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If you have less than stellar credit, that doesn’t mean you have to go without the ability to earn points or miles toward your next trip. There are actually a few credit cards out there that can help you earn points and miles while you rebuild your credit in order to qualify for a better credit card with even more earning power.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Here are four travel credit cards to consider if you have bad credit. Note that there are different types of credit cards so one might be more relevant than another.
The information for the Discover it® Secured Card, the LATAM Secured Credit Card, the AeroMexico Visa Secured credit card, and the SKYPASS Visa Secured Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
1. Discover it Secured Credit Card
While the Discover it® Secured Card isn’t technically a travel credit card, as it’s not affiliated with a travel brand, it does offer some good earning opportunities for travelers, as well as cash back. Many frequent travelers find cash back can come in handy for paying for a wide array of travel costs, as seen in some of the best cash back credit cards.
While you do have to provide a refundable security deposit of at least $200 to establish a credit line, the Discover it Secured card will help you build a better credit history while you enjoy no annual fee and the ability to earn cash back.
You’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter. You’ll earn 1% cash back on everything else. If you handle the card responsibly, Discover will review your account after eight months and consider upping you from a secured credit card to an unsecured card.
So, if you have truly horrid credit and you want to earn something useful that can go toward your travel while building a better credit history, the Discover It Secured card would be a good choice. It’s also one of the best Discover credit cards.
2. LATAM Secured Credit Card
If you do absolutely want a credit card that’s affiliated with a travel brand, consider the LATAM Secured Credit Card. You do have to put down a security deposit, as you would with the Discover it Secured card, but the travel-related benefits are pretty nice.
Cardholders earn points that are essentially miles. You earn 1 point for every $1 spent on the card (subject to eligibility), with no maximum amount of points you can earn. There’s a sign-up bonus of 5,000 points, which you receive after first card use or after you pay the minimal annual fee of $25 (which is waived the first year of card use).
Then, you’ll receive another 5,000 bonus points every time you refer a friend for a LATAM credit card. You’ll also receive a 10% discount on the first LATAM Airlines purchase (up to $500) once a year.
LATAM Airlines is a Latin America-based airline, with flights to major U.S. hubs. But, even if you don’t do a lot (or any) travel to Latin America, this card could still be beneficial to you. LATAM is part of the oneworld alliance — which means all the LATAM points you earn can be used with other oneworld alliance airlines, such as American Airlines.
Related: Best Instant Approval Credit Cards
3. AeroMexico Visa Secured Card
For similar airline perks like the ones you get with the LATAM Secured Credit Card but higher-earning rates beyond the simple 1 point per $1 spent, look into the AeroMexico Visa Secured credit card. Yes, you’ll need a security deposit, and the annual fee is a bit higher, but the benefits offset the annual fee cost.
Cardholders earn 2x AeroMexico Club Premier miles at gas stations and grocery stores. A sign-up bonus of 3,500 miles is available after your first card use.
In order to even apply for this card, you’ll need to open a U.S. Bank checking or savings account with at least $300.
4. SKYPASS Visa Secured Card
The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card is offered by Korean Air. You earn 1 mile per $1 spent on the card and will receive a 5,000-mile sign-up bonus after your first purchase. You’ll also get 1,000 bonus miles upon card renewal. You do have to put down a security deposit and there is an annual fee of $50.
However, like LATAM Airlines, Korean Air is a member of an airline alliance, meaning the miles you earn using the SKYPASS Secured credit card are valid for redeeming free flights with other airlines in the same alliance. Korean Air is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, which also includes Delta Air Lines, among others.
Related: Best Delta Credit Cards
Considering a Travel Credit Card with Bad Credit?
If you’re considering signing up for a travel credit card and you have a history of bad credit, make sure that you actually help yourself rather than hurt your credit further. Pay off your balance every single month and make sure to pay on time, every time. Don’t max out your credit card and don’t try to apply for all of the above cards at once. Having multiple applications out there can be a major red flag for lenders.
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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.