Advertiser and Editorial Disclosures

Top Credit Card Picks from ShermansTravel

Updated, October 14, 2021

By Anne Roderique-Jones, Head of Content, ShermansTravel.com

As experts in the travel industry, we’ve learned a thing or two about saving money with a rewards credit card. But with hundreds of cards on the market, where do you even begin? We rounded up the very best credit cards that deliver on rewards, plenty of cash back, welcome bonuses and tons of other perks. Because there’s nothing better than being able to travel the world for free.

BEST OVERALL TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS

ANNUAL FEE
$95
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 60,000 points, worth up to $750, after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
REWARDS RATE
Earn 5 points per $1 on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards® portal; 3 points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery), on select streaming services, on online grocery store purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 2 points on travel; and 1 point per $1 on everything else
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$550
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 50,000 points, worth up to $750, after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
REWARDS RATE
Book through the Ultimate Rewards® portal to earn 5x points on air travel and 10x points on car rentals and hotels (after your annual $300 travel reimbursement). Earn 3 points per $1 spent on other travel (after your travel credit) and on dining; 1 point per $1 on other purchases
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$95
WELCOME OFFER
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
REWARDS RATE
Earn unlimited two miles per every dollar spent
APPLY
Annual Fee
$695
Welcome Offer
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership
Rewards Rate
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card on up to $25,000 combined spending in the first six months at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S.; and 1X points on all other purchases
APPLY

See Rates and Fees; terms apply

American Express is a CardRatings advertiser

Annual Fee
$250
Welcome Offer
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 6 months
Rewards Rate
Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points at restaurants as well as at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent each year, then 1x). Earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com

BEST AIRLINE & HOTEL CARDS

ANNUAL FEE
$525
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases
REWARDS RATE
Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$95
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 100,000 bonus Avios after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
REWARDS RATE
Earn 5 Avios per $1 on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and LEVEL purchases in the first 12 months (3 Avios/$1 after that); Earn 3 Avios per $1 on hotel accommodations purchased directly from hotels for the first 12 months (then, 2 Avios/$1); and earn 1 Avios per $1 on other purchases
APPLY
Annual Fee
$69
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months; plus, earn 3x points on restaurant purchases, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Receive 3,000 bonus points each year after you cardholder anniversary
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$450
WELCOME OFFER
For a limited time earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. (Terms apply; Resort fees may apply; Offer expires 11/3/2021)
REWARDS RATE
Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 spent participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on other eligible purchases
ANNUAL FEE
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $89
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
REWARDS RATE
Earn up to 25 points total for every $1 spent at IHG hotels; 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per $1 on your other purchases
APPLY

BEST CASH-BACK CARDS

Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
Earn $200 cash back after $500 spent in the first three months; plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in the first year
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and delivery; 3% at drugstores; 1.5% cash back on your other eligible purchases.
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
There's no traditional welcome offer, but you can take advantage of an intro 18 months no interest on balance transfers before a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR kicks in. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser
REWARDS RATE
Earn 2% cash back on every purchase in the form of 1% back when you buy and another 1% back when you pay.
APPLY
CREDIT CARD
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Earn $200 cash back after $500 spent in the first three months; plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in the first year
REWARDS RATE
Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate quarterly (activation required); 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% back at restaurants (takeout and delivery included); 3% back at drugstores; and 1% back on all other eligible purchases
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a $200 cash-back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent in a year, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
ANNUAL FEE
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually and 6% back on select U.S. streaming services; unlimited 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases, and 1% back on everything else.
ANNUAL FEE
$0*
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 4 points per $1 on dining, takeout and food delivery; earn 2 points per $1 at grocery stores (including grocery delivery), gas stations and on streaming services. Earn 1 point per $1 on other annual purchases.

BEST BUSINESS CARDS FOR TRAVEL

ANNUAL FEE
$95
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
REWARDS RATE
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$295
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 70,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points after spending $10,000 in the first three months.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month, and 1X on other purchases. Four points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
ANNUAL FEE
$595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022)
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 120,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points after spending an $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership
REWARDS RATE
Earn 5x the Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com. Earn an extra half-point (1.5 points) per $1 on purchases in eligible business categories and on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to a cap), and earn 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases
ANNUAL FEE
No annual fee
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. You can also take advantage of an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable).
REWARDS RATE
Earn two Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases up to $50,000 spent per calendar year, then one point per $1.
Annual Fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
Welcome Offer
Earn 75,000 miles after making $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores, local transit and commuting, and on United purchases. Earn 1 mile per $1 on everything else
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$199
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
REWARDS RATE
Earn 3 points per $1 on Southwest purchases; 2 points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising as well as on internet, cable and phone services; and 1 point per $1 on other purchases
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$550
WELCOME OFFER
Limited time offer: Earn 80,000 bonus miles, 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and a $200 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months (ends 11/10/21)
REWARDS RATE
Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible $1 spent on all other purchases.
Annual Fee
$125
Welcome Offer
Limited time: Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points and two Free Award Nights (up to a 50,000-point redemption value for each; resort fees may apply) after making $5,000 in purchases within the first three months (offer ends 11/3/21)
Rewards Rate
Earn 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. providers, and on U.S. shipping purchases; 2x points on other eligible purchases
Annual Fee
$95
Welcome Offer
Up to 180,000 bonus points! Earn 130,000 after spending $2,000 on your new card in the first three months and earn another 50,000 when you spend $10,000 in the first six months
Rewards Rate
Earn 12X bonus points on eligible purchases made directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 6X bonus points on select business and travel purchases and at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, and 3X bonus points for all other purchases
ANNUAL FEE
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles - equal to $500 in travel - once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening
REWARDS RATE
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all your purchases and 5 miles per $1 spend on hotels and car rentals through the Capital One portal
APPLY

BEST AIRPORT LOUNGE ACCESS CARDS

Lounge Details
Complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection® of more than 1,300 lounges worldwide. Access for guests varies by lounge network and enrollment may be required
Welcome Offer
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.
Rewards Rate
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card on up to $25,000 combined spending in the first six months at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S.; and 1X points on all other purchases
APPLY
LOUNGE DETAILS
Complimentary access to the worldwide network of Priority Pass™ Select lounges after a one-time enrollment
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 50,000 points, worth up to $750, after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
REWARDS RATE
Book through the Ultimate Rewards® portal to earn 5x points on air travel and 10x points on car rentals and hotels (after your annual $300 travel reimbursement). Earn 3 points per $1 spent on other travel (after your travel credit) and on dining; 1 point per $1 on other purchases
APPLY

Annual fee: $550

LOUNGE DETAILS
Complimentary United Club℠ membership. Authorized users do not receive their own membership and must be accompanied by the primary cardholder and qualify under the then-current guest access policies
WELCOME OFFER
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases
REWARDS RATE
Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
APPLY

Annual fee: $525

Lounge Details
Receive 10 complimentary Priority Pass™ Select lounge visits each year after enrollment
Welcome Offer
Up to 180,000 bonus points! Earn 130,000 after spending $2,000 on your new card in the first three months and earn another 50,000 when you spend $10,000 in the first six months.
Rewards Rate
Earn 12X bonus points on eligible purchases made directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 6X bonus points on select business and travel purchases and at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, and 3X bonus points for all other purchases
APPLY

BEST BUSINESS CARDS FOR CASH BACK

ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a $750 cash-back bonus after you spend $7,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
REWARDS RATE
Earn 5% back on the first $25,000 in combined spending at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined spending at gas stations and restaurants each account year. Earn 1% back on everything else.
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Earn $750 cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
REWARDS RATE
Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Combine this card with Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to make your points worth more.
APPLY
ANNUAL FEE
No annual fee
WELCOME OFFER
Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on your card in the first 3 months. You can also take advantage of an intro 0% interest on purchases for 12 months from account opening (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable)
REWARDS RATE
Earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent on purchases per calendar year, then 1% after that.
ANNUAL FEE
$0
WELCOME OFFER
Up to a $1,000 cash bonus – $500 after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, and another $500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening
REWARDS RATE
Earn 2% cash back on every purchase in the form of 1% back when you buy and another 1% back when you pay.
APPLY

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; American Express® Gold Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; American Express® Business Gold Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressSee Rates and Fees; terms apply; The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply; American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card: See Rates and Fees; terms apply