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In order to choose the best travel credit card, you need to first figure out what you’re looking to get out of it. Are you wedded to a particular airline or hotel brand? Or, do you like to keep your options open and play the field? Be prepared to ask yourself these very important questions. But don’t worry — we’ve done the analysis for you.

We compared a variety of different cards, evaluating them based on their annual fees, rewards rates, APRs, travel perks, and other details, to bring you some of the best travel credit cards of 2017.

Best travel cards

Best for earning miles and a generous intro bonus offer

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now

on Chase's website

Summary

Offering 2x points on travel and dining purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and 25% more in value when rewards points are redeemed for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a frequent traveler’s dream card.

Get it

Come for the 50,000 point sign-up bonus (as long as you spend $4,000 in the first three months), and stay for the 2X points on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® waives the $95 annual fee for the first year.

Key highlights

  • 2x rewards on travel and dining purchases; that’s 2 points for every $1 spent
  • A 50,000 point sign-up bonus, as long as you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
  • No foreign transaction fees – great for cardholders who frequently travel abroad
  • 1:1 point transfer to partner airlines and hotels, like Southwest or Hyatt

Skip it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great general travel rewards card, but it doesn’t offer benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding, which some airline specific cards offer. And if you don’t spend much money on travel and dining, that $95 annual fee might not be worth it for you.

Want to know more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred®? Read our full review here.

Best travel cards

Best travel perks

Citi Prestige® Card

Apply Now

on Citibank's website

Summary

If you’re looking for a card that rewards you for travel, hotels, dining, and entertainment spending, and like to travel and treat yourself, the Citi Prestige® Card is hard to beat.

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with a long list of great travel benefits such as lounge access, Global Entry/TSA Pre Check, a $250 credit on air travel, and, best of all, a complimentary 4th night on hotel bookings, making it one of the best travel cards of 2017.

Get it

Card users earn a relatively high 3x on air travel and hotels plus 2x on dining and entertainment (this additional category for extra rewards is not common among travel cards), such as concerts, sporting events, and movies. And the complimentary 4th night on hotel bookings is one of the most lucrative perks offered by any credit card.

For those that like to travel and spend a lot, the perks from the Citi Prestige® Card are some of the best.

Key highlights

  • Earn 3X points on air travel and hotels, 2X points on dining out and entertainment, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • $250 credit on air travel: You have an automatic $250 air travel credit that can be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including tickets, upgrades, baggage fees, and more
  • Global Entry/TSA Statement credit: Card users will receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 5 years as reimbursement for application fees for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points: Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $7,500 within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Complimentary 4th night: When you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel through ThankYou.com or Citi Prestige Concierge, receive your fourth night free (value based on the average nightly cost of your stay). This does not include taxes or fees

Skip it

If you don’t spend a lot of money on travel, dining, or entertainment, or are not a very frequent traveler, this card may not be for you as the annual fee of $450 is rather high. You’ll want to do some calculations to make sure the benefits of the perks outweigh this fee for the type of spending and travel you do. Also, while the intro bonus of 75,000 is very attractive, the spend of $7,500 may be difficult to meet for the average spender.

Is the Citi Prestige® Card right for you? Read our full review here.

Best travel cards

Best secure travel card with chip-and-PIN capability

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Apply Now

on Barclaycard's website

Summary

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers cardholders the chance to earn 2x miles for every $1 spent on any purchase.

First time members opening new accounts can earn 50,000 miles after they spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, you’ll get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem.

Get it

For frequent international travelers, The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® also offers chip-and-PIN capability for enhanced security.

Key highlights

  • 2x miles on every purchase you make; that’s 2 miles for every $1 spent
  • 50,000 bonus miles, after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days (for first time members opening a new account)
  • 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem

Skip it

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers the most value to cardholders who redeem their miles for a travel statement credit used against a specific travel expense. If you’d rather redeem points for non-travel related rewards, you might want to consider a different card.

Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® right for you? Read our full review here.

Best travel cards

Best for luxury travel

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now

on American Express's website

Terms Apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Summary

If you’re looking for a travel card with lavish perks and a significant rewards rate that rewards you for traveling, the Platinum Card® from American Express may be the card for you.

Get it

For frequent luxury travelers, the Platinum Card® offers an abundance of travel perks that makes it an excellent choice for those that spend a lot on travel and want to be rewarded for doing so.

With a serious welcome offer of 60,000 points, access to thousands of lounges including Amex Centurion lounges, $200 in annual Uber credits, and 5x for booking directly with airlines on Amex, plus more, this is one of the best travel cards of 2017.

Key highlights

  • Five points for each dollar spent on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel, as well as for reservations with eligible hotels booked through amextravel.com
  • 60,000 point welcome offer when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of having the card
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber savings, and $200 in credits for airline fees accrued with your eligible airline of choice
  • Upgrades and other premium treatments when you book your stay at a fine hotel or resort (as defined by AmEx) through American Express on your Platinum Card®
  • Unlimited complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges

Skip it

If you’re looking to maximize your rewards redemption across multiple categories this card may not be for you as the increased rewards are only applicable to travel. Other travel cards may offer better rewards rates on additional categories such as dining and entertainment which would provide a better value for the type of spending you do. Also, the annual fee is quite hefty at $550 so this card is not best for the occasional or infrequent traveler or someone that has smaller annual spending.

Is the Platinum Card® from American Express right for you? Read our full review here.

Best travel cards

Best for no annual fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Apply Now

on Bank of America's website

Summary

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card helps cardholders earn 1.5X points per $1 spent, with annual fee of $0.

Further good news for Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or Merrill Edge customers — you can earn a bonus of 10% to 75% when you redeem, depending on how much you have in your accounts.

Get it

If you’re looking for an easy way to earn rewards on everyday spending, and earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card might be the credit card for you.

Key highlights

  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees
  • Unlimited points, earned at a rate of 1.5 points per $1 spent
  • 20,000 bonus points, or $200 back, when you spend at least $1,000 on the card within 90 days of opening the account

Skip it

Those who want to redeem their points for non-travel related rewards may want to look elsewhere, as will big spenders who stand to earn rewards at a greater rate.

Is the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® card right for you? Read our full review here.

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