8 Best Credit Cards To Use This Summer for Vacation and Travel Destinations

Tourist friends on summer holidays in Europe having fun riding retro scooter by the sea.
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There is a lot to think about these days when deciding which credit card to use for booking your vacation or travel destination. Free flights and hotel rooms, lounge access, upgraded boarding — the possibilities are almost endless. The absolute best choice depends on your preferences to some degree, such as your preferred airline and hotel brand.

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Still, there are some choices that are excellent options for almost anyone, in almost any situation. In other words, these credit cards are well-rounded and don’t require elaborate planning to maximize their benefits. No matter where you are going, they will give you some great benefits and can help you save money in the long run.

The American Express® Gold Card comes with a variety of benefits for its $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). That includes 4x points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in grocery purchases, then 1X), plus 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on the Amex travel website. The card also includes a $120 Uber Cash credit, which can be used for either Uber rides or Uber Eats. Terms Apply.

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If you’re looking for a no-fee travel rewards credit card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is an excellent pick. It lets you earn unlimited 1.5 points on all purchases, and it has no foreign transaction fees if you’re traveling internationally. The card also comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. The bonus can also be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel and dining expenses.

POLL: How Much Do You Expect To Spend on Travel This Summer (in Total)?

Capital One Venture X

The Capital One Venture X® is a premium travel credit card with a $395 annual fee. While that may sound pricey, it has some of the same benefits as travel cards with higher fees. For instance, you get a $300 annual travel credit and a $100 credit to use toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. In other words, those two perks alone will pay for the annual fee in the first year.

Meanwhile, you can earn 10x miles on hotels & rental cars booked through the Capital One portal, 5x miles on flights booked through the portal, and 2x on all other purchases.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of the best travel credit cards around, especially when you consider how much you get for the fee. The annual fee is $95, and you earn the same 3x points on dining as the much pricier Sapphire Reserve. It does bump travel points down to 2x on travel not booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. However, you still get 5x points when you book travel through the Chase portal — the same rate as the Sapphire Reserve.

The Citi Premier® is another travel credit card with a reasonable $95 annual fee. Not only does the card usually have a generous sign-up bonus, but you earn 3x points on purchases at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and air travel and hotels. Plus, each year you can claim a $100 credit on one hotel stay of $500 or more.

Discover it Miles

The Discover it® Miles card is another nice option for those looking for a no-fee travel credit card. It lets you earn unlimited 1.5x points on all purchases and includes a couple of interesting perks. One is the ability to use miles on Amazon purchases when you check out using PayPal. Also, for your first year, Discover will match your miles one-for-one, meaning you’ll earn twice as many miles in the first year.

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® credit card from Chase has a $95 annual fee and packs a big punch for an affordable travel credit card. For instance, you can earn up to 17x points on purchases when stacking various benefits. You also earn 3x points on up to $6,000 in annual spending on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining; all other spending earns 2x points. Plus, you get one free hotel night worth up to 35,000 points each year. Marriott is one of the largest hotel brands in the world, so that gives you a whole lot of options.

United Explorer Card

Regardless of where you’re headed, there’s a good chance the UnitedSM Explorer Card from Chase has you covered. That’s because United flies to more destinations than any other airline. The card comes with a generous signup bonus and has a $95 annual fee — which is waived for the first year. It lets you earn 2x points on airline purchases, dining, and hotels. It also lets you check your first bag free, which Chase notes can save you up to $140 per flight.

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All information about the American Express Gold Card has been collected independently by GOBankingrates. American Express Gold Card is not available through GOBankingRates.

The information related to Chase United Explorer and Chase Sapphire Preferred was collected by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards. Product details may vary. Please see issuer website for current information. GOBankingRates does not receive commission for these products.

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About the Author

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who specializes in topics such as investing, banking and credit cards. He left his day job in 2019 to pursue his passion for helping people get out of debt and build wealth. You can find his work at outlets such as Business Insider, Forbes Advisor and SoFi.
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