The Best Travel Credit Cards

Not sure when to use these? Wanderium automatically recommends relevant gear and services based on your trip's conditions.

(This is for US users only at the moment)

Travel credit cards can provide a lot of value but also get really complicated 😧. These are the best overall cards if you only get one or two and don't want to spend a ton of time/energy figuring out how to maximize every little detail. Want to start playing the travel card game? Check out sites like TPG, NerdWallet, and /r/churning.

  • When paying in regions like South America, always ask for them to bring out the card machine so it's safer
  • If asked whether to be charged in the local currency or your home currency (like USD), always choose local currency as it gets you a better conversion rate
  • The best deals when redeeming points are usually by transferring miles to an airline partner like United
  • Use these cards for car rentals and expensive purchases since they include additional coverage and protection
What we look for
  • No foreign transaction fees, saving you ~3% on every int'l transaction
  • Rewards like sign up bonus, points earning, points redemption value so your card can work for you
  • Add'l perks like travel credits, lounge access, TSA Pre reimbursement, better coverage/protection, etc

Disagree? Know of another great option?

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best overall travel credit card

The Sapphire Preferred offers the largest opportunity for normal travelers assuming you don’t have any special use cases like flying a specific airline a lot. Very few cards beat it especially in ease of use.

  • Annual fee: first year free, $95 afterwards
  • Rewards: 2x points (aka 2% back) on all travel/dining, 1x for everything else
  • Sign up bonus: 50K points rewarded after spending $4K within 3 months, worth at least $625 when redeemed through Chase and more if you transfer to airline partners
  • Points are worth 25% more when travel is booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is considered the most flexible rewards program
  • Primary rental car insurance so you don't need to pay for the rental agency's insurance
  • Made of metal: You'll feel baller using it 💵
  • 5 Reasons Chase Sapphire Preferred Should Be Your First Card
  • Lesser known CSP benefits
Aren't traveling much yet but want to start building Chase points?
  1. Sign up for a free Chase card like the Freedom
  2. Build up Chase reward points using that card
  3. When ready, sign up for a paid Chase card like the Preferred or Reserve
  4. Transfer your existing points to the new card to take advantage of the better redemption value
Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Best card for frequent travelers

This card has everything its sibling CSP (Chase Sapphire Preferred) has but more and used to be a no brainer with its original 100K sign up bonus. However, despite the now lower 50K bonus and the $450 annual fee, it still offers enough benefits to be a great card for frequent travelers or high spenders.

  • Annual fee: $450 but a $300 travel credit effectively reduces it to $150
  • Rewards: 3x (aka 3% back) on travel/dining (vs. 2x for CSP)
  • Sign up bonus: 50K just like CSP but points with the Reserve are worth 50% instead of just 25% so the 50K is worth $750 instead of $625
  • Airport lounge access through Priority Pass, easily worth a few hundred a year based on what Priority Pass charges normally (and damn does it make flying more enjoyable) (worth $25/per access)
  • Global Entry/TSA Pre fee reimbursement every 5 years (worth $85+)
  • Better travel coverage and purchase protection than CSP
  • Battle of Premium Travel Credit Cards
  • CSP vs. CSR
Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back

Best card with no annual fee suited for younger travelers

One of the only cards that has no foreign transaction fees nor annual fee. It's great for students or people just starting adulthood with average credit, since both the CSP and CSR are considered premium cards that require higher credit scores and income.

  • Sign up bonus: a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically
  • Rewards: 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations,, restaurants, etc up to a quarterly maximum and then 1% on all other purchases
  • One downside: Discover isn't as widely accepted as Visa, so check their coverage map before traveling

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