According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than 60 percent of Americans plan to take their families on the road this summer. The best credit card to bring on your journey depends on your destination, your mode of travel and your personal style. Our editorial team found a handful of cards that can save you money on the road, in the air and at your favorite hotel.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
If you like to fly your family to vacation destinations, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express travel credit card can take some of the sting out of your airfare costs. In addition to thousands of bonus miles from a generous signup offer after meeting spend requirements, you can earn a bonus mile for every dollar you spend on qualifying purchases with Delta. That's on top of the mile per dollar you already earn on all your other eligible purchases.
With kids in tow, you'll love cardholder priority boarding. Most of all, you'll enjoy the first checked bag free. That perk shaves up to $200 off the price of round trip luggage fees for a family of four. Even with an annual fee of $95 (with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95), your savings on a typical family trip will return more than cost to maintain this card. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
If your summer vacation includes time on the road, this affinity card from Citi and Hilton can help you earn free room nights whenever you fill up. Along with some aggressive signup bonuses that have included free room nights, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card earns you three Hilton HHonors bonus points for every dollar you spend at gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores.
Better still, Hilton's participating properties range from modest Hampton Inn locations alongside many interstate highways to swanky resorts under the Conrad or Waldorf Astoria flags. Your stays at any eligible hotel earn six bonus points for every dollar you bill to your room. With no annual fee and two points per dollar on all of your other purchases, you can quickly rack up free nights and room upgrades for the whole family.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
When you fly by the seat of your pants and book last-minute trips online, a flexible rewards card can save you time and money. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card applies a straightforward 2 miles per dollar all your purchases, which you can erase any eligible travel expenses from your statement by redeeming your rewards within 90 days of purchase for an account credit.
You'll save the most money when you take this card outside the United States. With no foreign transaction fee or currency conversion surcharge, you'll save between 3 and 5 percent on every overseas purchase, compared to many similar travel rewards cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
When it's time for a luxurious trip for two, Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you taste how the "one percenters" travel. A team of expert service advisors can connect you with hard-to-get hotel reservations, hot event tickets, and luxury town car transportation in most major cities around the world. Booking your itinerary through Chase's convenient phone or online travel service also includes discounts of up to 20 percent on reward travel.
Chase's aggressive signup bonuses can net you a few hundred dollars which can be redeemed for travel when you're a first-time cardholder. You can even convert your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into bonus points or miles with your favorite loyalty program. With no foreign transaction fee and around-the-clock support, this card makes an excellent overseas travel companion.
PenFed Promise Visa Card
Military families travel a lot, so Pentagon Federal Credit Union designed a low-cost card that offers flexibility for vacations that double as reunions. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee and no late fee, this card can help you handle unexpected journeys. However, it includes a feature that makes it a true "wild card" during vacation season.
The PenFed Promise Visa locks in very low introductory APRs on balance transfers, with no upfront transfer fees. That way, you can rack up rewards with your favorite affinity card, then pay down your balance at a rate as low as a third of the typical travel card. You don't even have to be in the Armed Forces to qualify for this card. With excellent credit and a one-time donation to an affiliated charity, you can qualify for membership in this fast-growing credit union.
All of these cards also include varying levels of concierge access, car rental coverage, purchase protection, and other benefits that can help you manage your summertime travel. Thinking about the features and rewards you're most likely to use over the next few years can help you find the best match.