’s specific point system. That’s why you’ll see only those general travel credit cards in the list of cards curated below.
Secondly, you’ll want to be sure that you can actually meet the card’s spending requirements. To earn a free flight, you have to spend money. That doesn’t mean you have to spend money you wouldn’t otherwise. Sometimes, earning points and meeting a spending requirement is as simple as putting all of your costs for a month (or several) on your card, and then paying your card off in full at the end of each month.
You don’t want to carry a balance. A balance negates the benefits of earning the free flight if you’re gaining debt and interest in the process. If a card offers you a large number of points for $4,000 spend, but you know you could never spend $4,000 in three months, maybe pass on that card.
For most playing the points and miles game, they’re not spending on their credit card and then automatically being handed a free flight. They often swap those points and miles between membership accounts in order to pay for a free flight. Or, they spend strategically on cards to get cash back to use toward a free flight. The result is the same, but it’s not just as cut and dry as spending and then receiving free airfare. So, for this reason, keep options like cash back cards in mind. They might help you get enough cash to cover a free flight faster.
Make sure the card is a good fit for you overall before you sign up. Does it have a hefty annual fee that you don’t want to pay? Will you use the card’s other benefits, such as free bags, lounge entry or anything similar?
You want to ensure you’re making a smart credit card decision, not just a snap judgment.
Chase Sapphire Cards
There’s a reason the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top-rated and highly preferred credit card among the travel community. It comes with a ton of perks, allows you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which can be redeemed for travel with a ton of travel providers, all typically at good value), and usually offers a pretty decent sign-up offer.
Currently, you can earn 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That amount of points is equal to $750 when redeemed for travel. That’s easily enough for a flight (or several)!
Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card does come with many travel perks. It also comes with a large annual fee of $550. If that sounds like too much for you, then you’ll be glad to know you can enjoy a similar sign-up offer when you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. It comes with a much more palatable annual fee of $95. When you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, you’ll still get 80,000 UR points – enough points to equal $1000 toward travel.
Both cards are great additions to your wallet. They both give you access to the Ultimate Rewards portal. You can earn a free flight fastest with either card thanks to the valuable Chase transfer partners. For an in-depth comparison, check out our Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred review to find the better option for your travels.
Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
Chase Sapphire and Chase Freedom Cards
Two options worth mentioning is the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards. They are no annual fee cash back cards that earn up to 5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, they work well with the Chase Sapphire cards (and Ink Business Preferred) because the rewards you earn with the Freedom cards can be combined. Learn more about this Chase trifecta to see how you can maximize your purchases.
Related: Chase Freedom Flex Review
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is very similar to the Wells Fargo Propel. There’s no annual fee and it earns miles for every purchase. If you don’t want to go the cash back route offered by the Wells Fargo card above, you might prefer this card instead. When you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening, you’ll earn 20,000 miles, also worth $200 in travel. You also earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase.
Still undecided on which credit card will get you your free flight fastest? Compare the Wells Fargo Propel vs Capital One VentureOne to learn more.
Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier® Card is a good travel credit card to consider as it earns more on everyday purchases and has a reasonable annual fee. The Citi Premier earns:
- 3x points on air travel, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
- 1x points on all remaining purchases
You can also transfer your points to airlines including Asia Miles, JetBlue, and Avianca LifeMiles. There is an annual $100 hotel benefit. Cardholders can enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through thankyou.com, once per calendar year.
The annual fee for the Citi Premier® Card is $95 and there is no foreign transaction fee. New Citi cardmembers can also earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Best Credit Cards for Airline Purchases
Though there are airline miles credit cards, this one can help you travel through a pretty sweet welcome bonus. The Avianca LifeMiles credit cards offer a simple standard welcome bonus. Below are the current welcome bonus offers for both cards:
- Avianca Vida Visa® Card: 20,000 welcome bonus miles after first purchase
- Avianca Vuela Visa® Card: 40,000 welcome bonus miles after first purchase
Both bonuses are very easy to earn and have some of the easiest ways to earn points and miles for travel.
United Explorer Card
United Airlines is a popular carrier for domestic and global routes simply because of the sheer number of destinations. They are also one of the few carriers to still offer fixed mileage award flights and not charge fuel surcharges on long-haul flights. The United℠ Explorer Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Besides this sign-up bonus, you can enjoy these benefits with the best United cards:
- 2x miles on United purchases, restaurants, and hotels
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, up to $100
- Free first checked bag for you and one travel companion
- Two one-time United Club passes at account opening and each card anniversary
Best Travel Cards for Hotels Loyalists
These two hotel credit cards, some of the best hotel credit card offers, can be a win-win as you’ll earn hotel loyalty points with each purchase. Plus, you get a free hotel night award each card anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card lets you capture the recent excitement of the Marriott Rewards program merging with the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card has replaced the premium Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. Silver Elite benefits mean you can enjoy free in-room premium Wi-Fi at Marriott Bonvoy properties.
One of the best Marriott credit cards, you also get 10% bonus points on stays, priority late checkout, and no blackout dates on free night awards. You also have access to exclusive experiences.
There’s also the ability to earn 5 free nights after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. By getting the Bonvoy, you can enjoy these benefits:
- Automatic Silver Elite status
- 15 Elite Night Credits
- 1 Free Night Award (each card anniversary)
- No foreign transaction fee
You also earn unlimited 6x points at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. All remaining purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
World of Hyatt Credit Card
While World of Hyatt isn’t the largest hotel rewards program, they offer low-cost reward nights for their properties. For their most upscale properties, you pay a very reasonable 40,000 points per night. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points (worth up to 10 free nights at Category 1 hotels).
They will earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, they will earn an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening. With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can enjoy these card benefits:
- One free night each card anniversary
- Second free night after spending $15,000 in annual card purchases
- World of Hyatt Discoverist Status
- 9x points at Hyatt hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas
- 2x points on dining, airfare purchased directly from the airline, local transit, and fitness clubs and gyms
- No foreign transaction fee
One of the best hotel credit card offers 2020, the World of Hyatt bonus is worth a look, especially for travelers who stay at Hyatt properties often.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is a business option worth mentioning due to its extensive welcome bonus. New cardholders can earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 12x points on all Hilton hotel and resort purchases, 6x points on select business and travel purchases, and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. There are no earning caps.
This card comes with Gold Status and up to two free weekend night stays by making $15,000 and $45,000 in card purchases annually ($60,000 total per year). Frequent flyers will also enjoy the 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge passes you will receive each year. The annual fee is only $95 (See Rates & Fees).
Key Features in Finding the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
There is truly an overwhelming selection of travel rewards credit cards on the market, with options for just about every kind of traveler. So, to narrow down those options a bit, we’ve picked out the best travel rewards cards and compared their most appealing features. But before we break it down, there are a few key terms to understand.
We’re comparing these credit card reviews based on a few features that might sway your decision:
- Annual fee: Some travel rewards credit cards come with no annual fee, some come with a massive annual fee, and some waive their fee for the first year. Generally, the more you pay, the bigger the perks.
- Sign-up/Welcome bonus: Don’t cheat yourself out of points or miles by signing up for a travel card with no sign-up/welcome bonus. Once you decide on what kind of spending minimum you can reliably meet, you can compare the best travel rewards credit cards based on which will give you the most points for that initial spending.
- Extra points: Some travel cards will give you 2x points or miles on all of your purchases, and some will award as much as 5x points or miles on specific spending categories. It’s worth the time to look through your recent credit card statements and compare the rewards you would have earned with different travel cards.
- No foreign transaction fee: Period.
- Travel perks, benefits, and protections: Each travel credit card comes with different perks, but most will offer varying levels of protection for travel mishaps like canceled flights, stolen luggage, and collision damage waivers for car rentals.
You don’t have to find a travel rewards credit card that checks off each of these boxes for you – but you might be able to. We’ll rank the best credit cards based on how they compete in each of these categories. Also, please read this post on Chase’s 5/24 rule if you’re not familiar with it.
Here are some of the best travel rewards credit cards in 2020 and onwards. Some come with the ability to earn for dining and travel while others are geared towards providing luxury travel. Whatever you like, one of these is sure to fit your needs.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit score for approval should be above 700 and the Sapphire Preferred offers an 80,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening – that’s worth at least $1000 toward travel through Ultimate Rewards. But you can receive even more value by transferring your Ultimate Rewards points out to a travel partner.
With a $95 annual fee for the Sapphire Preferred, 2x points on travel and dining, and a long list of travel protections, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers excellent value for its cost. The Sapphire Preferred’s flexibility comes from its redemption options. You’ll be able to redeem points for statement credit (at a rate of 1 cent per point) or for an elevated rate of 1.25 cents each toward travel booked through Ultimate Rewards.
But your best bet with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will usually be to take advantage of Chase’s 1:1 transfer ratio with its hotel and airline transfer partners. That’s a huge draw and makes your Ultimate Rewards points very flexible. With the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll be able to transfer your points to these airline & hotel loyalty programs:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Iberia Plus
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
Another feature that makes this travel rewards card remarkably flexible is your ability to transfer your points immediately to another Ultimate Rewards account held by you, your spouse, or your domestic partner. If you already hold a card like the Chase Freedom or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, that could be a huge boost in meeting your rewards goals.
Which Credit Card Gives the Best Travel Rewards?
The Sapphire Preferred has some new travel rewards! The two new benefits include no delivery fees for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DoorDash DashPass subscription, over a $100 value (activate by December 31, 2021). Cardholders can also earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
And it’s definitely worth noting, that there’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which comes with a higher annual fee, but also comes with more benefits.
Best Business Travel Card: Chase Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card carries a $95 annual fee, which more than makes up for with its ridiculously tempting sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus points when you meet the $15,000 spending minimum in the first 3 months from account opening. Those 100k bonus points are worth $1,250 towards travel when you redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal, or potentially even more if you can transfer them to the right airline partner.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card also offers extra points in some bonus categories that might appeal to freelancers and small business owners: you’ll earn 3x points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising on social media sites and search engines. Keep in mind, you’ll earn those 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases in each account anniversary year. After that, all purchases will earn 1x points. This card also comes with some helpful travel protections:
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
- Roadside Dispatch
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
- Extended Warranty Protection
- Purchase Protection
- Cell Phone Protection
Best Premium Travel Card: The Platinum Card from American Express for Luxury Travel
If you travel frequently, value luxury travel then you might consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. It doesn’t have the high rewards offered by some other travel rewards cards, but it does come with some competitive travel perks. And of course, it makes sense to compare the Amex Platinum with the Sapphire Preferred which is also a great premium card.
You’ll be able to earn a 60,000-point welcome bonus when you use your card to spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. On top of that welcome bonus, frequent travelers can earn 5x points on eligible hotels booked through AMEX travel. Cardholders also earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
Anything else will earn just 1x points.
Those Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for statement credits and gift cards, but you’ll get the most value out of using them to book travel through amextravel.com or by transferring them to an airline or hotel partner:
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Alitalia Millemiglia
- ANA Mileage Club
- Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue True Blue
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Choice Privileges (Hotels)
- Hilton HHonors
- Marriott Bonvoy
Again, you won’t get a 1:1 transfer ratio with all partners, so it’s worth checking before you make any final decisions. The Platinum’s travel perks include up to $200 in Uber credits annually, up to $200 airline fee statement credits for incidentals on your preselected qualifying airline, access to the Global Lounge Collection, and valuable benefits when you stay at a property in the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection. Take full advantage of this card’s welcome bonus, annual credits, and airline transfer partners.
This card does have an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees). However, this can be offset by the card perks.
Additionally, cardholders can get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on their Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. However, they must be enrolled for this benefit to apply. Here’s how hard it is to get approved for the Amex Platinum, and the credit score needed for Amex Platinum approval.
Hotel Credit Card: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
To complete the Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest merger, Marriott and Chase launched the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. It comes with the ability to earn 5 free nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Additionally, you’ll earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. As a cardmember, you can also enjoy free in-room premium Wi-Fi at Marriott Bonvoy properties. Other Silver Elite benefits include 10% bonus points on stays, priority late checkout, and no blackout dates on free night awards.
There are several perks to consider with these upgraded Marriott credit cards that are the product of the merger. With Marriott, you can transfer your points to:
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Alitalia Millemiglia
- All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
- Asia Miles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Airways
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- United Mileage Plus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The full list includes over 30 frequent flyer programs, but keep in mind that not all of them offer a 1:1 transfer ratio. You’ll want to check on your preferred airline before you finalize any transfers.
Related: Best Marriott Credit Cards
Other Travel Credit Card Options
These travel credit cards each offer great value in different areas, but they aren’t the only valuable travel rewards cards out there. If none of these travel credit cards suit your needs, don’t worry, you’ve still got options. Some other rewards credit card options include valuable cash back rewards cards like the Blue Cash EveryDay card from American Express or the AMEX EveryDay from American Express.
New Travel Credit Card Strategy: How to Choose Your Next Credit Card for 2020
Perhaps your 2020 goals include being smarter with your finances and credit card strategy so that you can maximize points and get rewarded for your regular purchases. With a bit of extra care and consideration of your needs and spending habits, you can choose the best travel credit card that allows you to benefit greatly. These tips will help you choose your next credit card for 2019.
Know Your Credit Score and Credit Situation
Before getting any new travel credit cards, it’s always a good idea to have a general idea of where your finances and credit stand. While you don’t need to know your exact score, having a general idea where to look for a free credit score will help. Some travel credit cards require you to have better credit than others in order to qualify. If you don’t have the best credit history or score, it may be worthwhile to take some time to work on improving it first.
Consider Your Normal Spending
Take a look at your everyday spending habits to see what you’re spending your money on and what you’re usually charging to your credit card. Do you go to restaurants (look at the Amex Gold and Sapphire Preferred) a lot? Do you spend a lot on gas or rental cars? Are most of your purchases travel related?
Some travel cards will reward more points or miles for certain spending categories. That means if you tend to spend a lot more money in one category, you’ll want a travel card that dishes out the most points. Take some time to comb through your last few credit card statements to see what categories are the most popular for your own spending.
Outline Any Big Expenses for the Year
While you may stick to your normal routine with everyday purchases, you may have a plan to buy some bigger expenses, too. Those items with a larger price tag should be thought out ahead of time. Are you planning to take a big trip? Do you need to buy a new laptop? In the market for a cell upgrade? Planning out when you buy these items or when you apply for the next credit card for 2020 can make it easier for you to hit your minimum spend for credit card sign up bonus points.
Compare Bonus Point Offers
Some Travel cards offer more attractive bonus point offers. If you’re planning to get a credit card anyway, you might as well get a good amount of bonus points so that you can use those points for a better reward later on. Many cards keep their sign-on bonus point offers relatively the same throughout the year. Others offer limited-time promotions where they increase the bonus points to get more people to sign up for their card.
Some of the top travel credit cards with a great sign-on bonus point offers:
- Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 points after $5,000 spend during the first 3 months.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 80,000 points after $4,000 spend during the first 3 months.
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: 100,000 points after $15,000 spend during the first 3 months.
Make sure that you choose a credit card for 2020 that has a minimum spend that you can meet so that it’s easy for you to earn your bonus points.
Understand Terms, Fees, APR When Deciding on a Travel Credit Card for 2020
Before applying for a travel credit card for 2020, you want to have a full understanding of the terms and conditions of the card. Knowing what the APR is and if the card has an annual fee is also essential. This allows you to use the card smartly in the coming months.
As always, it’s best to pay off your balance each month to avoid fees and to make the points you’re earning more worthwhile. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, now is a great time to outline your financial plans and goals for the new year. Decide how you will spend and what cards you will use for your purchases. You can get a great new credit card for 2020 that meets your individual needs and rewards you well for your spending.
A Good Year for Travel Rewards
If you carry and spend on rewards credit cards – because really, why wouldn’t you? – 2020 might be an exciting year for your wallet. Banks and issuers have been recognizing consumer trends and listening to cardholder requests recently, making a number of changes to their products. This means that 2019 and 2020 have been slated to be a great time for credit card rewards.
Increased Cash Back
Cash back credit cards have always been an excellent choice. After all, you might as well earn something back on those things that you buy every day anyway. Depending on how you stack your rewards and which cards you carry, this can result in hundreds of dollars back each year, just for buying like you normally do.
It’s no wonder, then, that Americans love their rewards cards. In fact, a survey found that 40% of respondents preferred rewards (cashback, miles, etc.) over a lower interest rate or introductory APR offer. Consumers want to earn on their purchases, and banks are listening. That’s why cashback rewards are expected to improve, as credit card companies (and even banks) boost their offerings as they vie to draw in new, loyal customers. One of their targets is Millennials, like with the recently announced Apple card.
New Travel Credit Cards Drum Up Competition
If credit card issuers didn’t already feel the competitive pinch to lasso in new customers, they will this year. A number of new credit card products offering cash back rewards hit the market last year. This presents consumers with even more choices for their wallets.
Take the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Cardholders can take advantage of 12x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 6x points per dollar on eligible purchases spent at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants, and 3x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases everywhere else. It has an annual fee of $95 (See Rates & Fees).
If you want to take it up another notch, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card is a high-end product for the Platinum-carrying types. It offers a number of excellent perks. For instance, cardholders will enjoy a $250 annual airline fee credit, a $250 Hilton resort statement credit, top-tier Hilton Diamond status, and Priority Pass Select membership. This card has an annual fee of $450 (See Rates & Fees), which can be offset by the numerous perks.
The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Best Hilton Honors Cards
2019 Products Changes
In 2019, there have been a few changes thus far with more possibilities in the coming months. We have seen the rebranding of the Marriott cards. Interestingly, to complete the Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest merger, these two hotel giants launched these credit cards. Marriott had a strong partnership with Chase while Starwood had a solid deal going with American Express, which is why the two still co-exist (albeit under different names).
American Express will continue to handle the Marriott premium and business cards while Chase will carry the torch for personal and no-fee Marriott cards. A credit card market with exciting new products and excellent rewards, worth even a high annual fee, only benefits consumers. This drummed up competition serves to deliver even more offerings from issuers.
Travel Cards Match Your Lifestyle
Now more than ever, credit card products are catering to consumers’ individual lifestyles. Through personalized rewards categories and branded cards, cardholders can choose rewards that best suit them and their preferences. This is evidenced through products like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which has, in the past, offered cardholders half-price subscriptions for their Spotify accounts.
American Express made customers very happy by offering up to $200 savings towards Uber ride-sharing services for their Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card cardholders earn points for eligible streaming services and can get cellphone protection coverage. Given the popularity of these benefits, we can expect them to continue and possibly even improve, moving into the future.
On top of that, we are beginning to see more and more branded (or co-branded) credit card products that are company-specific. Take, for instance, the Uber Visa card, which is co-branded with Barclays. It offers cashback in multiple categories, as well as a sign-up bonus, credits for streaming services, and cell phone protection. Of course, cardholders can redeem their earned rewards in many ways, including the ability to put them toward their Uber account, even while on-the-go. Starbucks and Amazon also have their own cards that can be convenient for frequent consumers.
No Longer One Size Fits All
Rewards credit cards are evolving, alongside consumer spending and trends. As cardholders’ preferences change, we can expect issuers to continue offering improved rewards, better bonuses, and even introducing brand new products. The market is being flooded with excellent, rewards-based products that catch the eye of consumers.
It’s no surprise, then, that this competition is resulting in some of the best offerings we’ve ever seen. Rewards are no longer one-size-fits-all. Instead, we are seeing issuers alter and even create products that match consumers’ own spending habits and rewards redemption preferences. The trend shows no signs of slowing, either.
My advice is to plan ahead. Decide how you want to use one of these top travel credit cards. With the right planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a travel-filled 2020.
Best Travel Cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Application Rules – $1000 Award Travel Bonus
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes – Premium Benefits
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card $500 bonus, No Annual Fee
- How Hard Is It to Get the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – 100,000 Point Bonus
Travel Credit Card FAQs
What are the advantages of using a travel credit card?
Travel credit cards allow you to rack up rewards points on purchases. By using a travel credit card for purchases you would normally make with cash or a debit card, you can earn points that accumulate into basically free money. Certain travel credit cards give other perks while traveling such as hotel elite status, airport lounge access, discounts or credit towards travel purchases, and even free airline companion certificates. Many travel credit cards also have sign-up bonuses that include things like free points, accumulating points at a higher rate for a limited time, and even discounts on certain items.
Why types of travel credit cards are there?
Travel credit cards mainly fall into two categories: co-branded and general-purpose. Co-branded travel credit cards share a name with a hotel chain or airline. Rewards that you earn with those cards can usually only be redeemed through that company and its partners. While these cards are usually less flexible with what you can use your points for, they have special perks when redeemed within their network.
General-purpose travel credit cards are issued by credit card companies and are not tied to any specific airlines or hotels. Each credit card company has a different points system, and are much more flexible when it comes to rewards. These points can be accumulated by using your travel card for most purchases, and are usually redeemed for flights and hotel stays.
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.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, click here.
And for rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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.
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.
- 1 The Best Travel Credit Cards for 2020
- 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 3 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 4 Platinum Card from American Express
- 5 Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
- 6 Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 7 Best Business Travel Credit Cards
- 8 Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- 9 Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- 10 Which Travel Card Will Get Me a Free Flight Fastest?
- 11 Things To Remember Before Earning Your Free Flight Fastest
- 12 Chase Sapphire Cards
- 13 Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
- 14 Citi Premier Card
- 15 Best Credit Cards for Airline Purchases
- 16 Avianca LifeMiles
- 17 United Explorer Card
- 18 Best Travel Cards for Hotels Loyalists
- 19 Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
- 20 World of Hyatt Credit Card
- 21 Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- 22 Key Features in Finding the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
- 23 Other Travel Credit Card Options
- 24 New Travel Credit Card Strategy: How to Choose Your Next Credit Card for 2020
- 25 Know Your Credit Score and Credit Situation
- 26 Consider Your Normal Spending
- 27 Outline Any Big Expenses for the Year
- 28 Compare Bonus Point Offers
- 29 Understand Terms, Fees, APR When Deciding on a Travel Credit Card for 2020
- 30 A Good Year for Travel Rewards
- 31 No Longer One Size Fits All
- 32 Summary
- 33 Best Travel Cards:
- 34 Travel Credit Card FAQs