The 10 Best Travel Credit Cards Available Now

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Whether you’re always on the go or want to save up points and perks for an annual vacation, a travel credit card can help you make the most of the experience. But with so many travel cards available, it’s hard to know which ones are actually worth signing up for. To find the best travel credit cards of 2021, GOBankingRates analyzed a number of factors including annual fees, APR for purchases, promotional APRs, sign-up bonuses, rewards, foreign transaction fees and travel perks, and identified the cards with the top offerings.

Important: Why It’s a Bad Move To Use the Same Credit Cards Indefinitely

Before you book your next trip, consider opening one of our top-rated travel credit cards.

Our Top Travel Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card’s rewards structure offers users 5% cash back on unlimited travel purchases, plus 5% cash back for a limited time on groceries and Lyft rides. Other cash-back categories include 3% on drugstore and dining purchases and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

The cash-back rewards and a lower-than-average starting APR, a sign-up bonus and $0 annual fee all make this card worth considering.

Benefits

  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase
  • Easy rewards redemption for cash, gift cards or travel
  • 15-month promotional 0% intro APR period

Drawbacks

  • This card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee

Key Features

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3% cash back on dining, including takeout, and at drugstores
  • 1.5% cash back on everything else
  • 5% cash back at grocery stores, excluding Target and Walmart, on up to $12,000 spent in the first year

    APR

    14.99% to 23.74%

    Promotional APR

    0% for 15 months

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Foreign Transaction Fee

    3.00%

    How To Get This Card:

    You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

    Read our full review and learn more about this card.

    Best Travel Credit Cards 2021

    Keep reading to find out what other travel credit cards offer the best rewards and features.

    Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card

    Key Benefits

    • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
    • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase
    • 3% cash back on dining including takeout and drugstores
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart®) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year

    Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

      APR

      14.99% to 23.74%

      Promotional APR

      0% for 15 months

      Annual Fee

      $0

      Foreign Transaction Fee

      3.00%

      How To Get This Card

      You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

      Find out what else this card has to offer.

      Barclays JetBlue Plus Credit Card

      Key Benefits

      • 6x miles per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases
      • 2x miles per dollar spent at grocery stores
      • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

        APR

        15.99% to 24.99%

        Promotional APR

        N/A

        Annual Fee

        $99

        Foreign Transaction Fee

        0.00%

        How To Get This Card

        You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Barclay’s application page).

        Get the full details on this card to determine if it’s the right one for you.

        U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Credit Card

        Key Benefits

        • 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in Altitude Rewards Center
        • 4x points on travel
        • 4x points on gas
        • 2x points on grocery
        • 2x points on dining
        • 1x points on all other eligible purchases

          APR

          15.99% to 23.99%

          Promotional APR

          N/A

          Annual Fee

          $95

          Foreign Transaction Fee

          0.00%

          How To Get This Card

          You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to U.S. Bank’s application page).

          Check out our review on this card to find out what else it offers.

          U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

          Key Benefits

          • 5x FlexPoints on prepaid hotels and car rentals
          • 3x FlexPoints at restaurants
          • 2x FlexPoints at airlines
          • 2x FlexPoints at gas stations
          • 1x FlexPoint on everyday spend

            APR

            14.49% to 24.49%

            Promotional APR

            N/A

            Annual Fee

            $85

            Foreign Transaction Fee

            0.00%

            How To Get This Card

            You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to U.S. Bank’s application page).

            Determine if this card is a fit for your needs with more information.

            TD Bank First ClassSM Visa Signature® Credit Card

            Key Benefits

            • 3x First Class miles on travel
            • 3x First Class miles on dining
            • 1x First Class miles on all other purchases

              APR

              13.24%

              Promotional APR

              N/A

              Annual Fee

              $89

              Foreign Transaction Fee

              0.00%

              How To Get This Card

              You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to TD Bank’s application page).

              See what else this card has to offer that could work for you.

              Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

              Key Benefits

              • 3x points on travel
              • 2x points on everything else

                APR

                9.99% to 18.00%

                Promotional APR

                N/A

                Annual Fee

                $49

                Foreign Transaction Fee

                0.00%

                How To Get This Card

                You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Navy Federal Credit Union’s application page).

                Keep reading to learn more about the card’s offerings.

                American Express Green® Credit Card

                Key Benefits

                • 3x points at restaurants
                • 3x points on transit
                • 3x points on travel
                • 1x points on all other purchases

                  APR

                  15.99% to 22.99%

                  Promotional APR

                  0% for 12 months

                  Annual Fee

                  $150

                  Foreign Transaction Fee

                  0.00%

                  How To Get This Card

                  You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to American Express’ application page).

                  Discover all the other features this card has to offer.

                  American Express Gold® Credit Card

                  Key Benefits

                  • 4x points on dining
                  • 4x points on groceries
                  • 3x points on flights
                  • 1x points on all other purchases

                    APR

                    15.99% to 22.99%

                    Promotional APR

                    0% for 12 months

                    Annual Fee

                    $250

                    Foreign Transaction Fee

                    0.00%

                    How To Get This Card

                    You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to American Express’ application page).

                    Is this card right for you? Read on to find out more about it.

                    PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

                    Key Benefits

                    • 5x points on gas paid at the pump and EV charging stations
                    • 3x points at the supermarket
                    • 3x points at restaurants
                    • 1x points on all other purchases

                      APR

                      13.49% to 17.99%

                      Promotional APR

                      N/A

                      Annual Fee

                      $0

                      Foreign Transaction Fee

                      0.00%

                      How To Get This Card

                      You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to PenFed Credit Union’s application page).

                      Learn more about this card’s other perks.

                      FAQs About Travel Credit Cards

                      Are you still not sure if a travel credit card is right for you? Here are the answers to common questions you might have:

                      What credit score do I need to get a travel credit card?

                      When you apply for a travel credit card, the lender will consider your credit score before deciding whether to approve you for the card. To qualify for the cards with the most attractive features, you’ll want an exceptional or very good credit score.

                      Here’s a breakdown of FICO credit score ranges:

                      • Exceptional: 800 or higher
                      • Very Good: 740-799
                      • Good: 670-739
                      • Fair: 580-669
                      • Poor: 579 or lower

                      Check your credit score to see where you fall. If you’re interested in a travel rewards card, reach out to the card issuer to see if your score is high enough to qualify.

                      Which travel card is the easiest to get approved for?

                      It’s impossible to pinpoint which travel card is the easiest to get. However, the cards with the best benefits are usually harder to qualify for. But here’s a rule of thumb: The better your credit score, the easier it is for you to get approved for a top-notch travel card. You might be able to get approved for a card that offers travel rewards even if your score isn’t exceptional, though.

                      To find travel cards that you most likely qualify for, browse all of the options on the card issuers’ websites. Sometimes, these companies will explain if their travel cards are best suited for people with excellent credit levels.

                      Can you earn extra points if you transfer your balance to a travel card?

                      Most credit cards do not award points or miles on a balance you transfer from another card. If you find a card that lets you earn points on balance transfers, know that this is very rare.

                      Can you earn points for travel and non-travel purchases with a travel credit card?

                      Yes. All the travel rewards cards on this list offer points, cash back or miles for every purchase — whether it is travel-related or not.

                      Explore more answers to your top questions about travel credit cards.

                      More From GOBankingRates

                      Karen Doyle contributed to the reporting for this article.

                      Methodology: GOBankingRates.com identified the best travel credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features; (6) foreign transaction fees; and (7) travel perks. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may or might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and are accurate as of Aug. 18, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. In order to be considered the card had to be sponsored by an Airline or have Travel be an option in redemption for points/cash back.

                      About the Author

                      Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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