Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018

If someone offered you a $300 discount on your next vacation or business trip, would you turn it down? Most people would travel more often if they could secure that kind of discount, yet they give up hundreds of travel dollars each year by not using travel rewards credit cards. You don’t even have to pay interest on these cards if you pay your full balance each month, so consider these cards essential for major discounts on travel expenses.

We don’t want you to give up hundreds of dollars in rewards each year, so we did the research to identify the best rewards credit cards available today. If you have decent to excellent credit, consider applying for at least one of these cards before you start planning your next trip.

Discover it Miles

Discover stands out in the travel rewards market by matching all points earned within the first year of card issuance. If you earn 40,0000 points, they will turn it into 80,000 points within two billing cycles of your 12th month holding the card. While the rewards are referred to as miles, you can redeem them to cover any travel-related expense. This gives you the freedom to apply your reward credits to hotel stays, car rental, and even baggage expenses at the airport.

Other benefits to consider include:

  • 5 miles for every dollar spent
  • Reward miles never expire
  • No blackout travel dates
  • Freedom to redeem points through any website or service
  • Free social security number monitoring and alerts
  • Free Experian credit report monitoring
  • Instant credit freeze for heightened security
  • You’re never responsible for fraudulent charges

It’s also worth noting that Discover guarantees that you will never lose your earned reward miles. Even if your credit card is closed, you are still entitled to the redemption of your miles. These terms aren’t matched by other popular banks offering travel rewards cards, including Capital One, Chase, and Citi.

Capital One VentureOne

This is the best travel credit card for anyone who wants to eliminate the gimmicks and make the reward process simple. There are no blackout dates that restrict your travel times. You don’t have to reserve through a special program in order to maximize your points. You’re not even restricted to certain hotels and airlines.

As if that isn’t good enough, Capital One also places no limitations on which transactions earn reward miles. Every transaction is rewarded equally, so maximizing your benefits is simply a matter of using the card more often.

There are some additional benefits that easily slide this travel rewards card into the number one spot for many consumers:

  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited miles that never expire
  • 25 miles for every dollar spent
  • 10 miles for every dollar spent on a hotel stay
  • Spend $1,000 within the first three months of card issuance to receive 20,000 bonus miles
  • Zero percent APR for the first year
  • No transaction fees when shopping outside of the U.S.

To use your rewards miles, you simply redeem them as a credit to your account and then use your credit card to make the purchase. When collecting points for hotel stays, you just use your credit card to pay for the hotel. You’re free to reserve hotel rooms and purchase airline tickets through any website or service, which gives you the freedom to find the best deals and snag those bargains when you find them.

Bank of America Travel Rewards

The terms and rewards for this card are similar to the VentureOne card from Capital One, but Bank of America offers rewards points rather than airline miles. This means that you have the option to use your points on any travel-related expense. Use your points for a discount on a cruise, a free or discounted hotel stay or baggage fees at the airport. Rental car charges are also eligible for point redemption.

Other benefits to signing up with Bank of America include:

  • No blackout dates for travel
  • Freedom to book travel arrangements from any service or website
  • Zero percent APR for the first year
  • No annual fee
  • Reward points never expire
  • Spend $1,000 within the first three months of card issuance to earn 20,000 bonus points

If you already bank with Bank of America, this is likely your best option for a travel rewards credit card because active customers with a checking account receive 10 percent more rewards points. The bonus rewards can go up to 75 percent beyond the standard points, but there are some restrictions on those higher percent points.

Chase Disney Visa

This is the perfect rewards card if you enjoy visiting Disney theme parks, but it also has some terms worth bragging about. For starters, it comes with a fixed variable APR of 17.74 percent, which is lower than the APR on many other travel rewards credit cards. You will never pay an annual fee, and a $50 statement credit is added to your account after you make your first purchase with the card.

You will earn Disney reward dollars at a rate of one percent. The limitation is that you can only use these rewards at Disney theme parks. This includes stays at the resorts, park entrance and parking fees, and on-property restaurants.

There are also some added Disney savings that all cardholders enjoy, including:

  • 10 percent off most merchandise at the resorts, theme parks and ShopDisney.com
  • Exclusive photo opportunities with Disney characters
  • 15 percent off guided Disney tours
  • Exclusive cardholder events at the Disney store

Colin Anderson / Blend Images / Getty Images

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