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The Best Travel Credit Cards of 2023

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Overview

Are you ready to explore the world in 2023? One of the best ways to do this is to find travel credit cards that start with amazing sign-up bonuses, offer rewards, have solid points structures, provide elevated status, track statement credits and more. These cards will help you get the most out of your next vacation and beyond. Below are our recommendations for the best travel credit cards so far this year and how to use them!

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is designed for the savvy explorer who travels at least 3-5 times a year and dines out at restaurants frequently. This card has the power to quickly rack up points to spend on future flights – many would agree that if you use this card correctly, you can easily offset the yearly cost of the card and then some with the points accrued.

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: 60,000 points (worth up to $1,200) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Yearly Credits: $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • Key Points Benefit: Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Cost: $550 / year (effectively $250 per year after annual travel credit)

Points Structure

  • 10x – Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10x – Earn 10x total points on Lyft
  • 5x – Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x – Earn 3x points on other travel and dining
  • 1x – Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On air travel and flights
  • Transfer points to Chase’s airline partners

There are plenty of other perks to consider for this card – follow the links below to read more and apply now!

2. American Express Platinum

Overview

The Amex Platinum card is a statement credit printing machine and is the perfect card to elevate your travel lifestyle. This card provides status benefits to enhance your travel and take vacations to the next level for a premium VIP experience. The statement credits offered on this card far exceed the $695 yearly fee – it’s a no brainer to enroll in all the benefits and take advantage of all the Amex Platinum has to offer!

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: Highest current targeted offer we’ve seen comes in at 150,000 points (worth up to $3,000) after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, however, most offers come in around 80,000 points (worth up to $1,600)
  • Key Travel Benefits:
    • Access to Centurion Lounges
    • Access to Delta Sky Clubs (if flying Delta)
    • Complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (including free room upgrades, if available)
    • Complimentary elite status with Hertz, Avis and National Car Rental (including free car upgrades, if available)
    • At least $500 in annual statement credits, including $189 CLEAR membership, $200 Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline seat upgrades and more!
  • Cost: $695 / year

Points Structure

  • 5X – Earn 5X Amex Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year
  • 5X – Earn 5X Amex Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On air travel and flights
  • Transfer points to Amex’s airline partners

There are so many perks and statement credits to consider for this card – and they are all incredible. Follow the links below to read more and apply now!

3. Capital One Venture X

Overview

The Capital One Venture X card is a great travel card with a fantastic sign up bonus and perks – enough so that the yearly credits alone slightly outweigh the $395 yearly fee. The point bonuses also match, or exceed, other cards on the market for hotels, car rentals and flights when booking via the Capital One Travel portal.

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: 75,000 miles (worth up to $1,388) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Yearly Credits:
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit
    • 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary (equal to $100 toward travel)
  • Cost: $395 / year (effectively $0 per year after annual travel credits)

Points Structure

  • 10x – Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked via Capital One Travel
  • 10x – Earn 10 miles per dollar spent on cars booked through Turo (through May 16, 2023)
  • 5x – Earn 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel
  • 2x – Earn 2 miles per dollar on other purchases

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On air travel and flights
  • Transfer points to Capital One’s airline partners

This is a good card for anyone looking to save money on their travel costs, while paying an annual fee lower than some of the other travel credit cards on the market.

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4. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is basically the Chase Sapphire Reserve lite. It carries a significantly less yearly fee at just $95/year and is for more casual travelers and restaurant-goers that like to rack up points over time and then spend them to redeem flights at a better rate.

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: 60,000 points (worth up to $1,200) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Yearly Credits:
    • $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
    • 10% anniversary points boost
  • Key Points Benefit: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Cost: $95 / year

Points Structure

  • 5x – Earn 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5x – Earn 5x total points on Lyft
  • 3x – Earn 3x points on dining
  • 2x – Earn 2x points on all other purchases, plus more

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On air travel and flights
  • Transfer points to Chase’s airline partners

With a generous sign up bonus, enticing points structure and great transfer partners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one that should be in your wallet – only if you don’t opt for the higher Chase Sapphire Reserve option. Read more and apply at the links below!

5. Bilt Rewards Card

Overview

A newcomer to the scene, the Bilt Rewards card made a big splash as being the only credit card that lets you earn points when you pay rent. It has a decent bonus points structure for travel and restaurants and the best part? It is a $0 fee card, making it a no-brainer for anyone who is renting to rack up points over time to spend on future travel.

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: No sign up bonus available (since it’s a $0 fee card)
  • Key Points Benefit:┬áOn the 1st of each month, Rent Day, point categories are worth double
  • Cost: $0 / year
  • Note: In order to earn points, you must make 5 transactions that post each statement period
    • Pro Tip: To do this, we typically make those 5 small transactions under $10 every month at places like CVS or a gas station to ensure we receive the points for our rent payment every month.

Points Structure

  • 3x – Earn 3x points on dining (6x on the first of each month)
  • 2x – Earn 2x points on travel (4x on the first of each month)
  • 1x – Earn 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 50,000 points each calendar year)
  • 1x – Earn 1x points on all other purchases (2x on the first of each month)

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On air travel and flights
  • Transfer points to Bilt Reward’s airline partners

Run – don’t walk – to get this card if you are a renter. As a $0 fee card, this card is begging you to take advantage of it and passively rack up points to spend on future travel. Read more and apply below!

6. IHG Premier Rewards Card

Overview

The IHG Rewards Premier card is making a big splash with their best sign up bonus ever. This card is for those who are – or would like to become – frequent IHG Hotel & Resorts travelers, as it offers a lot of perks and their network of properties has grown significantly in the last couple years. For a modest $99/year fee and decent points earning structure, this is a great option for savvy hotel travelers.

Card Highlights

  • Sign Up Bonus: 175,000 points (worth up to $875) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Yearly Credits:
    • Free Night each account anniversary year (with a current point redemption cap of 40,000 points)
    • Receive up to $50 United┬« TravelBank Cash each calendar year
  • Key Points Benefit: Earn up to 26x at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Cost: $99 / year

Points Structure

  • 26x – Up to 26x at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • 5x – Earn 5x total points on travel and hotels
  • 5x – Earn 5x total points at gas stations
  • 5x – Earn 5x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery
  • 3x – Earn 3x points on all other purchases

How to Best Spend to Maximize Points

  • On IHG Hotels & Resorts when you redeem points for a stay of four nights or longer, as youÔÇÖll pay zero points for every fourth night

With a best-ever sign up bonus and offsetting card fee with the yearly anniversary free night and United® TravelBank Cash benefits, this card is a great option for those who like, or would like, to travel under the IHG brand umbrella. Our recommendation is to visit IHG properties least 2-3 times a year and include at least one stay of four nights when redeeming points to make this card worth it. Read more about the card and apply at the links below!

Bottom Line

No matter which card – or cards – you choose, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your travel experiences in 2023. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a casual traveler, there’s a credit card out there to suit your needs. Now get out there and plan your next journey!

As a reminder – always pay off your credit cards on time every month and only get credit cards to enhance your current lifestyle and everyday activities, not the lifestyle you want to have or think these credit cards will give you. Always make sure you can afford the yearly fees and figure out what’s best for you!

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