Best No-Annual-Fee Travel Credit Card

How we picked the cards to evaluate:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 40 travel credit cards. To be considered, a card had to be widely available, charge no annual fee and deliver an overall rewards rate in excess of 1%. That means either a flat rate of more than 1% or a base rate of 1% with one or more bonus categories at rates of 2% or more. The cards we reviewed include products from NerdWallet partners and nonpartners.

How we chose the winner:

When choosing our best no-annual-fee travel card, we looked at rewards earning rates, how much spending qualified for elevated rewards (in the case of cards with bonus categories), redemption options, sign-up bonuses, domestic and international acceptance, and cardholder perks.
Cards' NerdWallet star ratings alone do not determine awards. Here's how our credit cards team distinguishes between star ratings and award selections:
  • Star ratings are quantitative: We assess the features of a card, score those features according to how they compare with other options on the market, and assign the card a rating of 1 to 5 stars based on those features. In general, a card that rates 4.5 stars will be a better value for more people than a card that rates 4.0 stars. However, the 4.0 card might be better than the 4.5 card for an individual consumer depending on that person’s circumstances.
  • Selection for awards is both quantitative and qualitative: Selection for the awards is based on discussion among editorial team members and relies on the same criteria used for the star ratings. However, star ratings alone do not dictate awards. Rather, the awards identify the best cards for specific uses or specific types of consumers, such as budget-minded travelers.

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet gets credit card information from partner issuers through automated data feeds. Information about cards from nonpartner issuers is verified on the issuers’ websites.