Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Travel rewards credit cards earn flexible points that can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel transfer partners. They’re the most valuable travel rewards currency because they are easily earned and they can help you book award travel anywhere around the globe.

For this reason, flexible points are best for anyone just getting started with points and miles, as well as for travelers who’ve been earning travel rewards for years.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

chase sapphire preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening.

Favorite Card Features: 

  • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • 5x on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 3x on dining (including eligible delivery services)
  • 3x on select streaming services & online grocery purchases
  • 2x on other travel purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like United, Flying Blue, and Hyatt
  • 1.25 cents per point value if you redeem points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • Get a 10% Anniversary points boost calculated by how much you spent on the card during the year
  • Complimentary DashPass which comes with no delivery fees and lower service charges on DoorDash orders for a minimum of a year (activate by 12/31/24)

Annual Fee: $95

I love earning Ultimate Rewards points with my Sapphire. These valuable flexible points have helped me travel around the globe to places like Barcelona and Botswana, Chile, Canada, and Cambodia. If you’re looking for your first travel rewards credit card, start with the Sapphire Preferred. It helped me realize my travel dreams and it can help you, too. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Current Welcome Bonus: Last Call! The offer shown here ends at 6 p.m. EST on 11/30/22. Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening

Favorite Card Features: 

  • $300 travel credit 
  • 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 10x hotels and rental cars booked through the Ultimate Rewards Portal
  • 10x Lyft rides
  • 3x on other travel and dining
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • Priority Pass Select Membership
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like United, Iberia, and Hyatt
  • 1.5 cents per point value if you redeem points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

Annual Fee: $550

Although I started with a Sapphire Preferred, I now have a Sapphire Reserve. I earn Ultimate Rewards points, offset more than half the fee with the annual travel credit, and take advantage of lounge access at airports across the world.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn an extra 1.5x for every dollar spent up to $20,000 in the first year

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 5% on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 3% on drug store purchases and dining (including takeout and delivery)
  • 1.5% on all other purchases, with no spending cap or time limit
  • Paired with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, cashback rewards points can be combined to become transferrable Ultimate Rewards points

Annual Fee: $0

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Current Welcome Bonus: $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months after opening your account.

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 5% on rotating bonus categories up to $1,500 each quarter 
  • 5% on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
  • 3% on drug store purchases and dining (including delivery and takeout)
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • Paired with a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, cashback rewards points can be combined to become transferrable Ultimate Rewards points

Annual Fee: $0

The Chase Freedoms are hybrid travel rewards earning cards. Alone, the Ultimate Rewards they earn can be used as cash back or redeemed for a fixed value in the Chase Travel Portal.

However, when paired with a Sapphire or an Ink, the points earned with a Freedom can be combined with your total Ultimate Rewards Points balance. Then, these points can be transferred to any of Chase’s airline or hotel transfer partners to book award flights and hotel nights.

American Express® Gold Card

Current Welcome Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months from your account opening

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 4x on restaurants worldwide
  • 4x on U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 each calendar year
  • 3x on flights booked with an airline directly or through Amex Travel
  • $120 statement credits ($10 per month) for Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • $120 statement credits ($10 per month) in Uber Cash for rides
  • No foreign exchange fees (See rates & fees details)
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like Delta, Eithad, and Aeroplan
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee: $250

American Express Membership Rewards points are another of my absolute favorite to earn! They have many airline transfer partners, which can help you fly domestically and internationally in whatever your desired seat class.  Amex even offers periodic bonus transfers which help you get even more miles for your points.

3 Days in Rome
Rome, Italy

Among many other things, my hubby and I used Membership Rewards points to book our dream honeymoon to Italy!

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Current Welcome Bonus: 100,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months from your account opening. Plus, choose the metal card design you like best!

Favorite Card Features: 

  • Get Uber VIP Status + $200 each year in Uber rides with monthly statement credits
  • 5x on flights booked with an airline directly or through Amex Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year
  • 5x on prepaid hotels with Amex Travel
  • Statement credits for things like airline incidentals, CLEAR Membership, Digital Entertainment, Walmart+, Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings, and Saks Fifth Avenue purchases
  • Lounge privileges with Priority Pass, Centurion, and others around the globe
  • No foreign exchange fees (See rates & fees details)
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like Delta, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, and Choice
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee: $695

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Current Welcome Bonus: 75,000 Capital One Miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening. 

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 2x on every $1 spent
  • $300 annual statement credit for bookings made in the Capital One Travel Portal
  • Get unlimited complimentary access for you and 2 guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 10x Capital One Miles for hotels and rental car bookings in the portal
  • Earn 5x Capital One Miles for flight bookings in the portal
  • Receive 10k Capital One Miles each year for your card anniversary
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit
  • Redeem your Capital One Miles with their airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Annual Fee: $395 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Current Welcome Bonus: 75,000 Capital One Miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 2x on every $1 spent
  • Get 2 complimentary visits each year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges, Capital One's Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your miles to offset travel purchases on your statement or transfer them to one of the Capital One transfer partners like Flying Blue or Aeroplan.
  • Up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit

Annual Fee: $95 

Capital One miles used to be limited to offsetting travel expenses from your statements. But, Capital One added airline and hotel transfer partners, which added a ton of value to this familiar travel rewards card. This versatility means you can transfer your miles to an airline like Air Canada Aeroplan or use the miles to cover travel expenses that can’t be booked with points or miles like car rentals or vacation rentals.

Citi Premier

Current Welcome Bonus: Limited Time Offer! 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening

Favorite Card Features: 

  • 3x on travel
  • 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to airline and hotel partners like Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, and Asia Miles.

Annual Fee: $95

ThankYou Points are a valuable addition to a diversified flexible points portfolio. I’ve used ThankYou Points to book award flights with partner airlines like Virgin Atlantic and Etihad which saved thousands of points had I booked with another airline.

Best Business Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Current Welcome Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening.

Favorite Card Features:

  • 3x on travel, shipping costs, internet, phone & cable services, and advertising with social media sites and search engines on the first $150k in combined category spending
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like United, Flying Blue, and Hyatt
    1.25 cents per point value if you redeem points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

Annual Fee: $95

This Chase business card earns Ultimate Rewards points that can be combined with your overall Ultimate Rewards balance. I love this because I can use the card for expenses like internet, cable, and phone and then combine all my points earned with my Sapphire Reserve to book an unforgettable trip!

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Current Welcome Bonus: Limited Time Offer! Earn a best-ever $900 after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months from opening your account.

Favorite Card Features:

  • 5% on office supply stores and internet, phone & cable services on the first $25k in combined category spending
  • 2% on gas stations and dining on up to a combined $25k in spending
  • Paired with an Ink Preferred or Sapphire, the $750 welcome bonus becomes 75k Ultimate Rewards points that have access to valuable airline and hotel transfer partners like United, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Hyatt.

Annual Fee: $0

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Current Welcome Bonus: Limited Time Offer! Earn a best-ever $900 after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months from opening your account.

Favorite Card Features:

  • 1.5x on all purchases with no spending cap.
  • Paired with an Ink Preferred or Sapphire, the $750 welcome bonus becomes 75k Ultimate Rewards points that have access to valuable airline and hotel transfer partners like United, Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic, and Hyatt.

Annual Fee: $0

Similar to the Chase Freedoms above, the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited credit cards are hybrid travel rewards cards. On their own, they earn cash back rewards. However, when put together with the Ink Business Preferred or a Sapphire, these rewards gain access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

The Blue Business Plus® Credit Card from American Express

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 15,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months as a cardholder.

Favorite Card Features:

  • 2x American Express Membership Rewards points for up to $50k a year
  • Add Amex Offers to the card to earn bonus points and statement credits for qualifying purchases
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to valuable airline and hotel transfer partners including Delta, Aeroplan, Virgin Atlantic, and ANA
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee: $0

Memberships Rewards points are among my favorite travel rewards currency to earn! I love the variety of airline transfer partners American Express offers. I’ve booked premium class seats on flights operated by Iberia, Aeroplan, and ANA to name a few, as well as taken advantage of bonus transfers that give a 10%-40% bonus on the points I transfer!

Seville Spain Plaza de Espana
Seville, Spain

If you have business expenses, consider maximizing what you’re paying by using a Membership Rewards card to earn valuable travel rewards points for future trips. 

American Express® Business Gold Card

Current Welcome Bonus: 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening. 

Favorite Card Features:

  • 4x on 2 bonus categories that make sense for your business on up to $150k in spending each calendar year. Choices include advertising, U.S. gas, restaurants, or shipping, flights booked directly with the airline, and technology costs involving cloud services and software. 
  • No foreign exchange fees (See rates & fees details)
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like Aeroplan, Delta, ANA, and Etihad. 
  • Get a 25% point rebate when you book a flight with American Express Travel on your selected airline or on any premium class flight
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee: $295

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account

Favorite Card Features:

  • 5x on airfare and hotels booked & paid for in advance through Amex Travel
  • 1.5x on purchases U.S. Construction materials, hardware suppliers, electronic goods stores, shipping, software & cloud services, as well as on purchases of $5k or more
  • Up to $189 statement credit each year for an annual CLEAR membership
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer Membership Rewards points to valuable airline partners like Aeroplan, Avianca, Delta, Etihad, and Virgin Atlantic.
  • Access the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • Get 35% of your points back when booking economy flights with your selected airline or on premium class flight bookings with any airline when you book through American Express Travel.
  • Earn over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a collection of business expenses including select purchases with Dell, Adobe, Indeed, and U.S. Wireless Services. 
  • $200 Airline credit with one selected airline for incidentals like baggage fees, in-flight purchases, and lounge passes
  • Terms Apply

Annual Fee: $695 

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 Capital One Miles after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months from your account opening.

Favorite Card Features:

  • 2x on all purchases with no spending caps
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Transfer miles to Capital One's airline transfer partners like Aeroplan, Avianca, and Flying Blue or redeem them to erase travel purchases on your monthly statement.

Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95 starting the 2nd year

Capital One miles can now be used to transfer to a variety of airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio. This can be a much better value for your Capital One miles compared to using them to offset travel purchases on your statement. Premium class bookings are worth a lot more than the fixed 1 cent per point value you get when using these miles as a statement credit.

Important Things to Know about Flexible Points

The tips below will help you learn more about the value of travel rewards credit cards and the flexible points they earn. To learn more, sign up for my free travel hacking basics course.

1. Flexible points should be what everyone starts with and consistently earns. They can be used to book flights and hotels around the globe.

2. Each airline sets its own award pricing. Flexible points can be transferred to the airline with the best pricing, unlike specific airline miles that can’t be transferred or converted.

3. Flexible points offer some protection against airline devaluations. If an airline transfer partner devalues its award program, you can transfer your points to another partner offering a better value.

4. Never transfer your flexible points until you’ve searched for available award space.

Disclosure:

The Globetrotting Teacher has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Globetrotting Teacher and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Comments & responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Scroll to Top