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The 6 Best Travel Credit Cards for 2021

By: Daniel Robertshaw
Oct 31, 2021 • 6 min read

The 6 Best Travel Credit Cards for 2021 – Ready, Set, Jet! 

Looking to take on a new credit card and love to travel? This is the article for you! This guide will tell you all you need to know about credit card rewards and travel credit cards. We’ll also list 6 of the best credit cards designed to help you travel in 2021. Read on to learn about the benefits, cons, and best uses of these travel credit cards.

woman holding black smartphone near silver macbook

Credit Card Rewards

A quick search online will show that there are hundreds and hundreds of different credit card options. Because there are so many options, credit card companies will offer different rewards to incentivize prospective customers to choose their card.

Some of these rewards could be cashback, like gaining 5% cashback on all groceries. Other rewards include signing bonuses. For example, a credit card may offer you $500 back if you spend $3000 on your card in the first 4 months. Credit card rewards can be a great way to make back some money on your purchases, but it’s important to be diligent with paying off your card or you could be stuck with high-interest rates.

Travel Credit Cards

So, what exactly is a travel credit card? In its most simple form, it’s a credit card that is themed around travel. As we read earlier, credit card companies offer rewards to incentivize customers to choose their cards. Travel credit cards focus on travel rewards as their way to incentivize their potential customers.

Travel rewards typically come in the form of points of miles. For example, a credit card may offer you 5X points on dining purchases. That means if you make any dining purchases on that card, you’ll gain 5X points for every dollar. So, if you spend $50 at a restaurant, you’ll gain 250 points. These points can be redeemed for a dollar amount that can then be used towards travel purchases. Every company has different redemption rates for points, so it’s important to thoroughly research the benefits of a card before applying for it.

Now that we know all about credit card rewards, let’s look at the 6 best travel credit cards of 2021.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Benefits

  • You can earn 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months after opening your account. That translates to $750 you can use towards travel when you redeem through the Chase reward portal.
  • Earn 5x points on all travel items (hotels, flights, rentals) when purchased through the Chase reward portal.
  • 2x points on all travel purchases outside of the Chase reward portal.
  • Earn 3X points on all dining and online grocery purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on certain streaming services.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Cons

  • To get the full value of points rewards, you have to redeem them through their online rewards portal, which is a bit clunky and can be confusing to use.
  • A fairly large annual fee.

Annual Fee

$95

Summary

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best cards for traveling. Its best incentive is a large bonus that equates to $750 in travel after spending $4000 in the first 3 months. On top of that, large point rewards for dining and travel purchases make this card a must-have travel credit card.

Click here to apply for the Chase Saphire Preferred Card

person using laptop computer holding card

Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • You can earn 25,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days after opening your account. That translates to $250 you can use towards travel purchases.
  • Earn 1.5 points for all purchases
  • Your points never expire.
  • You can redeem your points for statement credit wherever you would like – you’re not limited to certain websites or dates.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • No special point rewards. You only have a 1.5 point flat rate.

Annual Fee

$0

Summary

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card is an excellent travel credit card for beginners. A $250 sign-up bonus and 1.5 points per dollar spent for a card that has no annual fee is a great return. In addition to that, you have the flexibility to redeem your points where you’d like with points that never expire.

Click here to apply for the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Benefits

  • You can earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 in the first 3 months after opening your account.
  • You can also earn an additional 50,000 bonus points if you spend at least $5,000 in the first 6 months after opening your account. That’s a total of 130,000 bonus points.
  • Earn 7X bonus points on all purchases charged directly with a Hilton hotel or resort.
  • 5X bonus points on all purchases at restaurants.
  • 5X bonus points on all supermarket purchases.
  • Earn 5X bonus points on all gas station purchases.
  • Earn 3X bonus points for all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • You are limited to Hilton rewards

Annual Fee

$0

Summary

The Hilton Honors American Express card is a good card for those who are looking to get Hilton rewards for free hotel or resort stays. Multiple large point rewards make this no annual fee card solid for those who like to stay with Hilton.

Click here to apply for the Hilton Honors AMEX Card

travel credit card

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Benefits

  • You can earn 60,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months after opening your account. That translates to $600 you can use towards travel purchases.
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One travel portal.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
  • Your miles never expire.
  • Get up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Cons

  • No special miles rewards. You’re limited to only 2X back on all purchases.
  • A fairly large annual fee.

Annual Fee

$95

Summary

A large bonus that equates to $600 you can use towards travel when spending $3,000 in 3 months.

Click here to apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Discover IT Miles Card

Benefits

  • Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, with no maximum cutoff. For example, if you earn 50,000 miles after one year of owning your card, Discover will match your 50,000 and you’ll have 100,000 miles.
  • Earn 1.5X miles on all of your purchases.
  • Redeem miles to pay any part of your monthly bill.
  • You have great flexibility in how you redeem your miles. Turn them into cash at any time, or redeem them as a statement credit towards travel purchases like airfare, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, etc.
  • Your miles never expire.

Cons

  • Discover has a low acceptance rate in some big touristy destinations like France, Australia, and Egypt.

Annual Fee

$0

travel credit card

Summary

With a Discover IT Miles card you have no special miles rewards. Instead, you get a 1.5X miles flat rate on all purchases. With the miles rate, and a first-year miles match, for no annual fee, it’s a solid, simple card. The ability to pay monthly bills with miles is also a great feature.

Click here to apply for a Discover IT Miles Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • 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.
  • Receive $300 annual reimbursement for travel purchases to your card.
  • Earn 5X points on flight purchases made through the Chase rewards portal.
  • 10X points on hotels and car rental purchases through the Chase rewards portal.
  • Earn 10X points on dining purchases through the Chase rewards portal.
  • 3X points on travel purchases not made through the Chase rewards portal.
  • Earn 3X points on dining purchases not made through the Chase rewards portal.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Get up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $0 DoorDash delivery fees.
  • Access up-to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide.
  • Special car rental privileges when you book from certain car rental companies.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • To get the full value of points rewards, you have to redeem them through their online rewards portal, which is a bit clunky and can be confusing to use.
  • A very high annual fee

Annual Fee

$550

Summary

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is the elite of travel credit cards. Its $550 annual fee will deter many, but it makes up for that with its many features and high bonus point rewards. This is recommended for those who frequently travel, or the high annual fee could be costly.

Click here to apply for a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Happy & safe travels!

With the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, traveling is starting to return to our daily lives. The 6 travel credit cards mentioned in this article are a great way to get yourself ready to return to travel.

However, with all credit cards, it’s important to remember to pay off your monthly statements and not fall into debt. Not paying off your card on time means you will pay a large interest on the money you own. These companies are able to offer such great rewards because a lot of people end up focusing on the rewards and then don’t pay their cards off on time, which means the credit card company makes a lot of money off the interest you pay.

According to this article by CNBC in 2020, about 47% of Americans have credit card debt, and almost 40% can only pay their minimum payment. Not all credit card debt is avoidable, but when you can avoid it, make the smart choice, and pay off your cards and bring in those sweet travel credit rewards.

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