Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards in 2019

best travel rewards credit cardsSometimes you just need to escape from the rush of daily life, hop on a plane, and fly away somewhere far away.

If this kind of freedom is your dream, make your luxury travel desires come true by using a Travel Rewards Credit Card.

Each dollar spent with a Travel Rewards Credit Card is a dollar closer to your ideal vacation as you gain travel rewards points for any purchase.

So, without further ado we found the best credit cards for travel rewards, and get ready – we’re going to share them with you now.

Our List of Best Travel Reward Credit Cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

chase sapphire preferred credit card
  • earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Generous insurance comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, when you book the entire cost of your trip on your card.

Be reimbursed up to $10,000 with trip cancellation/interruption insurance when your trip is cut short due to sickness, severe weather, and other major bummers.

Baggage delay insurance covers you for the cost of toiletries and other essential purchases up to $100 when your bag gets stuck.

Primary car insurance covers the cost of rental car damages and liability up to $75,000 in the U.S. and abroad, without the need to file a claim through your auto insurance.

And that’s not all – major retail purchases are covered for theft and damages up to $10,000 per incident ($50,000 per year). So shop your heart out!

Finally, enjoy total peace of mind with on-call Travel and Emergency Assistance Services in case you run into a medical, legal, or emergency problem abroad. Talk about covered!

You’re probably starting to see why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is number one on our list of travel rewards credit cards.

Travel Partners

If you belong to any of the following frequent travel programs, you can apply your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to your balance for the same 1:1 value.

Airline Travel Partners

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Travel Partners

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • World of Hyatt®

Keypoints of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Great For: The Frequent Traveler
  • Current Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Premium Travel: Rewards Earn double points on travel and dining at restaurants.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Perks and Bonuses: Your points stretch further than dollars. Get 25% more in travel redemption when you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to book travel through the Chase Mall.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards credit card

We’d be remiss if we forgot the most convenient travel reward of them all – up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® credit when you use the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Now that the fun parts are covered, it’s also worth mentioning the peace of mind that comes with trip accident insurance that covers emergency hospital and transportation bills, plus other costs associated with an accident on your next adventure.

Travel Partners

Most notably, this card lets you earn 10X cash back on purchases through Hotels.com. That means that, for every $1 spent on hotels and lodging through Hotels.com, you will earn 10 VentureOne® miles that can be directly applied to…you guessed it – more travel!

Keypoints of Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Great For: The Beginner Traveler
  • Current Offer: Unlimited double miles plus 50,000 bonus miles after the first $3,000 on spending in the first 3 months.
  • Premium Travel Rewards: No foreign transaction fee, 24-hour travel assistance, earn cash value in VentureOne® miles that can be spent at one of the 10+ travel partners.
  • Annual Fee: $0 in the first year, $95 after that
  • Perks and Bonuses: Unlimited 2X miles on every $1 in purchases.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

the platinum card from american express
  • 60,000 membership rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

If you enjoy traveling, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great option to have in your wallet.

From a great 60,000 bonus points to Uber perks to access to airport lounges, you will be able to travel in style.

Travel Partners

  • TSA Pre✓® credit

Hotel Travel Partners

  • Hilton Honors™ Gold Status
  • Marriot Bonvoy™ Gold Elite Status
  • The Hotel Collection

Keypoints of The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Great For: The Entrepreneurial Traveler
  • Current Offer:  60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in purchases.
  • Premium Travel Rewards: Annual $200 airline credit to be applied to any flight of your choosing.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Perks and Bonuses: Preferred Seating gives you access to premium seats for select sporting and cultural events. Up to $10,000 of liability coverage each time you purchase something fabulous while abroad ($50,000 annual limit).
  • Game Changers: $100 annual Dell credit, and complimentary Platinum WeWork membership in the first calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Generous insurance comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, when you book your whole cost on your card.

Be reimbursed up to $10,000 with trip cancellation/interruption insurance when your trip is cut short due to sickness, severe weather, and other major bummers – Even emergency evacuation!

Baggage delay insurance covers you for the cost of toiletries and other essential purchases up to $100 when your bag gets stuck.

Primary car insurance covers the cost of rental car damages and liability up to $75,000 in the U.S. and abroad, without the need to file a claim through your auto insurance.

And that’s not all – major retail purchases are covered for theft and damages up to $10,000 per incident ($50,000 per year).

So shop your heart out! Finally, enjoy total peace of mind with on-call Travel and Emergency Assistance Services in case you run into a medical, legal, or emergency problem abroad. Talk about covered!

Last, enjoy up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®!

Travel Partners

If you belong to any of the following frequent travel programs, you can apply your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to your balance for the same 1:1 value.

Airline Travel Partners

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Travel Partners

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • World of Hyatt®

Keypoints of Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Great For: The Premium Traveler
  • Current Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Premium Travel Rewards: Earn 3X points on travel and dining worldwide. Annual $300 travel credit to be applied to any travel expenses of your choosing.
  • Annual Fee: $450, $75 per authorized user
  • Perks and Bonuses: Your points stretch further than dollars. Get 50% more in travel redemption when you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to book travel through the Chase Mall.

American Express® Gold Card

American Express Gold Card
  • 35,000 membership rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

As we said, this is the foodie’s card! The American Express® Gold Card boasts a $120 dining credit! How?

You’ll earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at your favorite food services and restaurants like:

Dining Partners

  • Grubhub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Boxed
  • participating Shake Shack locations

This can be an annual savings of up to $120.

And, there’s more – A $100 airline credit lets you enjoy a few perks while you fly. How can you redeem your $100 airline credit? Here are few ways: check your bags, bump up to business class, or enjoy an in-flight meal on the house.

You only need to select one qualifying airline and then you’ll receive up to $100 per the calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees are charged to your account.

Keypoints for American Express® Gold Card

  • Great For: The Foodie Traveler
  • Current Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Premium Travel Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Plus, earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Perks and Bonuses: Save money on food at home and treat yourself on dining while abroad. With the American Express Gold®  Card, you’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on all spending at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases).

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
  • earn 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Cell phone protection helps protect your device from damage or theft, which we all know can happen when you’re traveling!

There is also lost luggage reimbursement coverage, retail protection for damaged or stolen purchases in the first 90 days, and powerful on-the-go fraud protection to make sure nothing slips by you between time zones.

Let’s also not forget the most unique way to earn triple the points we’ve seen yet – through streaming services! If you are on-the-go but like to stay caught up to your shows, consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.

Your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open, and there are no blackout dates on air travel when redeemed through Go Far Rewards® (even when you pay with a combo of points and your card balance).

Keypoints of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • Great For: The Well-Rounded Traveler
  • Current Offer: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – a $300 cash value.
  • Premium Travel Rewards: No foreign transaction fee, plus earn 3X points on restaurants and food delivery, travel, rideshares, transit, and streaming services.
  • Annual Fee: $0 (You read that right.)
  • Perks and Bonuses: If you are a person of many interests, this is the card for you. Not only can you redeem your Go Far Rewards® for travel, but you can also use them to purchase gift cards.

What Travel Reward Bonuses Should You Look For?

There were a few criteria we used when searching for the best Travel Rewards Credit Cards to use in 2019.

After doing our research we came up with a list of the 6 best things to look for when you want to sign up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card.

Then we did a few laps around the globe to try them out, so this is what we feel is important to look for in a great travel rewards credit card:

No Blackout Dates

When booking travel with frequent flyer miles or some travel credit cards, there are numerous restrictions on when you can travel, called blackout dates. These are often during peak holiday travel times and popular vacation weeks that will vary by destination. Having a card with no blackout dates  ensures you can travel on any airline, stay at any hotel, on any date. Sounds good, right?

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Whether you use francs, euros, or yen – You’ll be charged the normal foreign exchange rate and not charged extra fees for swiping your card abroad. Traditional credit cards tack on a foreign transaction fee that’s a percentage of your purchase.

High-Earning Cashback Miles

Redeem them for airfare, hotel, rental cars, and cruises.

Good Trip Protection and Travel Insurance

What if plans go south but you get stuck at the airport? Avoid customer service back-and-forth and easily rebook your flight when plans change.

With some cards, you can also be reimbursed for the cost of missed hotel reservations and more due to canceled flights, delays, and other unexpected “surprises.”

Access to Airport Lounges

Travel in style and relax on the go.

Introductory Travel Mile Offers

Some of these cards let you double or even triple your travel rewards after spending a minimum threshold in the first few months.

David Weliver

David Weliver

David Weliver is the Credit Cards Editor at Millennial Money. He is the Founder of Money Under 30 and is widely regarded as one of the top credit card rewards experts in the world. David has been writing about personal finance and credit cards since 2006 and been featured in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and many others.
David Weliver

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