Who doesn’t like rewards? And let’s be honest, perks and upgrades are great too. But what do you do when you want to travel, but also want to do it in style? Well, the answer is pretty simple, you use a credit card with great perks so you can travel hack. If you want great perks, without the drawbacks, we’ve created a list of the best travel credit cards in 2021.
These cards give you the most bang for your buck, so let’s see how they compare so you can find the best one for you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can get over 60,000 bonus points just by spending $4,000 in three months. Those 60,000 points equal to $750 in travel rewards. This initial perk and the relatively low yearly fee is why this card tops the list of the best travel credit cards in 2021!
With this card, you also get 2x the points on travel and dining (worldwide), and 1x the points on all other purchases. The annual fee is $95 a year, and regular APR rates range from 15.99% to 22.99%.
- Get unlimited deliveries, a $0 delivery fee, and reduced service fees on all orders over $12 for one year on qualifying food purchases with DoorDash (Must register the card by December 31, 2021)
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides (through 2022)
- Decent travel coverage (trip delay and cancellation insurance)
- Earn bonus points
- Must have excellent credit to qualify
- $95 annual fee
American Express® Gold Card
Want the chance to earn a huge amount of points? Then you want the American Express® Gold Card. You can earn points for travel and dining up to 4x what you would earn elsewhere. You’ll also get bonus perks, like $100 to cover travel fees.
The annual fee is $250 a year, and regular APR rates range from 15.99% to 22.99%.
- 4x points on dining and 3x points on flights (worldwide)
- Up to $100 credit in airline fees, $120 in dining credits, and $100 for hotel credit
- Earn 35,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months
- No fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Annual fee of $250 a year
- No introductory APR period
- You have to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle (which may or may not be a con)
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card
When you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursements for your travel purchases on your account anniversary. You can also receive up to a $100 application fee credit towards Global Entry/TSA PreCheck.
The annual fee is $550 a year, and regular APR rates range from 16.99% to 23.99%.
- Points are redeemed at 1.5 points for travel credits (vs. 1 point for everything else)
- Earn 3x the points on dining and travel
- Excellent insurance coverage (including baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation insurance and roadside assistance for all cardholders)
- Annual fee of $550 a year, and it’s due on the 1st day of renewal every year
- Only offers lounge benefits through Priority Pass
- Does not come with any elite status options with their partner brands
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is great for newbies for one reason. You earn points no matter what you spend your money on, which is great when you first start travel hacking. And no matter what, you get 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, no matter what.
The annual fee is $95 a year, and regular APR rates range from 14.49% to 24.49%.
- 0% introductory APR period for 12 months
- Can redeem points on just about anything travel-related (including flights, hotels, car rentals, and more)
- Earn travel perks (ex. lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance)
- $0 annual fee for your first year
- Fewer points earned overall if you’re just using it for regular purchases
- Can’t earn “bonus points” and no periods of higher points earned based on certain shopping habits
TD First Class℠ Visa Signature® Credit Card
Don’t want to pay any fees until you’re used to your card? Then the TD First Class Visa Signature® Credit Card is the card for you. You’ll earn 25,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within the first six billing cycles.
The annual fee is $89 a year, and regular APR rates range from 14.99% and up, depending on your credit.
- 0% introductory APR period for 12 months
- $0 fee for the first year (and only $89 after that)
- 3x points earned on travel, 1x points on everything else
- No fees on foreign transactions
- No additional travel credits or perks
Discover it® Miles Credit Card
This card is the ultimate travel rewards card for a few reasons; for one, they double your miles earned at the end of the year. For two, they’re the only card on this list that never charges an annual cardholder fee.
Regular APR rates are 0% for the first 14 months and then range from 11.99% to 22.99%.
- Points never expire, and there are no blackout dates (as long as you’re a cardholder)
- Cardholders get free FICO® credit scores, Social Security number alerts, and the ability to freeze your credit card right from the Discover app
- The #1 choice card for China and Japan
- Will match your points earned each year (so if you earn 50,000, they give 50,000)
- No annual fee
- No bonus points earning potential (after the first year)
- No premium airline partners, which means you can’t “really” redeem for miles, but you can redeem for cash for purchases
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Business owner? Travel a lot? Need a good card to earn more points? The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is for you. If you spend $15,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of owning the card, you can get up to $1,250 in travel credit too. You’ll also earn 3x the points on each $1 spent up to $150,000 (each year).
There is a $95 annual fee for this card, and APR rates range from 15.99% to 20.99%.
- $1,250 travel credit if you spend $15,000 in the first 3 months
- 25% travel redemption bonus
- 3x points on purchases up to $150,000 each year
- Can get employee cards at no additional cost
- May not fill your needs on points/cashback in your business
The Best Travel Credit Cards In 2021: Which One Works Best For You?
Do you currently travel a ton? Then it’s probably worth getting a credit card that rewards it. And, if you’re getting ready to spend quite a lot of money (whether it’s on travel or home projects or whatever), then now is the best time to get a credit card and earn those initial bonus points for spending a certain amount in those first few months!
My personal choice for the best travel credit card would be the:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or the
- American Express® Gold Card.
However, what works for me may not necessarily work for you. All of the cards above can work great for your travel needs, depending on what you expect out of perks and what you want to spend.
The key to finding the best travel card for you is to see…
- where you spend your money,
- what you want to save on when it comes to travel, and
- what perks you like (or would love).
From there, you can narrow down your choices to find the best card for you.
Of the “best travel credit cards in 2021” noted above, which would you choose? Or maybe you love another card! Tell us below!!
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.