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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.

Knowing your credit score before applying for a credit card is essential. Fortunately, you can get your credit score for free. Photo by Johnny Jet

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

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 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 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.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit score is a bit more flexible, which is why it’s also a great travel card for beginners.

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).

Terms apply.

Uber Perks

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 points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Cardholders also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on American Express Travel. You can also enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection.

Another perk is up to $200 airline fee statement credits annually for incidental fees at one qualifying airline (in the form of a statement credit; enrollment required). Cardholders also get up to $200 in Uber savings for rides and eats in the U.S. (terms apply). Plus, get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (enrollment required).

New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership. Terms apply.

There is no foreign transaction fee on this metal credit card but there is an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees).

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.

Related Articles:

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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