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Best Travel Credit Cards of May 2022

Your travel plans may be on hold right now, but that doesn’t mean your travel awards have to end.


Many travel credit cards have long offered rewards in non-travel categories like restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and ride-sharing services, but since the pandemic began, credit card issuers have made a concerted effort to increase the everyday value of travel rewards cards.

The annual fee associated with these cards makes it even more important to ensure you get value for money with regular purchases. A travel card with great everyday value can go a long way toward offsetting the high annual fees that usually come with these cards, even if you’re not taking advantage of the premium travel benefits and perks that typically keep costs down.

We believe the best travel credit cards combine flexible, everyday spending rewards with valuable travel benefits and redemptions. Here are Eragoncred’s picks for the best travel credit cards out there:

Roundup of the Best Travel Credit Cards for May 2022

Capital One Startup Rewards Credit Card

Good for: Earn miles with every purchase

Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, regardless of category. Earn 60,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 in your first three months. The annual fee for this card is $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Good for: Introductory bonus

Earn 3x points when you eat and 2x when you travel. Earn 80,000 Rewards Points (redeem $1,000 worth of travel credits through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can also earn 25% more travel redemption points with Chase Ultimate Rewards. The annual fee for this card is $95.

American Express Gold Card

Good for: Earn now, redeem later

Earn 4x points at restaurants and US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x at US supermarkets), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amextravel.com, and 1x points on other purchases. Spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership and earn annual dining, hotel and Uber Cash points and a welcome bonus of 60,000 points. You pay an annual fee of $250.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Good for: Maximum return value

Earn 5x Air Travel Points (after spending $300 per year on travel purchases) on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, 3x points on other travel, 1x points on all other purchases, and other perks. Earn 50,000 bonus points (redeem $750 worth of travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Redeem points for travel with Chase at a 50% added value. The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is $550.

American Express Platinum Card

Good for: luxury perks

Earn 5x points on flights purchased directly from the airline or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year in purchases) and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, and 1x point on other purchases. Receive a welcome bonus of 100,000 points when you spend $6,000 in the first six months and enjoy premium benefits like hotel elite status; up to $200 in annual flight credits; points on purchases, hotel stays and Uber rides; airport access lounge; and more. The annual fee for this card is $695.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Good for: Air Miles

Earn 3 miles on Delta and direct hotel purchases, 2 miles on restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases, and 1 mile on all other eligible purchases. Earn 90,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 with your new card in the first 3 months. You can also enjoy in-flight perks like a free first checked bag, an annual companion certificate, and more. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex charges an annual fee of $250.

Marriott Bonvoy Unlimited Credit Card

Good for: Hotel Rewards

Earn up to 17x points on purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points on all other purchases. Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening and get 3 free nights (worth up to 50,000 points per night). Receive additional Marriott benefits including annual free nights per cardmember anniversary, Silver Elite status and 15 Elite Points per night per calendar year. The annual fee for this card is $95.

Capital One Spark Miles for Businesses

Suitable for: business travelers

Earn 2x miles on every purchase. You’ll also earn 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 within three months of account opening. The card costs $95 per year, but the fee is waived for the first year.

How travel credit cards work

A travel credit card earns points or miles for purchases you make with the card, which you can redeem as part of your card issuer’s rewards program. Travel is often the most valuable reward option, although you can redeem them for other options such as: B. Bank Statement, Cash, Gift Cards or Purchases from Partners.

Travel credit card travel redemption options vary, but typically include flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. Some rewards programs allow you to transfer points and miles to airline or hotel partner loyalty programs, and you can increase the value of your original points based on how and when you booked.

How to choose a travel credit card

General Travel Credit Cards

What you can get with a regular travel credit card

General travel credit cards earn points or miles in specific categories (airlines, hotels, rental cars) or more broadly (restaurants, groceries, gas). These cards often offer flexible points and mileage redemption services for your future travel bookings and are ideal for travelers who don’t fly frequently or stay at hotels of the same brand.

Choose a general travel credit card

To choose the right universal travel card for you, consider how the card’s reward categories fit your spending (including travel and everyday purchases) and how perks can help you maximize value. Then check out the available redemption options. Is your favorite transfer partner’s loyalty program? When you redeem travel points or miles, how much are they worth? Besides travel, what other options could you consider?

Keep in mind that while the premium benefits can offset the cost, these cards often come with high annual fees. Take a realistic view of your options based on past travel costs or future travel you’ve already planned. If you choose a card based on your ideal annual travel budget or benefits that sound good but don’t match your spending, the card could end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Airline credit card

What you can get with an airline credit card

Unlike general travel credit cards, airline cards earn miles through individual airline rewards programs, such as Delta Air Lines’ Delta SkyMiles or American Airlines’ AAdvantage. These cards can earn rewards in non-airline categories (such as meals or groceries), but your redemption is limited to purchases made on specific airlines. The perks are also usually available to airlines, including free checked bags, upgrades, priority boarding, and more.

Select airline credit card

You will need to choose a credit card for the airline you fly almost exclusively on.
It doesn’t make sense to get an airline credit card if you fly on different airlines frequently or not at all.

It might make sense to choose a card from an airline that has frequent flights or has a hub at the local airport.

Hotel credit card

What you can get with a hotel credit card

Similar to airline cards, you should only issue a hotel-specific travel credit card if you have a strong preference for a hotel chain such as Marriott or Hilton and are traveling to locations where that chain is available. You’ll earn rewards in the hotel’s rewards program, and while you can earn bonus points on out-of-travel purchases, redemption is usually limited to reservations and other hotel purchases. These cards often also offer additional brand loyalty benefits such as elite status, annual points for free nights, free services during your stay, and more.

Select hotel credit card

As with airline credit cards, you should choose a hotel chain card that is almost exclusively used for check-in. Your rewards are limited to that chain, so make sure you stay there enough to justify your credit card.

How to Compare Travel Credit Cards

Rewards and perks are important, but they’re not the only factors to consider when choosing a travel credit card. Here are some card details to consider and compare with your unique card needs and spending habits before applying:

Annual fee

A travel card with no annual fee might be a good deal, but those with an annual fee offer some of the best value travel rewards and benefits. Before you apply for a new travel credit card, consider how well your spending matches the credit card benefits and whether you’re getting enough value from those benefits to offset the cost of the annual fee.

Response rate

Travel credit cards can often offer great rewards for your travel expenses, but you should go beyond the points you earn on flights and hotels. Many of the best travel cards also offer rewards for everyday expenses like meals, groceries, and carpooling, so you can maximize your most common purchases.

Sign up bonus

The sign-up bonus shouldn’t be the most important factor when choosing a travel credit card, but it can add hundreds of dollars to the reward value. Look for sign-up bonuses that are achievable (they usually require a minimum spend for a limited time) and great value. These offers are especially useful when you can plan ahead and take the time to collect sign-up bonuses before you’re ready to book, so you can use your bonus points or miles for travel.

Foreign transaction fees

If you plan to take your travel credit card with you on international travel, you should avoid paying foreign transaction fees. These fees range from 1% to 3% of each transaction you make in another country or foreign currency, and can quickly add up for international spending.

International recognition

When traveling internationally, it is important to choose an issuer that is widely accepted in the country you intend to visit. Visa and Mastercard are the most common networks accepted globally, and in some countries you may have difficulty finding merchants that accept American Express and Discover (although these networks are also increasingly accepted).

Travel protection

Travel protection isn’t the most compelling feature of a travel credit card, but it can be one of the most valuable. Find coverage for rental accident waivers, travel accident and delay insurance, roadside assistance, lost luggage and delays, and more.


The perks that travel credit cards offer are often unmatched by any other credit card on the market. Benefits vary by issuer, individual card and price range, but can maximize the value of the card and add convenience to your travel plans. Some examples of these perks are annual points, membership discounts, memberships, and more.


Generally, any travel credit card will charge a high APR on any balance you carry. Because of this, it’s important to only bill for purchases that you know can be paid in full when your statement is due. Otherwise, any rewards or benefits the card offers will be quickly offset by interest charges.

How to get the most out of your travel credit card

  • Take the time to research how your spend aligns with the card’s reward categories
  • Learn how to earn and redeem rewards
  • Take advantage of all the benefits and discounts your card has to offer
  • For the best return, book directly through a rewards program or transfer points to a travel partner, depending on when and where you book.


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