Travel & Airline Credit Cards of 2018

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July 2018: Best Credit Cards with Travel Rewards and Air Miles from our partners

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR TRAVEL

When you are looking for the best credit card for international or domestic travel, you have two options to choose from: airline miles cards or travel rewards credit cards. You can apply either for an airline credit card or for a travel rewards card, or you can even get both to maximize your savings on travel expenses. Whichever card you choose, compare travel rewards, calculate your potential savings and expenses to make sure you choose the best travel rewards card for you.

Discover it® Miles
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REWARDS:

Bonus:

We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.

Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.

Earning Rewards:

  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

0% (14 months)

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

10.99% (14 months)

Ongoing APR:

13.74% - 24.74% Variable

Annual Fee:

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee:

None

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
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REWARDS:

Bonus:

20000 Miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime

Earning Rewards:

  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

0% intro on purchases for 12 months

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

N/A

Ongoing APR:

13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee:

None

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
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REWARDS:

Bonus:

Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

50,000 Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com

Earning Rewards:

  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

N/A

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

N/A

Ongoing APR:

16.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$95, waived for first 12 months*

Foreign Transaction Fee:

0%

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
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REWARDS:

Bonus:

Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee

Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem

Earning Rewards:

  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

N/A

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

0% (first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening)

Ongoing APR:

17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee:

$89

Foreign Transaction Fee:

0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
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APPLY NOW See Card Details >
REWARDS:

Bonus:

Each year earn 25,000 loyalty bonus miles, if you spend $25,000 on purchases.

Earning Rewards:

  • UNLIMITED 2X MILES on every purchase
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

N/A

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

N/A

Ongoing APR:

17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee:

$150 (waived first year)

Foreign Transaction Fee:

0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
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REWARDS:
Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com

Earning Rewards:

  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
APRs & FEES:

Intro APR on Purch.:

0% 15 months on Purchases*

Intro APR on Bal. Tr.:

0% 15 months on Balance Transfers*

Ongoing APR:

15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$0*

Foreign Transaction Fee:

3%

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Credit Cards for Frequent Flyers

Best airline credit cards allow frequent flyers earn travel rewards. There are two types of travel rewards credit cards frequent flyers can use:
  1. Airline-branded credit cards:

    for those who always fly one preferred airline, book their travel in advance and have flexible dates. These cards offer the biggest rewards, including sign-on bonuses that are enough for a free domestic round-trip ticket.

  2. Travel (or bank-sponsored) credit cards:

    for those who prefer flexibility of using earned rewards on any airline, any time. You can earn points or miles on all purchases and redeem them for travel on any airline, hotel stays, or simply cash. And cash are easy to use toward any ticket purchase.

Some programs give you points, some give you miles - usually one point or mile per dollar spent, sometimes more. A couple of banks let you transfer your travel reward points to other airlines, but others don't. Find out how your rewards program works, where you can redeem your miles, and what the value of a point or mile is before you sign up, so you can choose the card that will give you the most value.

Many airline reward cards charge annual fees that can be quite steep. Don't discount a card just because it has an annual fee, though. Look at the benefits the card offers and see if you are going to use them. Airline credit cards may offer free checked bag for the cardholder and its companions, priority boarding, travel insurance, access to airport lounges or a companion pass. Calculate how much you can potentially save on using credit card benefits to see if the annual fee is worth paying. Also, think about how often you'll use the card and calculate the value of the rewards you can possibly earn. If the rewards cover the annual fee and you have some more left to redeem toward travel, the card will be worth the fee.

And one more important thing about airline cards and rewards credit cards in general to consider: you should never ever carry a balance on your travel card. If you do not pay off the card balance each month, it will accrue interest and interest rate is much higher than the rewards rate and as a result, interest will eat all your rewards. Therefore, you will overpay rather than save on your air travel.


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