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If you’re looking to apply for a new travel credit card to get you back on track as things begin opening up, you’ve got plenty to choose from. You can narrow your search down to credit card reviews that offer the best rewards, the most valuable credit card offers, and handy travel benefits. But, you’ll probably still end up with a shortlist that’s hard to choose from. Plus, you will want to know the credit score needed to be approved for each travel credit card. Here’s where this post can help.
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That number (or range) is virtually impossible to nail down, as each bank looks at different criteria and pulls from different credit reporting bureaus. But, this article will give you a solid guide to applying for the best rewards cards for you.
Free Credit Report
Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced that they are offering credit reports for U.S. consumers. You can check to see if your information is up to date and check for any errors. Plus, if you don’t know your credit score already, this can be a helpful service for you. To see your report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.
Credit Score Needed for the Best Travel Cards
Let’s break down the average credit score needed to be approved for some of the top travel rewards credit cards on the market. Fair credit usually ranges from 649-699, good credit 700-749, and excellent credit being anything above 750. Here are a few of the best travel credit cards options and what credit score is needed.
For Travelers with Fair-Good Credit: 649-749
If you have good or excellent credit, you’d probably have a shot at being approved for most midrange travel rewards cards. Here are some of the most popular options. You’ll also find some of their key features.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
With an effective 2% rewards rate, some nice travel benefits, and the option to redeem your Capital One miles with a transfer partner, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is firmly situated as a straightforward, midrange travel rewards card. The credit score needed will generally require good credit to be approved, but depending on other factors (like your income and relationship with Capital One) you may be approved with a credit score leaning more toward the mid- to high-600s. Here’s how Capital One describes the ideal applicant:
“I’ve never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan; I haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill, or loan in the last year; I’ve had a loan or credit card for 3 years or more with a credit limit above $5,000.”
The Capital One Venture card also comes with a fee credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Earning 2x miles on every $1 spent and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a solid choice for travel. 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
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card earns a flat reward rate of 1.5 points for every $1 spent. You can redeem your rewards as a statement credit toward travel purchases including flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees. And if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Reward Member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase, which means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent.
This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. New cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus points if they make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. It’s also one of the best Bank of America cards.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase is a bit pickier about who they’ll approve for their rewards cards—especially the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Overall, the recommended minimum credit score needed is 700.
But Chase takes a lot of factors into account, including its unofficial 5/24 rule — in most cases, you won’t be approved if you’ve applied for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months. At the same time, applicants with a lower credit score (think somewhere in the high 600s) but who have applied for only a couple of credit cards in the last 2 years have been approved.
If you aren’t approved but have a credit score over 700, you can always call a Chase representative to find out what impeded your approval. Knowing why is worth it, as you may have other options that you can apply for.
American Express Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is another straightforward rewards card that earns unlimited 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery. U.S. supermarkets also earn 4x points (up to $25,000 annually in purchases, then 1x). It also earns 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Plus, American Express Gold Credit Card cardholders can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required. There are no foreign transaction fees but there is an annual fee of $250 (See Rates & Fees).
American Express® Gold Card cardholders can also get up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. Plus, you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards® points for each Uber Eats purchase on your card. To use this perk, simply add your card to your Uber account and you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month in your Uber account for U.S. Uber Eats orders or U.S. Uber rides. Any unused Uber Cash expires at the end of each month (it does not roll over to the next month).
Cardholders also get up to 12 complimentary months of Eats Pass when you subscribe with your American Express Gold Card. That’s a value of up to $119 annually (based on the $9.99 monthly price over 12 months). With the Uber Eats Pass, you can get unlimited $0 Delivery Fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants. Note that taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum.
This benefit applies only in the U.S. on U.S. orders at eligible restaurants and on eligible restaurant purchases.
Enrollment is required by 12/31/2021. After that, the Uber Eats Pass will begin auto-billing 12 months after your enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly price. Learn more about the Uber Eats partnership for more information.
New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months. Also, Rose Gold is back! Cardholders can choose between Gold or Rose Gold. Terms apply.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Credit Score Needed For Travelers with Good-Excellent Credit: 700-850
The credit score needed for these credit cards tends to range in the higher category. If you have good to excellent credit, you’ll find a variety of perks available.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 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 earns 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.
New 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.
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.
How hard is it to get the American Express Platinum? The credit score needed should be good or excellent credit, ideally 700 or more. If you have an even higher score and/or an excellent credit history, you might want to consider the AMEX Platinum.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card is a unique one as it earns cash back twice — earn unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. It has no annual fee. This makes it a great companion card to use instead of one that only earns 1% cash back. It’s also one of the best Citi credit cards available.
The Bottom Line
While the numbers in this article are a good jumping-off point, keep in mind that there are always exceptions. The credit score needed may vary. Don’t be discouraged from trying for a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture card if your credit score is somewhere around 670-680.
Banks take a few more factors into account than just your credit score. They look at:
- Your credit history
- The number of cards that you currently carry
- The number of cards you’ve applied for recently
All of these factors can impact your application.
If all else fails, you can apply for a card with a bank you already have a relationship with. Or, apply for an everyday rewards card while you boost your credit score.
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For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
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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.