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The Best Credit Cards to Use While Traveling

If you’re traveling with your credit card, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re going to get your swipe on. Maximizing your spending by selecting a credit card that has the best benefits for a traveler like yourself is a huge bonus, especially when you are planning the perfect getaway.

These benefits may come in the form of cashback, flight miles, reward points, or incentives with certain brands. The perk that you choose can make a big difference. If you are confused about which credit card to take on your next adventure, don’t worry, our travel advisors put together this guide for you.

The Info

To create this list, we compiled data from six sources: US News, Business Insider, WalletHub, Forbes, Credit Karma, and Nerdwallet.

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The Best of the Best

There are plenty of different credit cards but only two of them appeared on every single list from our sources; the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. They both mirror each other in the categories that reward you (i.e. sign-on bonus, points, etc.), but the Sapphire Reserve card typically gives you a higher reward for each category. For example, with the Sapphire Preferred card, you receive 2x points towards travel purchases and dining; with the Sapphire Reserve card, you receive 3x points.

The main difference you will find is that the annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve is significantly higher than the Sapphire Preferred card. When you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of owning either card you receive bonus points: 80,000 with the Sapphire Preferred card versus 50,000 with the Sapphire Reserve card.

Three’s Company

The next set of credit cards were mentioned by three out of the six sources: The World of Hyatt card, the Discover It Miles card, the American Express Platinum Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, the United Explorer card, and the American Express Gold card.

Here are a few highlights of each card:

  • The World of Hyatt – Earn 10 free nights at hotels by spending $9,000 on your card within the first 6 months. “Lifestyle” Benefits; earn points for local transit, gym memberships, and dining out.
  • Discover It Miles – No annual fee. Discover will add up every mile you accumulate during your first year and match it as a mile-for-mile bonus.
  • American Express Platinum Card – Get $200 towards fees on any eligible airline (i.e. checked bag fees, in-flight refreshments). Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines and 5x points on prepaid hotels.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards – There are four varieties of this card, but they all allow you to earn up to 50,000 points per year for referring a friend. With the Rapid Rewards Plus card, you can earn 40,000 points after spending just $1,000 within the first 3 months of your account opening.
  • United Explorer Card – No annual fee of the first year, then only $95 per year. Also, if you fly United, you get a free checked bag, priority boarding, and 25% back on in-flight purchases.
  • American Express Gold Card – Earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines. No foreign transaction fees.
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How do I pick the best one?

Your ultimate decision should be based on which card is best suited for your lifestyle, current credit health, and a few other criteria that you can view here. There are a ton of options out there, so make sure to do your research and compare cards before you fall in love with the first one you see.

Traveling is a time to explore, relax, and make the most of life. So, it only makes sense to make the most of your credit card while you’re traveling as well! For more travel tips, visit the top travel advisors at millionmilestravel.com.

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