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Best Travel Credit Cards
31 Mar 2018

The Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

If you’re the type of person who sneaks a peek at travel deals on your lunch break or dreams of your next adventure every spare minute, you know just how special every trip you take is.

But what if every trip you took or purchase you made could get you that much closer to affording your next adventure?

With travel credit cards, you can do just that.

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points, miles, cash back, and more that can be put towards buying flights, booking hotels, and more. You’ll also enjoy a range of other perks and bonuses.

If you’re thinking about signing up for a travel card, keep reading. We’re breaking down a few of the best for every type of traveler.

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Best Cards for Frequent Flyers

If you fly often and you aren’t utilizing a travel card that rewards you with free miles, you could be missing out on free travel.

Unlike other travel credit cards, airline cards help you earn miles that you can then use at that airline. To get the most out of these cards, you’ll need to fly with the same airline each trip.

Luckily, flying the same airline, again and again, has its perks. Some airline credit cards will offer you free baggage fees. Others feature perks like private lounges you can enjoy before your flight or free drinks and snacks onboard. Here are a few of the best airline-specific credit cards.

Golden Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

If you’re a loyal Delta passenger, this card is for you.

Delta’s Golden SkyMiles Card has a simple rewards program. For every $1 you spend on a Delta purchase, you’ll earn 2 miles. For every $1 you spend on any other purchases, you’ll earn 1 mile.

You’ll also earn bonus miles for things like spending $2,000 in your first three months as a card owner, which gets you 50,000 reward miles. If you make a Delta purchase in your first three months, you’ll also get a $50 credit to your statement.

While you won’t be able to use your reward miles for just any airline, Delta does have 15 partner airlines that you can use your rewards with. You’ll also get priority boarding, your first checked bag for free, access to the Delta Sky Club, and 20 percent off of purchases onboard your flight.

The Golden Delta SkyMiles Credit Card does have a $95 annual fee, but its waived for your first year as a cardholder.

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card

United Airlines is another popular major carrier offering flights across the U.S. and around the world. If you ready to commit to flying with them, their credit card is a must.

Like with Delta’s credit card, you’ll earn 1 point for every $1 you spend anywhere and double that for purchases at United Airlines.

If you spend $2,000 in your first three months as a cardholder, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles.

But United offers more than just an initial bonus. If you spend $25,000 a year, you’ll earn an additional 10,000 points. This may seem like a lot. But you can earn those points by spending that $25,000 on anything you choose, including all of your everyday purchases.

You’ll enjoy other bonuses besides reward miles as well. Not only will you get your first checked bag for free, but you can also get a free checked bag for one companion traveling with you. You’ll also get priority boarding and two passes to a United Club lounge each year.

United MileagePlus’ reward miles never expire, as long as you remain a cardholder.

The United card does have a $95 annual fee.

Best Cards for Deal Seekers

Travel credit cards from major airlines are great for racking up reward miles. But if you enjoy seeking out deals from airlines, trains, buses, and hotels, you need a card that still rewards you even if you shop around for a great deal.

Luckily, there are plenty of travel credit cards that allow you to earn points on any travel-related purchases, and even non-travel related ones. Here are a few of the best.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

Want to earn a steady number of points no matter where you use your card? The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card offers just that.

You’ll earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend, anywhere and on anything. The points are unlimited, and they never expire as long as you remain a cardholder.

When you’ve accumulated enough points, you can spend them on everything from gift cards to Amazon, restaurant, and stores, or use them to pay for your travel-related purchases.

If you spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points. That’s equivalent to a $200 statement credit that you can put towards your next adventure.

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card has no annual fee. If you also open a checking account with Bank of America, you can even earn 10 percent more points on all purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Another of the best travel credit cards for travelers who don’t want to be tied to a single airline is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Like the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card, you’ll earn points on every purchase. But with the Chase Sapphire Card, you’ll earn 2 points for every dining or travel-related purchase and 1 point on every $1 spent elsewhere.

When it comes to spending your travel rewards points, you can get 25 percent more when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can even transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to several other loyalty programs.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also offers one of the best bonuses of any of the travel credit cards on this list. If you spend $4,000 within three months of opening your card, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points. Cash those in through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and that’s worth $625!

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Best Cards for World Travelers

If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know that accessing your money or using a credit card while out of the country can come with a lot of hefty fees.

But avoiding these fees is easy with travel credit cards that are designed for world travelers.

These travel credit cards also take your financial security into account by offering advanced features for protecting your information. They feature a security chip and require a pin, making it harder for identity thieves to access your card.

Check out these cards to find the perfect one for your next international trip.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

One of the biggest perks of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is that it features no foreign transaction fees. You can use your card anywhere in the world, without worrying about racking up additional costs.

You’ll also earn plenty of reward miles while spending your money internationally that you can put towards your next adventure.

You’ll earn 2 miles for every $1 spent. But that’s not all. Every time you redeem your miles, you’ll earn 5 percent back. You can also earn bonus miles for sharing your travel stories in the Barclay Travel Community.

Like the other travel credit cards on this list, you have the chance to earn a hefty bonus in the months after you open your card. If you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, you’ll earn 40,000 points. That’s the equivalent of a $400 statement credit.

Your reward miles from Barclaycard can be redeemed directly for travel purchases. Or they can be converted to cash back credit statements, gift cards, or even merchandise.

Your miles will never expire as long as you stay a cardholder. There is an $89 annual fee, but its waived for the first year.

Discover it Miles

Whether you’re traveling the world or just exploring your hometown, it isn’t hard to lose your wallet or misplace your credit card. If it has ever happened to you, you know exactly how stressful that can be. If your card has ever fallen into the wrong hands, you know how dangerous that can be as well.

The Discover it Miles helps protect you from this. With the click of a button right from your smartphone, you can switch off your credit card the moment you realize it’s missing.

When you find it again, you won’t have to worry about calling the bank or getting a replacement. Just log back in right from your mobile device and switch your card back on.

With the Discover it Miles credit card, you’ll earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend. You can then redeem your points for a statement credit that can be spent on travel-related expenses.

If you’re looking for travel credit cards because you have a big trip coming up, this is a great choice. After your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match your reward points. Whether you’ve racked up a hundred points or 10,000, they’ll match it, giving you a big bonus to spend on your next trip.

Discover also offers a free Fico credit score for cardholders, allowing you to keep track of your finances and plan ahead for future adventures by keeping your credit strong.

As an added bonus, the Discover it Miles credit card has no annual fee.

Best Cards for Business Travelers

If you travel for business, whether you own the business or are simply an employee, you have the chance to earn tons of valuable points. You can put these towards future business travel, or enjoy a personal getaway.

Or, choose a card that offers cash back and other rewards that you can put back towards your business.

Businessmen and women can qualify for special travel credit cards designed for frequent flyers, extended hotel stays, and more.

Here are a few of the best travel cards for business people.

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business is a great card for business owners looking to earn cash back that can be put towards any business expenses.

With this card, you’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. Spend $3,000 in the three months after you open your account and you’ll earn a $200 cash back bonus.

There’s no annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about costing your business any additional fees. Your cash back rewards will never expire, so you can save them up for as long as you’d like. These perks make this one of the best travel credit cards for business owners.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

If you do a lot of international business travel, then the Chase Ink Business Preferred card is a great choice.

With no foreign transaction fees, you won’t have to worry about penalizing your business while landing deals overseas.

You’ll earn a whopping 3 points for every $1 spent on any travel-related expenses, shipping costs, cable, internet, phone service, and search engine or social media advertising costs.

You can maximize your points by redeeming them for Chase Unlimited Travel purchases, where you’ll get a 25 percent bonus.

Spend $5,000 in your first three months as an account holder, you’ll get a bonus of 80,000 points.

If you’ll be making big purchases on your business credit card, it’s important to note that you’ll only earn 3 points for the first $150,000 you spend each year.

Points from the Chase Ink Business Preferred card can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, cash back, and more.

Choosing the Right Travel Credit Cards

Whether you travel frequently for business or pleasure, internationally or primarily within the country, having the right travel credit card is a must.

For international travel, a card with no foreign transaction fees and advanced security features is a great choice. If you are loyal to a specific airline, then their travel card might offer you the largest number of reward miles. If you travel for business, a card designed for that can help you make the most of your expenses and earn maximum cash back or rewards.

Enjoy shopping around for the best travel deals? Choose a card that rewards you no matter which airline you fly with or which hotel you stay at.

If you want to make the most of your credit card use, choosing several different cards for different types of purchases can help you maximize your rewards. Now that you know which travel credit cards are best, check out this article to find a few great retail cards to earn points at the places you already shop.