There are few things in life better than getting travel for free – especially when that travel involves luxuries like lie-flat seats, mega-hotel suites, and airport lounges. But racking up the points and miles you need for such things can be a daunting task.
Credit cards are the secret weapon for that task. Generous sign-up bonuses help make a big dent in the points and miles you need, while everyday spending earns you even more of them every time you swipe. Cash-back programs from your favorite banks can alternatively earn you dollars towards your trip without even thinking about it.
Even better is that many travel cards don’t charge annual fees, either. While you might not get the status, perks, and other benefits that higher-level cards do, you also won’t have to pay their hefty fees, which can range from $90 to over $600 per year. No annual fee cards are a wonderful way to earn rewards without adding to your monthly bills.
In an age where being smart about your spending is more important than ever for traveling, it’s essential to have the right credit cards in your wallet. Take a look below at some of the best travel credit cards with no annual fee and how to maximize their value.
Editor’s Note: Sign-Up Bonuses are current as of July 2023. These often change, so be sure to understand any terms prior to submitting an application.
TL;DR: The Best Cards with No Annual Fee for Travelers
|Card Name||Rewards Earnings||APR||Foreign Transaction Fees||Other Major Benefits|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||1.25 miles per dollar spent; 5 per dollar spent on Capital One Travel||0% for 15 months, then 19.99% to 29.99%||No||Travel accident insurance; rental car insurance|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Cash back, 1.5% to 5% based on category||0% for 15 months, then 20.24% to 28.99%||Yes, 3%||Trip cancellation/interruption insurance|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card||1 to 14 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar||20.99% to 27.99%||No||Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status; 15 Elite Night Credits per year; 5th night free when using points; baggage delay, lost luggage, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance|
|United Gateway Credit Card||1 to 2 United miles per dollar||0% for 12 months, then 21.49% to 28.49%||No||25% cash back on United in-flight purchases; rental car and trip cancellation/interruption insurance; Visa Signature Concierge service|
|American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard||1 to 2 AA miles per dollar, plus 1 Loyalty Point per…|