Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

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! :)

The best travel credit cards of May 2020

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The best travel credit cards of May 2020

Jason StaufferThe best travel credit cards of May 2020Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The best travel credit cards can earn thousands of dollars worth of luxury flights and hotels or put cash in your pocket. Here at Million Mile Secrets, we constantly track down the best rewards credit card, reveal the real deals and toss away the junk. We even tell you which credit cards we use.

Summary of the best travel credit cards

Credit CardBest forAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardIts overall value$95
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®Frequent American Airline flyers$99, waived the first 12 months
Ink Business Preferred Credit CardBusiness travel$95
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressPremium travel$550 (see rates & fees)
American Express®️ Green CardEarning Amex Membership Rewards on general travel purchases$150 annual fee (see rates & fees) 
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card Award flights with no blackout dates$199
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardMarriott hotels$450 (see rates & fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressPremium business travel$595 (see rates and fees)
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American ExpressHilton hotels$450 (see rates & fees)
American Express® Gold CardRestaurant purchases$250 annual fee (see rates & fees) 
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardSimple travel rewards$95
The information for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, Capital One Venture has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

 

(Photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.)

Best credit cards for travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Current bonus

When you’re approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

Benefits and perks

The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits and perks include the ability to earn 2x on travel and dining, 5x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and one point per dollar on all other purchases. You can get a ton of value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to a Chase transfer partner.

Why it’s the best for its overall value

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the top cards for beginners in the miles-and-points hobby. I’ve had this card for many years and I take it on all my trips. When you subtract the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee from the value of the welcome bonus and the card’s benefits and perks, the card’s value is pretty clear.

Total value

With a bonus worth $1,200 (based on our Chase points valuation) and a paltry $95 annual fee, you can get a first year value of $1,105.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Current bonus

With the CitiBusiness American Airlines Platinum card, you can earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.

Benefits and perks

The CitiBusiness American Airlines card’s benefits and perks are solid and include preferred boarding on American Airlines flights and up to four travel companions get a free checked bag on the same reservation on domestic American Airlines flights. That can be a huge money-saver for families or groups traveling together.

The card’s $99 annual fee is waived the first 12 months and it has no foreign transaction fees.

Why it’s the best for frequent American Airlines flyers

If you fly on American Airlines frequently, you’d probably make up the annual fee in checked bag savings alone. Regardless, it’s certainly worth the annual fee year one.

Total value

It’s not hard to get 1.4 cents in value from your American Airlines miles. So you should get a first year value of over $900 since the annual fee is waived the first year.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Current bonus

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred card you’ll earn 100,000 bonus Chase points after spending $15,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Benefits and perks

The Ink Business Preferred benefits include the ability to earn 5x Chase points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3x Chase points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year) and one point per dollar on all other purchases

The card also comes with built-in insurance perks like, cell phone protection, primary rental car insurance (when renting for business purposes), trip interruption coverage and purchase protection.

Why it’s the best for business travel

The Ink Business Preferred is the best card for earning Ultimate Rewards points, thanks in large part to it’s increased 100,000-point bonus offer. With the Chase Ink Business Preferred you can use Chase points to pay for travel booked through the Chase travel site at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That makes this offer worth at least $1,250 in travel.

This is a business credit card, so you’ll need to have some sort of business activities in order to qualify.

Total value

We value Chase points at two cents each making this offer worth an amazing $1,905 after you pay the $95 annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Current bonus

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Benefits and perks

The Amex Platinum card’s benefits are quite valuable and include an annual airline incidental fee credit of up to $200 on your selected airline; up to $200 in Uber credits per year (can be used for UberEATS) and up to $100 in credit for Saks Fifth Avenue per year. With the Amex Platinum card, you’ll get access to more airport lounges than with comparable cards. And for a limited-time you’ll get up to $320 in credits for select streaming services and wireless phone services purchased from U.S. providers. You can receive up to $20 per month in each category from May to December 2020.

The Amex Platinum card has a $550 annual fee, which is not waived the first year (see rates and fees) and has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why it’s the best for premium travel

The American Express Platinum card is worth the annual fee if you use the perks and credits. Each year you can get up to $500 total in credits for Uber, Saks Fifth Ave. and airline incidental fees. That means you’ll easily come out ahead if you can get just $50 in value from the other benefits like airport lounge access. And the limited time offer for streaming and wireless phone services can offset the travel perks you won’t be able to take advantage of.

Total value

If you max out the card’s statement credits (up to $500) and only get value from the intro bonus ($1,200 based on our Amex points value), you should still get $1,150 in value the first year.

American Express® Green Card

Current bonus

The Amex Green card has a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new card in your first three months.

Benefits and perks

The Amex Green Card has some unique benefits that can save you time and money with a solid 3x Amex Membership Rewards points on both travel and worldwide restaurant purchases — two popular spending categories. Cardholders will get yearly statement credits of up to $100 when using the Amex Green Card to pay for a CLEAR membership, plus up to $100 in LoungeBuddy statement credits per year.

Because of COVID-19’s impact on travel Amex has added up to $80 in statement credits for wireless phone services purchases directly from U.S. providers. You can earn $10 back each month from May through December 2020. This card has a $150 annual fee (see rates and fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why it’s the best for earning Amex Membership Rewards on general travel purchases

The card does carry an annual fee of $150, but if you’re able to take advantage of the card’s benefits throughout the year, you can easily come out ahead. You can see our full guide of who should (or shouldn’t) get the Amex Green Card.

Total value

The intro bonus is worth $600 (based on our Amex points valuation) and with the CLEAR and LoungeBuddy credits you could end up with a first year value of $650 after paying the $150 annual fee.

The Amex Green Card is a great choice for travel purchases like hotels and subways. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Current bonus

When you open this card, you’ll earn up to 100,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points; earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.

Benefits and perks

The Southwest performance business card’s benefits are especially useful for those who travel with Southwest a lot. Cardholders will get up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits (worth $8 each) each year. This is the best Southwest card for earning points because you’ll get triple points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners; 2x points on social media and search advertising purchases and internet, cable and phone service purchases; and 1x Southwest points on all other purchases. In addition, you’ll get 9,000 bonus Southwest points every cardmember account anniversary (worth ~$135 in Southwest flights)

This card has a $199 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Read our Southwest Performance Business credit card review to learn more about the card.

Why it’s the best for earning Amex Membership Rewards on general travel purchases

Using Southwest points is incredibly easy. There’s no Southwest award chart; instead, if there’s a seat for sale, you can book it with points. The price of an award flight is tied to the cost of a paid ticket, so if there’s a Southwest fare sale, you’ll need fewer points.

The Southwest Performance Business card’s annual fee is outweighed by the perks like, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application-fee credit (worth up to $100) and 1,500 tier-qualifying points after every $10,000 in purchases (on up to $100,000 in purchases every cardmember year).

Total value

Southwest points are worth (on average) 1.5 cents each, making this bonus worth $1,500 in Southwest flights. Plus every year you’ll get 9,000 bonus points (worth $135) and up to 365 Wi-Fi credits, worth $8 each. And, you can potentially almost double that amount if you have the Southwest Companion Pass. The good news is that this bonus counts toward earning a Companion Pass.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Current bonus

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.  

Benefits and perks

The top Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant benefits from this card include an annual statement credit (up to $300) to use each membership year at participating Marriott hotels (including room charges) and an annual free night (at participating Marriott hotels worth up to 50,000 points) after you renew your card.

The card also offers Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership (you can bring up to two guests) and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (a value of up to $100) every four years. These are musts for frequent travelers.The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why it’s the best for earning Amex Membership Rewards on general travel purchases

The annual fee is high, but the additional money-saving perks can make it worth the annual fee, depending on your situation. The annual free-night award is particularly valuable because it’s valid at hotels that cost up to 50,000 Marriott points per night. Because COVID-19 has negated much of the value of this card’s travel perks, you can use the up to $300 Marriott credit at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery) from June through August 2020.

Total value

We value Marriott points at .8 cents each, making the bonus ($800) and Marriott credits ($300) worth $650 after you pay the annual fee. That’s a solid bonus when you consider that we’re not even adding in the annual award night.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Current bonus

The Amex Business Platinum card has a 75,000-point bonus that you’ll earn after spending $15,000 on the card in the first three months from opening the account.

Benefits and perks

The Amex Business Platinum earns 5x Amex points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, 1.5x points on single purchases of $5,000 or more (up to one million points per calendar year) and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Every year you can also earn up to $400 in statement credits, you’ll get up to $200 in airline fee credits with your selected airline and up to $200 in Dell credits for U.S. purchases ($100 from January-June and $100 from July to December). Also, your application for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck will be reimbursed if you pay with your Amex Business Platinum card.

Amex has also added some temporary benefits to the card because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on travel. First off, from May to December 2020 you can earn up to $320 in credits for U.S. shipping purchases and wireless phone services purchased from U.S. providers. You can earn up to $20 per month in each category. And you can earn an additional up to $200 in Dell credits for U.S. purchases ($100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020 and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and December 31, 2020).

Why it’s the best for premium business travel

If you can take full advantage of its benefits the Amex Business Platinum card is worth the annual fee of $595 (see rates and fees). The up to $400 in annual credits can offset most of the fee, so you only need to get more than $195 in value from the rest of the card’s perks to make it worthwhile. And special credits that have been added as a result of COVID-19 can make up for the missed travel perks.

Total value

This card’s bonus is worth $1,500, based on our valuation of Amex points. Once you factor in the $400 in yearly credits and subtract the annual fee, you can easily get a first year value of $1,305.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Current bonus

The Amex Hilton Aspire comes with 150,000 Hilton points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.

Benefits and perks

There’s a reason this card is so great for Hilton stays – you’ll earn a whopping 14x Hilton points at participating Hilton hotels. You’ll also get excellent benefits like an annual weekend-night award (at participating Hilton hotels) and automatic Diamond Elite Hilton status.

In addition, the Hilton Aspire’s benefits include up to $250 in Hilton resort credit each card-member year and up to $250 in airline fee credit with your selected airline each calendar year, both of which will save you money. And because of the COVID-19 shutdown, from June to August 2020 the up to $250 in resort credits will also apply to purchases at U.S. restaurants, including delivery and takeout. Also, any purchases that post to your account from May 1 to December 31, 2020, will count toward earning elite status, including lifetime Diamond status.

With the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the card, you have access to 1,200+ airport lounges. This card has a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why it’s the best for premium business travel

Like other premium cards on this list, Hilton Aspire the annual fee is hefty. But it’s a good deal if you can make the most of the card’s perks. Plus, you’ll earn a second free-weekend-night award at participating Hilton hotels each calendar year if you spend $60,000+ in eligible purchases on your card.

Total value

Hilton points are worth around .5 cents each, making this card’s bonus worth $750 and you can easily offset the card’s $450 annual fee with the Hilton resort and airline incidental credits.

AMEX Hilton Aspire $250 Resort Credit
Take advantage of the Amex Hilton Aspire’s $250 resort credit at a spot like the Hilton Waikoloa Village. (Photo by 

American Express® Gold Card

Current bonus

The American Express® Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits and perks

The Amex Gold card’s benefits and perks can really add up, like up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required) and up to $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline. The best feature of this card is that it earns four Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants and four Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x). That’s an incredible earning rate for such popular spending categories.

There’s a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) and it has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Why it’s the best for restaurant purchases

Although the annual fee is a bit high, it’s easy to see that if you can make the most of the credits, then the Amex Gold’s annual fee can be worth it because you’ll offset most of that cost.

Total value

We value Amex points at two cents each, making this card offer worth $570 the first year once you add the dining credits ($120) and subtract the $250 annual fee.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Current bonus

After approval, you can earn 50,000 Venture miles with the Capital One Venture card after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.

Benefits and perks

In addition to the card’s valuable welcome bonus, the Capital One Venture’s benefits and perks, include 2x Venture miles on all purchases, a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100) and no foreign transaction fees.

The card also comes with Visa Signature benefits, like secondary rental car insurance, travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance.

Being able to earn two Venture miles on every purchase is pretty great, especially because you don’t have to worry about tracking bonus categories — everything is simple and straightforward. The card has a $95 annual fee.

Why it’s the best for simple travel rewards

One thing that makes the Capital One Venture worth the annual fee is its straightforward rewards program. All you have to do is pay for travel expenses (such as airfare, hotel stays and parking) with your credit card, then log in to your account and erase the charge by redeeming your miles. 

It also has a smaller annual fee than other cards that reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, which usually have higher annual fees that are often between $450 and $550 .

Total value

$500 or more if you transfer your Capital One miles to the right travel partners.

Different types of travel credit cards

There are many different styles of travel rewards credit cards and to be able to decide which one is a good fit for you let’s break down each type.

Transferable rewards

Travel credit cards that earn transferable rewards are a bit more complicated to use, but offer the most potential value. These cards earn rewards that can be converted to points or miles with many different loyalty programs. That means you aren’t stuck using a single airlines program when another will better suit your needs.

Earning transferable points is also an excellent hedge against frequent flyer program devaluations. If airline A makes a negative change to its award chart, with flexible points you’ll still have other options for making the most of your rewards.

The major transferrable points programs are:

Airline cards

Cobranded airline credit cards earn miles and have benefits tied to a specific airline. For example, most Delta credit cards will get you free checked bags, but only when you’re flying with Delta. So these cards make the most sense to open if you’re loyal to that airline or live in a hub city.

Hotel cards

Opening a hotel credit card can be a great way to earn free nights and fast track your way to elite status. Cobranded hotel cards can also be good options for keeping long term because of the ongoing benefits. For example, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card has a $95 annual fee, but every year that you renew you’ll get a reward night at a Category 1-4 hotel. That free night can easily be worth more than what you pay to keep the card and you get five elite night credits every year as well.

Fixed-value point cards

Some of the best card for travel points earn rewards that have a fixed value. These are the most straight-forward cards you have because the points/miles you earn can be redeem for travel (or other rewards) at a set value. The Capital One Venture card was solely a fixed-value travel point card and you could redeem your miles to erase eligible travel purchases at a rate of one cent per mile. But when Capital One added transfer partners if transformed into both a transferable points card and a fixed-value point card.

How we select the best travel credit cards

You know how you get credit card offers in the mail and throw them away? Not us. We open all of them, then run to get the magnifying glass and read the fine print. We spend all day looking for new credit card offers online, then we dive in to calculate the true value of the offer.

We let you in on the secrets that the airlines, hotels and cruise ship companies do not want you to know. Credit card introductory bonuses are the fastest way to earn big travel rewards without spending a ton of money. But here’s the thing – you have to know the smart ways to use these bonuses. So, we examine the details.

Bonus offers

Credit card companies profit each time you use their card and when you pay them interest, so pay those bills on time. Like any business, they want more customers, so they create offers where you can earn a serious stash of miles or cash when you open a new card. Some bonuses are very appealing; others are not. We sort it all out for you.

Minimum spending requirements

Here’s the catch: To earn the introductory bonus, you must spend a certain amount using your new card within a certain time frame. We like reasonable spending requirements that make it easy to get your bonus. We do list cards with bigger requirements – but only if the reward is huge.

We love seeing how people like you get to travel first class, stay in amazing hotels or earn lots of cash using our insider tips. For example, MMS reader Lori is an English teacher who took trip to Asia worth more than $30,000 for only $500. Like us, she’s a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. She took it on her epic adventure to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Ongoing bonus opportunities

We prefer travel credit cards that keep rewarding you even after you earn the initial big welcome bonus.

Benefits and perks

Airport lounges with complimentary food and alcohol, no foreign transaction fees and TSA PreCheck are some of my favorite perks that save money and time.

Frequently asked questions

What’s a travel rewards credit card?

The top travel rewards cards differ from other types of cards, like credit cards that earn cash back, in that you’ll get the most value using the rewards for travel. These cards also feature spending bonus categories tailored to travel. So you can earn bonus rewards for dining, hotels, airfare or rental cars, but the best credit cards for groceries rarely overlap with this category.

The advantages of holding a credit card that earns travel rewards cannot be understated. With the right cards, you and your loved ones can be on your way to experiencing things you never thought possible. Whether you want to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the other side of the world or just simply want to visit your grandmother for the holidays, travel rewards cards can get you there.

How much is a point or mile worth on a travel credit card?

Some miles and points have a fixed value or at least a fixed value for certain redemptions. For example, you can redeem Capital One miles for one cent a piece toward eligible travel purchases. But you can also transfer Capital One miles to a bunch of different airline partners, this is where the value of your rewards gets murky. You can look at it two ways, what would you have paid for the same travel? Or, what was the travel you booked with points worth?

Let’s say you use 20,000 Delta miles to book a visit home when you would normally pay $350 for the same trip. Since you are saving $350 you could say those miles are worth 1.75 cents each. But what if you like to save your points and use them for expensive business or first-class flights you wouldn’t otherwise be willing to purchase? If you do this the value of your points goes up exponentially. For example, you can use 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles to book a one-way Cathay Pacific business-class award from the U.S. to Hong Kong. Paying cash for this same flight could easily set you back $4,000, so the value you’re getting per point is eight cents, even though you’re not necessarily saving that much.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

More Info

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

1408comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

My husband recently applied for an got approved for an Ink preferred card. About two weeks later, he applied for the personal CSR. He was asked to call in and underwent a half hour interview about his expenses, balances and business, until he was ultimately denied for the CSR due to in essence that he was recently approved for another card. I thought business cards don’t impact personal cards? How long should we wait between applying for personal cards after receiving business cards ?

Merry Christmas everyone God bless you all regards Ritz adams

credit cards do help
thank you for the post

I have the Sapphire Preferred for a few years now and love it. I kinda want the Sapphire RESERVED. Do I need to cancel my Sapphire in order to get the Reserved? We do travel yearly!

Thanks for the question, ree! You can ask Chase to upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Load more