Travel Credit Card Reviews

Our reviews explore popular travel cards in depth, covering perks like airline miles, hotel upgrades, and travel insurance. From VIP lounge access to waived foreign transaction fees, we provide expert insights to help make your next journey seamless and rewarding.

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Best credit cards for travel rewards

CardRatings editors break down the top travel reward cards in multiple categories.

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Frequently asked questions

Travel credit cards work by offering rewards and benefits tailored to travelers. Here's a brief overview of what they typically offer:

  • Points or miles. Travel credit cards often reward users with points or miles for every dollar spent on purchases. The accumulation of these points or miles forms the basis of the card's rewards program.
  • Sign-up bonuses. Many travel credit cards come with enticing sign-up bonuses. These bonuses usually require cardholders to spend a certain amount within a specified timeframe, and in return, they receive a significant number of points or miles.
  • Redemption for travel expenses. The primary feature of travel credit cards is the ability to redeem earned points or miles for travel-related expenses. This can include flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and other travel-related costs. Some cards allow for direct redemption through the card issuer's travel portal, while others may reimburse travel expenses made with the card.
  • Travel insurance and protections. Many travel credit cards offer various travel-related insurances and protections, such as trip cancellation insurance, rental car insurance, and travel accident insurance. These perks can enhance the overall travel experience and provide added security.
  • Airport lounge access. Some premium travel credit cards provide access to airport lounges, allowing cardholders to enjoy a more comfortable and convenient travel experience.
  • Foreign transaction fee waivers. Travel credit cards often waive foreign transaction fees, making them a convenient choice for international travelers.
  • Point transferability. Some travel credit cards allow users to transfer points or miles to loyalty programs of partner airlines or hotels. This flexibility can enhance the value of the rewards.

Before choosing a travel credit card, carefully review the terms and conditions, including rewards structure, redemption options, fees, and additional benefits. Select a card that aligns with your travel preferences and spending habits to maximize its value.

The best travel credit card for you depends on your specific travel preferences, spending habits, and the features that align with your needs. Credit card offerings frequently change, so it's a good idea to check for the latest information and read our credit card reviews before making a decision.

Yes, many credit cards offer travel insurance as part of their benefits package. The types and extent of coverage can vary significantly between cards. Here are common types of travel insurance coverage that credit cards may offer:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Reimburses non-refundable travel expenses if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip due to covered reasons, such as illness, injury, or severe weather.
  • Trip delay insurance. Provides coverage for additional expenses (such as meals and accommodations) if your trip is delayed for a specified amount of time due to covered reasons.
  • Lost or delayed baggage insurance. Offers reimbursement for the cost of replacing lost or delayed baggage and its contents.
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage. Covers emergency medical or dental expenses incurred while traveling.
  • Rental car insurance. Provides coverage for damage to or theft of rental cars when you pay for the rental with the credit card.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance. Covers the cost of emergency evacuation and transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility.
  • Travel accident insurance. Offers coverage in the event of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling.

It's crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of your credit card's travel insurance coverage. Some important considerations include:

  • Activation requirements. Some coverage may only be applicable if you meet specific criteria, such as purchasing your travel arrangements with the credit card.
  • Coverage limits. Understand the maximum amount the insurance will pay out for each type of coverage.
  • Exclusions. Be aware of situations or conditions not covered by the insurance policy.
  • Claim process. Familiarize yourself with the procedure for filing a claim and the required documentation.

Not all credit cards offer the same level of travel insurance, and some premium or travel-specific cards may provide more comprehensive coverage. If travel insurance is a crucial factor for you, it's advisable to compare credit cards and choose one that aligns with your specific needs and travel habits.

Learn more about credit card travel insurance.

There are several travel credit cards which offer reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees. These programs provide expedited security screening at airports. The reimbursement process typically involves using the credit card to pay for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee, and then the card issuer provides a statement credit to cover the cost. See our top picks for the best credit cards which reimburse for TSA Precheck and Global Entry.

Travel credit cards with no annual fee are less common than those with annual fees, but they do exist. See our top picks for the best no annual fee credit cards, or peruse our list of the best travel credit cards and use the “no-annual-fee” filter to narrow down the results to only no-annual-fee options.

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