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Which travel card has the most valuable miles?

See the travel credit cards that can help you earn enough points to book a free trip.

Travel cards pack serious rewards

A recent NerdWallet study found that, on average, Americans earn about $901 in travel rewards during their first year of using a travel card. Roughly half of those rewards are from the sign-up bonus and the remainder is typically from ongoing rewards. Together, they can help you travel for free. Friendly heads up, you’ll want to apply for a travel card at least 5 months before your next trip. In most cases, that’ll give you enough time to earn your sign-up bonus and book a flight.

...but first, is a travel card right for you?

There are a few basic requirements you should be meeting before you apply for a travel card. They'll help you earn enough points (or miles) to shrink the cost of your next trip.

  • Savvy spender: You pay off your credit card balance on time, every month.
  • Frequent swiper: You spend around $2,000 or more each month and will spend at least $3,000 in the first three months to qualify for the bonus offer.
  • Healthy credit: Your credit score is considered good or excellent.

Find the credit card for you

Travel cards come in all flavors. Whether you want massive sign-up bonuses, amazing rewards or a fee-free travel card, there’s a card for you. To help find the one for you, we’ve included five cards that stand out from the rest — each for a different reason — and included an easy-to-read summary of each card.

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on Capital One's secure website

Great for: Cash Back with No Foreign Fee

Securely with Capital One

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
See card details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
See card details

Bonus Value

One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Rewards Details

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons
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on Chase's secure website

Great for: Airline Miles and a Large Bonus

Securely with Chase

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
See card details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
See card details

Bonus Value

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Rewards Details

2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons
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on Capital One's secure website

Great for: Easy Flat Rate Travel Rewards

Securely with Capital One

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
See card details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
See card details

Bonus Value

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel

Rewards Details

Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons
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on Wells Fargo's secure website

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • View Rates and Fees
See card details

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
See card details

Bonus Value

Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value

Rewards Details

Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in; Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit; Earn 3X points on popular streaming services; Earn 1X points on other purchases

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons

VIEW RATES AND FEES

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on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Great for: No Annual Fee Rewards

Securely with Bank of America

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR will apply
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
See card details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
See card details

Bonus Value

25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Rewards Details

Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons
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on Bank of America's secure website

Great for: Cash Back Redemption Options

Securely with Bank of America

  • Receive 50,000 bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
See card details

  • Receive 50,000 bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
See card details

Bonus Value

Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Rewards Details

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit Score

690 - 850

Good - Excellent
See NerdWallet's pros & cons

Want to see more cards? Fly over to our expanded selection of travel credit cards.

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