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The best travel credit cards offer outstanding rewards, hefty sign-up bonuses and low fees. Nearly all frequent travelers should have one of these cards in their credit card arsenal.
But not all travel credit cards are worthy of consideration. You should look for a card with rewards tailored to how you travel – and your spending habits.
Also, be mindful of the annual fees. While top credit cards may offer huge rewards and best-in-class perks, they also may charge hundreds of dollars year in annual fees. If big annual fees are a turnoff, consider low- or no-annual-fee rewards cards.
Here are three best travel credit cards, as chosen by the experts at CreditCards.com:
Best Travel Credit Cards
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- United Mileage Plus Credit Card
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||3X points per dollar on travel and restaurants worldwide, one point on other purchases||$450|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard||2X miles per dollar spent on every purchase||$89, waived the first year|
|United Mileage Plus||2X miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases, one mile on other purchases||$95|
Chase Sapphire Reserve is a best-in-class card for any frequent traveler given its generous rewards and perks.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. That’s $625 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
- Earn three points per dollar on travel and restaurants worldwide. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.
- Get a $300 annual travel credit and a $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit.
Who should get this card
This is an ideal card for anyone looking for a premium travel card with both a generous sign-up bonus and rewards program plus great additional perks. It’s especially useful when paired with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, where points are worth 50 percent more.
Cardholders who frequently fly or stay with Chase’s travel partners — like Virgin Atlantic, Southwest and Hyatt — will particularly enjoy this card. You can transfer points through the card’s loyalty program.
The annual fee is $450. The card carries a variable APR from 17.24 to 24.24 percent.
With its simple rewards structure, generous sign-up bonus and flexible redemption plan, this is a worthy card to own.
- Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days.
- Earn two miles for every dollar spent on all purchases.
- Five percent of the miles you use will be rebated upon redemption.
Who should get this card
This is a great card for the avid traveler who wants easy-to-use rewards and big bonus opportunities. The Arrival Plus allows you to use your earnings on any airline or hotel and is the only one on our list that has chip-and-PIN capabilities, which is the standard for card readers in Europe.
This card has a 0 percent introductory APR for 12 months for all balance transfers made within 45 days of opening an account. It comes with a variable APR of 16.99, 20.99 or 23.99 percent, based on creditworthiness. The annual fee is $89, which is waived the first year.
Straightforward rewards, a nice sign-up bonus and a free bag check for you and your travel companion help set this card apart from other travel rewards cards.
- Earn 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within the first three months. That could be worth about $750, depending on how you redeem the miles.
- Earn two miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
- Get a free checked bag for you and a companion and a bonus 10,000 miles each year you spend $25,000 or more on the card.
Who should get this card
This card is ideal for United Airlines loyalist who wants maximum value from their frequent travels. The free checked baggage perk for you and a companion can save you as much as $100 each time you fly round-trip, making it worth the $95 annual fee if you fly more than once a year.
Miles don’t expire and there are no blackout dates for redemption.
The card comes with a variable APR of 17.24 to 24.24 percent.
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