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Best Credit Cards to Get Travel Points

There are pros and cons to every credit card and opening another account just to gain travel points seems like a financial faux pas. In reality, global citizens can benefit from a number of travel credit cards.

Read along to find out which travel credit cards are the best bang for your buck!

How Do Travel Credit Cards Work?

Every time you use your card to make a purchase, you earn travel points. The earning rate varies with each credit card company but it's usually 1 point per dollar. Sometimes there are promotions during the year or for specific retailers where you can earn more points per dollar spent.

card earning travel points

What Credit Score Do I Need to Get a Travel Credit Card?

Typically, in order to get a useful travel credit card, you need a good credit score of about 700 or higher. The credit card issuers may also need you to fulfill other requirements such as a minimum annual income.

If you have a less-than-ideal score or one that’s non-existent, not to worry. There are plenty of options out there for students or for those who need to improve their credit. Speak to a representative at your bank to help get you on track with a credit card that’s the right fit for you. 

What Features to Look for in a Travel Credit Card

When choosing a travel credit card, be sure to look into the details of the following features:

  • Welcome bonus or offers
  • Fees: annual fees, foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees, late fees, and over-limit fees
  • Interest rate
  • Earning rate
  • Flexibility: Can the travel points be applied to any airline or just one? Can the points be used towards accommodations and other travel expenses?
  • Other perks: Airport lounge access, travel discounts, accommodation upgrades, and elite status 
lufthasana travel points

Now that you’ve got the basics on travel credit cards, here are our top picks for this year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Fees: $550 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Interest rate: 16.99%–23.99% variable APR
  • Earning rate: 1 point per dollar on regular purchases and 3 points per dollars on dining and travel worldwide
  • Other perks: $300 annual travel credit, 50% more redemption value through Chase Ultimate rewards, purchases of $100 or more can be converted into fixed monthly payments, global entry or TSA pre-check $100 fee credit every 4 years, VIP airport lounge access in 500 cities, partnership benefits with Lyft, DoorDash, and Peloton, and travel and purchase coverage

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Welcome bonus: 80,000 bonus points and $50 grocery credit after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Fees: $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Interest rate: 15.99%–22.99% variable APR
  • Earning rate: 1 point per dollar on regular purchases and 2 points per dollars on dining and travel worldwide
  • Other perks: 25% more redemption value through Chase Ultimate rewards, purchases of $100 or more can be converted into fixed monthly payments, partnership benefits with Lyft, DoorDash, and Peloton, and travel and purchase coverage

Capital One Venture Rewards

  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months or 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Fees: $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Interest rate: 17.24%–24.49% variable APR
  • Earning rate: 2 points per dollar on regular purchases and 5 points per dollar on hotel and car rentals made through Capital One Travel
  • Other perks: Global Entry or TSA pre-check $100 fee credit every 4 years, redeem rewards with PayPal and Amazon, access to exclusion sporting and music events, culinary experiences, and lounges, and travel and purchase coverage

American Express Gold Card

  • Welcome bonus: 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Fees: $250 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Interest rate: 15.99%–22.99% variable APR
  • Earning rate: 4 points per dollar on dining and grocery purchases in the U.S., 3 points per dollars on flight bookings through airlines or amextravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Other perks: $10 in Uber Cash each month when you add the credit card to your Uber account ($120 annually), $10 a month dining credit when you buy from Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed, and other partners ($120 annually), purchases can be converted into fixed monthly payments, exclusive access to American Express Experiences and preferred seating, and baggage and car rental insurance

amex gold card travel points


Remember, there’s a credit card for everyone. Each company has many versions of the same card with fewer or more benefits and different annual fees. Take a look around and you’ll be racking up the points in no time. Happy traveling!