by James Andrew Scott

Our Reviews of the Best Airline, Travel and Hotel credit cards

Best Airline and Travel Cards

The perks of airline credit cards, have also become more generous in recent years, with priority boarding, free checked bags, and increased access to award seats becoming common benefits. It’s reached the point where airline credit card perks are nearly (but not quite) comparable to low-level elite frequent flyer status. In addition to the initial bonuses, these cards were chosen because they offer great points and miles earning potential. Depending on the specific card, points and miles can be redeemed for free award flights, hotel stays, gift cards, and sometimes even cash.

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

Best Travel/Airline Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review)

New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus points worth up to $500.  Of all the travel credit cards TripBadger has reviewed, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is very high on our list of favorites.  Not only will you earn a generous bonus of  40,000 points for making $4,000 in purchases in the first three months, you will also have tremendous flexibility to use your points as you choose.  40,000 points is worth $400 in airfare or hotel cost, or $500 when using 20% fewer points by booking through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards web site.  Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.  No foreign transaction fees.  $95 annual fee (waived in first year).

Capital One® Venture® Card (review)

The Capital One Venture Card is a top-rated miles card.  It offers the flexibility to use your miles on any airline, offers double miles for every dollar spent, and has reasonable fees.  It’s a great card for those who travel on many different airlines and want the option to travel on different airlines.  Rather than being loyal to a particular airline to earn miles, now to earn the most miles, you will want to be loyal to this card!   This provides you with tremendous flexibility in using your miles and you’ll never have to contend with blackout dates.   No foreign transaction fees.  $59 annual fee (waived in first year).

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (review)

The Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is an attractive credit card for loyal Southwest Airlines customers.  As a new cardholder, you can earn 25,000 points for spending $1,000 within your first three months as a cardholder. You will also receive 6,000 bonus points every year thereafter on your cardholder anniversary.  6000 points are worth $100 toward a Wanna Get Away fare, which largely offsets the annual fee.  Earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners.  Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else spent with the card.  No foreign transaction fees.  $99 annual fee.

Best Hotel Cards

TripBadger recommends adding at least one hotel credit card to your portfolio. Our top two cards essentially pay for themselves; the annual fee  is often more than offset by the value of the free night’s stay you receive every year. All of our featured cards offer a free night’s stay each year. Each card also provides you with special status or benefits at the hotels: with the Marriott Rewards Premier Card, you will receive Silver Elite status; the Hyatt Card provides Gold Passport Platinum status.

Marriott Rewards® Premier (review)

It offers a free night’s stay every year on your account anniversary.  Right now, Chase is offering 80,000 points with $3,000 in spending in the first 3 months. Earn 5 points per dollar at Marriott locations (including the Ritz-Carlton); 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchases directly from the airline, for rental cars, and at restaurants; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.  You’ll receive 15 Elite Credits after account opening and every year thereafter giving you guaranteed Silver Elite status every year.  No foreign transaction fees.  $85 annual fee.

Hyatt Credit Card (review)

Two award nights redeemable at any Hyatt® hotel worldwide, including 5 star hotels and world-class resorts, after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earn 3 points per dollar at Hyatt properties; 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchases directly from the airline, for rental cars, and at restaurants; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Even greater rewards for current Platinum and Diamond members.  A free night’s stay every year on your cardholder anniversary (hotel categories 1-4).  You’ll receive Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum status for as long as you are a cardmember. Platinum benefits include a 15% point bonus on eligible spend, complimentary in-room Internet access, and late check out.  No foreign transaction fees.  $75 annual fee (waived in first year).