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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2021

The “best” credit card is not the same for everyone. You need perks that are meaningful to the way that you live. The most popular cards offer big sign-up bonuses ($500 or more) and/or great rewards for spending, particularly in high-volume categories, like travel or dining. But your needs may differ: Some cards offer zero interest or no annual fees, while others get you primary rental insurance.

Whatever benefit you’re looking for, we’ve got a great card to fit the bill. The cards below are listed in the order of their total bonus offer values.

Advertiser Disclosure: Your Best Credit Cards has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Your Best Credit Cards and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Commissions do not affect or prioritize placement within our results and not all cards displayed earn us a commission. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

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74 Cards Available:

Credit card

United Business Card

Annual Fee: $99

Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,800

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Annual Fee: $99

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,800

Offer: Up to 150,000 MileagePlus Miles! Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in 3 months plus earn an additional 75,000 miles when you spend $20,000 total in your first 6 months.

Allows for a free checked bag, priority boarding, 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary, the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection, access to United MileagePlus events, and expanded economy award availability.

The United Business Card offers bonus categories of 2x on office supply stores, restaurants, and gas stations, local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services as well as on United itself, of course. It also offers 10,000 bonus miles and a PQD waiver upon spending $25,000.

Perhaps best of all, cardholders get access to expanded saver award availability.

Additional benefits:

  • $100 annual United travel credit after 7 United purchases over $100
  • Receive 5,000 bonus miles each card anniversary if you have both the United Business card and a personal United credit card
  • Get 25% back on United inflight purchases

Need to Know: The calculations for this card assume that your "airfare" spend is on United only. If a portion of your airline spend is on other airlines, your reward values will be slightly lower than stated.

Also, if you used our rewards optimizer tool and are seeing this in your results, "Other Travel" refers to local transit and commuting - including taxis, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services.

Bonus Eligibility: 

This card has replaced the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card and is considered a new / different card for purposes of the bonus. If you have/had the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card, you can still get this bonus.

Per the Chase website: This new Cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of this business credit card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of this business credit card who received a new Cardmember bonus for this business credit card within the last 24 months.

Also Note: You will only be approved for a Chase card if you have applied for fewer than 5 personal credit cards within the last 24 months from any issuer. (Business cards do not count against the total, except for Capital One and Discover, but are subject to the policy). Learn more about the 5/24 rule here.

Offer: Up to 150,000 MileagePlus Miles! Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in 3 months plus earn an additional 75,000 miles when you spend $20,000 total in your first 6 months.
Credit card

Chase Ink Preferred

Annual Fee: $95

Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,750

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,750

Offer: Get 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a bonus when you spend $15,000 in your first 3 months.

The Chase Ink Preferred credit card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel, advertising, and shipping, as well on Internet, cable and phone services, up to $150,000 a year.

If your business spends a lot in any of these categories, you can earn a ton of points.

It also earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides.

You'll get complimentary cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with this card. (See Chase website for details). No foreign transaction fees.

Offer: Get 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a bonus when you spend $15,000 in your first 3 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,750

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,750

Offer: 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. This is worth at least $1,250 towards travel!

Perhaps the best "starting out card" in miles and points.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a low annual fee, unlocks transfers from this and any linked Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card to airline and hotel partners, comes with excellent built-in trip delay insurance, primary car rental CDW coverage and earns 2x points on travel and dining.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Earn Rate:

  • 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 5X total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining purchases
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Important Note on the 5X multiplier for travel:  This card is listed as earning 5X on travel. You will only receive 5X if you book your travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal (using cash). Hotels booked via the portal are prepaid will not earn hotel points or provide hotel loyalty program benefits. If you book travel directly with a provider, you will earn 2X instead of 5X.

Chase Will Let you “Pay Yourself Back”

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers can always use their points to book travel via the travel portal where they get 1.25 cents per point.

Now, you can redeem in the same manner for grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining, including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services. Instead of using a “portal” to make the purchases, you just pay as you normally would and then go into the Chase website to “pay” for that purchase with points. You will get the same 1.25 cents per point in value as you get booking travel. The feature is branded “Pay Yourself BackSM“. 

The only requirement is that the merchant category be in one of the specified categories and you must “Pay yourself back” within 90 days of purchase.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers get the same opportunity, but at a higher 1.5 cents per point cash-out rate.

If you apply for a Chase credit card and don't get an instant approval, you may want to call the Chase reconsideration line.

Note: You will only be approved for a Chase credit card if you have applied for fewer than 5 personal credit cards within the last 24 months from any issuer. (Business cards do not count against the total, except for Capital One and Discover, but are subject to the policy). Learn more about the 5/24 rule here.

You also cannot be approved for a Sapphire Preferred if you currently have this card or a Sapphire Reserve card and/or if you have received a bonus on this card in the past 48 months. 

Offer: 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. This is worth at least $1,250 towards travel!
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,700

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Annual Fee: $595

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,700

Offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $15,000 within 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates and Fees).

A great card for flights and prepaid hotels earning 5x points, and for large expenses over $5,000 for 1.5x points.

  • Get a suite of benefits that include Gold Hilton status (enrollment required), Gold Marriott status (enrollment required), the American Express Global Lounge Collection which includes Centurion, Delta, and Priority Pass Lounge access (enrollment required), Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits, and a $200 annual incidental airfare credit (enrollment required). Terms apply.
  • You'll also get $100 in free Dell credits twice annually. (Jan-June and July-Dec; enrollment required / terms apply).
  • Up to $179 in fee credits for a CLEAR® airport security service plan. (Enrollment required; credit is a statement credit.)
  • Receive up to $100 as a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA Pre✔®

Note: When displaying Estimated Rewards Values and calculations, this card is factoring in airline and hotels at 5x. This requires booking at AmexTravel.com and, if you do not, your earned rewards will change. Hotel bookings made via AmexTravel will generally not earn points or elite benefits.

Offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $15,000 within 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates and Fees).
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,700

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Annual Fee: $695

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,700

Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months plus earn 10x points restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in your first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates and Fees)

The Platinum Card® from American Express is full of caché and its heavy metal design will catch more than a few looks. While the fee isn't small, you get a lot back in the form of statement credits and other perks and benefits.

Statement Credit Offers

  • $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month with a $20 bonus in December)
  • $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits per year ($50 January-June and $50 July-December) as statement credits (Enrollment required)
  • $200 in annual airline fee credits (as statement credits) for your chosen airline (Enrollment required)
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit which is good for up to $20 back each month on select digital subscriptions with Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.(Enrollment Required)
  • $200 Hotel Credit as statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel. (Enrollment Required) 
  • $179 CLEAR Credit as statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR membership with your Card. (Enrollment Required) 
  • $300 Equinox Credit as a $25 statement credit valid each month at Equinox, valid for Equinox All Access, Destination, or E by Equinox membership fees, or for Equinox+.(Enrollment required)

(All above offers require enrollment after you receive the card.)

You also get access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes the Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, and Delta SkyClubs when you are flying Delta. (Enrollment required)

In addition, you get elite status in two hotel programs (enrollment required):

  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite
  • Hilton Gold

While the Bonvoy Gold status is mostly good for small room upgrades and bonus points on stays, Hilton Gold confers free breakfast - a benefit that can really add up!

More Platinum Card benefits:

  • Reimbursement (as a statement credit) for your Global Entry or PreCheck membership fees every 4 years.
  • Secondary Car rental CDW/LDW collision/damage coverage
  • Lost, damaged or stolen baggage insurance
  • Extended warranty, purchase protection and return protection on covered purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Access to the Platinum Concierge line

NOTE: This card earns 5x on airfare and hotels, however, the airfare must be booked direct with the airline or at Amex Travel and the hotels must be prepaid at Amex Travel to earn 5x. This site's Estimated Rewards Values will calculate all airfare and hotels at 5x points, so if your hotels are booked directly (which you generally need to do to earn hotel points and status/benefits) please note that they will not earn 5x and your actual rewards value will vary accordingly.

Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months plus earn 10x points restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in your first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates and Fees)
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,313

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