Best Credit Cards For Travel Purchases

I always try to give the people what they want, so when Zachek and MarcoPolo both asked for a list of credit cards that earn category bonuses on travel purchases I’m happy to oblige. This list will only look at cards that earn a category bonus on a broad travel category (e.g the Chase Sapphire Reserve) rather than cards that earn a category bonus on specific airlines or hotels. Sirtheta is building out an awesome spreadsheet which will be more useful for looking at specific airlines/hotels, more on that to come.

Personal Cards

Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards – 2x AGR – $79 Annual Fee

This card earns 2x Amtrak Guest Rewards points per $1 spent with no cap and a $79 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2x Chase UR – $95 Annual Fee

Read our review of this card

This card earns 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards per $1 spent on all travel (and dining) purchases with no earning cap. It has an annual fee of $95

Citi Costco – 3% Cashback – No Annual Fee

Read our review of this card

This card earns 3% cash back on all travel purchases worldwide with no spending cap. There isn’t any annual fee, but you do need to be a Costco member to be eligible

Sam’s Club Mastercard – 3% Cash Back – No Annual Fee

Read our review of this card

Basically the same as the Citi Costco card above but for Sam’s Club instead. This card also earns 5% on gas stations as well.

Barclaycard Uber – 3% Cash Back – No Annual Fee

Read our review of this card

This card earns 3% cash back on travel and also 4% cash back on dining with no annual fee. Unlike Sam’s Club or Costco there is no membership requirement either.

Wells Fargo Propel 3x Points, No annual fee

Read our review

This card earns 3x points on dining, gas & travel with no annual fee.

Bank of America Cash Rewards 3%-5.25% Cash Back, First $2,500 Per Quarter, No Annual Fee

The Bank of America cash rewards card lets you select one category to earn 3% cash back in on the first $2,500 in spend per quarter. This deal becomes better with Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. This lets you earn another 25-75% back, meaning this card can earn up to 5.25% cash back on this category.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 3x Points – $400 Annual Fee

Read our review of this card here

Card earns 3x points on all travel purchases, but there is a $400 annual fee. This is partially offset by the $325 annual travel credit.

Citi ThankYou Premier – 3x Citi TYP – $95 Annual Fee

This card earns 3x Citi ThankYou points on travel, they also count gas purchases under travel as well. There is no earning cap but there is a $95 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3X Chase UR – $450 Annual Fee

Read our review of this card here

This card earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards per $1 spent on all travel (and dining) purchases with no earning cap. It does have a $450 annual fee, but this is partially offset by the fact you get a $300 travel credit each card member year.

Bank of America Premium Rewards 2x-3.5 Points – $95 Annual Fee

Read our review of this card here

This card earns 2x points on all travel and dining purchases. It also falls under the Preferred Rewards program, meaning you can get a bonus of up to 75%. This means you’d earn up to 3.5x points on these purchases. It comes with a $95 annual fee, but also a $100 travel incidental credit as well.

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express – 3x-4x Points – No Annual Fee

Read our review of this card here

This card earns 4x points on all travel purchases if you are a PenFed Honors Advantage Members (to be eligible for this you must be a military member or holder of PenFed’s Access America checking account). Otherwise the card earns 3x points on travel. It also has a $100 airline fee credit with no annual fee.

VantageWest Credit Union Connect Rewards – 5%, $1,500 Quarterly Spending Cap

Read our review of this card here

This card lets you choose a category to earn 5% one, with a cap of $1,500 per quarter. One of the options is travel. It also has no annual fee to worry about.

Business Cards

Huntington Business Voice – 4% Cash Back – Up To $7,000 In Spend Per Quarter

Read our full review

This card lets you choose one category to earn 4% cash back in. You can change this category every quarter and you earn 4% cash back on the first $7,000 in spend on that category every quarter. One of the categories you can choose is travel and entertainment.

American Express SimplyCash Plus – 3% Cash Back (Airfare/Hotel/Car rentals – Pick One) – No Annual Fee

This card lets you choose one category to earn 3% cash back in and the options include:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies

Obviously you can only pick one of these, so not as useful as some other cards. The upside is that this card has no annual fees and also earns 5% cash back in other categories such as U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.

U.S. Bank Business Edge Select – 3x – No Annual Fee

This card earns 3x points (less than 3% cash back) with no points earning cap or annual fee.

Citi Costco – 3% Cashback – No Annual Fee

Read our review of this card

This is the same as the personal version.

Chase Ink Preferred – 3x Chase UR ($150,000 Limit) – $95 Annual Fee

Read our review of this card here

This card earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on:

  •  travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

This is based on a card member year rather than calendar year. The card does have a $95 annual fee.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure I’m missing a lot of cards, feel free to share what those are in the comments. If you like this post you might enjoy other posts in the best credit cards for… series, found below:

 

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DH7
DH7

William Charles should Uber card be removed due to updates?

Alex
Alex

You should add the Navy Federal Flagship (3% cashback, $49 AF).

Alex
Alex

It would be nice to add some sub-headings for cards that only have bonuses for specific major categories of travel spend (not locked to a specific brand). For example:

Airfare:
– AmEx Platinum: 5x MR points
– AmEx Gold: 3x MR points
– Citi Prestige: 5x TY points

Hotels:
– Citi Prestige: 3x TY points
(maybe others)

Aloha808
Aloha808

Should the two different Amex gold cards be added? 4x on airfare with the biz version isn’t so bad.

Brandon
Brandon

BOA Cash Rewards is 3% on up to $2500 per quarter. And you can change categories monthly now.

Brandon
Brandon

Not sure if you still update these, but the Wells Fargo Propel card is 3%. And it covers all travel, not just hotels, airfare, and travel agents like the Uber card.

Brandon
Brandon

What about the 3% Wells Fargo Propel card?

Brandon
Brandon

Still haven’t added the Wells Fargo Propel at 3%.

Brandon
Brandon

The new Wells Fargo Propel is 3%.

Larry
Larry

Good stuff; US Bank Altitude annual fee is $400, not $450