Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases in 2018

Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases in 2018
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s affiliate program. These user responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. User responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

When traveling, you want to put the bulk of your expenses on a credit card can will give you the best return for your spending. While there are dozens of cards currently on the market, a few of them can help frequent travelers save on their travel purchases in a big way. Here are our favorites.

The Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases in 2018:

Credit Card
Best For:
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Overall Return on Spending
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Mid-Level Spenders
Citi Prestige Card
4-Night Hotel Stays
Platinum Card by American Express
Airline Spending
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
Flexible Spending


Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for return on travel purchases

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives its cardmembers the greatest overall return on travel spending: triple points on travel and dining spend! That's 6 percent return on spending, based on our valuation of Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents per point. You'll also earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of card membership.There is a large ($450) annual fee, but with that comes a $300 travel credit every calendar year that automatically kicks in on your statement. Plus, you'll get perks like Priority Pass lounge access – which has over 800 lounges abroad to choose from – and your Global Entry membership feel will be waived.

chase sapphire preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for mid-level spenders

We know $450 is a steep annual fee for a credit card, and if you can't swing it, consider applying instead for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which gives mid-level spenders a nice spending bonus as well. You'll earn two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and travel purchases (4.4 percent back based on our valuation). There are no foreign transaction fees, and the more manageable $95 annual fee is waived the first year.


Citi Prestige Card: Best for long hotel stays

The benefits on this card have change drastically in the past year, but I personally decided to keep the card for one key benefit: you get a fourth night free on any four-night hotel stay. Just recently, that benefit saved me more than $400, which almost pays for the $450 annual fee on this card. New cardholders get a reimbursement on the average cost per night of a four-night hotel stay, without taxes or resort fees. It's a great deal that can save you thousands, and there's no limit to how many times you use it. That spending gives you three ThankYou points per dollar (as well as any other travel purchase), which can be used towards flights, or transferred to a number of travel partners, including Singapore Airlines and Hilton Hotels.

platinum-card copy

Platinum Card by American Express: Best for airfare purchases

The Platinum Card by American Express is the best credit card on the market for airfare purchases. Use this card and you'll earn 5x Membership Rewards on any airfare bought directly from the airline. That's incredible – at our two cents per point valuation, that's like 10 percent back on spending! You'll get a lot of other benefits with your $550 annual fee, like lounge access, Starwood Gold Status, Hilton Honors Gold status, and $200 a year towards Uber.


Capital One Venture Rewards Card: Best for Flexible Spending

The Capital One Venture Rewards card is easy for anyone to use, even credit card novices. You'll earn double miles on all purchases, but keep in mind that those points are less valuable than the ones I mention above; you'll only get a one cent per mile valuation when you redeem for travel purchases. However, being able to redeem for any travel purchase is a great perk, and it's flexible enough for families who need to travel certain dates, and can't wait on award availability.

What are you favorite credit cards for travel purchases? Let us know in the comments!