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Credit Cards

The 13 best travel credit cards of June 2024

The best travel credit cards can earn you hundreds of dollars in rewards each year and make your travels more enjoyable.

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

The best travel credit cards offer more than just great cash-back, points or miles incentives — they also come with a range of perks that can take your next trip from basic to bougie without spending extra money.

Some travel card features are nearly standard across the board: no foreign transaction feestravel insurance and various travel credits. More premium cards take things up by offering lounge access and credits for expedited airport security.

To help you choose the best travel rewards card for your needs, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of popular travel cards and dug into each card's perks and drawbacks. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best travel credit cards.)

Best travel credit cards

Best for no annual fee

Discover it® Miles

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

  • Welcome bonus

    Unlimited Bonus: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There's no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    17.24% to 28.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good / Excellent

  • *See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Miles program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • No blackout dates
  • No limit to the amount of miles you can earn and miles never expire

Cons

  • No Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit offerings
  • Travel spending does not receive additional rewards
  • No airport lounge access

Who's this for? The Discover it Miles is ideal if you're seeking a generous rewards program and welcome bonus and don't want to pay an annual fee.

Standout benefits: Discover has a welcome bonus that's hard to beat: It will do a mile-for-mile match of all miles earned the first year (for new card members in their first year only). If you rack up 35,000 miles within the first 12 months, Discover will match you with 35,000 miles. That's a total of 70,000 miles or $700 toward travel. Plus, the card has no foreign transaction fees.

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Best for dining when traveling

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The American Express® Gold Card is a smart choice for consumers who love traveling and dining out due to its generous rewards rates. While the card comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), it offers premium rewards that help offset the cost.

Standout benefits: Travelers will appreciate the Amex Gold card's various statement credits. Cardholders get up to $120 in annual dining credit (up to $10 per month at Grubhub, Goldbelly, The Cheesecake Factory and other participating restaurants; enrollment is required) and up to $120 in Uber Cash ($10 per month) to put toward rides in the U.S. and dining via Uber Eats (you must add your Amex Gold Card as a payment method in the Uber app to enroll).

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Best for authorized user perks

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2X miles on all eligible purchases, and 5 Miles per dollar on flights and 10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars when booked via Capital One Travel portal

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $395

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fees

    $0

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Large welcome bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $100 statement credits for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR period

Who's this for? The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice if you're a frequent traveler who wants a premium credit card at a lower price point than other high-end cards with similar benefits. Plus, up to four authorized users can be added for free.

Standout benefits: This card is loaded with benefits, including a $300 Capital One Travel credit to use toward purchases made through Capital One Travel and a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary (worth at least $100 for travel). Cardholders also receive an up to $100 statement credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, complimentary cell phone insurance, access to Capital One and partner airport lounges and more. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details.

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Best for welcome bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a loyal following among travelers looking for a travel-centric rewards program and a robust suite of perks. What makes this card shine the most is its generous welcome bonus offer.

Standout benefits: This card offers many helpful benefits, such as an up to $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, no foreign transaction fees, primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and baggage and trip delay insurance. Cardholders can also benefit from a 10% points boost on each card anniversary and complimentary DashPass membership for a minimum of one year through Dec. 31, 2024.

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Best for bonus categories

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card

Information about the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Journey Visa® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X points on hotels; 4X points on airlines; 3X points on other travel; 3X points on dining. Plus earn 1X points on other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus rewards points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% variable based on your creditworthiness

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening. After that, up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

Terms apply

Pros

  • Excellent rewards rate for hotel, airfare and travel
  • Strong welcome bonus
  • Access to transfer partners

Cons

  • Fewer transfer partners than comparable programs
  • Doesn't have several key travel protections (trip delay, primary rental car coverage in the U.S.)

Who's this for? The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Journey Visa® Card has just about everything you could want in a travel card: A great welcome offer, a reasonable annual fee, useful bonus spending categories and meaningful perks.

Standout benefits: The Wells Fargo Autograph card will help you rack up rewards quickly for travel spending. It earns 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines and 3X on dining and other travel. The best part is that you can transfer Wells Fargo points to airline and hotel travel partners including Choice Privileges, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Executive Club and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

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Best for earning points on rent

Bilt Mastercard®

On Bilt's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn Bilt Points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period - up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel, and 1x points on other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    None

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    See Terms

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening. After that, up to 5% for each balance transfer ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates/fees and rewards/benefits; terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Solid rewards on broad spending categories
  • Ability to pay your rent with no transaction fees
  • Transfer points to leading frequent traveler programs at a 1:1 rate, including American Airlines, United and World of Hyatt®

Cons

  • No welcome offer

Who's this for? If you rent your home and don't have the Bilt Mastercard®, you're leaving points on the table. The Bilt Mastercard is the only card that lets you earn travel rewards on rent payments with no fees.

Standout benefits: Bilt makes it easy for even beginners to get maximum value from their points through a unique partnership with the award search engine point.me. The BiltProtect feature also protects you from using up your entire credit limit or risk going into debt by charging your rent every month. Other benefits include cell phone protection; Purchase Assurance Plus, which covers your purchases for 90 days; discounts with partner brands; and access to the Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio, which offers amenities like upgrades, free breakfast and property credits.

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Best for lounge access

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    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, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 Member only. Terms Apply.
  • Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • No special financing offers on new purchases

Who's this for? The Platinum Card® from American Express is for road warriors who want to make their travels more comfortable. It grants you access to more airport lounges than any other card on the market and is loaded with lots of other travel and lifestyle benefits that help justify its high annual fee (see rates and fees).

Standout benefits: Cardholders have an extensive list of opportunities to earn over $1,500 in statement credits each year and enjoy ongoing benefits like automatic hotel elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy and various travel and shopping protections. Even if you only take advantage of half of this card's perks, it's worth paying the annual fee (see rates and fees).

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Best for luxury travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ 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 plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    22.49% - 29.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership

Cons

  • High annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,469
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $3,346

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Reserve is enormously popular among frequent travelers for its luxe perks, including comprehensive travel protections, and a strong rewards program. While this card comes with a substantial annual fee of $550, the many statement credits help to offset the costs.

Standout benefits: This card provides an annual $300 travel credit, which can cover everything from airfare and hotels to parking and tolls. Cardholders can also get a statement credit of up to $100 (every four years) to help cover Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS application fees as well as enroll in Priority Pass™ Select for airport lounge access. Other benefits include elite-like benefits when booking hotels through The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection; trip interruption/cancellation coverage; primary rental car coverage; lost luggage reimbursement; and trip delay reimbursement. 

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Best for fair credit

Credit One Bank Wander® Card

On Credit One's secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on eligible hotels and rental cars book through the Credit One Bank travel partner; 5X points on eligible flights, dining and gas purchases; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    29.74% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Average to excellent credit

See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Pros

  • Great return on travel purchases
  • Available to those with average credit

Cons

  • High APR
  • No welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Credit One Bank Wander® Card is ideal if you have fair or average credit and want to earn generous rewards on your travel, dining and gas purchases.

Standout benefits: You'll earn a whopping 10X points when you book eligible hotels and rental cars through the Credit One Bank travel site (5X when you book and 5X when you complete the booking). This card also earns 5X points on flights, dining and gas purchases, so it's rewarding for a wide variety of travel spending. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees.

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Best secured travel card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    N/A on purchases

  • Regular APR

    28.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    New / Rebuilding

  • *See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Starting at seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your credit card account to see if you can transition to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit

Cons

  • Cash-back program limits earnings: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%
  • Low credit line prevents cardholders from charging high-cost items or many expenses

Who's this for? If you are working to build your credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers an opportunity to earn rewards along the way.

Standout benefits: The Discover It Secured Credit Card earns cash back on every purchase and offers a generous cash-back matching welcome bonus. Plus, the card charges no foreign transaction fees.

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Best for low annual fee

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Pros

  • 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every 4 years

Cons

  • No introductory APR
  • There’s a $95 annual fee

Who's this for? The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an abundance of travel benefits. It's especially valuable if you want a straightforward way of earning rewards without having to juggle bonus categories.

Standout benefits: Travelers going overseas can take advantage of no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders also get a credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership.

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Best for low interest

Choice Rewards World Mastercard®

On First Tech Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2X points on groceries, gas, electronics, medical, household goods and telecommunications, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 20,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    13.50% - 18.00% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Good rewards program for everyday purchases
  • No balance transfer fee
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Balance must be transferred within 90 days of account opening date
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $344
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,720

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? You should consider the Choice Rewards World Mastercard® from First Tech Federal Credit Union if you're looking for a card that offers an introductory APR. It made our list of the top travel cards for its unique rewards program and relatively low variable APR of 13.50% - 18.00%.

Standout benefits: The 13.50% - 18.00% variable APR rate is significantly lower than many other competitor cards (though we recommend that you pay off your card in full and on time each month). There are also no foreign transaction fees, which is a huge plus when traveling abroad.

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Best for students

Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students credit card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    25,000 online bonus points after you spend at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward qualifying travel and dining purchases

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles on purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 28.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% of each transaction intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days from account opening, then 4%

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Strong welcome bonus of 25,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Intro 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No student-centric benefits or incentives to practice responsible credit behavior
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $466
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,528

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students is a great choice for students who plan on studying abroad or traveling during breaks. The rewards program is geared toward travel, and cardholders earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases.

Standout benefits: There are no foreign transaction fees, making it an ideal card for college students studying abroad. This card also comes with a longer-than-average special financing offer of no interest for 15 billing cycles (then 18.24% to 28.24% variable APR). A full year of no interest is a great way for you to pay off new purchases over time, without incurring interest charges, though we recommend you pay off your balance on time and in full each month.

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More on our top travel credit cards

Discover it® Miles

The Discover it Miles is an exceptionally rewarding credit card for everyday purchases, especially when you consider that it has no annual fee.

Rewards

  • 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase

Welcome bonus

Discover will match the miles you earn during the first year with no minimum spending requirement or limits on how much you can earn through the match.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The appeal of the Discover it Miles is its simplicity of not having to worry about paying an annual fee or paying foreign transaction fees. The card also has an introductory 0% APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 17.24% to 28.24% variable APR (3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% balance transfer fee on future transfers, see terms).

There are also no blackout dates when you pay for travel purchases using your card. And, you can easily redeem miles as a statement credit for travel, restaurant or gas station purchases, as well as a deposit to your bank account. The best part is, the miles you earn never expire even if your account is closed (Discover credits your account with your rewards balance if your account is closed).

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American Express® Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card earns elevated rewards for several popular spending categories, including dining, groceries and airfare. To top it off, the Amex Membership Rewards points you earn are some of the most valuable travel points out there.

Rewards

  • 4X points per dollar spent at restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.)
  • 4X points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months of card membership.

Annual fee

$250 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

In addition to the up to $240 in annual credits for dining and Uber Cash, the American Express Gold Card has a variety of other useful benefits. For example, cardmembers get a $100 experience credit and potential room upgrade when booking stays of at least two nights through The Hotel Collection. Experience credit varies by property.

Eligible purchases also qualify for the following insurance coverages*:

  • Baggage insurance (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.)
  • Extended warranty (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.)
  • Purchase protection (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.)
  • Trip delay insurance (Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.)
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary) (Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.)

You can use the American Express Membership Rewards points you earn with this card in a variety of ways, from redeeming for gift cards and statement credits to booking travel through the Amex Travel Portal. To get a potentially bigger bang for your buck, transfer your Membership Rewards points to a variety of airline or hotel partners, including Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, Choice Privileges and more.

* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a luxury travel credit card with a straightforward rewards structure and a myriad of benefits that easily make its annual fee worth it.

Rewards

  • 10X miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel portal
  • 5X miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel portal
  • 2X miles on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee

$395

Notable perks

On top of the annual $300 Capital One Travel credit and 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, the Capital One Venture X card is loaded with other benefits. Cardmembers receive up to $100 statement credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, complimentary cell phone insurance, special perks on hotel stays booked through the Premier Collection** and Lifestyle Collection and unlimited access to Capital One Lounges as well as the extensive network of Priority Pass and Plaza Premium airport lounges worldwide. 

You can add up to four authorized users for free and each additional cardholder also gets airport lounge access. If you value rental car perks, cardholders receive complimentary Hertz President's Circle status (enrollment required)***, which grants benefits such as guaranteed upgrades.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has the same redemption options as the Venture Rewards Card. You can use miles to offset eligible travel purchases or transfer them to various airline and hotel partners.

*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details.

***Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

In addition to an excellent welcome bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers lucrative bonus categories and other useful perks like travel and purchase protections, all for a modest annual fee.

Rewards

  • 5X points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides through Mar. 31, 2025
  • 3X points per dollar on dining
  • 3X points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X points per dollar on select streaming services
  • 2X points per dollar on all other travel purchases
  • 1X points per dollar on all other purchases
  • 10% anniversary points boost
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers travelers many important protections, including primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and baggage and trip delay insurance. Travelers can also rack up rewards faster thanks to a 10% points boost on each card anniversary. That means if you spend $50,000 on purchases, you'll get a 5,000-point bonus (worth $75 in travel booked through Chase).

Cardholders can take advantage of various statement credits for specific purchases. For starters, the card offers up to $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit. Through July 31, 2024, you can register your Sapphire Preferred to receive six months of free Instacart+ membership and up to $15 back each quarter for Instacart purchases. You'll also receive a complimentary DashPass membership and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

One of the best benefits of the Sapphire Preferred is that it unlocks access to Chase's 14 airline and hotel transfer partners. You can transfer points to United Airlines MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Air Canada Aeroplan, World of Hyatt, IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy and more. Otherwise, your points are worth 1.25 cents each through Chase Travel℠ or one cent per point when redeemed for gift cards or cash back.

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Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Journey Visa® Card

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Journey Visa® Card stands out for having a modest annual fee and high rewards rate on airline and hotel purchases which are uncapped and don't require you to book through a specific site to get the increased return.

Rewards

  • 5X points on hotels
  • 4X points on airlines
  • 3X points at restaurants
  • 3X points on other travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

Every year, cardholders receive a $50 airline statement credit with a minimum purchase of $50. This credit covers more than half of this card's annual fee and applies to purchases such as airfare, baggage fees and more.

You can also save money and increase your peace of mind by taking advantage of this card's many insurance benefits. Cardholders receive these coverages:

  • Cell phone protection
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost baggage reimbursement
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection
  • Auto rental collision coverage
  • Travel and emergency assistance

You can redeem Wells Fargo rewards for gift cards, cash back, travel and more. However, you'll typically get the best value when you transfer Wells Fargo rewards to travel partners. You can transfer points to these airlines at a 1:1 ratio:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue (partners with Delta)
  • Avianca LifeMiles  (partners with United)
  • British Airways Executive Club (partners with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines)
  • Iberia Plus (partners with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines)

Wells Fargo points also transfer to Choice Privileges at a 1:2 ratio.

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Bilt Mastercard®

Normally it's not worth paying rent with a credit card because of the fees, but the Bilt Mastercard offers a path to earning points for paying rent without any fees.

Rewards

When you make at least five transactions in a statement period, you'll earn points at the following rates:

  • Up to 1X points per dollar on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year)
  • 3X points per dollar on dining
  • 2X points per dollar on travel
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

Thanks to the BiltProtect feature, Bilt Mastercard cardholders are protected from using up their entire credit limit or risk going into debt by charging their rent to their card every month. Other benefits include a $5 monthly Lyft credit after taking three Lyft rides in a month (through March 31, 2024), as well as a free ShopRunner membership (through March 31, 2024).

For a no-annual-fee card, the Bilt Mastercard has a surprising amount of built-in insurance perks, including:

  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Rental car collision damage waiver
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection

Bilt Rewards points can be redeemed for travel either by transferring them to airline and hotel partners or by booking through the Bilt Travel Portal at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point. Other redemption options include using them to shop online, book fitness classes, pay rent and even make a down payment on a home.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express has a high annual fee but also packs a punch in benefits. If you're able to take advantage of its numerous annual statement credits, entertainment benefits, extensive airport lounge access and elite status perks, you'll be sure to come out ahead.

Rewards

  • 5X points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5X points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Annual fee

$695 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

Cardholders can enjoy a long list of benefits, including:

  • Up to $200 annual hotel credit (Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay)
  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $300 per calendar year Equinox credit (enrollment required)
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit (enrollment required)
  • Up to $189 credit to enroll in CLEAR® Plus (subject to auto-renewal)
  • Up to $240 annual digital entertainment credit (enrollment required)
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ credit. (Plus Ups are not eligible. Subject to auto renewal)
  • Worldwide airport lounge access, including Delta SkyClubs and Amex Centurion Lounges
  • Up to $200 annual Uber credit. Benefit renews annually. (Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.)
  • $100 fee credit for Global Entry or up to $85 for TSAPreCheck
  • Automatic hotel elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
  • Comprehensive travel insurance*
  • Complimentary Amex concierge service
  • Cell phone protection*
  • Terms apply.

* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Membership Rewards points can also be exceptionally valuable. The best way to use Amex points is to transfer them to one of Amex's airline and hotel partners. They can also be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards and when checking out at retailers like Amazon, though you'll usually get a lower value for your points.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a standout premium credit card with plenty of luxury perks and statement credits to justify its annual fee. Its travel insurance perks can add peace of mind to any adventure and the card's airport lounge access and credits for expedited airport security can help reduce airport stress.

Rewards

  • 10X total points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠*
  • 10X points per dollar on Lyft purchases through March 2025
  • 5X total points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel℠*
  • 3X points per dollar on other travel*
  • 3X points per dollar on dining
  • 1X points per dollar on all other purchases

*After the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee

$550

Notable perks

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card members get up to $300 in annual travel credits, which covers more than half of the card's annual fee. Additional benefits include an up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit (every four years), elite-like perks when booking hotels through The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, access to Sapphire airport lounges and a Priority Pass Select membership (valued at $469), which unlocks access to more than 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide.

Cardholders also have access to a wide range of limited-time benefits and credits, including:

  • Two years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership (worth $199 a year) when activated by Dec. 31, 2024
  • At least 12 months of complimentary DashPass membership when activated by Dec. 31, 2024
  • $5 in DoorDash credit each month through Dec. 31, 2024
  • One year of free Instacart+ membership (activate by July 31, 2024)
  • Up to $15 in Instacart credits each month (through July 31, 2024)

Some of the easiest benefits to overlook are this card's top-notch travel and purchase protections, such as purchase protection, extended warranty protection, return protection, primary rental car collision coverage, trip delay protection, trip interruption/cancellation insurance, baggage delay protection, travel accident insurance, emergency medical and dental insurance and more. Cardmembers traveling internationally also don't need to worry about foreign transaction fees.

The value of the points you earn depends on how you use them. If you redeem points for cash and gift cards, each point is worth one cent. However, the value of points increases to 1.5 cents apiece when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1,125 toward travel. This is a great way to maximize the value of your rewards and makes this card stand out from the pack. Of course, transferring your points to Chase's airline and hotel partners is also an option.

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Credit One Bank® Wander Card

The Credit One Bank® Wander Card is special because it allows you to earn rewards while working on your credit score and doesn't require a security deposit.

Rewards

  • 10X points on eligible hotels and rental cars you book through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • 5X points on eligible travel
  • 5X points on dining
  • 5X points on gas purchases
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

It's easy to redeem the rewards you earn with your Credit One Bank Wander card. You can use points for cash back, gift cards and consumer goods and services. There is a 1,000-point minimum redemption amount when you're using points for a statement credit.

When you make a purchase in a foreign currency with this card, there are no foreign transaction fees. Eligible purchases are also covered by this card's built-in travel accident insurance.

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Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it Secured Credit Card is ideal for anyone with no credit or poor credit because you don't need a credit score to apply. It has no annual fee and has a generous rewards structure for a secured credit card.

Rewards

  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Discover will match the cash back you earn during the first year with no minimum spending requirement or cap on the match.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The Discover it Secured Credit Card is designed for those who have no credit history or need to repair their credit score. You don't need a credit score to apply. Instead, you're required to make a refundable deposit of at least $200 to open the card. Whatever amount of money you deposit becomes your credit limit.

At seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your credit card account to see if they can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit. The card also has no foreign transaction fees, so you won't be dinged for using it abroad.

Cashback earned with this card doesn't expire and you can redeem your rewards at any time for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and more.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card stands out for earning versatile rewards that can be used for just about any travel expense while having a reasonable annual fee and convenient benefits for travelers.

Rewards

  • 5X miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

Capital One Venture Rewards cardholders receive a credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership. Other perks include access to extended warranty protection*, Travel Assistance Services*, Purchase Assurance*, MasterRental Insurance*, Master RoadAssist®*, and Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage*.

Travelers going overseas can take advantage of no foreign transaction fees. As an added plus, you can use your Venture Rewards card to get access to exclusive sporting and music events, plus premiere culinary experiences through Capital One Dining and Capital One Entertainment.

You can use Capital One miles to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more through Capital One Travel, or you can use them to offset recent travel purchases at a fixed value of one cent per point. Alternatively, you can transfer them to any of Capital One's hotel and airline partners including Accor Live Limitless, Air Canada Aeroplan, Etihad Guest and others to get even more value from your miles.

*Benefit available to accounts approved for the World Elite Mastercard product, subject to terms, conditions, and exclusions in the World Elite Mastercard Guide to Benefits. See Account Terms or Application Terms for more details. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

[ Return to card summary ]

First Tech Credit Union Choice Rewards World Mastercard®

Although we always recommend aiming to pay off credit card debt, if you have the debt, the Choice Rewards World Mastercard has one of the lowest interest rates you can find on a credit card.

Rewards

  • 2X points per dollar on everyday purchases such as groceries, gas, electronics, household goods and telecommunications
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 20,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

Not only does the Choice Rewards World Mastercard have a low APR, but it also has no foreign transaction fees, which is a huge plus when traveling abroad. It is a World Mastercard and as such, comes with purchase protection, Mastercard ID Theft Protection and 24-hour worldwide assistance for lost or stolen cards. It has an array of travel protections as well, including insurance for trip cancellations, travel accidents, baggage delays, lost luggage and rental cars (secondary).

Membership to First Tech Federal Credit Union is required to apply, but anyone can join through affiliation with select organizations or employers, a relationship with a current member, working or living in Lane County, Oregon, attending Cogswell Poly Technical College or by joining the Community History Museum (CHM) or Financial Fitness Association (FFA). First Tech pays the membership fee for the CHM and FFA on your behalf.

The rewards can be redeemed at a fixed rate toward cash-back, travel, merchandise, gift cards and experiences.

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students

The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card provides a strong return for everyday purchases that competes with many of the top non-student credit cards.

Rewards

  • 1.5X points per dollar on all purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

In addition to having no annual fee, the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students card charges no foreign transaction fees, which is useful when studying or traveling abroad.

You must be 18 or older and enrolled in school (college, vocational or trade school) to qualify for this card. Eligible students have access to a 0%-APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles, then a variable 18.24%-28.24% APR applies. Only balance transfers made in the first 60 days of account opening qualify for the 0%-APR offer and there is a 3% balance transfer fee.

Rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit to cover the cost of travel and dining purchases — a simple way to reduce the cost of taking a spring break vacation or buying a plane ticket home. You can redeem rewards at any time and any amount.

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How to choose a travel credit card

There is a variety of travel credit cards available, from general to airline- and hotel-specific, and all the choices can make it hard to settle on one. To choose the best card for your needs, you should consider several factors. Here are some tips on how to choose a credit card.

Consider annual fee costs

Consider whether you're willing to pay an annual fee. Some travel cards have steep annual fees of over $500, which can be worthwhile, but not for everyone. Make sure you do the math to see if an annual fee travel card is for you.

Review your travel habits

Another key factor to consider is the type of travel you do most. If you travel within the U.S., then it doesn't matter if a card charges foreign transaction fees. But if you're off to Mexico or Spain, then it's important to have a no foreign transaction fee card.

Choose the right rewards program

Rewards should also play a part in your decision. Do some research to determine which card offers a rewards program more geared toward your spending habits. If you dine out a lot when you travel, consider the American Express Gold Card with 4X points on dining at restaurants. But if you want a competitive rewards rate on all sorts of purchases, the Discover it Miles has no annual fee and unlimited 1.5X miles on every dollar of every purchase.

You can compare card benefits side by side to see if one card rates better than another. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, offers complimentary lounge access, while the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers cardholders a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Before you sign up for a travel credit card, consider how you'll use it and how you can best optimize its rewards program, especially if you're paying a steep annual fee. It's also important to make sure you can pay off your balance on time and in full each month because many of these cards have high interest rates.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our credit card marketplace or get personalized offers via CardMatch™.

Pros and cons of a travel credit card

Many top rewards credit cards are also travel credit cards, but that doesn't mean that a travel card is the best option for every situation. Travel cards are rewarding for travel-related purchases and can provide outsized value when you use the rewards to book your next vacation. However, travel can be a small part of the typical consumer's budget and other credit cards can be more rewarding for everyday spending or have simpler rewards programs.

Pros

  • High-value travel rewards
  • Luxury perks like airport lounge access or automatic elite status
  • Valuable welcome bonuses
  • Rewarding for common travel-related purchases

Cons

  • Travel rewards programs are sometimes more complicated
  • May be less rewarding for non-travel purchases (groceries, online shopping, etc.)
  • Can have higher annual fees
  • Typically require higher credit scores

How travel credit cards work

The premise of travel credit cards is to give you a path to turning your credit card purchases into travel rewards. What you can use travel rewards for and the amount of rewards you earn varies by card.

The type of rewards you earn, the cost of keeping the card and the card benefits depend on the type of travel card. There are co-branded hotel and airline cards that earn miles and points tied to a specific hotel chain or airline. These cards also provide brand-specific benefits such as elite status or elite status credit and statement credits tied to a specific company. A general travel card is typically better for anyone who isn't extremely loyal to a specific company. General travel rewards or flexible rewards can usually be redeemed to offset travel expenses and, with the best cards, you can transfer miles or points to partner travel programs. This gives cardholders the option to pick the best program for a specific trip.

Outside of the rewards a card earns, most of the best travel credit cards also provide ongoing benefits. These benefits run the gamut from travel and purchase protections to statement credits and airport lounge access. Luxury benefits like airport lounge access are typically tied to premium credit cards, which usually have annual fees of $400 or more.

Making the most of your travel card

To make the most of your travel card, you should familiarize yourself with the various credit card benefits and fees. Take note of any annual fees, foreign transaction fees and the APR associated with your account. Also, consider the rewards rates and added perks, such as annual statement credits.

Once you're familiar with the terms of your card, you can start optimizing them. That may include setting reminders to use the annual $300 travel credit provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve or submitting a Global Entry application with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to take advantage of the up to $100 credit.

If you have multiple credit cards, you might want to have a plan for the best time to use each card. Let's say you have the Discover it Miles and American Express Gold Card. Use the Amex Gold Card for dining expenses at restaurants to earn 4X points, then use the Discover it Miles for all your other purchases to earn unlimited 1.5X miles.

Other types of credit cards to consider

Travel credit cards aren't for everyone. If you travel infrequently, you should consider alternative credit card options, such as cards with dining, grocery or gas rewards. Some cards provide up to 6% back in those categories, allowing foodies, meal-preppers and commuters to benefit.

Beyond rewards, you might benefit from a card that offers a 0% APR period. Some cards offer no interest for a year or more on new purchases and balance transfers, such as the Citi Simplicity® Card. The card has 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from the date of first transfer, plus 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening (after, 19.24% - 29.99% variable APR; balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening.) There is an introductory balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your balance transfer fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5; see rates and fees). When used responsibly, these cards can help you get out of debt without high interest charges.

FAQs

If you travel often and pay for purchases with cash or a debit card, you're missing out on rewards and perks that can make travel more affordable. It can be in your best interest to get a travel credit card that awards high rewards rates on airfare, hotels, rideshares and other common travel expenses.

If you're interested in submitting a travel credit card application, keep in mind that card issuers usually require you to have good credit or excellent credit (scores above 670). Therefore, it's key to check your credit score before applying for a travel card.

Once you know your credit score and can check if you prequalify for a travel card, choose the best card for your needs and apply.

Unlike cash-back cards, travel credit cards generally earn points or miles. Traditionally, the term points referred to flexible rewards that could be redeemed directly through a bank's portal or transferred to a partner airline or hotel loyalty program. Meanwhile, the term miles has been associated with rewards earned through an airline's frequent flyer program. However, nowadays, points and miles are used interchangeably as there are flexible credit card rewards called miles and more restrictive airline rewards referred to as points.

If you're having trouble narrowing down the best travel card for you, it can be helpful to compare credit cards. First list the benefits you're looking for and any deal breakers, such as an annual fee. Then consider cards that have those benefits.

For instance, if you want both travel and dining rewards, the Amex Gold Card is a better choice than the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card since the rewards rate is 4X versus 2X.

But if you don't want to pay a high annual fee, the Venture Card is only $95 compared to the $250 you'll pay for a Gold Card (see rates and fees).

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit card review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit card products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best travel credit cards.

Our methodology

To determine which travel credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of travel cards issued through FDIC-insured banks and NCUA-insured credit unions that are widely available in the U.S.  

We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards (e.g., cash back, points and miles), annual fees, welcome bonuses, introductory and standard APR and balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees. We also considered additional perks (e.g., ongoing travel or merchant statement credits), cardholder protections (e.g., purchase protection, $0 liability protection and travel insurance), the application process when available (e.g., is there a credit pull or required credit score) and how easy it is to redeem points (e.g., are rewards are tied to a specific brand; if transferable, to how many/which partners, can you redeem for straight cashback). 
 
We also considered CNBC Select audience data when available, such as general demographics and engagement with our content and tools.  

When choosing the best travel cards, we focused on relevant features, like cards that charge no foreign transaction fees, are widely accepted internationally and provide consumers with bonus rewards on travel spending. We prioritized cards that offered the strongest returns on travel purchases but also considered additional perks that may be useful when traveling, such as travel protections, baggage allowances, airport lounge access and elite status benefits. 

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

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

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Miles, click here.

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, click here.

Information about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students, has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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