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8 of the Best Credit Cards for Flight and Travel

By Team Tomorrow
Published July 28, 2021

Lodging and plane tickets are often the two most expensive aspects of any vacation. Why spend money on flights and hotels when you can earn rewards points on items you’re going to buy anyway? Make the most of your spending by taking advantage of the best credit cards of 2021.

These 8 cards can help you save money on your summer vacation:

The Best Credit Card for Travel: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Score Needed: 670 or higher

With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of opening an account. If that’s too much, you can still earn 50,000 miles by spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.

You will also enjoy unlimited 2x miles on “every purchase, every day.” These miles will never expire, and there’s no limit to how many you can earn. Miles are redeemable on many aspects of travel, including flights, car rentals, and vacation rentals. According to US News, you can also transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs.

With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, there are no foreign transaction fees. Also, you will receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

The Best Flexible Cash Back Rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 670 or higher

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card has some surprisingly good benefits for a card with no annual fee. You earn 5% on travel when you purchase through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. You also receive a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening an account.

Best “New Normal” Credit Card: Chase Freedom Flex

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Score Needed: 670 or higher

Chase Freedom Flex is comparable to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. With the Chase Freedom Flex card, you also receive a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, and 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores.

While you will only earn 1% back on all other purchases, you’ll also get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases based on select categories each quarter you activate. Some categories in the past included gas and department stores.

Best Budget Airline Card: FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard

Annual Fee: $79 (waived the first year)

Credit Score Needed: 670 or higher

You probably weren’t expecting to see this one on the list, but its perks and benefits are worth a closer look.

With the FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard, you will earn 50,000 bonus miles after paying the annual fee and spending $500 on purchases within 90 days of opening an account. You’ll also earn a $100 flight voucher on your account anniversaries after spending $2,500 or more on purchases during your membership year. Also, you get 5x miles on eligible purchases and 3x miles at restaurants.

Every dollar you spend earns one mile towards elite status. Unfortunately, until you reach elite status, you can expect numerous fees when flying Frontier.

The Best Airline Travel Sign-Up Bonus: United Quest Card

Annual Fee: $250

Credit Score Needed: 690 or higher

For a limited time, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles in the first six months of opening an account. With the United Quest card, you can earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening an account, and an additional 20,000 miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases in six months.

If you’re planning on making a large purchase(s) in the next six months, this is one of the best credit cards to get.

The annual fee of $250 is steep, you’ll also receive a $125 annual United purchase credit and two 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits. You’ll also get priority boarding and your first and second checked bag for free.

Best Hotel Credit Card: World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Score Needed: 690 or higher

When it comes to hotel credit cards, no one beats the World of Hyatt.

You can earn up to 60,000 bonus points after meeting the purchase requirements. You’ll also earn a free-night-stay certificate each year, and a bonus night stay after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. When using the World of Hyatt card, you’ll also receive 4x points at Hyatt and 2x points on flights, restaurants, travels, fitness clubs, and gyms.

Best Small Business Credit Card: Ink Business PreferredⓇ Credit Card

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Score Needed: 740 or higher

If your small business has significant expenses, the Chase Ink Business PreferredⓇ card will be perfect for you.

You’ll start by earning a 100,000 point bonus after spending $15,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account. You’ll also earn 3x points on shipping and other select categories. These points are earned in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which allows transfers to multiple hotels and airlines.

Your points are also worth 25% more when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The Best Premium Card: The Platinum CardⓇ from American Express

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Score Needed: 715 or higher

The Platinum Card from American Express is the original premium card and remains the best. New applicants earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on the card, and 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets (upwards of $15,000) all within the first six months of membership.

The $550 annual fee may sound daunting, but the perks make it worth it. They include:

  • $200 annual airline fee credits
  • $200 in annual Uber credits
  • $100 in annual statement credits at Saks Fifth Avenue
  • $100 credit towards a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application every four years
  • Elite status with Hilton, Marriott, and Uber
  • American Express airport lounge access
  • 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel (upwards of $500,000 per year)
  • 5x point on prepaid hotels booked through Amextravel.com

What if I’m Not Traveling Until 2022?

Most of the cards mentioned here earn you points on travel. We recommend earning travel rewards long before you intend to use them. Often, it takes time to meet the requirements that unlock the bonus miles that you’ll be using to book your vacations. It’ll also take longer to earn additional points or miles needed for your subsequent trips.

You can also take this time to further build your credit if your score doesn’t meet the FICO score requirements. Building and improving upon your credit makes other aspects of life easier later, like renting, buying a home, or getting a business loan.

While looking at credit cards, take a minute to download the Tomorrow app. It’s fun to make future plans. It’s even better if you make them while enjoying peace of mind.


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Arrow left icon General Family/Lifestyle