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Best Travel Credit Cards for August 2021

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Best Travel Credit Cards for August 2021

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Jul 31, 2021. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

You travel regularly and use your credit card to pay for a big chunk of it. With all the airline- and travel-related cards out there, how do you know if the one currently in your wallet is giving you the maximum benefit?

Based on our research of cards available through CompareCards, as well as top cards offered by major issuers, let’s take a look at what we think are the best credit cards in the categories that are most important to travelers.

Best no annual fee travel card

Discover it® Miles

This one wins, but only by a nose. What pushed it over the top is the new cardmember offer where you automatically earn unlimited 1.5x miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee. If you spend $10,000 on the card in a year, you’d earn 15,000 miles; the Discover match turns that into 30,000 miles. But after the first year, the card reverts to its original points per $1 spent.

Redeem your miles as an electronic deposit to your bank account or for a credit on travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. The card comes with two benefits: a free FICO® credit score and Freeze It®, where Discover won’t authorize new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers temporarily.

Runners-up

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

New cardmembers can earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. That translates into $250 that you can use to help pay for travel. You earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.

Earn between 25% and 75% more cash back if you belong to Bank of America’s Preferred Banking Rewards program. Redeem them for travel credit, gift cards or cash that’s redeemed as a check or as an electronic deposit into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. The only benefit with this card is a free FICO® credit score.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

  • 0% intro on purchases for 12 months

  • 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

Highlights
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that

See additional details for Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

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If you want a $0-annual-fee card that comes with some benefits, this card offers 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, which is lower than the previously mentioned cards. It also lets you earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.

Cardholders can transfer miles earned to 19 travel loyalty programs, including Air France KLM Flying Blue, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Wyndham Rewards. The card also comes with benefits like car rental insurance, hotel upgrades, concierge service and extended warranty.

Once you buy travel with the card, redeem your miles as a statement credit.

Best travel card for frequent fliers

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year

Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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This card gives you a lot in return for paying its high $550 annual fee. New cardmembers earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card also offers 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, from Nov. 1 through April 30, 2021, earn 3X points on up to $1,000 in grocery purchases per month (including pickup and eligible grocery store delivery services).

You get your best value with this card by using all of your travel credit and taking advantage of your free Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge membership for access to more than 1,000 facilities worldwide, a benefit that typically costs $429 a year for a prestige membership. Plus receive a statement credit of up to $100 every four years to cover the enrollment fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Another great benefit is getting 50% more value for your points when you redeem them in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. Remember that sign-up bonus? Those points are worth $900 for travel in the portal. And you can transfer your points 1:1 to 10 airline or three hotel loyalty programs.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Rates & Fees

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.

Highlights
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express

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With an annual fee of $695, you’re paying for the elite benefits and personal service that American Express is famous for. The welcome offer allows cardholders to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Each point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for airfare or flight upgrades through American Express Travel — making the sign-up bonus worth $600.

You also get up to a $200 annual Uber statement credit; up to a $200 airline fee statement credit for one of your choosing (enrollment required); statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fee every four years; and free access to lounges including Centurion Lounge, International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® and Priority Pass™ Select lounges (enrollment required).

Plus, these benefits also are available:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.

Best for infrequent travelers

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day

  • 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

  • No minimums for redeeming and cash back won't expire for the life of the account

Highlights
  • One-time $200 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; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

See additional details for Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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This simple card is a great option if you want to earn rewards that go toward travel without worrying about points and categories. You earn a straight 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. New card members earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit, a check or as automatic redemptions at specific thresholds. You can also redeem them as credits for past purchases, gift cards, charitable donations or transfer it to another Capital One account, all at capitalone.com’s My Rewards page. The card also comes with Visa Signature® benefits, including extended warranty, auto rental collision damage waiver, free upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts and spas and access to the card’s concierge service.

Runner-up

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Here’s another simple card where you just earn cash back without having to worry about categories that change every quarter or how many points you earn for different spending. Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

One great benefit with this card is if you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can combine the cash back on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with the points you earn on the other two cards and use them all in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. There, you can get 25% more value when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. The card comes with benefits including purchase protections and extended warranty.

Best travel card for lounge access

The Platinum Card® from American Express

First, this card does come with a $695 annual fee. But it more than balances out what you’d pay for the airport lounges you can visit by having this card. If you are a frequent flyer, you crave a place to get away from the airport masses. This card gets you free access to airport lounges around the world, including Centurion Lounges, International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass™ Select lounges (enrollment required). An individual Sky Club membership costs $545 a year and Priority Pass™ Select costs $429 a year, which more than covers The Platinum Card® from American Express’s annual fee.

To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.

Runner-up

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This card has a $550 annual fee. It comes with a Priority Pass™ Select membership, valued at $429 a year. That gets you access to more than 1,000 lounges around the world for you and two guests. Additional guests are charged $27 per guest, per visit.

Best for travel protections

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

When travel doesn’t go as smoothly as you want, this is the must-have card in your wallet because of how it helps mitigate disasters. If your flight is delayed six hours or more for travel booked with the card, you can be reimbursed up to $500 for hotels or meals. Was your trip canceled? The card takes care of up to $10,000 in travel that can’t be refunded if you can’t make the trip. And it even covers family members even when they’re not traveling with you. In case of accidental death or dismemberment, you can be covered for up to $1 million in travel accident insurance. Terms apply.

If you or an immediate family member check baggage or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger with lost luggage reimbursement. If your travel is delayed by more than six hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, like meals and lodging, for up to $500 a ticket. The worst has happened and you need emergency evacuation and transportation? This card covers you or an immediate family member if you’re injured or become sick during a trip for medical services and transportation up to $100,000. Terms apply.

Best for free checked bags

United Club℠ Card

Many airline rewards cards offer one free checked bag. But this card offers the first and second checked bags free for the primary cardholder and one companion traveling on the same reservation — for a savings of up to $280 per round trip.

The card also comes with a free United Club airport lounge membership, valued at up to $650 per year, along with elite status at Hertz and priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling.

The United Club℠ Card charges an annual fee of $450. However, the value of the airport lounge membership alone more than makes up for that amount.

Runner-up

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.

  • Check your 1st bag free on every Delta flight*

Highlights
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

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This card comes with a free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardholder and up to nine travelers on the same reservation. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

To see rates & fees for Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card please click here.

Best for business fliers

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

  • Complimentary access to over 1000+ airport lounges*

  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more*

Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year when you book on amextravel.com.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® where available and get up to $179 back per year on your membership when you use your Card.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • PAY OVER TIME OPTION: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

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Even with its $595 annual fee, this card is chockablock full of benefits that make travel easier for businesses. Cardmembers Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Additionally, cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. When you redeem your points for travel, you get 35% of them back.

You receive up to $200 in statement credits during a calendar year to cover fees at a single airline (enrollment required). And the card comes with an up to $100 statement credit to cover enrollment fees for Global Entry and TSA Precheck. The card comes with access to airport lounges including The Centurion® Lounge, International American Express lounges, Delta SkyClub® and Priority Pass™ Select. It also comes with gold elite status at Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotels. Enrollment required.

Other benefits include an annual Dell statement credit of up to $200, access to Business Platinum Card Concierge; car rental loss and damage insurance and baggage insurance plan. And it comes with tools that are useful for businesses like employee cards, a designated account manager, connect to Quickbooks, account alerts and a year-end spending summary.

Additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.

Runner-up

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Highlights
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
  • $95 Annual Fee

See additional details for Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

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This card allows cardmembers to earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. The card allows you to transfer your points 1:1 to 10 airline and three hotel partners. It also comes with trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, cell phone protection and extra cards for employees.

Best for foodies

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card lets cardholders earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment & popular streaming services, plus 3% at grocery stores and 1% on other purchases. Additionally, earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The card charges an annual fee of $95.

Runner-up

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

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Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.

Highlights
  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for American Express® Gold Card

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Whether you dine out frequently or prefer cooking at home, you can earn a generous amount of rewards with the American Express® Gold Card. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

The American Express® Gold Card also offers an annual dining statement credit worth up to $120 (enrollment required), as well as up to $120 in Uber Cash annually for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. Plus, earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on Uber Eats purchases made using your card. To get up to a $10 monthly Uber credit, you have to add your card to the Uber app.

The American Express® Gold Card also offers the following welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card please click here.

Best for free hotel stays

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Redeem your points for standard or premium rooms, or use a mix of points and money to book a stay. Points needed to book rooms starts at 5,000. A stay at Troubadour Hotel near New Orleans’ French Quarter in mid-March will cost around 48,000 points a night. Earn a weekend night reward  after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.

If you have Hilton Honors silver, gold or diamond elite status, you’ll receive every fifth night free when you use points to book standard reward stays of five consecutive nights or more. The card comes with Hilton Honors Gold status. If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.

Additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

Runner-up

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

This card gets the nod mainly because you can transfer the points you earn on the card 1:1 to three hotel partners — IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoyand World of Hyatt®. And you can get 25% more value on your points when you book your travel, including hotels, through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

Best sign-up bonus value

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

  • Earn up to 17X total points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on all other purchases.

  • Earn 3 Free Nights after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening + 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within 6 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM Credit Card!

  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.

Highlights
  • Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott BonvoyTM.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.

See additional details for Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

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Earn 3 Free Nights after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening + 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within 6 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM Credit Card! When you redeem points for hotel stays, the sign-up bonus can get you 15 off-peak nights or 13 standard nights at a category 1 hotel. View a full list of participating hotels and redemption rates here.

You get even more value when you factor in Marriott Bonvoy benefits, including a free hotel night every year after your card anniversary (valued at up to 35,000 points) and automatic silver elite status, which gives you a 20% points bonus, no blackout dates and free in-room Wi-Fi when booked directly at Marriott. Redeem your points for hotel stays, room upgrades, flights, rental cars, vacation packages, cruises, gift cards, shopping and charity donations. You can also transfer your Marriott points to more than 40 airline loyalty programs.

Runner-up

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card

Highlights
  • Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®

See additional details for IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

More Info

Looking strictly at the numbers, this card has one of the highest sign-up bonuses on the market, where new cardmembers earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The card comes with platinum elite status, a free hotel night after each account anniversary year, a free night when redeeming points for stays of four or more nights and a 20% discount when you buy points with the card.

Best for luxury benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This card squeaked into our top spot because of how members can get 50% more value for their points when they book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. It allows new cardmembers to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That adds up to $900 in travel value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

This card comes with an annual $300 statement credit for travel fees, but there’s a catch: you won’t earn higher points for travel until you spend that $300 credit before the end of your cardmember anniversary. You also get up to a $100 statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fee and a free Priority Pass® Select airport lounge membership.

Runner-up

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The welcome offer is 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. With every 10,000 points worth $100 in flights, hotels, car rentals or cruises, that bonus comes to an instant $600 that can go toward travel. Other travel benefits include: up to a $200 yearly Uber statement credit when you add the card to the Uber app and get $15 in Uber Cash monthly (and $20 in December); a $200 airline fee statement credit (enrollment required); up to $100 statement credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry enrollment; automatic gold status for Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors; and free access to airport lounges, including Centurion Lounge, International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass™ Select (enrollment required). You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to 19 airline or two hotel loyalty programs.

Best for airline travel

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

  • 15.74%-24.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

More Info

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers the following welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Plus, the card offers the following rewards rate: Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

Miles can be redeemed for airfare, merchandise, gift cards, magazine subscriptions, charitable donations and more. When you redeem your SkyMiles for travel on Delta Airlines, each point is generally worth 1 cent — making the current welcome bonus worth $1,000.

Keep in mind that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card also upped its annual fee to $250. That said, the travel benefits offered by the card — such as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and annual companion certificate — help offset that amount.

Additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Cellphone protection

To see rates & fees for Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card please click here.

The travel card fine print — what to watch out for

While it’s always nice to get benefits with your credit card, you must remember to read the fine print to check what exceptions could affect their value.

Do the math. Look beyond the hard numbers of a card’s sign-up bonus. Find out the actual value of your points and check how much you need to spend in order to get them.

Redemption flexibility. Make sure the card you choose gives you the maximum flexibility on how you spend your points, including travel, shopping and cash/deposit. If connected to a bank, find ones that give you bonus points for being a customer.

Foreign transaction fees. If you travel outside the U.S. regularly, choose cards that don’t charge this fee. If your card has a 3% fee and you spend $1,500 on a trip, it will cost you $45. That adds up after a number of trips.

Go for the bonus. Take advantage of bonus points offered by your card when you book travel via its website. Make sure that travel covers the broadest definition, such as airfare, hotels, trains, home shares, rideshares, parking and tolls.

Lounge around. If your card comes with airport lounge access, check their guest policy. Some allow either immediate family members or up to two guests for free, while others charge between $27 and $39 per guest.

Be protected. Carefully read your card’s policies on filing claims for reimbursement under travel protection. You not only need to know what’s covered, but exactly how you can get reimbursed in case the worst happens.

Pack a bag. If your card comes with a free checked bag, make sure it covers your traveling companions. See how much you’re charged for extra or overweight bags.

Let’s eat. You want a card that covers the broadest definition of dining. That includes restaurants, bars, fast-food eateries and food delivery services.

Check in. Your hotel-branded card should come with no blackout dates and automatic elite status. You also want a range of hotels, from budget to luxury, to choose from for redemption.

The information related to the United Club℠ Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card have been independently collected by CompareCards and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.


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