If you watch us travel today, you’d think we must have lots of money in order to fly business class, rent an Airbnb for a whole month, and spend half of the year in Europe.
But in reality, our lifestyle is partially possible thanks to travel credit cards.
We opened our first travel credit card in 2015. Since then, the points and miles we’ve earned have helped us save tens of thousands of dollars on travel!
- Free flights (including a few in business class!)
- Free airport lounge access
- Free rental cars
- Free nights in hotels
- Free transportation tickets/passes
- Free overnight train rides
- and so much more!
Travel credit cards are one of the biggest reasons we can afford traveling Europe for months every year. And today we’re sharing our picks for the 3 Best Travel Credit Cards in 2022.
Prefer to WATCH instead of READ? Here ya go!
Don’t waste your time, like we did!
Back in 2015, we wasted a lot of time because we didn’t know which travel credit cards would actually be most useful. Maybe you feel the same way?
There are hundreds of different credit cards on the market, all with their own variety of travel perks. But we’ve noticed that many content creators and influencers only recommend premium cards with huge annual fees because they generate large affiliate commissions.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with making an income as an influencer (we rely on this too!), and most of those cards are fantastic!
But we want you to enjoy free or cheap travel as quickly and easily as possible.
So in this post, we’re recommending 3 travel credit cards, all with annual fees below $100.
- Best Travel Credit Card for Beginners
- Best Travel Credit Card for Advanced Users
- Best Overall Travel Credit Card of 2022
So let’s get started.
We’re part of an affiliate sales network and receive compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. But we only recommend resources we personally like, in order to help you get started earning points and miles for travel!
Our Best Travel Credit Card for Beginners = Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
With the current offer for the Bank of America Premium Rewards, you’ll have at least 54,500 points after earning the sign-up bonus, which is an approximate value of $545.
This travel credit card is best for beginners because the points are so easy to redeem!
- Simply login to your account
- Choose to redeem your points as a statement credit on your next month’s statement
- Type in the number of points
- And you’re done!
You’ll see the money value of those points issued as a credit to your account on your next statement.
The points you earn with the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card are:
- BAD for flights and hotels because another card could be a lot more valuable
- GOOD for travel expenses like Airbnb, trains, rental cars, etc.
- BEST for expenses such as groceries, restaurants, and other incidentals, because Bank of America allows you to use points to reimburse any expense you charge to the card–not just travel-related ones!
For example, you could spend $545 during your trip at grocery stores and restaurants, and reimburse yourself with your points — literally free food!
There is a $95 annual fee, which brings the net value of the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card down to $450. But who wouldn’t love to have $450 to travel?!
There are additional benefits that could make the card even more valuable, but let’s save that for another blog.
Best Travel Credit Card for Advanced Users = Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
With the standard Chase Sapphire Preferred offer, you’ll have at least 64,000 points after earning the sign-up bonus, valued at minimum $750 — but potentially much, much more!
One of the best things about this card is that there are limitless options available for redeeming your points — but that’s what also makes this particular travel credit card better for more experienced users.
The points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card are:
- BAD for reimbursing yourself with a statement credit, or other options like redeeming points for gift cards. That’s because other redemption options are way more valuable. So while you can do a statement credit…just don’t do it — trust me!
- GOOD for booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, because you get a 25% points bonus when doing so! You could use this method to book flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc. That wouldn’t be a bad use of your points at all. However, there’s a better way to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred points!
- BEST for booking international flights through a travel partner. And here’s where the more advanced techniques come in. Chase has relationships with partner airlines and hotels, allowing you to transfer points to their loyalty programs and book directly.
For example, United Airlines allows you to book one-way flights from the U.S to Europe starting at 30,000 points. Basically, the points you’ve earned after the sign-up bonus could literally pay for a round-trip flight to Europe!
What’s the average cost of a round-trip flight to Europe? Approximately $1,295. That means that these points could easily be worth $1295!
There is a $95 annual fee, which makes the net value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card $1,200. But who wouldn’t love to have $1,200 to travel?!
Like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, additional benefits increase the potential value of this card…but let’s go ahead and talk about the final card on our list.
Best Overall Travel Credit Card = Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
With the current Capital One Venture Rewards offer, you’ll have at least 66,000 miles after earning the sign-up bonus, which is a value of more than $660.
We love this card because it takes what’s great about the previous two travel credit cards and combines them into one.
We think the miles earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card are:
- BAD for gift cards or paying yourself back for non-travel related expenses. The value of your miles is often cut in half, and no one wants to see that happen!
- GOOD for booking flights, hotels, or car rentals through Capital One Travel. This works just like booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards. But in this case, there’s no miles bonus, and we think there are better options available elsewhere.
- BEST for using miles to cover travel-related purchases paid on the card. I find this option a little better than the travel portal even for flights, hotels, and rental cars because you’ll at least earn some miles on your spending. But where this option really excels is when you redeem miles for train rides, metro tickets, and other smaller travel expenses that normally can’t be paid with points and miles.
For example, you could charge up to $660 for those types of expenses and make them effectively free by paying yourself back with your miles.
There is a $95 annual fee, which brings the net value of the Capital One Venture Rewards travel credit card to $565. But who wouldn’t love to have $565 to travel?!
But wait…there’s an EVEN BETTER way to use the miles from the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card! Like with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, you can transfer miles to a travel partner and book directly through their program. And there are some pretty stunning options. Here are two examples:
- Avianca. One of the transfer partners is Avianca. Incredibly, you can fly from New York to Zurich Switzerland for just 16,500 miles, meaning you could fly to Switzerland 4 times just with the miles you earn from the sign-up bonus! That’s a value of at least $2,500.
- Turkish Airlines. You could fly business class between the U.S. and Europe for as little as 45,000 miles. That might cost you $4,000 if you paid with cash!
In fact, we used the Capital One Venture card to book that exact flight last year! We filmed the entire business class experience during our flight from Istanbul back to the U.S. So if you’d like to see what it’s like to fly Turkish Airlines Business Class–or if you just want some extra motivation to get started with one of the travel credit cards we’ve mentioned, check that video out next, and we’ll see you there!
Interested in a Credit Card Consultation?
Click HERE to fill out a short form. We’ll reply via email and, if we believe we can help, we’ll offer a couple consultation options for you to choose from.
Then you can start racking up points & miles so you can travel cheaper and easier, too!
You may also like…
Want more travel budget ideas or travel credit card tips? Keep reading!
- Cost of 1 month in Switzerland
- How to travel Europe on a Budget: cost of 1 year of full-time travel
- How to fly to Europe for cheap (16,500 points!)
- Fly to Europe on Business Class!
- Apps and Train Resources for Traveling Europe
Opinions expressed here are ours (Aplins in the Alps) alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.