Start Planning Your Next Vacation With These Credit Cards

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Mother and daughter planning travel and vacation on a map
Yuganov Konstantin /

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While it may be premature for many people to start traveling again, it’s probably not too early to start thinking about your future travel hopes and dreams and give yourself something to look forward to.

And it’s definitely not too early to start racking up the rewards that will make those hopes and dreams an affordable reality.

Check out some of the best card offers for travel rewards and see if any of these credit cards could shape up your travel plans and brighten your 2021 outlook.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Why we like it: With no annual fee to worry about, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a top-tier choice for grocery or general cash-back rewards, offering at least 1.5% cash back on every purchase and more in certain categories. You also earn an extra 1.5% cash back on every purchase on up to $20,000 spent in the first year. For example, that extra 1.5% would boost the 5% cash back normally available for travel up to 6.5%.

What to know:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • 5% cash back on travel-related purchases through Chase.
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases.
  • 1.5% cash back on every other purchase.
  • No expiration on cash-back rewards.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate of 17.24% to 25.99%.
  • No annual fee.

Note: This card has a foreign transaction fee, so plan accordingly for international travel.

Capital One Venture

Why we like it: An early spending bonus offer of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 within the first three months is worth $750 in travel.

What to know:

Capital One Venture
Capital One
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of membership.
  • Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on every other purchase with no annual cap or expiration.
  • Get up to a $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $95 annual fee.

Note: This card has a $95 annual fee. The Capital One VentureOne card does not, but doesn’t have the same early spending bonus offer and offers a lower rate of return.

Citi Premier

Why we like it: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points with the Citi Premier card after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first three months of card membership, redeemable for travel or for $800 in gift cards.

What to know:

Citi Premier
  • 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 in purchases within three months of signing up.
  • 3 points per $1 for spending at restaurants and supermarkets.
  • 3 points per $1 for spending at gas stations, hotels and on air travel.
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more, once per year, when booked through Citi’s rewards website.
  • $95 annual fee.

Note: This card has no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Why we like it: Like its cousin the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this card offers great bang for your buck on travel rewards and currently has a compelling introductory offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, worth $750 toward travel. Combined with all the other high reward points opportunities, this card more than pays for itself.

What to know:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Get 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. 60,000 bonus points are worth $750 toward travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Get a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit.
  • Get a 10% anniversary points boost each year.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on other travel.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Get trip cancellation insurance if your trip is canceled due to sickness or severe weather conditions.
  • Get complimentary DashPass for a year or more for $0 delivery fees on DoorDash.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Why we like it: The Platinum Card from American Express will rack up enormous rewards while providing stellar ongoing benefits, including 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months.

What to know:

The Platinum Card from American Express
American Express
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $6,000 in your first six months.
  • $200 in statement credits each year on select prepaid hotel bookings through American Express.
  • Up to $100 in fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders annually plus Uber VIP status.
  • Includes Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year).
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels booked at
  • 1X points on other eligible purchases.
  • $695 annual fee. (See rates and fees)

Note: Other current card benefits include up to $200 in statement credits each year for airline charges such as baggage fees and in-flight purchases and up to $240 in credits each year on certain digital entertainment subscriptions.

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