Main travel credit cards | Your Guide to the Best Travel Credit Cards of 2024

Your Guide to the Best Travel Credit Cards of 2024

Zoey Peregrine Avatar

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travel credit cards

Miles Master: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Earn a travel-ready bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, enough for a potential weekend getaway. Then, rack up 2 miles on every dollar spent, anywhere.  Capital One Venture lets you redeem miles for flights, hotels, car rentals or even erase travel purchases from your statement – the choice is yours!  This no-frills card offers flexibility and simplicity for any traveler.

How to spend bonuses: Redeem your miles to erase travel costs from your statement, or switch them up by transferring to any of 17 partner programs, like AirFrance-KLM or Turkish Airlines. It’s your travel budget but more flexible.

Pros

+Super-flexible redemption options
+No foreign transaction fees
+Straightforward 2X miles earning on all purchases
+Decent annual fee ($95) compared to the rewards potential

Cons

-No airport lounge access
-Miles may not be as valuable as some airline-specific programs
-Annual fee: $95

Budget Traveler’s Best Choice: Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a budget traveler’s dream, offering double cash back on everything you buy. Earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, then earn an additional 1% back when you pay it off.  That’s effectively 2% cash back on all spending, no matter the category.  So, on a $1,000 purchase, you’d earn $20 back – perfect for padding your travel fund without worrying about bonus categories. This no-annual-fee card keeps things simple and maximizes your return on everyday spending.

How to spend bonuses: Redeem your accumulated cash back as statement credits, a direct deposit to your bank account, or even a gift card.

Pros

+No annual fee
+Effective 2% cash back on all spending adds up
+No category restrictions, maximize everywhere you spend

Cons

-No airport lounge access or travel insurance
-No points/miles
-Slower rewards accumulation

The Best for US Expats: Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an ideal pick for those new to travel rewards. It kicks off with a generous bonus: earn 100,000 points by spending $4,000 within the first three months, translating to as much as $1,250 in travel if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You’ll also get double points for your travel and dining expenses, plus a point per dollar on everything else. With no fees on foreign transactions and a reasonable annual fee of $95, it’s designed to make your travel more rewarding and straightforward.

How to spend bonuses: Book travel through Chase and get 25% more value, maximizing the worth of your bonus points (e.g., 60,000 points become $750 for travel). Alternatively, you can redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal for flights, hotels, and car rentals (also at 1.25 cents per point).

Pros

+Welcome bonus for new users
+Rewards on select spending categories
+Includes primary coverage for rental cars
+Versatile options for redeeming rewards
+Ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners

Cons

-Annual fee required
-A good to excellent credit score needed
-The rewards system may be complex

Benefit Your Rent with Points: Bilt World Elite Mastercard®

The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® turns your rent payments into rewards. Earn a straight 1 point for every dollar you pay in rent through the Bilt app (up to $100,000 annually). No annual fee and no processing fees for rent payments make it a budget traveler’s dream. While it doesn’t offer airport lounge access or travel-specific perks, you can redeem points for flights, hotels, and travel experiences, making you maximize rewards on your biggest monthly expense.

How to spend bonuses: Since Bilt functions as both your rent payment platform and rewards program, you can simply use your points towards statement credits to reduce your monthly rent payment.  Alternatively, you can redeem points for other eligible expenses within the Bilt app.

Pros

+Rewards for paying rent
+Includes primary rental car and cell phone insurance
+Option to transfer points to partner programs

Cons

-Five transactions per statement period needed to earn rewards
-Lacks a sign-up bonus
-Higher than average APR
-Lower rewards rate on non-rent expenditures compared to similar cards

Best for airline loyalists: UnitedSM Explorer Card

United fans, fly higher with the United℠ Explorer Card. Score a hefty 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months – enough for a potential roundtrip ticket within the US! Plus, earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United flights and hotels booked directly with United,  and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. Enjoy travel perks like free checked bags on United flights (saving you up to $70 per roundtrip) and priority boarding for smoother airport experiences. This card is ideal for United loyalists who want to maximize miles.

How to spend bonuses: Transfer bonus miles to United MileagePlus® to book flights directly with United and maximize your redemption value. Alternatively, you can redeem miles for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, though you might get a slightly lower redemption rate.  Lastly, use miles to cover travel charges you’ve already made on your statement, like hotel stays or in-flight purchases.

Pros

+Complimentary first-checked bag
+Greater availability for United Saver award flights
+No charges on international transactions

Cons

-The first year is free, then an annual fee of $95
-Restricted by Chase’s 5/24 rule

With no annual fee: Discover It Miles

The Discover it Miles card stands out as a no-annual-fee travel companion, offering a refreshing take on rewards. Every purchase earns you 1.5x miles, and to sweeten the deal, Discover matches all the miles you’ve accumulated at the end of your first year. Plus, say goodbye to foreign transaction fees. The card doesn’t just stop there—it packs in travel perks like accident insurance and roadside assistance, making it a solid choice for adventurers.

How to spend bonuses: Offset travel purchases you’ve already made, like flights or hotels. Redeem miles directly for flights, hotels, and car rentals on the Discover travel portal. Also, Stretch your miles further by transferring them to partner airlines and redeem them for award flights.

Pros

+Earn miles on every purchase
+Attractive sign-up bonus
+Fly any day without blackout dates
+Unlimited miles earning, with no expiration

Cons

-Lacks Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
-Travel purchases don’t earn extra rewards
-No access to airport lounges

Max Points on Meals & Groceries: American Express® Gold Card

Turn everyday dining and groceries into travel adventures with the American Express® Gold Card.  Earn a whopping 4 points for every dollar spent at restaurants and US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in combined purchases), making it easy to rack up rewards for flights, hotels, and more. Plus, enjoy complimentary access to airport lounges through Priority Pass Select™ (up to 8 visits per year with a supplementary cardholder) for a relaxing pre-flight experience.  This card is ideal for frequent diners and travelers.

How to spend bonuses: Turn points into flights and hotels by transferring them to Amex travel partners (potentially at a 1:1 ratio). You can also use points to erase travel purchases already on your statement or redeem for statement credits to cover other travel expenses.

Pros

+High potential for earning rewards
+Flexibility to transfer points to various partners
+Add up to 5 authorized users at no extra cost
+The choice between regular or rose gold card designs

Cons

-No access to airport lounges
-Few options for carrying balances
-Elevated APR for the “Pay Over Time” feature
-Increased penalty APR for “Pay Over Time” if payments are missed

Find Your Perfect Travel Credit Card Match

When exploring travel credit cards, it’s important to align one with your lifestyle and spending patterns. Ask yourself: Are frequent flights your norm? Do you love dining out? Or are you looking for a card without an annual fee? These insights can guide you to your perfect match. Selecting the right card, coupled with responsible use, not only stretches your budget but also enriches your travel experiences with rewards and conveniences.

And when it comes to booking those adventures, WowFare steps in. Imagine unlocking budget-friendly flights to destinations far and wide, all while accumulating rewards that make every journey with your chosen travel credit card even more rewarding. Start your travels on the right foot, with WowFare as your companion, ensuring your journey is as smooth and rewarding as the destinations ahead.

Last Updated

Zoey Peregrine Avatar

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