Dreaming of jetsetting in 2024 with ease and style? Here’s a game changer: getting a top-notch travel credit card. These cards are your ticket to a world of perks, from free flights to luxury lounge access.
What is the first thing you do before a flight? Do you pack your bags? Call a friend to arrange a pick-up? Look up nearby hotels? Personally, I never go on any trip without first making sure my finances are in order. That includes checking my bank account, making a budget, planning ahead, and organizing my travel rewards credit cards.
Traveling has taught me heaps. It’s exhilarating and eye-opening, but let’s be real – it can get tricky. The right credit card? It’s not just a perk; it’s a travel necessity. It smooths out bumps, from booking to boarding.
As a frequent flyer, I’ve had plenty of travel mishaps over the years. Lost luggage, last-minute changes – you name it. So having a great travel credit card is the ultimate travel hack, offering peace of mind. That’s why I’ve scoured the market, comparing perks, points, and real traveler reviews.
Ready to find your perfect travel companion? Check out my top picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024. Let’s make your travel rewards really count!
The Best Travel Credit Cards Right Now: 8 Credit Cards for Traveling the World
Credit card companies used to be few and far between. You knew who the best of the best were because there were only a few brands to choose from. Today, however, there are more credit cards on the market than anyone could possibly count. Want to know which credit card is best for travel? Here are my picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
There’s no higher recommendation I can give than sharing with you one of the best travel credit cards I myself personally have and use. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of my favorite credit cards for traveling anywhere, but especially to other countries.
That’s because the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most flexible travel cards currently available. It offers zero foreign transaction fees. Add to that 5x points when flying and 3x on dining and travel, plus 50% value when using points to book airfare, vehicle rentals, hotel accommodations, and cruises, and it’s easy to see why it is one of my go-to credit cards.
I love my Chase Sapphire Reserve card so much that I’ve worked out a special deal with Chase for all my readers. Anyone who signs up using this special promo code link will be gifted 60,000 points (a $900 value) instantly!
2. Bank of America Travel Rewards
If you’re new to travel credit cards, or just not good at remembering the different points multipliers, it might be best to keep things simple. No credit card for traveling keeps it simpler like the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. More importantly, it does this without skimping on benefits.
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card comes with no annual fees and 0% APR for the first 18 billing cycles, making it a great choice for anyone looking to save money. Cardholders earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on any purchase. There are no separate multipliers for different kinds of purchases, so there’s no tricky mathematics to keep track of.
Likewise, when booking online, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card can be used anywhere. You’re not limited to certain partner websites that have blackout dates or other restrictions. The card is also contactless, providing users with the security and ease of use of a chip card.
3. Amex Business Platinum
This is another travel card I basically never go anywhere without. If you look in my wallet right now, you’ll find an Amex Business Platinum card in the main compartment. Why? Because American Express is pretty much the biggest and best name in credit cards for traveling, bar none!
Features of the Amex Business Platinum card include $200 of free airline credit at the carrier of your choice. You also get 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels (with up to 35% points back for any that are used on qualifying airfare). And just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Business Platinum has no foreign transaction fees.
Last but not least, being an Amex Business Platinum cardholder automatically gives you Hilton Honors Gold Status. This means you have access to extra perks when staying at Hilton-owned hotels and resorts, and you’ll be able to rack up Hilton Honors Bonus Points on top of your Amex Business Platinum points.
4. Chase Ink Business Premier
Travel isn’t always for pleasure; just as often it’s for business. But who ever said the two couldn’t be the one and the same? The Chase Ink Business Premier card is a business credit card that doubles as one of the best travel credit cards around, turning every work trip into a pleasurable experience.
With the Chase Ink Business Premier, business owners can provide employees with their own travel cards at no additional cost. You can even set specialized spending limits for different employees. Both you and your employees (or just you, if you are the employee) can then enjoy the Chase Ink Business Premier’s other amazing benefits.
Among those benefits are unlimited 2% cashback on all purchases and 2.5% cashback on large purchases. Chase also offers superior fraud protection, purchase protection, and even personalized account alerts, making this one of the best travel credit cards for anyone concerned about their financial security.
5. Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express
Delta Airlines is one of the most popular and trusted airlines in the world, serving 200 million customers annually. If you’re flying by air, there’s a good chance your route was booked through Delta. Therefore, if you fly a lot, it only makes sense to get the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card.
Earlier, I mentioned that American Express is one of the top companies when it comes to deciding which credit cards are best for travel. That’s doubly true if you’re going to fly Delta. The Delta SkyMiles Gold boasts 2x miles on Delta purchases, one free checked bag on all Delta flights, and 15% off when using miles to book flights on delta.com or the Fly Delta app.
Cardholders also get 20% on eligible Delta in-flight purchases and can also earn $100 in Delta flight credit every year. Once again, there are no foreign transaction fees. Considering that Delta flies pretty much everywhere in the world, having this card on hand means the possibilities are endless.
6. Capital One Venture X
If you’re like me, you love spending time exploring travel portals and booking sites. After all, I’m always on the hunt for better travel deals. Luckily, the Capital One Venture X card offers special benefits for portals and booking sites.
These include free price drop protection (giving you $50 in free travel credit if you book 10 days before a price drop) and price matching (where if you find a better price on a different booking site, Capital One will match it). You can also set price alerts to get notifications for affordable prices to your preferred destinations.
Furthermore, having a Capital One Venture X card gives you access to Capital One’s own airport lounges, as well as Priority Pass and Plaza Premium Group partner lounges. Finally, you’ll also earn 2x miles for every purchase, 5x for flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 10x for hotels and vehicle rentals through Capital One Travel.
7. US Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature
Air travel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people much prefer seeing the world one mile at a time. If you’re looking for the best travel credit cards to take on a road trip, look no further. The US Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card is just the thing you’re looking for.
This card offers a number of perks that will uniquely benefit those who like to travel on land. Chief among them is 4x points on qualifying gas station and electric vehicle charging station purchases, which is the highest you’re likely to find on a card with no annual fee.
You also get 5x points on hotel bookings and car rentals, 2x on dining and groceries, and 2x points on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Best of all, your points never expire. So fill up your gas tank, get some snacks, queue up a playlist, and hit the road for a cross-country adventure you’ll never forget!
8. Chase World of Hyatt
One thing that remains constant no matter where you travel to in this big, crazy world: you always need a roof over your head at the end of the day. Fortunately, Hyatt has no fewer than 1350 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 69 countries across six continents. And with the Chase World of Hyatt card, you’ll be able to make the most out of your accommodations.
With the World of Hyatt card, you can enjoy all the perks of World of Hyatt Discoverist status. These include complimentary premium internet, daily bottled water, 2 p.m. late checkout, and upgrades to preferred rooms within the same type as any you have booked. Cardholders can also earn free nights at any Hyatt hotel simply by using their card throughout the year.
For every dollar you spend with Hyatt, the World of Hyatt card gives four points, with two points for dollars spent at restaurants and airlines, and one point for dollars spent anywhere else. With so many Hyatt locations worldwide and this travel card in your wallet, there’s no reason to stay anywhere else.
What to Know About the Best Credit Cards for Traveling
Traveling the world isn’t cheap. Heck, even a short flight from Boston to San Francisco can be pricey. If you’re going to be spending money on travel expenses, why not do it in a way that’s safe, reliable, and potentially rewarding? The best travel credit cards today combine all these features and more, making travel more affordable and more convenient.
Travel Credit Cards vs. Other Credit Cards
If you’re unsure about whether you need a travel credit card as opposed to a general credit card, it’s important to understand the difference. Travel credit cards differ from other types of credit cards primarily in their features and benefits, which are tailored to meet the specific needs of travelers.
Here are some of the key differences:
Rewards and Points
The best travel credit cards often offer rewards and points programs specifically designed for travel-related expenses. These rewards typically include airline miles, hotel points, or other travel-related benefits. In contrast, other credit cards may have general rewards programs that offer cashback, discounts, or rewards on various everyday purchases like groceries or gas.
Credit cards for travel usually come with additional travel-related benefits to enhance the cardholder’s travel experience. These benefits may include travel insurance coverage, airport lounge access, priority boarding, baggage fee waivers, concierge services, and discounts on hotels or car rentals. General credit cards typically do not offer these specific travel perks.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Travel credit cards often waive or have lower foreign transaction fees, making them more suitable for international travel. Normal credit cards may charge higher fees for transactions made in foreign currencies, which can add up significantly for frequent travelers.
Many travel credit cards provide travel insurance coverage, which can include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost baggage coverage, travel accident insurance, and emergency medical assistance. Normal credit cards may not offer such extensive travel insurance benefits or may require additional fees for coverage.
Travel credit cards usually have redemption options focused on travel-related expenses. Cardholders can often redeem their accumulated rewards for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, or other travel expenses. Normal credit cards typically offer more diverse redemption options, including cashback, merchandise, or gift cards.
Travel credit cards tend to have higher annual fees compared to other credit cards. However, the additional benefits and rewards provided by travel credit cards may outweigh the fees for frequent travelers.
An Introduction to the Best Travel Credit Cards
Now that you know how traveling credit cards differ from other types of credit cards, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of actually using the best travel credit cards. For those who don’t have a lot of credit card experience, it’s crucial to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Travel Credit Cards 101: A Glossary of Important Terms
If you’ve never had a credit card before, getting your first one can be overwhelming. There are a lot of new terms to learn and they’re all vital to maintaining your finances. As confusing as it may seem at first, though, once you get the hang of it, the world is your oyster.
Here are some important travel credit card terms and their meanings:
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The annualized interest rate charged on outstanding balances if you carry a balance on your credit card. It represents the cost of borrowing.
The maximum amount you can borrow on your credit card. It is determined by the credit card issuer based on factors like your credit history, income, and creditworthiness.
The minimum amount you must pay toward your credit card balance each month to remain in good standing. It is typically a percentage of your total outstanding balance or a fixed amount, whichever is higher.
The period of time between the statement closing date and the payment due date during which you can pay your balance in full without incurring interest charges. Not all credit cards have a grace period.
Statement Closing Date
The date on which your billing cycle ends, and your credit card statement is generated. It marks the end of the period for which transactions are included in that statement.
Payment Due Date
The date by which you must pay at least the minimum payment to avoid late payment fees and potential negative impacts on your credit score. It is usually a few weeks after the statement closing date.
Credit Utilization Ratio
The percentage of your available credit that you are currently using. It is calculated by dividing your credit card balances by your credit limits. A lower utilization ratio is generally better for your credit score.
Withdrawing cash from your credit card, usually from an ATM. Cash advances often have higher interest rates and may also be subject to cash advance fees.
Moving an existing credit card balance from one card to another, usually to take advantage of lower interest rates or promotional offers. Balance transfers often come with a balance transfer fee and may have specific terms and conditions.
Foreign Transaction Fee
A fee charged for purchases made in a foreign currency or with a foreign merchant. It is typically a percentage of the transaction amount and can add up if you frequently make international transactions.
A fee charged if you exceed the credit limit on your credit card. Not all credit cards allow over-limit charges, but if they do, it’s important to be aware of the associated fees.
Late Payment Fee
A fee charged if you fail to make the minimum payment by the payment due date. Late payment fees can vary among credit card issuers.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the best travel credit cards
Hopefully, the above list is all you need to decide which of the best credit cards for travel is right for you. That said, you may still have questions. In this next section, I’ll do my best to answer the most frequently asked questions about the best travel credit cards.
Why do I need a credit card for traveling?
A travel credit card offers numerous benefits that make it a valuable companion while exploring the world. Firstly, it provides convenience and security. Carrying cash can be risky, as it can be lost or stolen. A credit card eliminates this concern by allowing you to make secure payments at various establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and shops, without the need for physical currency.
Additionally, a travel credit card often comes with travel insurance and protection. This coverage can include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost baggage insurance, and even emergency medical assistance. Having these safeguards can provide peace of mind during unforeseen circumstances, such as flight cancellations or medical emergencies.
Furthermore, travel credit cards typically offer rewards programs. These programs allow you to earn points or miles for your purchases, which can be redeemed for various travel-related expenses, such as upgrading to business class and/or first class seating on airplanes. By maximizing your spending on a credit card, you can accumulate points that offset future travel costs or even unlock exclusive perks like airport lounge access or complimentary hotel upgrades.
Lastly, using a credit card abroad can also offer favorable exchange rates, especially when compared to currency exchange bureaus or withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs. This can result in cost savings and an overall more efficient use of your travel budget.
What credit score do I need to get a travel credit card?
The credit score required for travel credit card eligibility varies depending on the issuer and the specific card you are applying for. Generally, the best travel credit card companies prefer applicants with good to excellent credit scores, typically ranging from 670 to 850 on the FICO scale. However, some credit cards are designed for individuals with limited or fair credit histories, and they may have lower credit score requirements.
Credit card issuers consider several factors beyond just credit scores when evaluating applications. They also review your income, employment history, debt-to-income ratio, and other financial aspects. A higher credit score increases your chances of approval and may qualify you for cards with better terms and rewards.
If you have a lower credit score or limited credit history, you can still find travel credit cards tailored to those circumstances. These cards often have lower credit limits and may charge higher interest rates. Alternatively, secured credit cards, which require a cash deposit as collateral, can be a good option for establishing or rebuilding credit.
Remember, credit scores are not the sole determining factor for credit card eligibility. Lenders consider a holistic view of your financial profile. It’s always recommended to review the specific requirements of the credit card you’re interested in and consider improving your credit score before applying to increase your chances of approval and access to more favorable credit card options.
How can I improve my credit score to get a credit card?
Improving your credit score requires consistent financial habits and responsible credit management. Here are a few key steps you can take:
- Pay your bills on time: Late payments can have a negative impact on your credit score, so make sure to pay all your bills, including credit card bills, on or before the due date.
- Keep credit card balances low: Aim to keep your credit utilization ratio—the amount of credit you’re using compared to your credit limit—below 30%. A lower utilization ratio demonstrates responsible credit usage and can positively impact your score.
- Limit new credit applications: Opening multiple new credit accounts within a short period can lower your average account age and appear risky to lenders. Apply for new credit sparingly and only when necessary.
- Maintain a mix of credit: Having a diverse mix of credit types, such as credit cards, loans, or a mortgage, can positively impact your score. However, only pursue new credit if it aligns with your financial goals.
- Check your credit reports regularly: Monitor your credit reports from major credit bureaus to ensure accuracy and identify any potential errors. Dispute any incorrect information promptly.
- Build a positive credit history: If you’re new to credit or have a limited credit history, consider starting with a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account to establish a positive credit history.
Improving your credit score takes time, patience, and responsible financial behavior. By consistently following these guidelines, you can enhance your creditworthiness and increase your eligibility for a travel credit card with better terms and rewards.
How many credit cards is too many to have open?
The ideal number of credit cards to have open at once varies based on individual circumstances. While there isn’t a specific threshold for “too many” credit cards, it’s important to consider a few factors.
Firstly, managing multiple credit cards requires organization and discipline. Each card comes with its own payment due dates, credit limits, and terms. If you find it challenging to keep track of multiple cards or are prone to overspending, having too many credit cards could potentially lead to financial mismanagement.
Additionally, having numerous credit cards can affect your credit score. Applying for multiple cards within a short period can result in inquiries on your credit report, which may lower your score temporarily. Moreover, having a large amount of available credit across multiple cards can impact your credit utilization ratio if you carry balances, potentially affecting your creditworthiness.
On the other hand, having multiple credit cards can offer benefits such as increased rewards, flexibility, and backup options in case of emergencies or card issues. It can also contribute to a more diverse credit mix, which can positively impact your credit score.
When deciding how many credit cards to have, it’s important to evaluate your financial habits, ability to manage multiple accounts, and your specific needs. Consider factors like rewards programs, annual fees, and interest rates to determine the right number of credit cards that align with your financial goals and lifestyle.
Are travel credit cards really worth it?
Travel credit cards can be worth it for many individuals, depending on their travel habits and preferences. These cards often come with a range of benefits that can enhance your travel experience and save you money, such as access to cheaper airline tickets. However, it’s important to consider a few factors before determining if a travel credit card is right for you.
Firstly, assess your travel frequency and spending patterns. If you travel frequently or plan to take multiple trips in a year, a travel credit card can provide significant value through rewards programs, such as earning points or miles for travel-related expenses. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, or other travel perks, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.
Travel credit cards often offer additional benefits like travel insurance, airport lounge access, concierge services, and waived foreign transaction fees. If you take advantage of these perks and maximize the rewards, the value gained from the card can outweigh any associated annual fees.
Consider the specific features of the travel credit card you’re interested in. Compare its rewards structure, redemption options, and any restrictions or limitations. Some cards may be tailored to specific airlines or hotel chains, so evaluate whether they align with your preferred travel providers.
Ultimately, whether a travel credit card is worth it depends on your travel habits. For me, someone who travels a lot, it’s absolutely worthwhile to use the best travel credit cards. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re just as passionate about travel as I am. If so, I highly recommend applying for one of the best credit cards for travel highlighted in this post. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
What credit card should I get for vacation?
If you’re planning a vacation and want to make the most of your spending, a travel rewards credit card could be your ticket to big savings. But with so many options out there, which one should you choose? Here are a few things to consider:
- Airline and Hotel Cards: If you’re loyal to a particular airline or hotel chain, consider their branded credit cards. These often offer perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, or free night stays.
- General Travel Cards: If you prefer flexibility, a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture Rewards could be a good fit. These cards allow you to earn points on all travel and dining expenses, which you can then redeem for a wide range of travel-related purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards: If you’re traveling abroad, look for a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This can save you a significant amount on your overseas purchases.
- Cards with Travel Insurance: Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, offer built-in travel insurance, which can cover things like trip cancellation, lost luggage, or medical emergencies.
Remember, the best credit card for vacation will depend on your personal travel habits and financial situation. So do your research, compare the benefits, and find the card that’s the perfect travel companion for you.
Is Chase a good travel card?
If you’re considering the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve for your travel adventures, you’re on the right track. These cards are often hailed as some of the best travel credit cards on the market, and for good reason.
Firstly, both cards offer a generous rewards program. You’ll earn points on travel and dining expenses, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, cash back, and more. Plus, your points are worth 25% more (for Sapphire Preferred) or 50% more (for Sapphire Reserve) when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
But the perks don’t stop there. Both cards offer no foreign transaction fees, making them great companions for international travel. The Sapphire Reserve also offers a $300 annual travel credit, access to over 1,000 airport lounges through Priority Pass Select, and even covers your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee.
And let’s not forget about the built-in travel insurance. Both cards offer trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and more. The Sapphire Reserve also includes emergency medical and dental coverage.
So, is Chase a good travel card? If you’re a frequent traveler and can take advantage of the rewards and benefits, the answer is a resounding yes. As always, make sure to consider your personal spending habits and travel needs when choosing a credit card.
How often should you travel to get a travel credit card?
If you’re pondering whether to get a travel credit card, one of the key factors to consider is how often you travel. But is there a magic number? Not exactly, but here’s some food for thought.
Travel credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Capital One Venture, often come with annual fees. To make these fees worthwhile, you’ll want to earn enough in rewards to offset the cost. This typically means using the card regularly for travel and dining expenses.
As a general rule of thumb, if you travel at least 2-3 times a year, a travel credit card could be a good fit. This could be a mix of domestic and international trips, or even business travel. Remember, many travel cards also offer points for dining, so your regular restaurant visits can also help rack up rewards.
But it’s not just about frequency, it’s also about spending. If you’re a budget traveler who only spends a few hundred dollars on travel a year, a travel credit card might not be the best fit. On the other hand, if you’re regularly booking flights, hotels, and dining out, those points can quickly add up.
So, take a look at your travel habits and spending patterns. If you find yourself frequently on the go and spending on travel and dining, a travel credit card could be your ticket to big savings and extra perks.