15 Best Travel Credit Cards for 2017

Most of us love to travel, but not everyone can afford to put down hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to visit dream destinations around the world.

Even if you could, would you? Wouldn’t it be so much sweeter to go...for free?

Let me let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to be rich to travel.

You don’t even have to be semi-rich.

Imagine finally booking that trip you’ve wanted to take for so long. Except for this time, instead of spending your hard earned cash to pay, you’ll be “paying” with points and miles earned with your credit card.

Every day, people just like us are booking incredible trips using rewards they earn with travel credit cards. If you want to travel without sacrificing quality or comfort, it’s time to step up your game with one of this year’s best travel credit cards.

Sure, finding good travel deals will never go out of style, but combining your savvy deal-finding skills with a powerful travel credit card can transform the way you travel for the better.

Here’s a list of our top travel credit cards for this year.

The 15 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2017

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

4. JetBlue Plus Card

5. Chase Ink Business Preferred℠

6. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

7. Capital One® Venture Rewards® Credit Card

8. BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

9. United MileagePlus® Explorer® Credit Card

10. Platinum Card® by American Express

11. Starwood Preferred Guest® Card from American Express

12. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

13. Discover it® Miles

14. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

15. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business

Why They’re Awesome

Each of these travel rewards credit cards is known to have truly incredible perks, signup bonuses, and other powerhouse benefits. If you're looking to add one of this year's most wanted travel credit cards to your wallet, this breakdown can help.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Great value for travel rewards beginners, experts, and anywhere in between.

  • You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening – that’s valued at $625 toward travel!
  • 2x points on dining & travel
  • 1x point on everything else
  • Travel protection, Price/Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, Extended Warranty and more
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee first year, then $95
  • Review additional card details and apply

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Known as a must-have card for avid travelers

  • You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening – that’s valued at $750 towards travel!
  • $300 annual travel credit that reimburses you automatically for travel expenses
  • $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • 3x points on dining & travel
  • 1x point on everything else
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • Travel protection, Price/Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, and much more
  • Several exclusive cardmember perks
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Known for its incredible flexibility with earning and redeeming miles.

  • You’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit!
  • 2x miles on all purchases
  • Miles can be redeemed for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise
  • Use the same miles again! Get 5% miles back to put toward your next redemption
  • Miles never expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Added benefit of 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee first year, then $89
  • Review additional card details and apply

4. JetBlue Plus Card

Especially great benefits for frequent JetBlue flyers who want to earn a higher rewards rate

  • You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Also earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 6x points per dollar on JetBlue purchases
  • 2x points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores
  • 1x point per dollar on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue flights and rewards never expire
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • 50% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Free checked bag for primary cardholder on eligible flights
  • Access TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000+ each calendar year
  • $100 statement credit when you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

5. Chase Ink Business Preferred℠

A top-rated business credit card with huge rewards earning power in many versatile categories

  • You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening – that’s valued at $1,000 toward travel!
  • 3x points on multiple travel, advertising, and telephone categories (details here)
  • 1x point on everything else
  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions
  • Travel protection, Price/Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, and more
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

6. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

A favorite travel credit card among travelers who enjoy staying at Marriott & SPG hotels

  • You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add an authorized user in the first 3 months
  • Free night stay every year at a category 1-5 hotel for cardmember anniversary
  • 5 points per dollar at Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on airline tickets purchased directly from airline, car rentals, & restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status FAST
  • Unlimited earning potential and points never expire as long as you make a purchase every 24 months
  • Trip Cancellation/Delay, Auto Rental Insurance, Purchase Protection, and more
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $85 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

7. Capital One® Venture® Rewards

Highly rated for its high rewards rate and ease of redeeming rewards

  • You’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months – that’s valued at $400 in travel!
  • 2x miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn unlimited rewards that never expire
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • No blackout dates
  • Choose your own monthly due date
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee first year, then $59
  • Cool, metal card when you apply today
  • Review additional card details and apply

8. BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Especially high value for travelers who use Bank of America

  • You’ll earn 20,000 online bonus points when you spend $1,000 in first 90 days – that’s valued at $200 toward travel!
  • 1.5x points per dollar on all purchases everywhere, every time
  • Bank of America customers get a 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active checking or savings account with Bank of America
  • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn an increased customer bonus of 25 - 75%
  • Rewards never expire
  • Additional benefit of 0% Intro APR on purchases for first 12 months
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

9. United MileagePlus® Explorer® Credit Card

Incredibly valuable card partnered with Star Alliance – hello, international travel!

  • You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in first 3 months – that’s valued at $625 toward travel!
  • 2x miles per dollar on United tickets
  • 1x mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding on all United-operated flights
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each year for your Cardmember anniversary
  • Miles never expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

10. Platinum Card® by American Express

A favorite among travelers, this card’s hefty annual fee is easily justified for avid travelers who take advantage of all its incredible perks

  • You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in first 3 months – that’s valued at $600!
  • $200 annual reimbursement of airline fees
  • $200 annual reimbursement for Uber or UberEATS
  • $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • 5x points on flights
  • 2x points on travel booked through the Amex Portal
  • 1x point on everything else
  • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection (among the most luxurious airport lounges across the globe)
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi at over 1 million hotspots worldwide
  • Travel protection, Price/Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, and more
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Several exclusive cardmember perks
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $550 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

11. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

A favorite in the travel community, this top-rated travel rewards card offers incredible value for hotel stays

  • You’ll earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints when you spend $3,000 in first 3 months – that’s valued at $750!
  • Up to 5x Starpoints per dollar at SPG hotels
  • 2x Starpoints per dollar at Marriott/Ritz
  • 1x Starpoints per dollar on all other purchases
  • Free in-room premium internet at SPG hotels
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi at over 1,000,000 hotspots worldwide
  • Access to one of the most extensive travel transfer partner programs available
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee first year, then $95
  • Review additional card details and apply

12. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Especially high value for cardholders who enjoy traveling with Delta

  • You’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in first 4 months
  • Plus, $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase on your card in first 4 months
  • 2x miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 1x mile on everything else
  • First bag checked free on every Delta flight – up to $200 per round trip for a family of 4
  • Priority boarding on all Delta flights & save 20% on in-flight purchases on Delta flights
  • No blackout dates on Delta flights
  • Travel protection, Price/Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, and more
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee first year, then $95
  • Review additional card details and apply

13. Discover it® Miles

A flexible travel rewards Discover card offering solid rewards with no annual fee

  • Unique bonus: All Miles matched at the end of your first year with no caps or minimums!
  • 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent
  • Annual $30 in-flight Wi-Fi credit
  • No blackout dates – fly any airline, anytime
  • Your miles never expire
  • $0 Fraud Liability – you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your card
  • Added benefit of 0% Intro APR on purchases for first 14 months
  • U.S. based customer service
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

14. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Especially great benefits for frequent Southwest flyers who want to earn a high rewards rate and Companion Pass

  • You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • Also earn 3,000 bonus points each year after your Cardmember anniversary
  • Points count towards earning the highly popular Companion Pass
  • 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases (including Southwest gift cards), Rapid Rewards® Hotel, and car rental agencies
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions when redeeming with points
  • First and second checked bags fly free
  • Points never expire as long as your account is open
  • $0 change fees
  • 3% foreign transaction fee after conversion to US dollars
  • $69 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

15. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business

Great benefits for frequent Southwest flyers looking for a business credit card. Savvy cardholders can pair this with an additional Southwest card to quickly earn a Companion Pass

  • You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Also earn 6,000 bonus points each year after your Cardmember anniversary
  • Points count towards earning the highly popular Companion Pass
  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases (including Southwest gift cards), Rapid Rewards® Hotel, and car rental agencies
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions when redeeming with points
  • First and second checked bags fly free
  • Points never expire as long as your account is open
  • $0 change fees
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee
  • Review additional card details and apply

Disclaimer: This content and the opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been provided, commissioned, or endorsed by the credit card issuer. All information was accurate at the time of this post but card terms and conditions may change at any time.

Have you booked a trip with points and miles? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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