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Start Earning Up To 75k Intro Offer Miles Today With These Nerd-Approved Travel Cards

Travel credit cards can be one of the best ways to lower the cost of travel, whether you're taking a trip to visit family in another state or boarding a plane for a luxurious vacation overseas. Regardless if you collect airline miles, hotel points or flexible issuer-specific currency, they all perform the same function of making your future trip more affordable. Learn more about how to maximize your rewards and apply for the right card for you today.

One Of Our Favorite Picks

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

4.7

NerdWallet rating 

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

2x-5x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

2x-5x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

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.

Bonus Offer
Many credit cards offer a sign-up bonus to new cardholders — usually a chance to earn a large number of bonus 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.

Perks
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 the sign-up bonus.

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

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

4.7

NerdWallet rating 

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

2x-5x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

2x-5x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Easy Earnings, Effortless Redemptions. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a big sign-up bonus, 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 bonus 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Bonus categories
  • Primary rental car coverage
  • Flexible rewards redemption
  • Transfer partners

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Complicated rewards
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Bonus categories
  • Primary rental car coverage
  • Flexible rewards redemption
  • Transfer partners

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Complicated rewards
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Nearly a Must-Have for Travelers. For travelers, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stands out as a versatile and valuable choice. With this card, you can earn rewards — known as Ultimate Rewards® points — in a variety of ways and redeem them strategically for travel, like transferring those points to a variety of loyalty programs, including heavy hitters such as United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Marriott and Hyatt. And it dovetails nicely with some other Chase cards that also earn Ultimate Rewards® points.

Overall, it might not be the easiest card to use. But it’s a go-to card for travelers who delight in finding ways to reap big value from their rewards.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$395

Rewards rate

2x-10x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Lounge membership
  • Anniversary perk
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Requires excellent credit
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Annual fee

$395

Rewards rate

2x-10x

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Lounge membership
  • Anniversary perk
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Requires excellent credit
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
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).

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's website

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

on Wells Fargo's website

Annual fee

$0

Rewards rate

1x-3x

Points

Intro offer

20,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Bonus categories
  • No reward caps
  • Cell phone insurance
  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • No free checked bags
  • No free anniversary night
  • No luxury perks
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
Annual fee

$0

Rewards rate

1x-3x

Points

Intro offer

20,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Bonus categories
  • No reward caps
  • Cell phone insurance
  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • No free checked bags
  • No free anniversary night
  • No luxury perks
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
Big Rewards, No Annual Fee. If you'd love to earn valuable rewards on your travel credit card but hate annual fees, consider putting your autograph on an application for the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card. The card, which has an annual fee of $0, is primarily positioned in the market as a travel credit card because of its triple points on travel spending. But its other bonus-reward categories are highly useful for everyday spending, too. They include 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations, as well as on transit, streaming services and phone plans.

That makes this card a candidate to be a primary — even front-of-wallet — credit card to carry with you, as well as one you can “set and forget” for recurring streaming and phone payments. And rewards are unlimited, unlike some competing cards that cap bonus rewards. That’s a big deal for big spenders.