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It’s never been easier to save hundreds on a trip with the right travel credit card and a little planning. Many of the top travel cards have truly staggering welcome offers that usually kick in after spending a certain amount on the card after 3 months, so if you’re eyeing a post-vaccination vacation, now is the perfect time to apply.
Read on to discover how much a travel card could work for you – you might even be able to fly practically free:
Travel Rewards: Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee. There’s a reason this card is a favorite among frequent travelers – it’s simple, easy-to-use and incredibly powerful.
Welcome Offer: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
Annual Fee: It’s so nice we’ll say it twice: this card comes with a $0 annual fee.
Travel Rewards: This card one of the simplest – but most impactful – travel rewards programs out there: earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.
Welcome Offer: 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.
Annual Fee: All the rewards above come with a $95 annual fee, but this can easily be offset in your first year with this card’s solid welcome offer.
Travel Rewards: 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. Those points can be redeemed for nearly any travel purchase in the form of statement credit, so you’ll always get the most out of your rewards.
Welcome Offer: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual Fee: $0 – and since this card also doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees, you’ll be earning rewards without having to worry about costs adding up abroad.
Travel Rewards: Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases – unlike some of the other cards on this list, the rewards on the Citi Premier® Card make it equally as strong at home or abroad.
Welcome Offer: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual Fee: $95, but don’t forget about the amazing welcome offer and exceptional ongoing rewards rate.
Travel Rewards: If you’re a foodie, take note: cardholders earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
Welcome Offer: This is where this card really moves into the top-tier. 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 Ultimate Rewards®.
Annual Fee: This card comes with a $95 annual fee, but as with some other cards on this list, the astonishing welcome offer more than outweighs this in your first year.
Travel Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Since those rotating categories change each month, this card gives you incredible flexibility in how you choose to maximize your rewards.
Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!
Annual Fee: Even though this card has a premium rewards package, it still comes with a $0 annual fee.
Travel Rewards: This card has a solid three-tiered rewards program if you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Welcome Offer: Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual Fee: $0 – this is an incredible deal if you favor American Airlines.
Travel Rewards: Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center. Earn 4X points on travel, gas stations, and EV charging stations. Earn 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and on streaming services. Plus, a $30 credit for annual streaming purchases like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify®, Apple Music, Disney+, HBO Max and more!. Plus, you’ll earn 1X points on all purchases outside those categories, so you’ll be earning no matter where you use this versatile card.
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That's a $500 value redeemable towards travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and more.
Annual Fee: The good news is you won't have to pay in your first year: $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months, after that $95.
Travel Rewards: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases, so even if you aren’t regularly flying you can still earn a significant amount of rewards miles.
Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual Fee: $99, waived for first 12 months – this is almost unheard of for cards that have an annual fee. Coupled with the strong welcome offer, this card makes a big impression in its first year.
Travel Rewards: Cardholders earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 10 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023; 5 Miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel with this premium travel card, with an additional 10,000 bonus miles rewarded every year, starting at the first anniversary. Plus, you could enjoy unlimited access to the Capital One Lounge and 1300+ Priority Pass lounges at airports and other venues worldwide - and if you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll receive up to a $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry.
Welcome Offer: 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 if you’re a new cardholder.
Annual Fee: This top-shelf card comes with an annual fee to match: $395 per year. While that may seem high, don’t forget the ongoing benefits and 10X miles multipliers available on travel booked through Capital One – with frequent use, those rewards dollars could add up fast.
Travel Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. It should come as no surprise that this is a significantly stronger offer than the American Express® Gold Card – if you use American Express Travel, you won’t find a better rewards program on this list.
Welcome Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee: $695. That may seem eye-wateringly large, but remember that you’re absolutely getting what you pay for in this card’s top-of-the-line rewards.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
Travel Rewards: You’ll earn 3 points for every $1 spent on Allegiant purchases, 2 points for every $1 spent on qualifying dining purchases, 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, you will also enjoy buy one, get one free airfare anytime you use your card to purchase a vacation package from Allegiant with 4 or more hotel nights or 7 or more rental car days on the same itinerary. There are also extra bonuses for flying Allegiant, including complimentary priority boarding and one free beverage when presenting your Allegiant card on your flight.
Welcome Offer: 15,000 bonus points online offer – equal to $150 off a future Allegiant trip, after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual Fee: $59.
Travel Rewards: Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts. This also comes with incredible flexibility, with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare. Better still, you also get a free checked bag when flying Alaska Airlines for yourself and up to six guests on the same reservation.
Welcome Offer: Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) and receive 40,000 bonus miles with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Annual Fee: $75.
Travel Rewards: Not only is the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card a solid travel card, but it’s also an amazing card for everyday use. Earn 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, EV charging stations and on streaming services. Plus, a $15 credit for annual streaming purchases like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify®, Apple Music, Disney+, HBO Max and more! And earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
Welcome Offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual Fee: This card immediately moves to the top of the heap with a $0 annual fee.
Travel Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 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.
Welcome Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee: This card comes with a $250 annual fee. That may seem high, but keep in mind the best-in-class points multiplier and the generous welcome offer.
To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card please click here.
There’s never been a better time to apply for a new travel rewards credit card. Looking to apply? It’s quick and easy. Click Apply Now to fill out the application on the issuer’s secure site - you may be able to find out within minutes if your application is approved.
Each month, the CompareCards team reviews over 100 credit card offers examining the features most valuable to consumers including rewards, sign-up bonus, the interest rate, fees and other features to identify the best offers shown here.
*According to TSA checkpoint travel numbers, total throughput in Q4 2020 (September 1-December 31) was 99,029,511; for the same period in 2019 total throughput was 277,634,770 passengers.