The Best Travel Credit Cards for 2019


a person using their travel credit card to shop on their laptop
Posted: 11/16/2019 | November 16th, 2019

It can be difficult to choose the best travel credit card. There are hundreds upon hundreds out there — and so many of them seem to be the same! Which one is right for you? How do you decide? Which one gives you the best points? Are the fees worth it?

For someone who isn’t deep into the travel the industry, it can be very confusing — and a bit nervewracking — to figure out which card to get.

Let me say this: the best travel credit card is the one that aligns with your travel goals.

Are you interested in loyalty to a brand, free rewards, or avoiding fees? Do you want to milk the rewards and bonus system to get free flights, or do you just want a card that won’t charge you a fee for using it at that restaurant in Brazil? Is elite status the most important perk for you? Do you want points you can use like cash for anything?

Obviously, the airline and hotel cards you’ll pick are going to be based on those you use a lot. For example, I have a Marriott card and a Delta card because those are my brands of choice.

But, for those general points credit cards, are some cards better than the rest for daily use? I think so. If you don’t have any specific goals in mind and are just looking for some you can use in your day-to-day life, here’s a list of what I think the best travel credit cards are, their features, and why and when you should have them.

Note: Once in a while I get new cards if they have a good bonus, but for the most part, I think that you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin.

MY TOP PICK: Chase Sapphire Reserve

For me, this is the gold standard of travel cards. Yes, there’s a high fee but you get a lot of perks (and cashback) that I think this card is worth the fee and it is the card I use the most. When you sign-up for the card, you get:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases
  • $300 in annual travel credit
  • 3x points on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • The ability to transfer to points to a dozen travel brands (I use this feature the most)
  • A statement credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application
  • Free Priority Pass lounge access (a super awesome perk)
  • No foreign transaction fees

When you factor in that $300 credit, you’re really paying only $150 a year. You get 3x on restaurants and travel (which is most of my spending). Combined with the other perks, this is my all-around favorite card and the one I use the most for my day-to-day spending. I think this card gives you the most value for your money, especially if you are a frequent traveler.

—-> Sign up for this card by clicking here!

Chase Preferred

This card is like the “starter” version of the previous card. You don’t get as many perks, but if you’re dead-set on not paying a high yearly fee (this card only $95 a year), you can’t go wrong with this card. It’s great for the more infrequent traveler (this is the card I got my mother). When you sign for this card, you’ll get:

  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000
  • 2x points on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees

It’s a simple, easy to use card.
—-> Sign up for this card by clicking here!

Citi Prestige

I’m personally not a huge fan of this card and I don’t have a lot of Citi cards in general as I’m not a huge fan of their transfer partners. But, this card is great for people who stay at hotels because the fourth-night-free option (even though it’s capped) will cover the cost of this card’s fee right away. Plus, you get a $250 travel credit with this card too. Especially, when used right, you can actually make some money on this card! This card comes with a $495 yearly fee and the following perks:

  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000
  • 5x points on airfare and restaurants
  • 3x points on hotels and cruises
  • 1x points on everything else
  • Complimentary fourth night at a hotel when booking through ThankYou.com (capped at twice per year though)
  • Free Priority Pass
  • $250 travel credit every year
  • Points transfer to their partners, including 16 different airlines
  • No foreign transaction fees

I don’t love this card because I don’t use a lot of their transfer partners but if you stay in a lot of hotels and use any of their transfer partners frequently, this is a must get card because it pays for itself and is easy to get points through their spending bonus structure!

—-> Sign up for this card by clicking here!

American Express EveryDay

I love this no-fee Amex card for the bonus points and the 2x points at supermarkets. I use it when I’m buying groceries because it’s a great way to rack up Amex points. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • 20% extra points when you use your card 20 or more times each billing cycle
  • 2x points at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year)
  • 1 point for every dollar spent
  • Double points on every dollar of eligible travel purchases when you book through AmexTravel.com

It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s a quick way to get points.
—-> Sign up for this card by clicking here!

Capital One Venture

I used to really dislike this card but, with the recent changes they made last year and the addition of transfer partners and 10x points on hotels via hotels.com, this is now one of my favorite credit cards. I absolutely think you should get this card, especially if you’re looking for a no-fee, easy to use card. When you sign up for this card, you get:

  • No fees for the first year, $95 after that
  • 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first three months
  • Unlimited 2x miles on every dollar spent
  • 10x miles on bookings via hotels.com
  • Transfer miles to any of their 10+ travel partners
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees

Factor in the free first year and this a card that should be in your wallet. When they relaunched it, I liked it so much I got one myself!
—-> Sign up for this card!

Chase Freedom

If you’re looking for something more in the ways of cashback and/or want to stick with Chase points over Amex points, this is the best card for it. It’s simple and easy to use and the cashback points give you more flexibility than points. For a traveler like myself, I prefer points but, for some people, like my dad who doesn’t fly a lot, he’d rather get cashback. So he actually has this card. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • No annual fee
  • $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

If you’re like my dad and want a no-fee card that gives you cash back, then this card is for you!

—-> Sign up for this card by clicking here!

***

One thing to remember is that there’s not one card to use for all occasions. Each card has its perks, so you want to maximize your point earning by sticking and matching your spending. I use three or four cards for all my spending. Chase for travel and restaurants, American Express for groceries, Delta for travel perks on the airline, and Marriott for my hotel stays. That way I always get the most points possible for every dollar you spend without spreading my points around too much.

So, if you’re looking for a travel credit card, pick one of the above. They are the best in my opinion.

Advertiser Disclosure: “Nomadic Matt has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Nomadic Matt and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.”

Editorial Disclosure: “Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com, as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them both all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all those I use to save money when I travel — and they will save you time and money too!

The post The Best Travel Credit Cards for 2019 appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.





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