- Travel credit cards provide perks and benefits for frequent travelers, such as earning points or miles that can be redeemed for plane tickets.
- Key components to look for in a travel credit card include welcome offers, spending bonuses, low fees, and travel perks.
- Reddit’s top choices for travel credit cards include Capital One’s Venture X, Chase Sapphire, the ‘Chase Trifecta’ (which includes multiple Chase travel credit cards), American Express Platinum, and Citi Costco Anywhere.
- Each of these cards offers unique features and benefits, such as simplicity, elevated status, access to airport lounges, and cashback rewards at specific retailers.
As someone who loves to travel, but also doesn’t mind saving a few bucks, I’m always on the hunt for ways to pinch pennies. But scouring the internet for the best credit cards is like walking through a minefield — there are so many sponsored sites that just aren’t being truthful.
That’s why Reddit is often the best source for information like this. You get real advice from real people, even if it is a little chaotic at times.
Picking out the right credit card for your individual needs is already a daunting task. For frequent travelers, finding a credit card that comes with unique benefits and improves their yearly trips adds a layer of trickiness.
Just because you can use a credit card to pay for a trip, doesn’t mean that it is the best card for the job. But a few wise Redditors have shared some actionable advice that actually stands up to scrutiny.
In today’s article, we’ll dive into a few of the top picks for the best travel credit cards, from none other than Reddit’s top minds. Let’s dive in.
What Is a Travel Credit Card?
There are several different niche credit cards that provide perks for specific things. For example, think of a store credit card; the Target RedCard infamously offers 5% discounts to users on every purchase. Plus, you get other perks like free 2-day shipping on website orders.
Individuals or families who shop at Target often, and leave with a long strand of receipt tape every time, see this option as a no-brainer because the 5% discount incentive would eventually add up over time.
A similar concept applies to travel credit cards. Many airlines have their own credit cards, which allow users to earn points (typically referred to as “miles”) that can later be redeemed for plane tickets after enough have been gathered.
You can pick your travel credit card based on particular airlines if you’re a loyalist, but it’s worth taking a look at other options that might offer higher benefits, too!
What Should You Look for in a Travel Credit Card?
No two travel credit cards are built alike, but there are a few key components to look for that determine the quality of the card.
Most travel credit cards offer welcome offers upon signing up. Some are amazing, some are good, and some are not worth your time.
Welcome offers require you to spend a minimum amount of money to earn a huge sum of points all at once. You are usually given a few months to meet this goal.
The best welcome offers for travel rewards will sometimes provide enough points to redeem a few plane tickets. That’s a big deal when you’re just starting out. Without a welcome offer, it would take about a year for the same results.
Great travel credit cards are partnered with other retailers to give you bonus points or miles when you shop there. If you’re lucky (or plan ahead when you pick a card), the incentive will apply to stores you shop at frequently.
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck earning 1 point per dollar spent anywhere else. You get more out of your money by using the benefits of spending bonuses.
Most credit cards will come with some fees, but you want to look for the lowest number possible. For example, most people know to watch out for a card’s APR to indicate whether or not it’s a good deal.
There are lesser-acknowledged charges that come with credit cards, like annual fees. A good annual fee will be less than $100. But some credit cards don’t charge an annual fee at all.
The only time it’s worth considering a high annual fee is for a premium card. High-value credit cards will eventually even out, despite having annual fees of up to $500.
For travel credit cards, you also want to avoid foreign travel fees; it would be a bit redundant to have a card for travels that you can’t use while traveling.
Any good travel credit card comes with extra perks! Outside of bonuses or partnerships with retailers, these perks enhance your experience with the card.
Sometimes, you will get an elevated status with the card over time. This perk makes you eligible for things like flight upgrades.
Others give you perks like free hotel stays and access to the airlines’ travel lounge.
Reddit’s 5 Best Credit Cards
After you’ve familiarized yourself with all the factors that make a great travel credit card, you can take a look at Reddit’s choices for amazing travel credit cards.
1. Venture X
Capital One’s Venture X card is an overwhelmingly popular choice. Its enticing simplicity, paired with 2% on everything, makes it a great standalone option.
Daily drivers and frequent fliers benefit from the Venture X card, with many suggesting they made the right choice keeping it their daily use card. Perks like Priority Pass and TSA PreCheck make it even more convincing. You get 3x your spend back in points with dining, grocery stores, entertainment, and select streaming services.
It may be newer on the market, but its age does not negate its power potential. Even now, Venture X has earned a mostly-positive reputation among consumers.
Every travel credit card will have both diehard fans and naysayers. What separates mediocre cards from impressive ones is the nature of peoples’ criticisms of them. Venture X’s criticisms are few and far between, but they are also very neutral, like people not liking certain perks because they don’t need them.
2. Chase Sapphire
The Chase Sapphire card has been a popular choice for a while now. It comes with two options: Preferred and Reserved. You’ll be looking at an annual fee of just $95 for the Preferred, and $550 for the Reserved. But the benefits outweigh the costs if you’re a frequent traveler.
The Chase Preferred was actually my first travel credit card, and the points I’ve built up over the years have helped me pay for everything from hotels to an extra day or two with a rental car.
This travel rewards card offers upgraded seating domestically, and it works well if you’re flying with Delta. If you cancel your flight, you can get your points transferred back to your card to use again. However, it is optimal for international travel, too, because it has minimal fees.
Flexibility is an impressive feature of a travel credit card. Strides have been made in terms of what credit cards can provide for the user, instead of the inverse, which used to be the case.
Plus, there is the added benefit of having access to hundreds of physical branches across the country. There are tons of Chase Bank locations in most cities. If seamless customer service is a top priority for you, Chase’s Sapphire is one of the best choices for you.
3. The “Chase Trifecta”
Reddit is full of unexpected life pro tips. One of the most effective in regard to credit cards is the art of strategizing your card usage.
If you’re building a strong credit history, utilizing a number of different credit lines responsibly over time will make your credit report sparkle. Lots of avid travelers accomplish this by getting the “Chase Trifecta,” or all of the major Chase travel credit cards.
The “Chase Trifecta” usually includes the coveted premium Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Flex, and Chase Unlimited. It takes a lot of work to see the full set of perks, but when harnessed, you can reap massive rewards from this travel hack.
The Sapphire Reserve alone lets you redeem your points at 1.5x value. With the “Trifecta,” you can manage these points by transferring them between your other cards, maximizing your spending. When you strategize with your card that has the highest rewards potential, you can save even more money.
Frequent travelers can benefit from this with high-cost spending habits, but you can also benefit via strategization. Simply learn the ins and outs of your “Trifecta,” seeing where you earn the most points.
4. American Express Platinum
Amex cards are often hailed as a status symbol. An American Express is seen as a luxury, donned by celebrities and successful entrepreneurs like a badge of honor. It’s also excellent for travel, since it comes with a number of exciting benefits.
The Amex Express Platinum’s most famous travel perk includes the ability to earn 5x points on flights booked directly from the airline. However, you also receive a $200 statement credit towards incidental fees during your first year of use.
In addition to your extra points, you get access to the collection of Fine Hotels & Resorts via the Amex portal. So, it is safe to say, you can’t go wrong with this travel card, especially if you’re always on the move.
Lesser-acknowledged benefits like this make Amex’s travel card well worth it, even if you aren’t a millionaire. Mind you, it is a spendy card; it has a premium price tag with its social status, but it promises to outweigh its cost.
Many hail it to be the most lucrative card in their wallet after just one year of use. But its high annual fee means it isn’t for everyone. As of this writing, the American Express Platinum card commands a yearly fee of $695.
5. Citi Costco Anywhere
Costco lovers rejoice — this credit card combines two of your favorite things: Costco and travel. While you only need to spend $1.50 on the Costco hotdog, trips to the megastore tend to be far more costly than that. But if you’re earning travel rewards at the same time, it’s all worth it.
If you’re a road tripper, you can get 4% back in gas charges of up to $7,000 annually. This also counts for EV stations, which are becoming more popular. You’ll also get 2% back at physical Costco locations and their website.
For travel perks, you get 3% back at restaurants and any eligible travel purchases. But you don’t have to spend on travel, transportation, or Costco runs to see savings because you get 1% back everywhere else.
The only downsides are that you’ll need a Costco membership to qualify, and the APR is a little high. Otherwise, this is a fantastic card, especially if you use different travel methods throughout the year. It’s a practical card that allows you to maximize different kinds of purchases to go towards your travel purchases.
Reddit threads are full of useful travel tips. Threads are made by people who are passionate about the topic, and ready to share their expertise.
It’s a great resource to find the right travel credit card for you since you can often tell that people aren’t simply advertising a brand. Experts and beginners alike benefit from the word-of-mouth reviews from people who have actually used the product.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Bohdan Malitskiy/Shutterstock.com.