Best Personal Credit Cards for Traveling

Since we are a travel site, we will never recommend a card that charges foreign transaction fees. If you are going to be jet-setting, this is the most important factor when deciding which credit card to use. When developing this list we considered the following factors:

• Point multipliers

• Perks

• Sign Up Bonus

• Annual Fee

We know there are all sorts of different credit cards out there that work well for very specific reasons, but when you are traveling it’s better to have a well-rounded card that provides big point multiples. We are not here to waste your time, so we narrowed it down to the obvious six best personal credit cards.

*If you disagree with our picks, let us know! We will review all suggestions and are focused on only providing accurate information to our readers*

#2 Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best for People Who:

• Spend under $625/month on travel and dining on their card

• Use points to book flights

• Are food and travel bloggers

• Don’t usually stay in hotels

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 25% extra points.

Points:

• 2x points for every dollar spent on travel and dining

• 1x points for everything else.

Perks: Trip cancellation insurance, rental insurance. Global Entry/TSA pre-check fee credit. When you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll earn 25% extra.

Bottom Line: I had this card before the Chase Reserve. It is affordable and still provides a solid 2x multiplier on travel and dining. These will be your main expenses on the road, so the points should accumulate quickly!

Travel Partners

Airlines
United MileagePlus® 1:1
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1:1
Air France Flying Blue (lets you book Delta and Alaska flights) 1:1
British Airways Avios (lets you book American Airlines flights) 1:1
Aer Lingus Avios (lets you book American Airlines flights) 1:1
Iberia Avios (lets you book American Airlines flights) 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (lets you book Delta flights) 1:1
Korean SkyPass (lets you book Delta flights) 1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1

Hotels
IHG Rewards 1:1
Hyatt Gold Passport 1:1
Marriott Rewards 1:1
Ritz Carlton Rewards 1:1

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Many people compare the Chase Reserve and Chase Preferred card. We did out the math for you. If you plan to spend over $625/month on this card, go with the reserve. Not only does it balance out in what you pay/rewards received, but you also get lounge access! Get ready to live a life of luxury!

Check out our math below:

Annual Fee Travel Credit True Cost
Preferred  $0  $0  $0
Reserve  $450.00  $300.00  $150.00

We then calculated how much you would have to spend to make up for the $150 cost:

Yearly Spend on Travel & Dining $7,500
Monthly Spend on Travel & Dining $625
Point Multiplier Points Dollar Value Redeem through Chase Value of Points
Preferred 1.2*7500 15000 divide by 100  $150.00 $150*1.25  $187.50
Reserve 1.3*7500 22500 divide by 100  $225.00 $225*1.5  $337.50
*Savings  $150.00

*This doesn’t even factor in the lounge access!

Check out this great article on the best way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards:
https://www.creditdonkey.com/chase-transfer-partners.html 

#3 American Express Platinum Card

Best For People Who:

• Spend a lot of money on their card
• Prefer AmEx’s travel partners over Chase
• Book most flights and hotels with credit cards instead of points

Annual Fee: $550

Sign up Bonus: 60,000 Membership Reward Points once you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months.

Points:

• 5x points for every dollar spent on flights and hotels

• 1x points for everything else.

Perks: Up to $200 Uber credit, $200 airline fee credit for incidentals, $100 toward Global Entry or TSA Pre-check. Complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge, International American Express, Delta SkyClub, and Priority Pass lounge networks.

Bottom Line: This card has some fantastic benefits; 5x points is flat out insane and it comes with lounge access almost everywhere. The one glaring issue with this card for me is that you only get the 5x the points when the purchases are on flights and hotels. Those two categories are where I SPEND my points. This would lead to me receiving almost no point multipliers based on my habits. If you use points a different way, then by all means, use this card!

Travel Partners

Airlines
Aeromexico 1:1.6
Air Canada 1:1
Air France KLM (Flying Blue) 1:1
Alitalia (Millemiglia) 1:1
All Nippon Airways 1:1
Asia Miles 1:1
British Airways 250:200
Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles) 1:1
El Al Israel Airlines 1000:20
Emirates 1:1
Etihad Airways 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
Iberia Plus 250:200
JetBlue Airways 250:200
Singapore Airlines 1:1
Virgin America 200:100
Virgin Atlantic Airways 1:1

Hotels
Choice Privileges Rewards 1:1
Hilton Honors 1:1.5
Starwood SPG 1000:333

#6 Citi ThankYou Premier

Best For People Who:

• Do not spend a lot of money on their card
• Use the card solely for travel and gas expenses

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Sign up Bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in three months.

Points:

• 3x points for purchases on travel & gas

• 2x points for purchase on dining & entertainment

• 1x point for everything else.

Perks: Points are worth 25% more when used on airfare. Trip insurance, rental insurance.

Bottom Line: This is a great card for the budget traveler. It packs some big point multipliers for a low annual fee. Just compare the travel partners between this card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred before making your final decision!

Travel Partners

Airlines
Asia Miles 1:1
Etihad Guest 1:1
EVA Air 1:1
Flying Blue 1:1
Garuda Indonesia 1:1
JetBlue 1:0.8
JetPrivilege 1:1
Malaysia 1:1
Qantas 1:1
Qata 1:1
Singapore Airlines 1:1
Thai Airways 1:1
Virgin Atlantic 1:1
Hilton Honors 1:1.5
Sears Shop Your Way 1:12

Final thoughts

Now that you know which credit card will give you the most rewards for your travel, it’s time to let your creativity take over and start planning your next getaway! When the credit card companies are handing lounge access like candy and free flights are accumulating like the national debt, you’d be crazy not to!

Interested in the Best Business Credit Cards for Travel? Check out this link!

*If you disagree with our picks, let us know! We will review all suggestions and are focused on only providing accurate information to our readers*