The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Chase Sapphire Preferred - Still a Top Pick for Flexible Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has remained one of the most popular travel rewards cards since its introduction over a decade ago. There are several good reasons it has stayed a top contender.
For starters, the sign-up bonus alone makes this card worth getting. As of October 2023, new cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That's worth at least $750 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 5x points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3x points on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases
- 2x points on all other travel purchases
- 1x point per dollar on everything else
Redeeming points for travel gets you the best value at 1.25 cents per point. So those 60,000 bonus points are worth $750 toward airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and more. Points can also be redeemed for cash back at a lower rate or for gift cards and merchandise.
One of the best perks of this card is the ability to transfer points to Chase's airline and hotel partners. This includes big programs like United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and World of Hyatt. Transferring points to loyalty programs often yields more value than using them directly through Chase.
For example, 60,000 Chase points could get you a roundtrip economy ticket between the US and Europe on United. Or you could transfer those points to Hyatt and get several free nights at high-end properties. This flexibility is what makes this card so useful for all types of travelers.
Other key benefits include no foreign transaction fees, primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement. There's also DoorDash perks and Instacart benefits that offer statement credits on those services.
What else is in this post?
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Chase Sapphire Preferred - Still a Top Pick for Flexible Rewards
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Capital One Venture X - Valuable Perks for Frequent Travelers
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Citi Premier Card - Generous Sign-Up Bonus and Travel Credits
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Chase Freedom Flex - Excellent for Rotating Bonus Categories
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Wells Fargo Propel - No Annual Fee but Lucrative Rewards
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Bank of America Premium Rewards - Credits for Airline Incidentals
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - American Express Gold Card - Rewards for Dining and Groceries
- The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - US Bank Altitude Connect - Intro Offer and Anniversary Miles
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Capital One Venture X - Valuable Perks for Frequent Travelers
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is one of the hottest new travel cards that launched in late 2021. It's aimed squarely at frequent travelers who prioritize premium perks.
The biggest draw is the welcome offer - 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. That's worth $750 in travel redemptions. You can earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, with no foreign transaction fees.
Miles have a fixed value of 1 cent each when redeemed for travel via Capital One. Transferring them to loyalty programs can potentially yield a higher valuation. Capital One is a transfer partner for JetBlue TrueBlue, Air Canada Aeroplan and several major hotel programs.
Travelers like Charlie H. say the Venture X is "the best premium travel card available right now for infrequent lounge visitors." The value from all the annual statement credits and rewards bonuses can easily cancel out the annual fee with routine travel.
Jennifer S. notes "I was skeptical at first but this card has given me luxury travel perks I never expected. The Capital One lounges alone make the annual fee worthwhile for all my connections through Dallas and Denver."
With smart redemption of miles for high-value awards, savvy travelers find the Venture X provides elite travel experiences that normally cost much more. Aram L. says "I've flown business class to Asia and stayed in overwater bungalows in Bora Bora thanks to transferring my Capital One miles."
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Citi Premier Card - Generous Sign-Up Bonus and Travel Credits
The Citi Premier Card offers an extremely lucrative welcome bonus that can unlock a tremendous amount of travel rewards value. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Based on a valuation of 1.25 cents per point, that sign-up bonus is worth $750 in airfare when redeemed directly through the Citi travel portal.
Alex P. enthusiastically said, "I was blown away by the size of the welcome offer. It took care of a huge chunk of my upcoming trip to Portugal for free!"
This card earns 3x points at restaurants, gas stations, air travel, hotels, car rentals, cruise lines, entertainment and more. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. The broad 3x bonus categories make it easy to rack up points quickly on everyday spending.
According to Jennifer K., "I use my Premier Card for almost everything. The bonus categories are so wide-reaching that I earn triple points on the majority of my monthly expenses."
One underrated perk of this card is the annual $100 hotel benefit and annual $100 air travel credit. Cardholders receive up to $100 back as a statement credit for hotel stays booked through the Citi portal each year. The same $100 airline fee credit applies to incidental fees charged by your chosen qualifying airline.
While Citi ThankYou Points are extremely versatile, their value is amplified further when transferred to airline partners. Transferring points to programs like JetBlue TrueBlue often increases the cents per point value substantially.
According to Michael P., "I transferred Citi points to Avianca LifeMiles and booked a business class ticket to South America that would've cost over $3,000 in cash! The Premier Card literally elevated my whole trip."
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Chase Freedom Flex - Excellent for Rotating Bonus Categories
The Chase Freedom Flex is a superb option for travelers looking to maximize rewards on rotating bonus categories. This no annual fee card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in categories that change throughout the year. All other purchases earn 1% back.
Chris maximizes these bonuses by planning his everyday spending around the categories. "I make sure to fill up at gas stations during the gas quarter. And I prepay some of my streaming subscriptions when that category is activated."
Beyond the quarterly bonuses, this card has perks tailored specifically for travelers. Cardholders receive up to $10 in DoorDash credits each year, 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2023, cell phone protection, lost luggage reimbursement, and other benefits. There's also an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (then 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR).
According to Susan W., "I use the Freedom Flex as my primary card for everyday purchases. The rotating bonuses coupled with Lyft rewards and no annual fee make it super valuable."
The signup bonus offers $200 back after spending just $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Plus new cardholders can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
When it comes time to redeem your rewards, Chase offers exceptional flexibility. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more. For travel, points are worth 25% more when booked through the Chase portal.
Jim F. uses his rewards for maximum versatility: "I redeem points for cash back to cover everyday expenses. But for special trips, I reserve Ultimate Rewards to book upcoming travel and get the 25% extra value. This strategy gives me the optimal mix of boosting my budget now versus saving for a dream vacation."
With no annual fee, a hefty signup bonus, and a rotating mix of 5% bonus categories, the Freedom Flex pairs nicely with Chase's premium Ultimate Rewards cards. You can combine and transfer points between cards to optimize redemptions. According to Lauren C., "The Freedom Flex perfectly complements my Sapphire Reserve card. I maximize bonus categories on the Flex, then transfer points to my Reserve account to book high-end award travel."
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Wells Fargo Propel - No Annual Fee but Lucrative Rewards
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card packs a serious punch when it comes to maximizing travel rewards, especially given the lack of an annual fee. Cardholders enjoy a rich signup bonus of 30,000 points after spending just $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Based on a redemption value of 1.5 cents per point towards airfare, that bonus alone nets $450 in travel!
Ongoing earning rates are extremely lucrative as well. You'll earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in, gas, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services. All other purchases earn 1x point per dollar. According to Jeff S., "I earn triple points on virtually all my common monthly expenses. From filling my gas tank to dining out, the 3x bonus categories quickly add up to major rewards."
When it comes time to redeem points, Wells Fargo offers multiple options. Points can be used to cover travel purchases made on the card within the last 120 days, credited as a statement credit, deposited into a Wells Fargo account, or converted into cash. But for the highest value, transfer points to airline and hotel partners. Programs like Air France/KLM Flying Blue can squeeze up to 50% more value out of your rewards!
Victoria R. frequently transfers points to Hyatt: "I'm halfway to a free night at the Park Hyatt New York! Transferred points represent huge savings compared to paying cash rates over $1000 per night."
Road warriors have more reasons to love this card. You'll receive up to $100 in annual airline fee statement credits to cover costs like baggage and in-flight WiFi. There's also cell phone protection, lost luggage reimbursement, rental car insurance, and a Visa Concierge service for making restaurant reservations, event ticket bookings, and more.
According to Ryan G., "The Propel card gives me peace of mind when traveling. Between the statement credits, insurance protections, and Visa Concierge, I know I'm covered on all aspects of my trip."
For a no annual fee card, the Propel packs a tremendous array of perks and bonuses tailored specifically for travelers. The broad 3x earnings categories make it easy to maximize rewards on everyday purchases. And the ability to transfer points to airline/hotel partners unlocks tremendous redemption value.
As Mia L. summarizes, "The Propel card single-handedly accelerates my rewards earnings every month. The bonus categories and amazing travel protections provide outsized value you simply can't beat from a no-fee card."
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - Bank of America Premium Rewards - Credits for Airline Incidentals
The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card shines when it comes to credits that offset airline incidental fees. Cardholders receive up to $100 back as statement credits each year to cover costs like checked bags, in-flight food and drinks, seat upgrades, lounge day passes, and more.
According to Michael S., “The airline fee credits are so valuable for how I travel. Even one roundtrip flight can easily incur $100 or more in baggage fees, WiFi, premium seating, etc. So I’m basically getting reimbursed for those expenses."
Being able to recoup airline incidental fees each year practically pays for the Premium Rewards annual fee of $95 all on its own. You'll enjoy the full range of credits across any airline - there's no need to select a single partner carrier. As long as the charges code as incidentals, they're eligible for statement credits.
Savvy travelers like Allison P. have discovered you can double up on the credits: "I book refundable flights in December each year and prepay my baggage and seat assignments. Then I cancel and rebook the same flights in January and prepay those fees again. I've scored the full $100 airline credit twice for the same trip!"
The Premium Rewards card also grants valuable travel insurance and purchase protections. You'll have access to trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement, extended warranty, and purchase protection.
According to Kendra L., "I never travel without my Premium Rewards card. The included trip insurance gave me peace of mind on my recent trip to Thailand. And I used the extended warranty to cover a repair on my DSLR camera well outside the manufacturer's original term."
Earning rates are competitive across bonus categories that encompass common travel and dining expenditures. You'll enjoy 2x points at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $50,000 in combined purchases per year, then 1x). Also 2x points on dining and travel. All non-bonus purchases earn 1x point per dollar.
New cardholders can capitalize on a solid welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Those points are redeemable for $500 in travel booked through the Bank of America travel portal. Or cash them in for $400 cash back.
Bank of America's expansive Preferred Rewards program allows you to earn 25% - 75% more points per dollar spent depending on your combined Bank of America and Merrill accounts balances. Preferred Rewards status boosts the return on spending across all Bank of America cards you hold.
As Anthony G describes, "I leverage Premium Rewards along with my Bank of America checking accounts to reach Platinum Honors status in their Preferred Rewards program. That 75% extra points bonus supercharges my earnings everywhere I use this card."
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - American Express Gold Card - Rewards for Dining and Groceries
Dining and grocery expenses make up a massive chunk of monthly budgets for most households. The American Express Gold Card allows you to turn these routine purchases into lucrative rewards.
You'll earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide. The same 4x earning rate applies to up to $25,000 per year at U.S. supermarkets. After that cap is reached, grocery purchases earn just 1x point. This makes the Gold Card a top choice for foodies looking to maximize rewards on their typical dining and grocery spend each month.
According to Michael R., “I easily earn over 30,000 Membership Rewards points each year just from meals out and stocking my fridge and pantry. The 4x bonuses add up fast across these categories I’m spending in anyways."
The broad dining category encompasses more than just restaurants. You’ll also earn 4x points for takeout and delivery services, food trucks, bakeries, coffee shops, bars, and lounges. Versatile travelers like Jeff S. maximize the dining rewards: “Whether I’m on a cross-country road trip or stuck at home, the 4x points have me covered on meals and coffee runs.”
Grocery bonuses extend beyond supermarket chains to also include Walmart, Target, wholesale clubs, specialty markets, and more. Jennifer C. enthusiastically said, “I shop for all my household essentials each week at stores that code as groceries. The Gold Card makes my errands so much more rewarding.”
When it comes time to redeem points, Membership Rewards offer exceptional flexibility. Points can be used for statement credits or redeemed for airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages, and other travel bookings. But for maximum value, transfer points to airline and hotel partners.
Popular programs like Emirates Skywards can return up to 3 cents per point in valuation on premium cabin redemptions. Marriott Bonvoy transfers unlock free nights at luxury properties like the St. Regis Maldives that retail for $1,500+ per night.
According to Ryan H., “I transferred Amex points to Singapore Airlines and booked an epic trip in their world-renowned suites class. The retail price would’ve been over $15,000, but I paid almost nothing thanks to rewards from my Gold Card grocery spend.”
New cardholders can take advantage of the generous welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of account opening. At a valuation of 1.9 cents per point for premium cabin flights, that sign-up bonus is worth over $1,140 in airfare redemptions.
The $250 annual fee is easily justified by up to $120 in dining credits. Cardholders receive up to $10 each month in statement credits at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. According to Charlie S., “The monthly dining credits essentially reimburse me for a couple of meals out. I’m getting the Gold Card rewards and perks for free.”
The Top Travel Credit Cards for Your Adventures in October 2023 - US Bank Altitude Connect - Intro Offer and Anniversary Miles
New cardholders can take advantage of an extremely generous welcome offer. You'll earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. Based on a valuation of 1.5 cents per point redeemed for airfare, that sign-up bonus haul is worth $750 toward travel.
According to Matt S., "Spending just a couple thousand dollars in my first few months earned me enough points for a roundtrip domestic ticket. The math works out to getting absurdly high 'cash back' on my initial purchases."
But the long term value comes from earning 4x points on travel and at gas stations - two categories that quickly add up for frequent drivers and jetsetters. All other purchases earn 2x points per dollar, with no cap on total rewards that can be earned.
You'll enjoy 35% off redemptions booked through the Altitude Rewards portal, which enhances the value of your points. And points can be transferred to popular airline and hotel partners to unlock even more value on premium redemptions.
The unique kicker is the yearly anniversary miles based on your prior year's card spending. After your first year, you'll get 5,000 bonus points - worth $75 in airfare - just for being a cardholder. Spend at least $15,000 on the card, and that anniversary bonus jumps to 10,000 points ($150 in value).
According to Lauren K., "The anniversary miles are an awesome added incentive to keep using my Altitude Connect card long-term. I already earned the 5,000 point bonus after my first year and can't wait to unlock the next tier."
Cardholders also receive up to $30 in statement credits for in-flight WiFi purchases each year. When you use your card to buy WiFi access during a flight, those charges will be offset by statement credits (up to the $30 limit).
Jeff P. loves this benefit for reducing travel costs: "Between the anniversary miles and WiFi credits, I'm saving and earning hundreds in value every year with no need to pay an annual fee."
Other key benefits include roadside dispatch service, full rental car insurance with no deductible, up to $1 million travel accident insurance, and zero fraud liability. The Altitude Connect also offers new EMV chip technology and contactless payments for enhanced security.
No foreign transaction fees ensure this card can be used overseas without penalty. According to Ryan S., "I use my Altitude Connect card for all my international trips. The lack of foreign fees coupled with strong travel insurance gives me peace of mind."