The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards

Jetset Christina has partnered with CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit products. Jetset Christina and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. The content in this post and any offerings stated are accurate as of the posting date. Some of the offers may no longer be available. Follow the links below to find out more about each specific card. All opinions as stated are Christina’s alone.

I’m often asked about my favorite credit cards for travel rewards. Using the right travel credit card will help set you up for awesome benefits (like paying for an entire trip using your rewards or upgrading a flight to business class on points – like Kenny and I did for our honeymoon to the Maldives!). There’s no better feeling than feeling like when you’re spending money on travel, you’re actually investing toward future travel experiences, as well. 

This past year has been a BIG spending year for me. Between wedding planning, planning a honeymoon, and starting a swimwear line, using credit cards to pay for big purchases has helped me accumulate a ton of rewards to use on travel.  While navigating which credit card is right for you can seem intimidating, it’s really quite simple to start earning points and perks while going about your everyday life – and to start cashing in those business class upgrades and luxury vacations – you just have to be strategic when it comes to finding a card that’s right for you.

Here are all my favorite credit cards that, in my opinion, offer the best value when it comes to rewards, perks, and points. 

The best starter credit card for earning travel rewards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why I love it: $0 first year annual fee!! And only $95 annually after that. This is a great card to start with if you’re looking to get your feet wet in the travel rewards world, but don’t want to commit to one of the ones with more expensive annual fees.

The other reason I love it? Many popular travel credit cards have one major flaw: they are limited to a single airline or hotel chain. But, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your rewards for a statement credit, book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (with no blackout dates and a 20% discount), or transfer them to participating airlines or hotel transfer partners (at a 1:1 ratio). This offers greater flexibility and freedom when booking travel and using the rewards and vacations you’ve worked hard to earn.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide

To learn more about travel rewards cards, check out this page here.

*JetsetChristina is an affiliate of CreditCards.com and may earn a small commission from card issuers.

No Foreign Transaction Fee

The best travel credit card for maximizing travel rewards & perks:

The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Best for: Luxury Travelers

My favorite travel rewards credit card is my American Express Platinum. If you like luxe benefits like swanky airport lounges, access to elite hotel loyalty programs, and the best-of-the-best in features and benefits, you’re going to want to make room in your wallet for this hefty platinum beauty. 

Why I love it: Two words: Centurion lounges. They’re the best airport lounges in the world (in my humble opinion) and you can only get in with an American Express (or as a guest of someone with one). If you value lounge access (aka if you travel as much as I do, and lounges are life) this is the card for you. 

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • Up to 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
  • Up to $200 per year in Uber credits
  • Access to Amex Centurion Lounges (THE BEST PERK!!) & the Global Lounge Collection
  • Up to $200 statement credit per calendar year for fees and more at one qualifying airline (I use this to nix checked baggage fees, wifi fees, etc)
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required

To learn more about travel rewards cards, check out this page here.

*JetsetChristina is an affiliate of CreditCards.com and may earn a small commission from card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for: Points hackers

Why I love it: If you’re a points hacker, always looking for the best deal, this is the card for you. When planning our honeymoon, Kenny and I were able to hack our Chase Sapphire Reserve points by transferring them over to Singapore Airlines (at a 1:1 ratio) and getting a STEAL of a deal on fully business class tickets from SFO to the Maldives, to Bali, and then back to the USA. This card gives you the best rewards ratios, and is a must-have for any points guru. 

  • 3X points on travel after earning $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit 
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, for example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

To learn more about travel rewards cards, check out this page here.

*JetsetChristina is an affiliate of CreditCards.com and may earn a small commission from card issuers.

The best airline credit card:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Best for: Frequent US travelers, especially couples hoping to earn a companion pass (2 for 1 travel, sign me up!)

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • $69 annual fee

To learn more about travel rewards cards, check out this page here.

*JetsetChristina is an affiliate of CreditCards.com and may earn a small commission from card issuers.

The best credit card for entrepreneurs and businesses:

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Up to 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com
  • Get 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more
  • Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back
  • Up to $200 each year in Dell statement credits

To learn more about travel rewards cards, check out this page here.

*JetsetChristina is an affiliate of CreditCards.com and may earn a small commission from card issuers.

Also check out this list of my favorite travel reward cards, and all their benefits on CreditCards.com

No Foreign Transaction Fee

 

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