cheatgame.info’s Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

Paul Soucy

Last updated on December 17, 2018

At cheatgame.info, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Personalized_recc- cheatgame.info

Not sure which card rewards you the most?

Take a quick quiz and we'll find out.

Our pick for

Airline miles and a large bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

on Chase's secure website

Annual Fee

$95

Waived first year

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Flat-rate rewards with chip-and-PIN

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees

on Barclays's secure website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$89

Regular APR

17.99% - 21.99% APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Flat-rate rewards and Hotels.com

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

on Capital One's secure website

Annual Fee

$95

Waived first year

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

No annual fee

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee

Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card Credit Card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Relationship rewards

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

on Bank of America's secure website

on Bank of America's secure website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Luxury perks

American Express Platinum Credit Card

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Premium travel rewards

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

on Chase's secure website

Annual Fee

$450

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Business travelers

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

on Chase's secure website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Our pick for

Best airline credit card

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

on Chase's secure website

Annual Fee

$95

Waived first year

Regular APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Summary of cheatgame.info’s Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

on Chase's secure website

Airline miles and a large bonus

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Chase's secure website

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Flat-rate rewards with chip-and-PIN

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

17.99% - 21.99% APR

$89

on Barclays's secure website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

Flat-rate rewards and Hotels.com

N/A

14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Capital One's secure website

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

No annual fee

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

on Bank of America's secure website

Relationship rewards

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

on Bank of America's secure website

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Luxury perks

N/A

N/A

$550

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

on Chase's secure website

Premium travel rewards

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$450

on Chase's secure website

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

Business travelers

N/A

17.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's secure website

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

United℠ Explorer Card

on Chase's secure website

Best airline credit card

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Chase's secure website

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

on Chase's secure website

Airline miles and a large bonus

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Chase's secure website

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Flat-rate rewards with chip-and-PIN

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

17.99% - 21.99% APR

$89

on Barclays's secure website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

Flat-rate rewards and Hotels.com

N/A

14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Capital One's secure website

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

No annual fee

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$0

on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

on Bank of America's secure website

Relationship rewards

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

on Bank of America's secure website

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Luxury perks

N/A

N/A

$550

on American Express's secure website, or call (866) 512-6673

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

on Chase's secure website

Premium travel rewards

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$450

on Chase's secure website

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

on Chase's secure website

Business travelers

N/A

17.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's secure website

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

United℠ Explorer Card

on Chase's secure website

Best airline credit card

N/A

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Chase's secure website

How their reward rates stack up

Card Our pick for ... Rewards rates

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Airline miles and a large bonus • 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining
• 1 point per dollar on all other spending

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Flat-rate rewards and Hotels.com • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
• 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Flat-rate rewards witb chip-and-PIN • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card No annual fee • 3 points per $1 spent on eating out and ordering in
• 3 points per dollar on gas stations, rideshares and transit
• 3 points per dollar on travel
• 3 points per dollar on popular streaming services
• 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee • 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Relationship rewards • 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining
• 1.5 points per dollar on all other spending

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Luxury perks • 5 points per $1 spent on airfare booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
• 2 points per dollar on other eligible travel booked through amextravel.com
• 1 point per dollar on all other spending
• Terms Apply

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Premium travel rewards • 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining
• 1 point per dollar on all other spending

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Business travelers • 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
• 1 point per dollar on all other spending

United℠ Explorer Card

Airlines • 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
• 2 miles per dollar at hotels and restaurants
• 1 mile per dollar on all other spending

How to choose a travel credit card

Travel credit cards fall into two basic categories: co-branded cards and general travel cards. Co-branded cards carry the name of an airline or hotel chain, and the rewards you earn are redeemable only with that airline or hotel. If you regularly fly one airline or stay at one hotel chain, they can be a great choice. They also offer perks such as free checked bags or hotel upgrades. General travel cards offer more flexibility. Their rewards come as points that you can redeem for any travel expense, or even transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a travel credit card:

  • Annual fee: Most of the best travel cards charge an annual fee. Weigh the value of the rewards and perks you'll get to make sure they'll make up for the fee.
  • Rewards rate: How many points or miles do you get per dollar spent? And what's the value of those points? Look for a card that offers 1 cent or more per point or mile. (Some cards have lower-value points but give you more points per dollar.)
  • Sign-up bonus: A generous sign-up bonus can jump-start your travel planning. Keep in mind that the biggest bonuses will come on cards with annual fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees: If you plan to travel abroad, getting a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees is a must.
  • International acceptance: Not all travel credit cards are great companions for international travel. American Express and Discover cards may have limited acceptance abroad, depending on the destination.
  • Travel protections: Consider which travel protections — car rental insurance, trip cancellation coverage, lost baggage protection — are important to you.

Making the most of your travel card

Maximize your rewards with the following tips:

  • Plan your credit card application around a big purchase to earn the sign-up bonus
  • Seize every opportunity to pick up the tab, especially if your travel card pays bonus rewards on dining; your friends can pay you back while you collect rewards
  • Redeem rewards for travel instead of gift cards, merchandise or (in most cases) cash back to get the best value
  • Join the loyalty program associated with a co-branded card — a frequent-flyer or frequent-guest program
  • Shop for essentials in your card’s online bonus mall, if available, to get extra rewards

Other cards to consider

It’s worth considering whether a travel card is even right for you in the first place. A cheatgame.info study found that cash-back credit cards often earn more money — even for many travelers.

If you carry a balance from month to month, the higher interest rates typically charged by rewards cards can cancel out any rewards earned. If you have a good credit score, you're better off with a low-interest credit card that can save you money on interest.

A good travel credit card shouldn't charge foreign transaction fees, but there are good non-travel cards that also don't charge them. See our best cards with no foreign transaction fee.

If you value transparency and flexibility in your rewards, you can't go wrong with a cash-back card — and you can still use the rewards for travel, if you want.

Finally, if you're still not sure what's right for you, take a look at our best rewards credit cards for options beyond travel and cash back.

Visit our travel hub

Get travel tips, find deals and learn about destinations at cheatgame.info Travel.

Methodology

cheatgame.info's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.

Last updated on December 17, 2018

To recap our selections...

cheatgame.info's cheatgame.info’s Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018