Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of December 2022

Business road warriors and leisure travelers alike can use a travel reward card to turn miles logged into other things – including more travel.

A travel credit card
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you travel often or just take the occasional vacation, a travel rewards credit card can be an excellent companion. With every purchase, you can use a good travel card to collect points or miles that are redeemable for flights, hotels or other travel bookings. And many travel reawards cards come with extra benefits, too, from free entry into airport lounges to statement credits toward application fees for TSA PreCheck and other programs that expedite security screening at the airport.

Take a look at our picks of the best travel rewards credit cards. If you’d rather have a card that offers cash back or other rewards, see our article on the Best Rewards Credit Cards.

For each card (except premium travel cards), we’ve calculated a typical annual rebate based on spending patterns in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and assuming $25,000 spent on the card annually. For cards that do not waive their annual fee the first year, we’ve subtracted the annual fee from the cash value of the annual rebate. Except where noted, these cards don’t charge a foreign-transaction fee.

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We calculate a typical annual rebate for each card assuming $25,000 spent annually and less any annual fee. Interest rates, fees, rewards and other terms listed in this article are subject to change. Before you apply for a credit card, check its current terms and conditions with the issuer.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards: No Annual Fee

With these cards, reap points or miles without paying an annual fee. You will still need to consider foreign transaction fees if you plan to do a lot of international travel.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa (opens in new tab), up to $1,253 in the first year

This is a compelling no-fee option for domestic travelers who are willing to book trips through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. Plus, the card offers 0% APR for the first 15 months.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 18.74% to 27.49%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: A hefty 3%, so for trips abroad, look to our other winners that charge no such fee
  • Rewards: Five points per dollar spent on travel purchases through Chase, three points on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5 points per dollar on other spending; earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Redemption: Redeem points at a rate of a penny each for cash back, gift cards or travel; points do not expire
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $500 in the first three months; plus earn 5%, or up to $600 cash back, on grocery store purchases (except at Walmart of Target) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year
  • Typical annual rebate: 45,277 points, worth $453

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Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa (opens in new tab) , up to 64,000 miles with a value of $640

A solid reward card for travelers, especially for those with qualifying Bank of America or Merril accounts.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 18 months, then 17.74% to 27.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Get three points per dollar for each purchase you make through Bank of America’s Travel Center and 1.5 points per dollar on all other spending
  • Redemption: Points are worth a penny apiece for statement credits to offset travel and dining purchases if you redeem points for a check or deposit into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account, they are worth 0.6 cent each; points do not expire
  • Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Typical annual rebate: 39,000 points, worth $390 in statement credits for travel or dining purchases

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Capital One VentureOne Rewards Visa (opens in new tab) up to 55,000 miles, worth $550

With this card, get five miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.25 miles per dollar on all other spending.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 17.99% to 27.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Five miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.25 miles per dollar on all other spending
  • Redemption: Miles are worth a penny each when you redeem them for statement credits on travel purchases or to book a new travel reservation through Capital One; or transfer miles to any of more than 15 travel loyalty programs
  • Sign-up bonus: 20,000 miles if you spend $500 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 35,000 miles, worth $350 in travel rebates

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Worth the Annual Fee

With a high payback on travel spending and some perks on the side, these cards make the annual fee worth paying.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Visa (opens in new tab) up to $465 plus 75,000 bonus miles

This card earns up to five miles on the dollar, and can transfer points to any of 15 travel loyalty programs.

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Five miles per dollar spent on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; all other spending earns two miles per dollar; limited airport lounge access and other benefits apply
  • Redemption: Redeem miles at a rate of a penny each for statement credits on travel purchases or to book a new travel reservation through Capital One; or transfer miles to any of more than 15 travel loyalty programs
  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months; through May 16, 2023, you also get five miles per dollar on bookings through car-sharing service Turo
  • Typical annual rebate: 56,000 points, worth $465 after subtracting the annual fee

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U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express (opens in new tab) up to $535 plus 30,000 bonus miles

This card offers tiers of rewards from 1.5% to 5% per dollar, or 1% cash back.

  • Interest rate: 18.24% to 28.24%
  • Annual fee: $85
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: 1.5 cents per point when booking travel through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center, and five points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked through the rewards center; three points per dollar on restaurant spending; two points per dollar on purchases with airlines, gas stations and electric-vehicle charging stations; and one point per dollar on other spending.
  • Rememption: If you’d rather redeem points for cash back, they hold a respectable value of 1 cent each. Points expire after five years.
  • Sign-up bonus: 30,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first four months
  • Typical annual rebate: 41,318 points, worth $535 in travel redemptions after subtracting the annual fee

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Citi Premier Mastercard (opens in new tab) up to $413 plus 80,000 bonus points

Offering cardholders three points for each dollar spent on travel, gas, and other categories, the Citi Premier Mastercard is a good option for frequent travelers. Points can be applied to partner frequent-flier programs.

  • Interest rate: 19.74% to 27.74%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Get three points per dollar spent in a range of categories: restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel and hotels. All other spending earns one point per dollar.
  • Redemption: Points are worth a penny each if you redeem them for gift cards or travel bookings through the Citi ThankYou program; you can also transfer points to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Sign-up bonus: 80,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 50,770 points, worth $413 in gift card and travel redemptions after subtracting the annual fee

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Flexible Travel Redemptions

Redeem points for travel bookings or transfer them to a broad range of partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa (opens in new tab) up to $45 plus 60,000 bonus points

Sapphire Preferred is a longtime standout in this category for strong point values and the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to a solid list of travel loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Mileage-Plus, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 25.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Five points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and two points per dollar on other travel spending; three points per dollar on dining, and select online grocery and streaming services; and one point per dollar on other spending
  • Other benefits: On each account anniversary, you get a 10% points bonus on your total purchases made the previous year; you can also get 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Redemption: Points are redeemable at a rate of 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards as well as statement credits on purchases in rotating categories through the Pay Yourself Back program; recently, eligible spending included Airbnb bookings and donations to select charities
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 43,291 points, worth $446 in travel redemptions after subtracting the annual fee

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American Express EveryDay (opens in new tab) up to $383 plus 10,000 bonus points

Amex’s Membership Rewards points are transferable to several partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 16.74% to 27.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%
  • Rewards: Two points per dollar on up to $6,000 spent at supermarkets per year and on certain prepaid travel purchases through Amex Travel; other spending gets one point per dollar, and each month that you make at least 20 purchases with the card, you get a 20% points bonus on those purchases
  • Redemption: The best way to redeem points include booking flights through Amex Travel at a rate of a penny per point or transferring points to loyalty programs including Delta SkyMiles (at a ratio of one Amex point to one SkyMile), Hilton Honors (1:2 ratio) and Marriott Bonvoy (1:1)
  • Sign-up bonus: 10,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first six months
  • Typical annual rebate: 38,330 points, worth $383 for certain travel redemptions

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa (opens in new tab) up to $350 plus three free hotel stays

Frequent guests of Marriott hotels can get good value out of this card, which allows you to rack up points that are redeemable for Marriott stays or transferable to the frequent-flier programs of nearly 40 airlines.

  • Interest rate: 19.74% to 26.74%
  • Annual fee: $95, or if you prefer to pay no annual fee, check out the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Visa (opens in new tab)
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Six Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, three points per dollar on up to $6,000 spent yearly at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants, and two points per dollar on all other spending; a free one-night Marriott stay per year after each account anniversary
  • Redemptions: Most transfers are at a ratio of three Marriott points to one frequent-flier mile, and for each 60,000 points transferred, you get a 5,000-mile bonus; points expire if your account is inactive for 24 months
  • Sign-up bonus: Three free-night awards if you spend $3,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 64,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, worth about $350 after subtracting the annual fee

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Premium Travel Rewards

Frequent travelers can more than overcome the high annual fees on these cards by taking advantage of a bevy of perks. Note that we do not include a typical annual rebate for premium cards because they also provide considerable value outside of the points they award for everyday spending.

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Visa (opens in new tab) variable rewards

This card comes with attractive features and an annual fee that’s lower than the fees of some of its competitors. Plus, unlike some other premium cards, Venture X doesn’t charge an additional annual fee for authorized users.

  • Interest rate: 19.99% to 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $395
  • Foreign Transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, five miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and two miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • Other benefits: Perks include 10,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary each year, an annual statement credit of up to $300 for bookings made through Capital One Travel, free entry to more than 1,400 Priority Pass and Plaza Premium airport lounges, complimentary access for you and two guests to Capital One’s airport lounges, and President’s Circle status with Hertz
  • Redemption: Redeem miles at a rate of a penny apiece for statement credits on travel purchases or travel bookings through Capital One, or transfer them to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months

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Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa (opens in new tab) variable rewards

This card is ideal for those willing to book travel, dining, and other services through Chase's rewards programs. Earn between 5 and 10 points for each dollar booked through Chase.

  • Interest rate: 19.99% to 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $550; $75 for each authorized user
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Get 10 points per dollar on spending at participating restaurants through the Chase Dining program as well as on hotel and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; five points per dollar on flights booked through Chase; three points per dollar on other restaurant and travel spending and one point per dollar on the rest of your purchases
  • Other benefits: An annual statement credit of up to $300 for travel purchases (purchases that qualify for the credit do not earn points), a Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access, perks at properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025, at least a year of free membership to DoorDash's delivery subscription service, and a $10 monthly statement credit toward purchases from home delivery service Gopuff
  • Redemption: Points are transferable to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs, or trade points at a healthy rate of 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for travel bookings through Ultimate Rewards, or for statement credits against purchases in rotating categories through Chase's Pay Yourself Back program (including Airbnb, dining, charitable donations, and other categories)
  • Sign-up bonus: 80,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, for a total value of $1,200

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American Express Platinum (opens in new tab) variable rewards

At nearly $700, Amex Platinum’s annual fee has climbed to a level that may seem out of reach for the typical card user. But the card packs in a laundry list of perks to overcome the fee, and for a limited time you can earn 100,000 points as a new customer. 

  • Interest rate: 19.74% to 26.74%
  • Annual fee: $695, plus $175 for up to three authorized users and $175 per card for each user beyond three
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Earn five points per dollar spent on prepaid hotel bookings through AmexTravel.com and on flights purchased directly from airlines or through Amex Travel (up to $500,000 spent per year on flights), plus two points per dollar on other Amex Travel bookings and one point per dollar on all other spending
  • Other benefits: Annual statement credits of up to $200 on select hotel bookings through American Express, yearly credits of up to $200 for incidental fees charged by one airline of your choice, up to $189 in yearly credits to reimburse the membership fee for the CLEAR airport-security program, elevated loyalty status with Marriott and Hilton, and free access to many airport lounges; cardholders will also enjoy discounts on many subscription, streaming, delivery, and other services
  • Rememption: There is no option for cash back; the greatest value comes from booking travel with points, and from the many discounts and other perks
  • Sign-up bonus: 100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Dedicated Airline Cards

If you’re loyal to the airlines associated with these cards, you’ll be well served by using them to rack up frequent-flier miles and taking advantage of extra discounts and perks, such as free checked baggage and preferred boarding.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Visa (opens in new tab) up to $320 plus bonus miles for friend referrals

This card charges an annual fee that’s higher than many competitors charge, but frequent fliers on Southwest Airlines should be able to offset the fee with the card’s $75 annual credit for Southwest purchases and its bonus of 7,500 Rapid Rewards (opens in new tab) points on each account anniversary.

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 25.99%
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Three points per dollar on purchases with Southwest Airlines and two points per dollar on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car-rental partners; two points per dollar spent on local transit and commuting (including ride-sharing services), on internet, cable and phone services, and on select streaming services; all other spending earns one point per dollar
  • Other benefits: Cardholders receive a $75 annual credit for Southwest purchases and a bonus of 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on each account anniversary; reimbursement for up to four upgraded airline boardings per year; 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status for each $10,000 spent on the card; and 25% back on in-flight purchases
  • Redemption: Points may be redeemed for travel on Southwest Airlines or through its Rapid Rewards program; points may also be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and entertainment
  • Sign-up bonus: The card no longer offers a sign-up bonus; instead, cardholders can earn up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points for referring friends to the card, and those friends can earn 75,000 bonus points for signing up for a card
  • Typical annual rebate: 33,315 points, worth about $320 after subtracting the annual fee

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Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard (opens in new tab) up to $380 plus 50,000 bonus miles

This card is a good option for loyal customers of American Airlines or its partners. Cardholders can check bags for free and get twice the points for gas and restaurant purchases.

  • Interest rate: 19.74% to 28.74%
  • Annual fee: $99, waived the first year; if you prefer a no-fee card that earns AAdvantage miles, check out the AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Cardholders get two American Airlines AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants and on American Airlines purchases; all other spending earns one mile per dollar
  • Other benefits: A $125 flight discount each year in which you spend $20,000 on the card; a free checked bag on domestic flights for you and up to four companions on the same reservation; preferred boarding; and 25% off in-flight food and beverage purchases; for every mile you earn on Platinum Select card purchases, you get one Loyalty point toward heightened AAdvantage status
  • Redemption: Redeem award miles on American Airlines, American Eagle, and oneworld partners flights; the Aadvantage program also allows you to redeem miles for car rentals, hotels, and vacation packages with any American Airlines partner.
  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles if you spend $2,500 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 31,943 miles, worth about $380

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JetBlue Plus Mastercard (opens in new tab) up to $510 plus 40,000 bonus miles

Regular JetBlue fliers can build up a lot of TrueBlue points with this card, which provides six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases and varying points for other categories.

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 27.99%
  • Annual fee: $99; for a no-fee card that also earns TrueBlue points, check out the JetBlue Mastercard (opens in new tab)
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores, and one point per dollar on other spending; each year after your account anniversary, you get 5,000 bonus points, and if you spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year, you get high-level Mosaic status with JetBlue
  • Other rewards: The card also comes with a 10% point bonus when you redeem points for a JetBlue Award Flight, a free checked bag for you and up to three traveling companions on the same reservation, and an annual statement credit of $100 if you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of at least $100
  • Redemption: JetBlue's TrueBlue points program has no blackout dates for reward flights; points may also be redeemed for vacation packages
  • Sign-up bonus: 40,000 JetBlue TrueBlue points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Typical annual rebate: 47,317 points, worth about $510 after subtracting the annual fee

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Dedicated Hotel Cards

Frequent guests of the hotel chains associated with these cards can get great value out of them, earning extra points for hotel stays and certain other purchases. Plus, enjoy benefits such as free-night awards and elevated loyalty status.

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World of Hyatt Visa (opens in new tab) up to $520 and 60,000 bonus points

High point values paired with the ability for cardholders to stack points in a few useful categories help the Hyatt card rise to the top.

  • Interest rate: 18.24% to 25.24%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Get four World of Hyatt Bonus points per dollar on Hyatt purchases; two points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from airlines, on local transit, and on fitness club and gym memberships; and one point per dollar on other spending
  • Other benefits: Each year after your cardmember anniversary, you get a free night at a Hyatt hotel or resort, plus an extra free night if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, automatic Discoverist loyalty status, five qualifying nights toward the next loyalty tier each year, and two more qualifying night credits each time you spend $5,000 on the card. 
  • Redemption: Redeem points for a wide array of benefits offered by the World of Hyatt (opens in new tab), such as through travel partnerships with MGM Resorts and American Airlines   
  • Sign-up bonus: Up to 60,000 World of Hyatt Bonus points: 30,000 if you spend $3,000 in the first three months and up to an additional 30,000 points by earning two points per dollar up to $15,000 spent on purchases that typically earn one point for the first six months. 
  • Typical annual rebate: 36,262 points, worth about $520 after subtracting the annual fee

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Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Visa (opens in new tab) up to $510 and  45,000 points

This card is ideal for travelers who enjoy staying at Wyndham properties. Rack up 6 points for stays at Wyndham hotes and on purchases of gas, and 4 points for restaurants and grocery store purchases.

  • Interest rate: 18.74% to 27.99%, with 0% for 6 billing cycles on all Wyndham Timeshare Purchases 
  • Annual fee: $75; for a no-fee option, look to the Wyndham Rewards Earner Visa (opens in new tab) 
  • Foreign Transaction fee: None 
  • Rewards: Six Wyndham Rewards points per dollar spent on purchases with Hotels by Wyndham, as well as on gas; four points per dollar on restaurant and grocery-store purchases; and one point per dollar on all other spending; each anniversary year, cardholders get a 7,500-point bonus
  • Other benefits: You’ll also get an additional discount on the best available rate when making reservations at participating properties, and automatic Platinum loyalty status
  • Redemption: Points may be redeemed at thousands of Wyndham properties worldwide, including hotels, resorts, casinos, vacation homes, and European parks; points expire if your Wyndham Rewards account is inactive for 18 months.
  • Sign-up bonus: 45,000 Wyndham Rewards points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Typical annual rebate: 64,791 points, worth about $510 after subtracting the annual fee

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass (opens in new tab) up to $600 plus 130,000 points

Although the value of Hilton Honors points is lower than that of some other brands, cardholders can make up for it by amassing a high number of points in everyday spending categories.

  • Interest rate: 19.49% to 28.49%
  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year; If you prefer to skip the annual fee, try the Hilton Honors Amex card (opens in new tab) instead.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Earn 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels and resorts, six points per dollar on restaurant, supermarket and gas purchases, and three points per dollar on other spending
  • Other benefits: Extra benefits include a Priority Pass Select membership that provides 10 free yearly visits to participating airport lounges, a free weekend night stay if you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, complimentary Gold loyalty status; if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’re bumped up to Diamond status
  • Redemption: Points typically expire if you are inactive in the Hilton Honors program for 24 months, and earning points with the credit card counts as activity; however, as a pandemic-related relief measure, no points will expire until December 31, 2022
  • Sign-up bonus: 130,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $2,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 119,655 points, worth about $600

Other Best Buy Credit Cards

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.