Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (2020)

Updated: 3 months ago

One of the keys to traveling the world for next to nothing is having the right credit cards.

Virtually all airlines and hotel chains have co-branded credit cards that allow you to accrue points in your preferred program.

Not only do credit card companies offer huge sign-up bonuses just for being approved for a card, but they also offer bonus points for spending in certain categories, even on cards with no annual fee, or the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

I earn around a million miles a year through credit cards, about half of which come strictly from the sign-up bonuses earned by being approved for a credit card and completing a minimal amount of spend. The other half I earn through maximizing everyday spend (allowing me to earn anywhere from 2x to 5x points per dollar) and taking advantage of every bonus promotion available to me. Every year I redeem these points for a handful of first class trips around the world.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how credit scores work, as most people believe that applying for a credit card will negatively impact their credit score. As long as you keep your credit utilization low and make your payments on time, you shouldn’t see a negative impact on your credit score from applying for cards. Keep in mind you’ll need Very Good or Excellent credit to be eligible for many of the more lucrative cards below, and I would recommend never carrying a balance on a rewards-earning card, as the monthly interest payments can easily negate and exceed the value of the rewards.

My credit score is actually much better now than it was before I started applying for lots of credit cards, and I apply for multiple each year.

Earn up to 80,000 bonus points

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Annual Fee: $90
The card details for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Why we like this card

Read our Review

Current Offer
• 60,000 bonus Virgin Points after spending $2,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
• Earn up to 15,000 bonus Virgin Points every anniversary after qualifying purchases
• Earn up to 5,000 bonus Virgin Points when you add additional cardholders to your card
• Get a companion reward in the same cabin class or a cabin upgrade when you book a ticket through Virgin Atlantic. Must spend $25,000 or more in purchases annually to qualify.
• Earn 3 points per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit to the number of points you can earn
• 25 tier points per $2,500 in purchases (maximum 50 per month) to elevate your Flying Club status
• Contactless card – The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
• No foreign transaction fees
• Low annual fee of $90

Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Citi® Double Cash Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Annual Fee: $0
on Citi's secure site
Why we like this card

There are no limits to the amount of cash back you can earn. For a card with no annual fee, that’s a return which is tough to beat.

Read our Review

Current Offer
• Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
• To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
• Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
• Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
• If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
• There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

on Citi's secure site
Earn 15,000 Bonus Points

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
Annual Fee: $0
on Citi's secure site
Why we like this card

Arguably the coolest feature of this new card is Citi will round up your purchase to the nearest 10 ThankYou points. Make a $1 purchase? You’ll earn 10 ThankYou points. Make an $11 purchase? You’ll earn 20 ThankYou points. This is a very interesting rewards structure that makes this card perfect for everyday purchases.

Read our Review

Current Offer
• The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
• Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
• 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
• The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

on Citi's secure site
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Annual Fee: $0
on Capital One's secure site
Why we like this card

Capital One points are most useful for domestic economy flights, particularly if you have to travel over peak dates, but the new airline transfer option means these miles can be great for international travel as well.

Current Offer

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
on Capital One's secure site
Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards® points

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7%
Annual Fee: $95
The card details for the Amex EveryDay Preferred have been collected independently by OMAAT and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Why we like this card

If you make frequent transactions in a month the Amex EveryDay cards are a great option. In addition to accruing points in bonus categories, these cards offer an additional incentive based on how many times the card is used in a month. This can be quite lucrative, especially as these cards accrue Membership Rewards points. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to airline partners for the best value, or used to pay for all or part of your flight, prepaid hotel, vacation or cruise through amextravel.com.

Current Offer
Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Card Details
3x points at US Supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; 2x points at US gas stations; 1x points on other purchases. Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.

One-time $200 Cash Back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Annual Fee: $0
on Capital One's secure site
Why we like this card

A cash-back card can be a good way to cut costs in other areas, saving money for travel!

Current Offer

  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
on Capital One's secure site
Earn up to $300 back to boost your business.

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%.
Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Annual Fee: No annual fee
Terms Apply.
on American Express' secure site
Why we like this card

Read our Review

Current Offer

  • Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That's why you've got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power.
  • Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
on American Express' secure site
Earn a $150 statement credit

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Annual Fee: $0
Terms Apply.
on American Express' secure site
Why we like this card

Current Offer

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. You can add as many Offers as you'd like to your Card, then just use that Card to pay, and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
on American Express' secure site