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Choosing the best credit card for travel can be a tough decision . There are so many options for different budgets and travel purposes. With the right travel credit card, you can earn points for free travel and enhance your travel experience. Plus, many of our most popular travel credit cards come with valuable perks like free annual nights, travel insurance, checked baggage fee waivers, and airport lounge access. By understanding which card best suits your spending style and travel needs. Here are five steps to choosing the best travel credit card.

1. Decide between a co-branded credit card and a generic travel credit card

Before you do anything else, think about the type of travel rewards you want to earn. You can start by considering how much flexibility you prefer when redeeming points, your typical travel styles and loyalties.There are two main types of travel credit cards to consider: there is. It is a co-branded travel card and a transferable rewards card.

Co-branded travel cards are affiliated with certain airline or hotel loyalty programs. Many hotels come with branded travel benefits such as complimentary checked bags, priority boarding, annual hotel credits and automatic hotel elite status. Co-branded cards allow you to earn points on specific travel programs, making them ideal for travel enthusiasts who frequently use the same brand.

Common travel credit cards don't work with certain airline or hotel brands. Instead, you can earn rewards in programs that allow you to use your points in a variety of ways. Transfer your points to multiple airline and hotel loyalty programs, or use them directly to purchase travel at a fixed rate.

2.Look for lucrative rewards and big bonuses Please

When comparing the top rewards credit cards on the market today, it's easy to get distracted by the welcome offer. After all, many of the top credit cards offer him $1,000 or more in bonuses in the first few months.

There's nothing wrong with going after big bonuses, but if you want to reap the benefits of your card in the long run, you'll want your points to match your spending habits. That's where category spending bonuses come in.

If you happen to spend a lot of money in a particular category, it makes sense to look for cards that offer bonus points in that category. For example, if you spend a lot on food, gas and groceries in addition to travel, the Citi Premier® card is perfect for you as it offers triple points on those spending categories. On the other hand, if you don't want to keep track of which credit card you use, you can opt for a flat rate card like the Citi® Double Cash Card that gives you up to 2% cash back on all your purchases—1% at the time of purchase, pay Sometimes another 1 percent.

3. Note the minimum spend requirements

If you're ready to bank for those hefty credit card welcome bonuses, there's one caveat you need to be prepared for. That's the minimum spending requirements. These range from $500 to $15,000 or more and usually have to be met within three to six months. Most people meet their spending requirements by charging their credit card with daily expenses and monthly bills, but at scale this can become difficult to manage. Get a big welcome bonus with just one purchase.

There are many credit cards with generous welcome bonuses and low minimum spend. For example, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®* offers a 60,000 bonus miles for a one-time purchase, paying the annual fee ($99) within the first 90 days. This offer is especially impressive considering you have to pay $2,500 within 3 months to earn just 50,000 bonus miles with your Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®*.

4. Identify the travel benefits that matter most to you

Next, we look at cards based on travel benefits and protections. Ideally, you'll be able to find a travel credit card that offers benefits you can actually use, rather than just gaudy-sounding benefits. The right perks can help offset the card's annual fee and generate hundreds of dollars worth of value each year.

Here are some examples of travel rewards to look for.

  • Travel insurance coverage, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary or secondary car rental coverage, and baggage delay insurance
  • Airport lounge membership or certain number of Lounge Admission
  • Fare Credit Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Automated Hotel Elite Status
  • Free Baggage, Priority Boarding and Other Airline Benefits
  • Annual Resort Credit

Travel Benefits Worth Annual Fee

Let's say you fly American Airlines with your partner once a year and check two bags. Round trip he gets a $120 bag fee, which is pretty steep. However, if you have a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, that fee will be waived. Paying the $99 annual fee for the card makes sense in this scenario. Especially if you take into account the card's other perks.

Premium travel credit cards charge a higher annual fee but tend to offer the most benefits. includes recurring benefits worth well over $1,500, primarily in the form of memberships and travel credits. However, to justify the platinum card's annual fee, you need to evaluate whether you can fully utilize the card's wealth of benefits.

A true test of value: if you pay from your pocket for these perks didn't they come to your card? Strive to get a card with benefits and protection that you can actually take advantage of and an annual fee that you can afford to pay.

5.Calculated to minimize fees Let's Try

If you're looking for a travel credit card with an annual fee of less than $100, it's easy to justify the cost in the first year. After all, many travel credit cards offer welcome bonuses of $500 or more, which is on top of the rewards you get for spending.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card Let's see. Currently, the sign-up bonus for this card is 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening the account. That's $750 worth of travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and greatly offsets the $95 annual fee.

You should know that you don't have to pay an annual fee for a travel credit card at all. There are many good credit cards with no annual fee. For example, American Express' Blue Business® Plus credit card has no annual fee, and on his first $50,000 payment each year he earns double his membership his Rewards points, and thereafter he earns 1x points. You can earn

It is also important to note the foreign transaction fees when it comes to travel cards. These approximately 3% fees are added to your international purchases and can actually add up if you shop a lot abroad. In that case, even with an annual fee, using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees may save you more in the long run.

Still not sure if a travel credit card is right for you? Get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits, and daily needs. See User Type Tool.


The right travel credit depends on factors such as how often you travel, what types of rewards are readily available, what rewards you want most, and how much you are willing to pay. . Luckily, there are so many great travel and rewards credit cards on the market today that you are sure to find one that fits your needs.

Compare our list of the best travel credit cards. Then make an informed decision based on your research. Also, know that you won't keep using the same card forever. If you are no longer satisfied with the card you have chosen, you can always request a product change or apply for a new card.

*All information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® are independently collected by Bankrate and are subject to review or not approved.