The Credit Cards We Never Leave Home Without.

the best travel credit cards

We love credit cards, because obviously we love travel, and these rewards have allowed us to travel around the world practically for free! We recently both flew round-trip to Africa with the rewards from just one credit card. The three cards below are the credit cards I never leave home without.

If you're new to the travel credit card world, you can learn more about credit card rewards by reading our posts about The Best Credit Cards of 2017 and 5 Tips on How to Save Money for Travel.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

 
The Best Travel Credit Cards Chase Sapphire Reserve
 

With the sign up bonus alone we purchased round-trip tickets for both of us from LAX to Bali, Dubai to Zambia, and two one-way flights from Rome to LAX! The best part is, we still have points to spare.* Now if that's not enough to convince you that you need this card, then I'm not sure what else to tell you. Okay actually, yes, I do. 

Our Favorite Card Benefits:

  • $300 travel credit that renews every calendar year
  • Reimbursement of Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check (both of which are a total game changer and absolutely 100% worth it)
  • Priority Pass Lounge Access
  • 4.5% back on travel and restaurant purchases when used to purchase travel (3% otherwise)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Kiss all your car rental and other insurance worries goodbye

What we don't like:

  • $450 annual fee (but remember, there's a $300 annual travel credit as well, so as long as you spend $300 a year on travel, the annual fee is basically $150.)

Tips, Tricks, and Why it's worth it:

  • In your first 11 months, you can get $600 in travel credit before you pay your second annual fee.
  • With Priority Pass, you get access to hundreds of lounges around the world (mostly international), and you can save hundreds of dollars by never spending money on airport food again. Plus, you'll never be without wifi or a couch during a long layover. And some of the lounges even have showers.
  • Global Entry gives you a fast pass through customs and immigration when you come back into the United States and almost always gives you TSA Precheck when you go to a domestic airport. TSA Precheck makes it possible for me to walk through security, leave my laptop and all electronics in my bag, leave my shoes, hat, watch, and belt on, and walk through the metal detector all while skipping the general security line. Global Entry allows you to walk off the plane, grab your luggage, skip the hour+ line for customs and immigration, show a receipt to a security member and walk right out the door. It's basically an international traveler's dream come true. (Sidenote: Global Entry gives you TSA Precheck, but getting TSA Precheck doesn't give you Global Entry. So we paid the extra $15 for Global Entry.)

This card is also jam packed with benefits you didn't even know you wanted, such as flight delay reimbursement, lost luggage insurance, etc. 

*We purchased these tickets for two of us with the bonuses of two cards. The sign up bonus was 100k points, now it is 50k. Which in my opinion, is still worth it if you are a traveler.

Sign Up Here

 

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

 
the best travel credit cards american express
 

This card actually has nothing to do with travel. In fact, there are even foreign transaction fees. But this is a pure money saver. And saving money helps us load up our travel savings account.

Our Favorite Card Benefits:

  • $250 sign-up bonus
  • 6% back (yes, 6%) at grocery stores
  • 3% back at gas stations and department stores

What we don't like:

  • $95 annual fee (but the card pays for itself)
  • Foreign transaction fees

Tips, Tricks, and Why it's worth it:

Let's say you spend $150 on gas, $100 at department stores, and $500 at the grocery store every month. That means you are earning $450 back a year, that can be one round trip ticket from the US to Europe. Add that sign-up bonus in and you have $700 to put in your travel savings account!

Sign up here 

 

Capital One Venture

 
The Best Travel Credit Cards Capital One Venture
 

To put it simply, you get $400 to erase travel when you meet the sign up spending requirement just for signing up! Plus you get $0.02 for every other dollar spent on absolutely everything in any category. I actually just erased a $30.60 train ticket from my statement this morning. Basically, we love this card because it is so easy to use.

Our Favorite Card Benefits:

  • Purchase eraser
  • 2x points on absolutely everything
  • Good insurance benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Only a $59 annual fee, and the first year is free

What we don't like:

  • Some cards might get you slightly more points, despite being harder to find ways to use the points.

Tips, Tricks, and Why it's worth it:

  • There isn't much to the Venture, but that's also part of it's beauty. And let's just say I never leave home without it. (I actually don't leave home without all three of these, which I keep along with my driver's license in my wallet phone case.) But it is super nice that the travel purchases you can erase range from Uber and Metro rides to plane tickets and hotels. Some gas stations even count. 
  • After saving our points, we were able to erase over $2,000 worth of travel this summer, including everything from flights and ferry rides through Greece to metro rides in Dubai and hotel stays in Rome. 

Sign up here

 

Credit cards are a great way to travel for cheap and to get access to a lot of rewards and perks programs that would cost you a lot of money otherwise. Just remember to stay on top of your payments, and don't spend money you don't already have in your bank account. But we definitely believe in using credit card rewards to your advantage and saving up your points, so you can have once-in-a-lifetime experiences around the world!

Tell us which credit card you signed up for in the comments below! 

All of the above is based on our personal opinions. Always remember to read all the fine print before you sign up for any credit card!