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Over the past several years of traveling around the world with kids in tow, we’ve learned a lot of valuable tricks. One of our favorite ways to save money and travel for free is by using travel credit cards. By earning points with the right credit cards, you can take flights for free and get some awesome hotel stays and perks as well.

Below we break down the best credit card offers available as of early 2023. If you’re just starting out and looking for your first travel credit card, all of the below are great options.

Our Top 6 Favorite Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards not only offer miles and points but so many other travel benefits that can totally change the game for you when you are planning travel. Getting started and figuring out which card is best for you can be quite intimidating. Whether you only take 1 trip a year or you travel all the time, there is a card that is going to fit your needs. That’s why I want to help and outline some of my favorite cards after a ton of research. Here are the top 6 I recommend and why:

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (my favorite card!)

While this card comes with an annual fee of $395, the benefits far outweigh that fee. First off, it comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which pretty much covers most of the fee right there. Plus you get airport lounge access and Hertz Presidents’ Club status in addition to all of the benefits below. There are so many reasons that this is my favorite travel credit card! If you haven’t used lounge access with your kids before, this is a totally game changer and makes flying and navigating the airport so much more enjoyable.

This card is one I recommend for the the more consistent traveler, so if you are planning on taking more than 3 trips this year than this might be the card for you!

For an annual fee of $395 some of the main benefits include:

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
    • According to points experts that is equal to about $750 in travel.
  • $300 annual travel credit when you book through Capital One’s portal.
  • $100 Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check.
  • 10,000 mile annual anniversary bonus. (worth at least $100)
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Status.
  • Airport lounge access to with Priority Pass.
  • Can be transferred to a variety of partners including Avianca, Jet Blue, Turkish Airways, Wyndham, and more.

While this card has quite the hefty annual fee you can see that the value of all the perks will easily make up for it. If you are more of a premium traveler who will be sure to make use of all these perks than this might be the best card for you.

Learn How to Apply By Clicking Here

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.


Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire was my very first travel credit card, and a great option for anyone just getting started. I recommend this to all of my friends and family who want start learning about getting into the world of award travel mainly because of the low yearly fee, the generous welcome offer that can earn you free travel, and some of the other popular perks this card provides. This card is best for the casual traveler so if you are only taking 1-2 trips a year this might be the best option for you.

The current bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can get you $750 of travel or more, depending on how you use the transfer partners. One of the main features that I love about this card is how many transfer partners it has so you will have the most flexibility when booking award travel.

For a low annual fee of $95 you get all of the following benefits:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your account. That equals $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Your Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a wide variety of partners like United, Southwest, JetBlue, Emirates, Hyatt, Marriott & more. There are 13 Ultimate Rewards partners available that can transfer points to.
  • Easily redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. Reaching 60,000 points is equivalent to $750 worth of travel credit.
  • Perfect card for booking all-inclusive resorts.
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries
  • 2x on all other travel purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • Primary rental car insurance when you pay with the card.
  • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees.

With all these perks you can see why this card is at the top of my list and one I recommend most often. One of the things I wished this card had was lounge access as one of the perks so if that is something that is important to you consider the Capital One Venture X instead.

Learn How to Apply

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Venture credit card has similar perks to the Venture X, but with a lower annual fee of $95. It also includes a limited time only 75,000 mile offer.

This is a Great Beginner Travel Card with lots of hotel and airline partners! This card doesn’t require you to be loyal to a single hotel chain or airline, but you can take full advantage of the perks.

For a low annual fee of $95 you get all of the following benefits:

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your account.
    • According to point experts, this equals around $750 when redeemed.
  • Can be transferred to a variety of partners including Avianca, Jet Blue, Turkish Airways, Wyndham and more.

Notable benefits of the Capital One Venture are:

  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Cardholders also get two complimentary passes to visit Capital One lounges each year. 
  • Miles can be redeemed for any type of travel or transferred to a handful of airline and hotel partners.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Secondary auto rental coverage.
  • Extended warranty protection.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

With all of this offered for only $95 annually, it’s a really good one for those starting their travel card journey.

Learn How to Apply

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier is perfect for those looking for a diversified point earning goals. The card has great travel perks and one of the best extended warranty protection (additional 2 years on manufacturer warranties) out there.

For a low annual fee of $95 you get all of the following benefits:

  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Transfer ThankYou Points to participating airline loyalty programs including TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, to get flights faster. There is no fee, and the minimum transfer is only 1,000 points.
  • Choose from a large selection of gift cards including department and home stores as well as restaurants. 60,000 ThankYou Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com.

Noteworthy Benefits of the Citi Premier card:

  • Enjoy $100 off of a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through thankyou.com, once per calendar year.
  • Extended warranty protection which adds 24 months to a manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Damage and theft protection on damaged or stolen products within 90 days of purchase.
  • Citi Entertainment program gets cardholders special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events year round.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Another really good card for everyday purchases of gas, groceries, and restaurants to earn your way to awesome perks.

Learn How to Apply

southwest

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card

This travel credit card comes with a 50,000 point bonus as their standard offer. It can also be paired with a business credit card to allow you to earn a Southwest Companion Pass and BOGO travel for over a year. Now that’s a perk!

For an annual fee of $149 you get all of the following benefits:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the card.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • $75 Southwest travel credit each year.
  • 7,500 bonus points on each cardholder anniversary.
  • Three times earnings on Southwest purchases.
  • Two times earnings on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent.

Southwest Priority Card is best for those who benefit from travel credit, like upgraded boarding and elite status. Also perfect if you are a regular Southwest flyer or live near a Southwest hub.

How to qualify for A-List:

Southwest requires travelers to fly 25 Southwest one-way flights or obtain 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points per calendar year to qualify for A-List status. Southwest Pointy card can be a great way to help you qualify for A-List with 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend.

Learn How to Apply

amex

The Platinum Card® from American Express

This is the most expensive card on the list in terms of annual fees, but it also has the most perks. The high annual fee will only be worth it if you’re taking advantage of all of benefits, so make sure you take that into consideration before applying.

For an annual fee of $695 (terms apply) you get all of the following benefits:

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. 1x thereafter.
  • 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of membership.
  • Premier Concierge Services for booking travel or experiences.
  • Access to Priority Pass Select and Centurion Lounges.
  • Gold status with Marriott and Hilton.
  • Up to $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required.
  • Get up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $200 annually in Uber Cash to use on Uber rides or Uber Eats orders
  • Up to $189 in CLEAR Credit
  • Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction, and an Equinox+ subscription is required.

Again, this card is great if you plan to use majority of these benefits. Well worth the exchange! Also, if you travel often for work or for leisure then Amex Platinum will certainly improve your overall travel experience.

Learn How to Apply

Editorial Disclosure – Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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