The Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards for 2024

Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards

Ready to earn free flights, hotel stays, and more in the new year? Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards for your next trip with sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards. But with so many options, how do you choose the right card? This guide covers everything you need to know to maximize travel rewards in 2024. From hotel points to airline miles, we’ll explore the top cards and money-saving tactics.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards

Before diving into recommendations, it’s important to decide what you want from a travel card. Keep these key factors in mind:

Annual Fees

Cards range from $0 annual fees to $500+ for premium travel rewards. Pay attention to annual fees — are the card’s ongoing perks worth the yearly cost?

Rewards Rates

The best cards earn 5X or more rewards points per $1 spent on travel purchases. Others earn similarly high rates on other spend categories too like dining, groceries, etc.

Redemption Options

Look for cards that allow you to transfer points to major airline and hotel loyalty programs. This provides the most valuable redemptions. Other options include booking travel through the card issuer’s portal or cash back.

Travel Perks & Protections

Perks like airport lounge access, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credits, and travel protections make certain cards more worthwhile for frequent travelers.

Balancing these factors will lead you to the right card for your habits and needs. Next, let’s look at some of the top contenders for 2024.

Top Travel Credit Cards for Rewards

Based on points earning potential, redemption flexibility, and perks, here are some of the best travel credit cards currently available:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 5X points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards as well as dining, eligible streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart). New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners or redeem for 25% more value towards airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase. The annual fee is $95.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The no hassle Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel. It earns unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases. New cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Miles can be redeemed for statement credits against any travel purchase or transferred to 14 airline partners. The annual fee is $95.

Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards
The Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards for 2024 1

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card grants generous rewards including 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases). It earns 3X points directly with airlines. New applicants can score 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Points transfer 1:1 to over 20 travel partners and can sometimes yield even more value. There is a $250 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

If you frequently stay at hotels within the ThankYou Rewards program, the Citi Premier Card earns a stellar 3X points. It also earns 3X points at restaurants, gas stations, air travel, and supermarkets. 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points are available for new cardholders after $4,000 spent within 3 months. Points can transfer to airline partners or redeem for gift cards, cash back, etc. There’s a $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Travel Rewards card

For a no annual fee option, Bank of America Travel Rewards earns unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases. New cardholders can earn 35,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 in the first 90 days which equates to about $350 towards travel. Points combine across Bank of America cards for faster earnings too. Redeem for statement credits against travel purchases or book through their travel portal for additional value.

As you can see there are excellent options whether you want simple cash back or easy airline mile transfers for aspirational trips. Keep reading to maximize the travel rewards strategy with your new card.

Maximizing Rewards with the Best Travel Credit Card

Once you’ve added a shiny new travel rewards credit card to your wallet, it’s time to maximize point earnings:

Earn Bonus Category Spending

Make sure to activate quarterly rotating bonus categories that align with your spending patterns. Some cards offer automatic bonuses that don’t require activation like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Setup Account Credits

Cards like the Amex Gold provide annual airline fee credits. Call the number on the back of your card to select the airline each year. Credits will automatically apply towards incidental fees charged by that carrier.

Strategically Transfer Points

Study transfer ratios and look for sweet spots to stretch your points even further. Airline programs frequently offer 25-50% bonuses too so save your transfers for these peak times.

Pool Points Between Cards

Combine rewards across multiple cards by assigning them to one frequent traveler loyalty account with the same issuer. This aggregation speeds up rewards earning substantially.

Slow and steady point accumulation combined with savvy transfers and redemptions delivers truly free trips. Just don’t forget to pay your statement balances in full. Next we’ll explore best practices for credit card responsibility.

Maintaining Excellent Credit Card Habits

In exchange for lucrative sign-up bonuses and points earning opportunities, travel rewards cards expect excellent money management in return. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Pay Statements in Full Each Month

Interest charges add up quickly so commit to paying statement balances off completely every month. Set payment due date reminders if needed. If an emergency prevents full payment one month, contact the issuer for short term options before interest accrues.

Understand All Fees

Travel cards sometimes charge foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees, late fees and more. Fortunately the best cards have been dropping these nuisance charges recently but always read the fine print to avoid surprises.

Keep Utilization Low

Letting balances creep too high compared to the credit limit, even if temporary, negatively impacts credit scores. As a rule of thumb, keep individual card balances below 30 percent of the credit limit.

Following sound financial habits ensures your travel card earns YOU the points instead of paying fees to the credit card company. That said, questions still come up for new cardholders. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards
The Best Travel Credit Cards with Rewards for 2024 2

FAQs: Finding the Best Travel Credit Card

What is the best travel card with no annual fee?

The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card has no annual fee and earns unlimited 3X points on travel, gas, eating out, transit, popular streaming services and select homestays. New cardholders can also earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Do all travel rewards cards charge foreign transaction fees?

No. Many cards have dropped foreign transaction fees completely over the past few years. Some examples include Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Bank of America Travel Rewards.

Can I redeem my points for statement credits?

Certain bank point programs will allow statement credit redemptions against a broad range of travel purchases including flights, hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals, taxis/rideshares, buses, trains, tolls, parking and more. Capital One, Citi ThankYou, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank points operate this way. Just make sure to compare relative value if other redemption options are available.

Key Takeaways: Choosing the Best Travel Card

The right travel credit card unlocks valuable perks, protections and tens of thousands of points to enhance upcoming trips. Assess your spending categories, brand loyalty status, and redemption goals first. Then leverage ongoing bonus earning and transfer partners to maximize value for your needs.

Responsible account management ensures your points work for you, not the other way around. Avoid interest by paying monthly statement balances in full. Give one of these top travel cards a try to make your 2024 wanderlust dreams come true for less!

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