The 5 Best Travel Credit Cards

Our favorite cards from our partners and the marketplace.
This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to these products. Please visit our Advertiser Disclosure to view our partners and for additional details.

Selecting the best travel credit card ultimately comes down to the type of rewards each person values. Rewards for travel credit cards can come in the form of air miles, points, or a mixture of both. Many of the top travel credit cards are associated with a specific hotel chain, while others are more general. The rewards for hotel credit cards are often greater, but there is the clear disadvantage of only being able to earn a high number of points on purchases with that hotel.

One of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market is the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® due to its sign-up bonus and earnings on travel and dining purchases. The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® offers 2x miles on travel and dining purchases, which is a large reward in a popular category. All other purchases will earn one mile per dollar, but new cardmembers can earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit. When miles are redeemed for travel, a cardholder also gets 5% of those miles back. The major benefit of this card has to be its versatility. Cardholders are not limited to specific airlines or companies to earn rewards and there are no blackout dates. Additionally, book the travel you want – airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase. Add all of that to no annual fee and it’s hard to argue that there is a more well-rounded travel credit card.

*This offer has ended

In terms of media hype, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card can’t be beaten, and the hype is for good reason too. The generous two miles per dollar spent with no blackout dates and being able to redeem miles for more than just flights are two of the reasons why this is one of the best travel credit cards around. The Capital One Venture Rewards Card also comes equipped with the feature that erases travel costs of a booked trip by redeeming points or miles within 90 days to wipe the purchase from the cardholder’s statement. All Capital One Venture Rewards card owners receive concierge service and additional benefits of Visa Signature. On a more negative note, this Capital One card has a $59 annual fee, but the first year is free.

The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards card is one of the best travel credit cards because it offers five points per dollar on all airfare purchases, which is far and away the best travel rewards bonus. Prospective cardholders will first have to become PenFed members, which is an extra hoop to jump through, but once that’s out of the way, spending $2,500 within the first three months will earn 20,000 bonus points. Those points are equivalent to $200 towards a flight. Cardholders can also redeem points for merchandise and gift cards in addition to travel. Spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year will grant the cardholder a free membership that provides access to airport lounges around the world. Beyond the rewards, the card also offers 0% promotional balance transfer APR for 18 months and a regular APR of 9.99%.

For those who frequently stay at hotels within the Hilton family, this travel credit card is a must-have. It ranks as one of the best travel credit cards because the rewards (in the form of Hilton HHonors points) are the most significant of all travel rewards credit cards. Again, for someone who doesn’t want to earn rewards in the form of should look for a different rewards card. Cardholders can earn six HHonors points per dollar spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, three HHonors points per dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, and two points per dollar for all other purchases. On top of that, there’s a 40,000 HHonors bonus when a new cardmember spends $1,000 within the first four months. Cardholders also receive all of the great benefits of the Visa Signature cards, which include concierge service, lost luggage insurance, travel insurance, and retail purchase protection.

Similar to the Hilton HHonors card, the Marriott Rewards® Premier card provides rewards to cardholders who stay at Marriott hotels. Someone with no interest in redeeming points for free stays at Marriott hotels should mark this card off their list. People who are regular Marriott customers will find this travel rewards credit card to be one of the best around. First, the sign-up bonus, at 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, is one of the best of any card in the industry. New cardholders also get one free night stay at a Marriott hotel. For every dollar spent at over 3,600 Marriott locations, five points are earned. Airline tickets, restaurants, and car rentals will earn two points for every one dollar. Besides the specialized nature of the Marriott Rewards® card, the only other negative is the annual fee of $85, but the first year fee is waived.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of our partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.