Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases

If you’re into miles and points you’re also into travel. After all, that’s the main reason for collecting miles and points. But often you also have to pay for travel expenses out of pocket and you want to maximize those purchases just like anything else.

Here I’ll put together a list of best credit cards for travel purchases. This is not exactly a list of credit cards that you should apply for if you’re into travel. That list might vary a bit, based on signup bonuses and other factors. But if you have a travel purchase that you need to pay for today, take a look at the list and if you see one of the cards that you already have, that should probably be your go to card.

Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases

I’ll start with the cards that give you the highest earning rates on travel purchases and are widely available, and work my way down from there. I’ll only list cards that earn at least 2x or have gas stations as a quarterly bonus category.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • $450 annual fee
  • Points can be used for travel at 1.5 cents each, so you’re actually earning 4.5% on travel purchases. The card also comes with $300 Annual Travel Credit.
  • Read more about the card

Citi ThankYou Premier

  • 3X ThankYou points on travel including gas
  • $95 annual fee (usually waived the first year)
  • You can redeem points directly for airfare at the Citi ThankYou travel portal for 1.25 cents per point.
  • Read more about the card

American Express Platinum Card

  • 5X Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel plus 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com
  • $550 annual fee
  • The card comes with $200 airline fee credit, $200 Uber credit.
  • Read more about the card

Citi Prestige

  • Earn 3X ThankYou points on airfare and hotels
  • $450 annual fee
  • Points can be used for travel at 1.25 cents each for airline redemptions. It also has a $250 air travel credit.
  • Read more about the card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • $95 annual fee (usually waived the first year)
  • Points can be used for travel at 1.25 cents each, so you’re actually earning 2.5% on travel purchases.
  • Read more about the card

Crystal Visa Infinite Card

  • 3X on gasoline, airline, hotel, taxi, rental car, train, bus, restaurant, fast food and takeout food dining purchases
  • $400 Annual Fee
  • The card comes with $250 Airline Incidental Fees Statement Credit per Calendar Year.
  • Read more about the card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • $89 annual fee
  • Miles have a fixed value of 1 cent each but you get a 5% redemption bonus, making it a 2.1X card. The card was gone for a while but is back now with a 60K bonus.
  • Read more about the card

US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card

  • 2X FlexPoints on the category you spend the most on (at gas stations, grocery stores or airlines). Worth up to 3% in travel.
  • $49 Annual Fee (waived first year)
  • The card has a signup bonus, currently at 20K FlexPoints
  • Read more about the card

Amex Blue for Business

  • 2.3X Membership Rewards Points on all purchases on the first $50,000 for the first year
  • No Annual Fee
  • The card is no longer available.
  • Read more about the card

Amex Blue Business Plus

  • Earn 2X Membership Reward Points on the first $50K spent anywhere each calendar year
  • No Annual Fee
  • Read more about the card

Blispay Visa Card

  • 2% Cash Back on all purchases
  • No Annual Fee
  • “No Payments No Interest” on all purchases over $199 if paid in full in 6 months. Could be useful for large purchases.
  • Read more about the card

PayPal CashBack Mastercard

Citi Double Cash

Please let me know if there’s any other cards that you think should be included in the list, especially if they’re widely available. And also share your opinions on which card you would consider as the best overall.

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