Every traveler is different. Some like to indulge in great meals and save on hotels, while others would be willing to live on granola bars if it will get them a bed in a five-star hotel. Some would fly across the world in coach, while others would spend every penny they have to experience the Singapore Suites on Singapore Airlines. Credit cards have tons of travel benefits, and no matter your travel style, there’s a card that can help you save on your next adventure. Here are this year’s five best cards for those who love to travel.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Don’t be intimidated by the $450 annual fee on this one, because the Chase Sapphire Reserve practically pays for itself, as long as you take full advantage of its benefits. Besides the $300 annual travel credit (which can be applied towards almost any travel-related expense), you’ll also earn three points per dollar on travel and dining. If you’ve always wanted to travel in style, this card gives you Priority Pass Select lounge access (which includes over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide), as well as a credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
Other benefits include no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation coverage, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, primary car rental insurance, and the ability to redeem points directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents apiece. The best part: if you spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of signing up, you’ll receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
2. American Express Gold
Though the American Express Gold is the best card for dining (as it earns four points per dollar at grocery stores and restaurants, as well as $10 in monthly credit when you use the Gold card at dining partners), it also has plenty of travel benefits to offer. As well as a $100 annual airline fee credit, you’ll earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with airline or Amex Travel. Though this one also has an expensive annual fee at $250, it’s worth your investment if you spend $2,000 in the first three months, which earns you 35,000 Membership Rewards points.
3. The Platinum Card from American Express
Coming in third is The Platinum Card from American Express, which is the best card on the market for purchasing airfare. At $550, the annual fee is steep, but if you take advantage of everything the card has to offer, it’s absolutely worth the price. With this card, you’ll earn five points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel (as well as prepaid hotels purchased through Amex Travel), and you can transfer your Membership Rewards points earned with this card to Amex’s 20 airline and hotel partners. Travel will also be made way easier (and much more luxurious) with its rebate for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, and in addition to Priority Pass Select lounge access, this card will get you Centurion Lounge access and Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying Delta.
Other benefits include a $200 annual airline rebate for incidental fees, up to $200 in annual Uber credits, a newly added $100 credit at Saks Fifth Avenue, and complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and SPG Gold status. Spend $5,000 in the first three months and you’ll also get 60,000 Membership Rewards points (and earn an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 in the first three months).
4. Citi Prestige
Even if you don’t travel frequently, the Citi Prestige more than pays for itself in its first year, despite its $450 annual fee. With this card, you’ll earn five points per dollar on all air travel and restaurant spending, and three points per dollar on hotel and cruise-line bookings. Citi will reimburse you $250 annually for travel-related purchases, and you’ll also get Priority Pass Select lounge access and a credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Citi understands that travel doesn’t always go according to plan, so they give you up to $500 for expenses for flights delayed over six hours, as well as the same credit for baggage delayed over six hours.
The most valuable perk of the Citi Prestige, however, is the fourth-night-free benefit: Citi will pay for the fourth night of your stay at virtually any hotel when booking through ThankYou Rewards points, and those points can be transferred to 15 airline partners or redeemed for airfare and hotels through Citi’s travel portal.or the Citi Prestige Concierge. When you sign up and spend $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll receive 50,000
5. Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you’re skeptical of an expensive annual fee, this card may be the one for you. At only $95 a year (which will be waived your first year!), the Chase Sapphire Preferred will get you two points per dollar on travel and dining, as well as the ability to transfer points to 13 different travel partners. You’ll also receive primary auto rental insurance, trip cancellation coverage, and no foreign transaction fees, which will definitely come in handy during international travel. This card allows you to redeem points directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents apiece, and – best of all – if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, you’ll get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which is the same bonus as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.