Best Travel Credit Cards 2024

I’m a big proponent of traveling with travel credit cards. That’s because I’ve seen so many of the benefits that come with having a card that delivers on the perks and security like some of the cards listed below.

Last year, I traveled to Spain and saved over $10,000 in flight and hotel costs because of my card’s rewards program.

At the time this post was originally published (February 2024), I am in Switzerland – again. I flew here for free (a flight that would typically cost $1,200) and am planning on redeeming a free night in a hotel worth $400.

Everyone Should Have a Travel Credit Card

Why a travel credit card?

A travel credit card helps you earn miles, perks, and points to go towards your next vacation. Additionally, the best travel credit cards offer advantages over normal cards, including foreign currency services, additional security, locked-in exchange rates, customer services, and emergency services among other benefits.

You can definitely travel without a travel-specific credit card, but why would you? If you’re going to use a credit card anyway, it might as well have extra perks!

Who This Post is For

When I’m talking to fellow travelers or coaching my travel clients about my travel ideas, people always wonder whether using credit cards to travel is worth it or not. Here are some common objections from people who don’t think they need a travel card:

  • “I hardly travel – maybe once every one or two years.”
  • “When I travel, I don’t fly first class or stay in the fanciest hotels.”
  • “Most of my traveling is done on holidays or typical vacation days – going home and seeing family. I’m not going on extravagant vacations.”
  • “I avoid staying in hotels whenever I can. I usually stay with friends and family at their homes.”
  • “I prefer driving to flying.”

The bottom line is: no matter how experienced or luxurious of a traveler you are, it makes sense to get a travel credit card, start building up the rewards, and redeem them when you’re ready. Who knows? A free flight could be the incentive that you need to start your next travel journey.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Travel Credit Card

The travel credit card industry is HUGE. You can find a credit card for pretty much any need, from hotels to airlines to cash back, to pay for your travel expenses.

Because there are so many options, it’s important to zero in on exactly what you’re looking to get out of your card and make sure you’re choosing the right card for you.

Travel Credit Card Rewards, Benefits & Perks

All travel cards are going to come with some offering of benefits, card rewards, perks, and points. Some travel cards provide rewards in the form of points or flight miles. Others have preferred partner networks where card holders can get discounts, deals, and other benefits on things like lodging, rentals, or dining.

There are also cards that offer travel-specific perks, like statement credits for TSA PreCheck, airport lounge access, a free checked bag, and more.

Be sure you understand the perks package before you choose your travel card.

Travel Card Annual Fees

Some travel cards operate with APR interest charges on purchases, while some charge their customers annual fees.

Typical annual fees range anywhere from $95 to $695, according to CNBC. NerdWallet states that the average annual fee is around $105 per year.

For our purposes, most companies will typically recommend an annual fee of $0, but I tend to prefer credit cards with a $95 annual because of the benefits, and even an AMEX card with a $695 fee.

Travel Card Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Purchases

The “APR” is how much interest you’re charged on your balance. The lower the better.

That means that you’ll be paying a lower monthly fee if you carry a balance on your credit card. According to Forbes Advisor, APR interest rates range anywhere from 19% to 28%.

In some cases, a credit card will have a grace period where they don’t charge you any interest on your balance, usually around 6 – 12 months.

As with any loan or credit request, your APR is probably the most important deciding factor in what card will be right for you. If you plan on carrying a balance, aim for a travel card that has a lower APR.

Travel Card Foreign Transaction Fees & Rates

When you purchase something out of the country with a travel card, you’ll typically incur a currency exchange fee of some kind.

The ideal travel credit card will give you a flat rate transaction fee, which means your rate isn’t changing based on fluctuating foreign currency exchange rates, but is a flat rate set by your credit provider.

According to HMS, a typical flat rate fee is 2.75% to 2.9% of the transaction cost.

Travel Card Holder Services

Some credit cards will offer additional account services like travel assistance (e.g. booking flights, helping you find accommodations, and more), concierge style services, and card account management.

Travel Card Security & Protection

Things can go wrong when you’re traveling and a good travel credit card can help you with card and account security benefits, trip insurance, and more. The best travel credit cards will offer you some kind of trip insurance and coverage if things go south.

Welcome/New Customer Bonuses

Last but not least, some cards will offer new customers advantages and bonuses. Most of the time, these come in the form of miles or points bonuses. This is extremely important and why I recommend getting multiple credit cards – it’s how you earn the most points.w

A List of the Best Travel Credit Cards in 2024

Your travel credit card options are always changing with new cards coming on the market, credit programs changing from year to year, and more.

The list below is current as of early 2024 and takes into account what some of the top financial websites are recommending as the best credit cards for travel.

First, we’ll show you what everyone is recommending and then we’ll consolidate all the rankings into one ultimate list. Here we go!

The Abundant Traveler’s Top Travel Credit Cards 2024

I’ve spent years testing out different types of travel credit cards so this list is from my own personal experience.

Fortune’s List of the Best Credit Cards for Travel in 2024

Fortune’s list follows a very specific methodology and is updated on a monthly basis. For their recommendations, they showcase the best cards for a wide range of customers.

NerdWallet’s Best Travel Cards of 2024

NerdWallet is known as one of the go-to resources for credit card advice and their travel card section is no different. They start by listing all their travel cards from most recommended to least and then list out what each travel card is best at.

ThePointsGuy.com’s Best Travel Cards of 2024

ThePointsGuy.com is one of the web’s go-to authorities on travel spending and their list of the best credit cards for 2024 includes a lot of different criteria for new-to-seasoned travelers.

Wall Street Journal’s Best Travel Cards of 2024

The Wall Street Journal’s list is short and sweet. Their focus is on different cards that meet some of the more essential criteria for card holders.

The Ultimate List of the Best Travel Credit Cards

Now that we’ve seen what some of the most reputable experts out there recommend, let’s pull it all together. Luckily, there are some obvious standouts for travel credit cards.

The Best Travel Credit Cards Ranked in Order

Best Travel Credit Cards by Category

BEST OVERALL: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

One of the best travel credit cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is like your trusty travel buddy, loaded with awesome perks for adventurers. First off, you can snag a fantastic 60,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of having the card. That’s a cool $750 you can use for your next travel escapade through Chase Travel℠.

This card is all about flexibility. It gives you 5x points on travel booked via Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel stays eligible for the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit), and 2x points on other travel expenses. So, whether you’re booking flights or planning a road trip, you’re racking up points.

You’ll also earn 3x points when dining out or ordering in, and 3x points on online grocery shopping. Plus, if you’re into streaming services, you’ll score 3x points there too.

Here’s the kicker: Chase Travel℠ makes your points worth 25% more when you use them for travel. And guess what? Your points won’t ever expire as long as your account is alive and kicking. Plus, on your account anniversary, you’ll get bonus points equal to 10% of your previous year’s purchases.

So, if you’re all about having a blast while you travel and want to earn cool rewards along the way, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is your ticket to an epic adventure!

BEST FOR NEW TRAVELERS: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best overall and best for new travelers. Who knew!

BEST BUSINESS TRAVEL: Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is designed to be your trusted partner in all things business. When you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn a substantial 100,000 bonus points. These points can be converted into $1,000 in cash back or $1,250 worth of travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

This card is all about rewarding your business expenses. You’ll earn 3 points for every dollar spent in specific categories, including shipping, advertising on social media and search engines, internet, cable, phone services, and travel. For all other purchases, you’ll consistently earn 1 point per $1, and these points won’t expire as long as your account remains active.

When it’s time to redeem your points, you have a range of options – cash back, gift cards, travel experiences, and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The added perk is that your points gain a 25% boost in value when used for travel through Chase Travel℠. For instance, 100,000 points equate to $1,250 for your next travel adventure.

Additionally, until March 2025, you can earn 5x points on Lyft rides with your Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Plus, you have the option of getting employee cards at no extra cost, allowing you to set spending limits and enhance your rewards accumulation.

BEST PERKS PACKAGE: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is your passport to rewarding travel experiences. Start your journey with a generous offer of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from opening your account. These miles can be a significant boost to your future travel adventures.

Here’s what sets this card apart: you earn 2X miles for every dollar spent on all purchases, ensuring that every aspect of your life contributes to your travel goals. When it comes to travel-related expenses, such as hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, you get a whopping 5X miles, making your travel rewards stack up quickly.

With an annual fee of just $95, this card offers excellent value for frequent travelers. Plus, it boasts a variable APR of 19.99% – 29.99%, making it suitable for various credit profiles.

The benefits don’t stop there. You can enjoy Hertz Five Star® Status, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® credits, and access to Capital One Travel, Entertainment, and Dining. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, ensuring you won’t be charged extra when using your card internationally.

Furthermore, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers additional perks, like travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services, extended warranty protection, and auto rental collision damage waiver. You can also transfer your miles to over 15 travel loyalty programs, giving you the flexibility to choose your favorite.

When it’s time to book, Capital One Travel ensures you get the best prices, and they even offer price drop protection, price matching, and real-time price alerts. So, if you’re ready to take your travel experiences to new heights, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is your ideal companion.

BEST LUXURY CARD: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The The Platinum Card® from American Express opens the door to a world of luxurious travel benefits. With a $200 Hotel Credit, you can enjoy statement credits each year for prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings through American Express Travel. Plus, The Hotel Collection offers a $100 experience credit for a two-night minimum stay.

Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection® ensures you can relax in style at over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide, making travel more comfortable and convenient.

The Platinum Card® also offers a $200 Airline Fee Credit. Simply select a qualifying airline, and you’ll receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by the airline.

For urban explorers, there’s $200 in Uber Cash, distributed monthly for Uber Eats and rides with Uber in the US. Additionally, you gain access to CLEAR® Plus, a service that expedites airport security with biometric verification, with up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year.

Travel enthusiasts will appreciate the International Airline Program, which offers savings on international First, Business, and Premium Economy seats with various world-class airlines.

The Platinum Card® from American Express also includes a Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®. You can receive a statement credit when you apply for and use either service, simplifying your airport experience.

Furthermore, enjoy Marriott Bonvoy® Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, enhancing your hotel stays. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees when using your Platinum Card® abroad.

Car rental privileges with Avis, Hertz, and National, along with Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, provide peace of mind during your travels. Premium Global Assist® Hotline offers 24/7 emergency coordination services when traveling more than 100 miles from home.

The Membership Rewards Program allows you to transfer points to numerous airline and hotel partners, adding flexibility to your travel plans. Finally, trip delay, trip cancellation, and interruption insurance help safeguard your journeys with coverage for various unforeseen circumstances.

In summary, The Platinum Card® from American Express is your key to a world of premium travel benefits, ensuring your trips are more enjoyable, stress-free, and rewarding.

Travel Credit Cards Can Change the Way You Travel

When you start to really take traveling seriously, it’s time to think about a credit card with travel points. If you plan on making traveling a part of your lifestyle, the right travel credit card can help you get more out of your travel, have additional security abroad, and potentially get you free flights, hotel stays, and more. Now that you’ve seen some of the best travel cards, hopefully you can make a decision with confidence.

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