10 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards That Will Make Your Holiday Shopping Worth It

We've gathered the best rewards credit cards to make your holiday spending go farther.

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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and according to the National Retail Foundation (NFR), Americans will be doing a lot of spending this year. The NFR predicts holiday spending to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% during the holiday season — that’s over $730 billion.

EARN: Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2020: Compare Top Offers

That’s a lot of moolah. While you won’t spend anything close to that number, there is a good possibility that you will be spending more this time of the year. And since you are already planning to shop until you drop, you might as well earn some free travel at the same time!

Best Travel Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

These credit cards will make your holiday budget go a little farther. Find the best card to reward your shopping, as well as bonus offers you can enjoy after the holiday stress dies down.

1. The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The American Express Platinum makes traveling with the family a little less frazzled with annual Uber, airline and hotel credits, and access to over 1,200 Centurion Lounges for you and two guests. New cardmembers will earn 60,000 points when they spend $5,000 in their first three months. The Platinum Card comes with a hefty $550 annual fee, but it’s a favorite among many cardholders because of its generous 5x points for flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel, as well as an annual $200 airline credit to cover baggage fees and other qualified reimbursements.

Learn More About the Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Value: 5x points for flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: $200 annual airline credit
  • Con: Only 1 point per eligible dollar spent

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Earn up to $750 worth of travel after spending $4,000 within your first three months of opening the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Your points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel, and you will receive a $300 travel credit each year. The Sapphire Reserve packs in a lot of benefits for its $550 annual fee, including access to airport lounges with Priority Pass, zero foreign transaction fees, 3X points on dining, and a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.

Learn More About the Sapphire Reserve

  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Value: 3X points on travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: $300 annual travel credit
  • Con: Approvals are challenging with Chase’s 5/24 rule

3. Hilton Aspire

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If you love staying at Hilton hotels, you will love the Hilton Aspire. Cardmembers earn 14X points for every $1 spent on Hilton resorts and hotels. Right now, new sign-ups can earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Despite the Hilton Aspire’s $450 annual fee, many cardholders consider this credit card a deal because of the premium perks, including a $250 airline credit, a $250 Hilton credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and a free weeknight stay.

Learn More About the Hilton Aspire

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Value: 14x points per eligible dollar spent with participating hotels and resorts
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 150,000 points after spending $4,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: $250 annual airline credit
  • Con: Points aren’t worth much

4. Citi Prestige

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The Citi Prestige offers new members 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Like other premium travel cards, it’s $495 annual fee comes loaded with benefits like Priority Pass membership, $250 annual travel credit, $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, and 5X points for air travel and dining. Book an extended hotel stay through your Citi Prestige card, and you will get your fourth night free.

Learn More About the Citi Prestige

  • Annual Fee: $495
  • Value: 5X points for travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: $250 annual travel credit
  • Con: Travel must be booked through Citi ThankYou Portal

5. Delta Reserve

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The Delta Reserve Credit Card rewards new cardholders with 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Earn two miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta and one mile for every eligible dollar on other spending. While Delta’s rewards program may not be as generous as others, especially with a hefty $450 annual fee, the Delta Reserve does offer priority boarding and one free checked bag on Delta flights.

Learn More About the Delta Reserve

  • Annual Fee: $450 ($550 if application is received on or after Jan. 30, 2020)
  • Value: 2x miles per dollar spent with Delta
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: Priority boarding and one free checked bag on Delta flights
  • Con: Other cards have more generous rewards point structures

6. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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If you aren’t ready for the hefty annual fee that comes with premium cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be the next best thing. The Chase Sapphire Preferred features a lower annual fee ($95) and many perks. New cardholders can earn up to $750 in travel when they spend $4,000 in their first three months. Earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases. Points go 25% farther when redeemed on travel. Plus, this card has no foreign transaction fee, so you can use it freely on your trip to Tuscany.

Learn More About the Sapphire Preferred

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Value: 2x points on travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: No blackout dates for point redemption
  • Con: High spending threshold to reach sigh-up bonus

7. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card offers the most points when you spend on Southwest purchases, but this travel card will also reward you with 1x point per $1 spent on anything else.

Use your holiday shopping spree to trigger the sign-on bonus of 75,000 points. New members earn 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 during the first three months the account is open. Plus an additional 35,000 bonus points are awarded once $5,000 total is spent on purchases during the firs five months of account ownership. Southwest even gifts cardholders 7,500 bonus points on their account anniversary to encourage retaining the card once the sign-up bonus is earned. All of these bonus points put members in striking distance of earning the highly-coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority offers a lot of value for its $149 annual fee, including perks like a $75 travel credit, four upgraded boardings each year, 20% back on inflight drinks and WiFi, and 7,500 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary.

Learn More About the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

  • Annual Fee: $149
  • Value: 2 points per dollar spent with Southwest and Rapid Rewards program partners
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 75,000 bonus points. New cardholders earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three billing cycles. Plus an additional 35,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 total during the first six months the account is open.
  • Pro: 7,500 bonus points on cardmember anniversary
  • Con: Value limited to spending with Southwest

8. Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® Credit Card

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The Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa is another great card for travelers who want to begin earning points, but aren’t ready for the steep annual fees of premium credit cards. With a $95 annual fee, the Premium Rewards Visa offers new cardholders 50,000 points when they spend $3,000 in the first three billing cycles. It also gives 2x points on travel and dining, and 1.5X points for every $1 spent on other purchases. Your points don’t expire, and you can redeem them for cash back or gift cards too.

Learn More About the Premium Rewards Visa

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Value: 2x points on travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: 1.5x points on general purchases
  • Con: Highest rewards value limited to Bank of America Preferred Rewards members

9. IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

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Oversized dollhouse purchase today, luxury resort stay tomorrow. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card rewards you with 80,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in your first three months. The Rewards Club Premier has an annual fee of $89, and it features a few generous perks including 25x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, 2x points on gas and groceries, and a $100 credit to cover Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. The card also comes with one free night per year, and your fourth night is free if you book a hotel for 4+ nights.

Learn More the IHG Rewards Club Premier

  • Annual Fee: $89
  • Value: 25x points per dollar spent with IHG hotels
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 80,000 points after spending $2,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: 2x points per dollar spent on gas and groceries
  • Con: Points don’t have too much value

10. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

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If you’re not ready for the commitment of a credit card with any annual fee, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card may be the card for you! It’s an excellent option for people who want to earn travel rewards, but who are just learning the ropes of rewards travel. The Travel Rewards card has no annual fee, and it offers new cardmembers 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three billing cycles — and those points never expire. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or restrictions when redeeming them either. Plus with $0 foreign transaction fees, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa is the perfect card to take abroad.

Learn More About the Travel Rewards Visa

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Value: 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 points after spending $1,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: Points don’t expire or have redemption restrictions
  • Con: High APR

Bonus Business Travel Card: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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Looking for bonus points without having to dish out a lot of cash? The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has a low annual fee and offers an amazing 65,000 bonus points — and all you have to do is spend $4,000 in the first four months. Earn 2x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases with American Airlines, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rentals and gas stations. All other spending is rewarded at a 1:1 ratio.

Apply Today

  • Annual Fee: $99 (fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Value: 2X miles per dollar spent on cable and satellite providers, car rentals, gas, and telecommunications purchases
  • Sign-Up Offer: 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 during first four billing cycles
  • Pro: Free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Con: There are several cards with more generous travel rewards in certain spending categories

Comparing Rewards Credit Cards

Not sure if a travel rewards card is right for you? We get it. Choosing a credit card that meets your needs is important, which is why Slickdeals’ Credit Card Hub helps you compare the benefits of different cards, search credit cards by rewards categories, and explore cards by their issuers — all to find the best fit for your wallet.

You can also stretch your holiday budget even more by shopping the best sales and deals. Pick your favorite store and set a Deal Alert to always be in the know.

NEXT: How I Booked a Disneyland Trip for Next to Nothing Using Travel Points

We want to make sure you get the best deal! Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply. Also, please remember this content wasn’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any company mentioned in this article.

Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a personal finance editor and writer. He has worked in journalism and publishing for nearly two decades before becoming Slickdeals' Personal Finance and Credit Card Editor. Ryan's work has appeared in publications like USA TODAY, NBC News, Sapling and Techwalla. Find him online at ryantronier.com.

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