The Best Travel Credit Card Welcome Bonuses Right Now

Check out the latest and greatest offers for adding a new travel credit card to your wallet.
Jan 14, 2022

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There are a number of travel rewards credit cards with boosted welcome bonuses to have on your radar.

Here’s a look at some of the best travel credit card offers out there right now, based on the value of the welcome bonuses, which were calculated using NerdWallet's valuations of credit card and loyalty program points.

This is the shortlist of the best travel credit card deals of 2021:

New travel credit card offers

If you're in the market for a credit card designed with travelers in mind, start here.

Card name

Welcome bonus

Value of welcome bonus

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

2 cents

$2,400.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.

0.7 cent

$1,050.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

0.8 cent.

$1,000.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

1 cent.

$1,000.

JetBlue Plus Card

Earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

1.5 cents

$1,050.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

1 cent with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but as much as 1.9 cents if you also hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

$300 - $570.

United℠ Business Card

Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles. Earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.

1 cent

$1,500.

A closer look

Learn more about these new cardholder incentives, each vying to offer the best credit card welcome bonus for travel today.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
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Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $695.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $2,400. According to our analysis, American Express Membership Rewards are worth about 2 cents each for this card.

  • Why you should get it: The current welcome offer is 20,000 points more than the previous offer, which was still an impressive $2,000 in award travel. Plus, the annual fee is going up $100 if you apply on or after Jan. 13, 2022. This is a good chance to lock in a lower annual fee for one year.

  • Who should get it: Entrepreneurs or people who qualify for small-business credit cards through their side hustles or freelancing. Find out if you can apply for a small-business credit card.

  • Who should skip it: People who don't own a business or don't have good credit. If you can't spend $15,000 in the first three months, look for a business card with a smaller spending minimum to earn the welcome bonus.

  • Learn more: Read our full review of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Terms apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
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Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.

  • Annual fee: $95.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,050. Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about 0.7 cent each according to NerdWallet's valuations.

  • Why you should get it: You can earn up to 17x on eligible Marriott spending (6x from the card, 10x as a Marriott Bonvoy member, 1x with the automatic Silver elite status). The most notable benefit is the one Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after the account anniversary.

  • Who should get it: People who are ready to dip their toes into co-branded hotel credit cards and can spend at least two nights every year at a Marriott, particularly if you visit properties that cost 50,000 points or less per night.

  • Who should skip it: If you want a more luxurious hotel travel experience, like a higher level of automatic elite status and a Free Night Award you can use at higher category hotels, consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card instead. Terms apply.

  • Learn more: Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
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Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..

  • Annual fee: $89.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,000. IHG Rewards Club points are worth about 0.8 cent each according to NerdWallet's valuations.

  • Why you should get it: The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of our favorites because the free nights come easy and the elite status helps you get room upgrades. This isn't the biggest offer we've ever seen, but any bonus worth $1,000 is respectable.

  • Who should get it: People who plan to do some four-night or longer stays. Because you can get a fourth night free on award stays, you will save a bunch of points and you'll be able to spend a little more time in that upgraded room that comes as part of the elite status perks.

  • Who should skip it: People who don't plan to stay at IHG hotels. Get familiar with the IHG brands before you apply for this card.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
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Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

  • Annual fee: $395.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,000. Capital One miles are worth about 1 cent each when you redeem miles through the Capital One Travel portal, but they could be worth even more if you take advantage of transfer partners.

  • Why you should get it: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the first premium travel card from Capital One, and its annual fee is hundreds of dollars cheaper than some of the competing cards from American Express and Chase. Plus, Capital One recently improved the transfer ratios, added more transfer partners, and it's building its own network of Capital One airport lounges.

  • Who should get it: People who want to use their miles mainly to fly with Capital One's new-and-improved list of transfer partners or redeem their miles through the Capital One Travel portal.

  • Who should skip it: People looking for hotel benefits. While you can redeem your miles for hotel stays, many of the card's other perks (including a limited-time offer on Airbnb and VRBO purchases) are aimed at frequent flyers.

Barclays JetBlue Plus Credit Card
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Earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

  • Annual fee: $99.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,050. NerdWallet values JetBlue points at 1.5 cents each.

  • Why you should get it: As far as airline miles go, JetBlue has the most valuable points compared to other domestic carriers. That means the welcome bonus can cover more (or more expensive) award flights than you might expect. And you'll earn 2x points on eligible grocery stores and at restaurants and an anniversary bonus of 5,000 points every year.

  • Who should get it: If you live in the Northeast where JetBlue has a large presence, this could be a great card for you. You can use JetBlue points to book spacious Mint seats or take advantage of the carrier's new partnership with American Airlines.

  • Who should skip it: People who live outside of JetBlue's destination network should explore other options. JetBlue isn't part of a major airline alliance, so if you want to make sure your points can fly you anywhere you need to go, you might want to look at a United, Delta or American Airlines card or a travel card with transferrable points.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
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Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

  • Annual fee: $0.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $300. But it could be as much as $570 based on the other Chase Sapphire cards you might have and whether you take advantage of your the Sapphire card's transfer partners. More on how that works below.

  • Why you should get it: With this welcome offer, you'll get an excellent rewards rate on your everyday spending: 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). Compare that to the usual 1% people get back on most purchases.

  • Who should get it: If you have a Sapphire card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a must-have, especially while this offer is available. The secret is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® actually rewards Chase Ultimate Rewards® points that you can redeem for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point. But if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your points from your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Sapphire card to be able to redeem them at a rate of 1.25 cents or 1.5 cents each in the travel portal. Or better yet, you could transfer those points to airline and hotel partners where you might find even more value.

  • Who should skip it: If you're looking to add a huge chunk of points to your reserves for an upcoming trip, this card probably won't do the trick since it's based on spending for an entire year (or the first $20,000 you spend, whatever comes first). Look into some of the other best travel cards to top off your account instead.

Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Business Credit Card
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Earn up to 150,000 bonus miles. Earn 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Earn an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee: $99.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,500. NerdWallet values United miles at 1 cent each.

  • Why you should get it: If you earn the second part of this bonus, you are doubling the number of miles you can earn by opening just one credit card. Usually, you'd have to apply for two different credit cards to earn two massive amounts of miles like that.

  • Who should get it: Business owners who fly United a lot and can put at least $20,000 in expenses on this card in the first six months.

  • Who should skip it: Owners with smaller operations that won't spend close to $20,000 in the first six months or people who don't fly United much.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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