The Best Travel Credit Cards for Millennials (From a Millennial!)
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Folks love to poke fun at millennials for all of the things they have “ruined” or obsession with avocado toast and student loans, but they are a unique consumer.
We millennials appreciate Instagram-able experiences, no hassles, no frills, efficiency, and the ability to do things on our time. In my conversations with fellow millennials, I’ve noticed there is a large misunderstanding about credit cards. There are so many opportunities to see the world using miles and points earned from the best travel credit cards.
As a credit card enthusiast and millennial traveler, I have experimented with dozens of credit cards to make the most of my expenses to fund my and my wife’s wanderlust. While you may think “This guy is an expert and spends all of his time on points and miles, I can’t do this!” – I can assure you that with just a small amount of effort and the best credit cards for millennial travelers, you can be on your way to First Class flights, luxury resorts and even more social media posts to boost your follower count. 😉
Here are my 5 best travel credit cards for millennials you should consider to earn valuable points and miles and fund your next adventure!
5 Best Travel Credit Cards for Millennial Travelers
If you are a millennial who loves to travel, eat out and hail Ubers with your smartphone, these are my picks for the best cards designed for you.
- Best Card If You’re Starting Out: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Best Card for the Heavy Adventurer: Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Best Card to “Stay Home and Earn” Points: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Best Card for Hardcore Foodies: American Express® Gold Card
- Best Card for Cash Back: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Wells Fargo Propel card is no longer available for new applicants
The information for the Wells Fargo Propel, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Here are some of our favorite features of each card.
|Intro Bonus Offer||Best Perk||Annual Fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®||$300 statement credit for travel purchases each account anniversary year (including hotels, airfare, car rental, etc.)||$550|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||3X points when eating out, ordering in, gas stations, transit, rideshares, flights, hotels, and rental cars||$0|
|American Express® Gold Card||35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply.||4X points at restaurants worldwide. Plus earn 4X on your first $25,000 per year at supermarkets (then 1X).||$250 (see rates & fees)|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card||$300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||Unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment purchases||$95|
Now let me explain why I think each of these cards would be a perfect fit for millennials.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – The Best Card If You’re Starting Out
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is not just an Instagram-worthy card – it will earn you some serious travel rewards to get you on your next adventure! And it’s our favorite first credit card for beginners – of any generation.
Currently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth at least $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. It’s an ideal card for folks who like to travel and dine out because it earns 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 in those categories (and 1x per $1 on everything else).
One simple way to earn bonus points is this: Next time you are out with friends finding the newest bar or restaurant in town, always offer to pay the bill and have your friends Venmo you afterwards. Not only are you making splitting the bill easier, but also you’re earning free rewards on your friends’ spending. I do it all the time!
And the best part of Chase Ultimate Rewards is what you can do with them! Because they’re so flexible, you can redeem them for cash back, use them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or transfer them to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines, Hyatt and Southwest.
You’ll also get a ton of other perks including no foreign transaction fees, trip protection and primary rental car insurance. Note that like most Chase cards, you won’t be approved for this card if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards from any bank (except certain business cards) in the past 24 months. This is referred to as the “Chase 5/24 rule.”
Check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to learn more.
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve – For the Heavy Adventurer
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you are wanting to step up your travel game, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is ideal. While the welcome bonus is 10,000 points fewer than the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn more on travel and dining – 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 (excluding $300 travel credit). And each cardmember year, you’ll get up to $300 in travel credit. However, the annual fee on this card is $550, so I would only recommend getting this card if you are a heavy wanderluster.
Along with great earnings, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with serious perks like Priority Pass Select airport lounge access. You can access lounges all over the world (free food, drinks and Wi-Fi) and be the envy of your friends waiting at the crowded gate.
Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get excellent travel protections and insurance with the Sapphire Reserve. Keep in mind Chase only allows you to have one Sapphire card at a time (and you’re not eligible for the bonus if you’ve received a bonus on ANY Sapphire card in the past 48 months), so you’ll have to pick the one you like best. The Chase 5/24 rule also applies to this card.
Here’s our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
3. Wells Fargo Propel – The “Stay Home And Earn” Points Card
Apply Here: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Read our review of the Wells Fargo Propel
The Wells Fargo Propel Amex card covers many millennials’ favorite categories for bonus points. You can earn 3x points per $1 on eating out, ordering in, at gas stations, rideshares, flights, hotels, car rentals and select streaming services.
And with the current bonus at 20,000 points (worth $200 in cash back, travel, gift cards or other rewards) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, you’ll be cashing in big rewards for travel in no time!
The great thing about the Wells Fargo Propel Amex is it has no annual fee. So it’s free to keep long term, which can help boost your credit score.
For all the details, check out our full review of the Wells Fargo Propel.
4. American Express Gold Card – For Hardcore Foodies
Apply Here: American Express® Gold Card
Read our review of the American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card is my all time favorite credit card! This card was refreshed and reintroduced as a card perfect for foodies, and I’ve been sure to make the most of this card on date nights with my wife.
The Amex Gold Card offers 35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. And you’ll also get:
- 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 at restaurants worldwide
- 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x)
- 3x Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
- Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants including GrubHub, Ruth’s Chris, and Cheesecake Factory (enrollment required)
- $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline
- No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
- Terms apply
In my opinion, American Express Membership Rewards are the most valuable points to have because of their wide variety of transfer partners. And I find that American Express has the best customer service among credit card issuers.
You can read our review of the American Express Gold Card for more details.
5. Capital One Savor – For When Cash Is King
Read our review of the Capital One Savor card
If you are simply looking to save money each month on your expenses, the Capital One Savor card will put cash back in your pocket!
With the Capital One Savor, you’ll earn 4% cash back on popular streaming services, dining, entertainment (including movies, concerts and sporting events), which is incredibly high, and 3% cash back at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target). And the current bonus is $300 cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, which is a sweet deal!
If you spend ~$300 a month on dining and entertainment, that is $644 in cash back your first year (including the welcome bonus). Now that is a lot of Kombucha.
You can read more about the Capital One Savor card in our review.
Millennials might feel they’ve been dealt a difficult hand, but at the same time, have an incredible amount of opportunity in front of them.
As for travel specifically, I truly believe that we are growing up in the golden age of travel. With the best travel credit cards, exploring the globe has become more accessible for everyone.
If you are a millennial wanting to travel more, check out these great cards that might suit your spending habits and travel goals:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- American Express® Gold Card
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Otherwise, the FOMO will begin to set in…
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For the rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, please click here.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)