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An easy way to make life more exciting is by paying for purchases using credit cards with travel rewards. Whether you like to redeem your rewards for flights, hotels, or road trip expenses, these cards can optimize your travel habits. And if you aren’t ready to travel now, that’s okay too. These cards come with bonuses and perks that can be used when you are ready to travel again.

Earning bonuses with some of these credit cards with travel rewards can help you earn reward travel for next year. Airbus A350-900XWB in Singapore Airlines livery. Credit: Singapore Airlines

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best overall travel credit cards because it earns some of the most valuable credit card points on purchases.

Enjoy Chase Sapphire benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Each point is worth 25% more when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards dashboard for award travel. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotels including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and World of Hyatt.

Other travel benefits include trip cancellation coverage (up to $10,000 per person) and primary rental car collision damage waiver.

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®.

The annual fee is $95.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another top-notch credit card for travel rewards. All purchases earn 2 miles per $1.

However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—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). 

You can redeem your miles for travel statement credits, booking upcoming travel, and transfer your miles to airlines and hotels. One travel benefit you may like is a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. You can learn more about how to maximize the flight travel benefits in our in-depth Capital One Venture Card review.

The annual fee is $95, and there are no 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.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Premium travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® continue to offer the best travel rewards. The Sapphire Reserve can be the best premium option as you have flexible redemption options.

Your dining purchases earn 3x Ultimate Rewards worldwide. Plus, earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Your points are worth 50% more (1.5 cents each) when booking award travel through Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer them to airlines and hotels.

Most premium cards are most valuable when booking award flights but your Ultimate Rewards can be valuable for hotels and rental cars as well.

Some additional travel benefits include:

  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Priority Pass Select lounge membership
  • Special benefits at Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection

Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The annual fee is $550 and $75 per additional user.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Another top contender for the best premium travel credit card is The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s an excellent option for frequent flyers and international travel.

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, which requires a minimum two-night stay, 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.

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.

Other 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 $189 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. 

Welcome Bonus Offer

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. Plus, new cardholders can choose new Platinum Card designs! Select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu. Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards   

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

If you need a business card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is one of the best for travel and daily business spending.

You earn 3 Ultimate Rewards per $1 on the first $150,000 in combined annual purchases for these categories:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Social media and search engine advertising

Your points are worth 1.25 cents each (25% more) for award travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotels. Trip cancellation insurance and primary auto rental insurance cover are additional travel benefits.

The Ink Business Preferred has an exciting signup bonus worth as much as $1,250 in award travel. You get 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards by spending $15,000 in the first 3 months.

Related: Chase Ink Business Preferred Review: 100k Point Offer (Worth $1250)

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a great option for frequent Southwest flyers.

Cardholders earn unlimited:

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

Additionally, get 25% back on inflight purchases.

New Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Built-in card benefits include a $75 annual Southwest Airlines travel credit, 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available), and 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards each card anniversary. The annual fee is $149 before redeeming the annual travel credit. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

If you fly for business on Southwest Airlines, check out the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card that earns:

  • 4x points on Southwest® purchases
  • 3x points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners
  • 2x points on rideshares
  • 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Cardholders also get unlimited tier qualifying points (TQPs) that can be earned toward A-List status. There is also a $500 annual fee credit for Rapid Rewards points transfers.

New card members can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. 

Additional business travel rewards include:

  • In-flight wifi credits (up to 365 per year)
  • 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • 9,000 Rapid Rewards each card anniversary

The annual fee is $199.

Related: Best Credit Card Offers

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

One of the most exciting hotel credit cards is the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card. IHG properties like the Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, and Staybridge Suites are in many cities across the US.

Cardholders can earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Also, earn 5x points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3x points per $1 spent on all other purchases. 

As an IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card cardholder, you’ll also get to enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide.

Additionally, you can enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 3 or more nights. 

As long as you remain a Premier cardmember, you can enjoy Platinum Elite status. Platinum Elite Status allows for room upgrades (when available), late check-out, welcome amenities at check-in, and more. Additionally, enjoy a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card. 

New IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card cardholders can earn 140,000 Bonus Points + 1 Free Night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The annual fee is $99. 

Related: IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card Review

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

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.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is one of the best premium hotel credit cards. Card benefits include earning:

  • 7x Hilton Honors points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 7x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants
  • 4x Hilton Honors points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio
  • 3x Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases on your card

Other benefits include Hilton Honors Diamond status, up to $250 Hilton resort in annual statement credits,  up to $100 in Hilton property credits, and Priority Pass Select lounge access.

There is also the opportunity to get one weekend night reward upon application approval and each card renewal and a second weekend night reward after spending $60,000 per year. The annual fee is $450 (See rates & fees). The welcome bonus is 150,000 Hilton Honors (worth up to 30 free nights) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Terms apply.

Related: Best Hilton Honors Credit Cards

United Gateway Card

Not all credit cards with travel perks charge an annual fee. The United Gateway℠ Card is one of the better options if you like flying on United Airlines. You 2x United miles on United® purchases, gas stations, local transit, and rideshares.

You get 25% back on in-flight purchases and get expanded seat availability on United flights.

New United Gateway Card cardmembers can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months the account is open. 

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

Summary

You will find that the best credit cards with travel rewards offer flexible redemption options for (almost) any travel purchase. Airlines and hotel credit cards can offer exciting loyalty perks that add value to your travel experience and can save you money as well.

FAQs

Which credit card gives the best travel rewards?

The best “consumer” travel credit card with travel rewards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Your points can be redeemed for 25% more for most types of award travel including flights, hotels, and rental cars. You can also transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotels.

While you won’t get travel statement credits or automatic lounge access, you can easily earn and redeem valuable credit card points.

The annual fee is $95 which makes this a good option for frequent and casual travelers.

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®.

Are credit cards with travel rewards worth it?

You should get a travel rewards credit card if you prefer redeeming your credit points for flights, hotel nights and other travel purchases. The best cards may offer a point redemption bonus for award travel that you book through the credit card travel portal. Flexible travel credit cards let you transfer your points to airlines and hotels to find better redemption values.

A cash rewards credit card is better if you want monthly statement credits when you don’t travel often. Also, cash back credit cards are less likely to have an annual fee and may offer more relevant bonus categories to match your purchase habits.

How much is a credit card mile worth?

Most credit card miles are worth 1 cent each when booking award travel through the credit card travel portal. In most cases, you will need to book an award flight to get the best redemption value.

Your points can be worth more than 1 cent each if you have the ability to transfer your credit card points directly to an airline or hotel. Saving your points for business class and first-class tickets tend to have the highest redemption value of up to 6 cents per mile.

Redeeming credit card miles for non-travel rewards like cash or gift cards means your redemption value will most likely be less than 1 cent per mile.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

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