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Vacation Smarter — Cover $600 Or More* With A Top Travel Credit Card Intro Offer

Whether you're looking to lower the cost of your next trip or level up the luxury factor, a top travel credit card with a competitive intro offer is key. Our Nerds have all the info you need to find the smartest card for you — learn how to maximize your rewards, browse our top cards, and apply for one that fits your travel style.

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How Do Travel Credit Cards Work?

These cards pay you points or miles for making both travel purchases and everyday purchases. Once you accumulate enough points or miles, you can redeem them for rewards like flights and hotel stays. Currencies vary from card to card, but are generally called "points" or "miles." For example, most airline cards pay miles in that airline’s loyalty program. Hotel credit cards and general travel cards usually pay you with points. Both types of currencies are redeemable for travel and other rewards.

Typically, a travel credit card will pay you extra in its currency when you use the card to purchase travel, but rates vary. One card might offer you 2 points or miles per $1 spent on airline purchases, while another might offer you 3 points or miles per $1 spent on airline purchases. Many travel rewards cards also pay points or miles on everyday non-travel purchases, but usually at a lower rate — for example, only 1 point or mile per $1 spent.

Common Benefits of Travel Credit Cards

Rewards & Credits

You could stretch your dollars and let your card take you further. Earn points and miles that you can apply towards your next trip, or potentially even get your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees covered.

Insurance Coverage

Sometimes things don't go as planned. You could get coverage for the unexpected, like trip cancellation, trip delay, baggage delay, or lost baggage.

Other Perks

You could save even more when you vacation internationally with a card that charges no foreign transaction fees, or travel in style with airport lounge access.

What To Look For In a Travel Card

There are many travel credit cards available. When choosing any financial product, always consider your personal goals and purchase habits. This can help you narrow down the right product for you.

Intro Offer
Many credit cards offer an intro offer to new cardholders — usually a chance to earn a large number of points after spending a certain amount on the card in the first few months after opening the account.

Earning Potential
Not all travel credit cards offer the same earning potential. Look to see how each card rewards points or miles, and don’t forget to consider purchase categories. Also, check to see if the earning potential is unlimited, as you'll want to maximize your earning potential. For some, choosing to get a flat-rate travel credit card may work best.

No Foreign Transaction Fees
If you travel internationally, check to see if the card charges foreign transaction fees. This way, you don’t get charged extra fees when using your card.

Extra travel benefits, like priority boarding for your flight or a welcome gift at your hotel can make your travels more enjoyable.

Annual Fee
Some travel credit cards charge an annual fee, others don’t. It’s essential to understand the annual fee before applying for a credit card to make sure you can comfortably afford it. Travel cards with more perks may have a higher annual fee.

🤓 Nerdy Tip

To get the most out of your intro offer, apply for a card at least five months before booking your trip so you have time to earn and receive points.

Ready To Start Jet-Setting? Check Out Our Favorite Cards and Apply Today

Easy Earnings, Effortless Redemptions. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a big intro offer, high rewards and flexible redemption options make this card worth the annual fee.

It's one of the most popular credit cards on the market — and not just because it's one of the most heavily advertised. Unlike the airline-branded cards it was designed to compete against, it pays a high rewards rate on every purchase (not just on travel spending), and you can use its rewards to pay for any travel expense, without any restrictions on when you travel, which airline you fly or which hotel you stay at. Throw in a big intro offer for new cardholders, and it's no wonder this card is a favorite of so many people. If you want travel rewards that are easy to earn, easy to understand and nearly effortless to redeem, you aren't going to find many travel credit cards better than this one.

A Worthy Option Among Premium Cards. While the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card shares the same DNA as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, it offers key perks that set it ahead of its counterpart. If you’re looking for a travel credit card with an easy-to-understand rewards program and you spend enough per month to offset the annual fee in rewards, this might just be the card for you.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card If you fly a few times a year, chances are you’ll transit through an airport with a Priority Pass lounge. Holders of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card get access to the more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges and restaurants worldwide. Plus, cardholders (and authorized users) will get unlimited access to the new Capital One Lounges that are starting to open in a few domestic airports. And, you could enjoy perks like a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus when you renew your card. That’s worth $100 toward travel (or even more if you strategically transfer to travel partners).

Travel Rewards With a Cash-Back Twist. Frequent travelers or bigger spenders would probably get more value from a card with a higher rewards rate and more perks (and an annual fee). But if you only travel occasionally and save on a hefty annual fee, the Discover it® Miles card is a solid choice.

Some travel credit cards give you the option of redeeming your points or miles for cash back rather than travel, but doing so usually means getting a lower value per point. The Discover it® Miles is a noteworthy exception. Each mile you earn with the card is worth 1 cent, regardless of whether you use it to pay for travel or convert it to cash back. The flexible redemption options and unique intro offer make this card a great low-cost alternative.

*Earned rewards estimate based on credit cards that offer introductory promotions of 60,000 points or more. Terms and conditions apply to earn reward benefits. Credit products subject to lender approval. See NerdWallet.com for details.