Looking for the best premium travel credit cards for your road trip? If yes, then you’re in the right Blog with the right information.
Road journeys are a special type of trip that allows us to see the nation up close and in slow motion. Unlike flying, a road trip seems to be more about creating memories along the way than it is about getting from point A to point B quickly.
For this and other reasons, planning a road trip is essential to the success of your adventure on the open road.
Earning and redeeming prizes to help fund your vacation, as well as continuing to earn rewards along the road, might all be part of the planning process. Regardless of which is your primary goal, we can assist you in achieving either one or both.
We’ll look at credit cards that offer higher rewards on common road trip spending, as well as cards that add value to your vacation by allowing you to offset the cost of activities. We’ll also go through credit cards that can help you get free hotel accommodations on your trip, and most importantly why we choose the 7 best premium travel credit cards for road trip
Why we choose 7 best premium travel credit cards for road trip
1. A substantial introductory offer – The best travel cards will all provide you with a substantial introductory offer. You’ll have to meet a spending threshold (typically within the first few months), but these welcome points can kick-start your mileage account and get you closer to a free trip or hotel stay.
These deals are sometimes so good that you can obtain a few free flights right away! If a card doesn’t have a good welcome offer, don’t sign up for it.
In general, welcome offers work like this: in order to receive the hefty introductory offer, you must either make a single purchase or spend a particular amount within a certain amount of time. Following that, you can get 1-5x points per dollar spent, depending on the card.
Welcome bonuses for travel credit cards typically range from 40,000 to 60,000 points, though they can frequently reach 100,000. That’s why cards are so useful: for very little effort, you may receive an instant balance of thousands of points.
If you’re not sure you’ll be able to meet the welcome offer’s minimal threshold, check around to see if any of your friends or family members are planning a significant purchase. You may easily satisfy the minimum expenditure criterion to get your welcome points if they let you put it on your card (and then pay you with cash).
2. A bonus for spending in specific categories – Most credit cards award one point for every dollar spent. Good credit cards, on the other hand, may reward you with bonus points when you shop at specified stores or, if it’s a branded credit card, with a specific brand. You will be able to gain points much more quickly as a result of this.
I don’t want a dollar to be worth only one point. I’d like to be able to earn two or three points for every dollar I spend.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers 3x points for travel and restaurant dining, the Chase Ink card offers 5x points for office spending, and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card offers 3x points on flying. When I book with the company using a company card, I can get bonus points (i.e. Delta flights with a Delta card).
That’s exactly what you’re looking for. Never settle for one point for every dollar spent. At the very least, look for two. (Some cards even give you 6 points for every dollar you spend.)
3. Low spending minimum – Unfortunately, in order to qualify for the huge incentives offered by these cards, you must spend a certain amount of money. While there are ways to temporarily increase your spending, it’s preferable to be able to earn the bonus through regular spending. I usually apply for credit cards with a three- to six-month minimum spending threshold of $1,000–3,000 USD.
To trigger the welcome bonus on some cards, you only need to make a single transaction (these are my favorite type of welcome offers).
While you shouldn’t shun high-minimum spending cards because they offer significant rewards, it’s a good idea to start modest because you don’t want to end up with too many cards and be unable to make the minimum spends. You cannot reapply for the card once you have received it. To qualify for the welcome bonus, only apply for cards where you can fulfill the minimum spending requirements.
It’s important to keep track of your ability to satisfy the minimum spending requirements because if you spend more money than you usually do only to earn these points, they’re no longer free. Spend only what you typically would and nothing more.
4. Special travel benefits — Each of these travel credit cards come with a slew of benefits. Many will reward you with an elite loyalty status or other benefits. Here are the benefits that I value the most:
- Here are no fees for international transactions.
- Checked luggage is free.
- Boarding priority
- Hotel stays at no cost
- Access to the lounge
It’s not only about earning points and miles when it comes to travel hacking; it’s about what else comes with the card that makes my life easier!
5. Low annual costs — No one enjoys paying annual credit card fees. The annual fees for many company-branded credit cards range from $50 to $95. I believe that getting a fee-based card is worthwhile for folks who travel frequently and fly frequently.
Fee-based cards typically offer a superior rewards program, allowing you to earn points faster, gain access to more services and special offers, and receive better travel protection. I’ve saved more money on travel with these cards than I’ve paid on fees.
However, some premium cards with annual fees of $500 or more are always worthwhile the first year because of the sign-up incentive, and if you utilize the card’s features frequently, they can be worthwhile in the following years as well. Do the arithmetic; if you’re getting twice the value from the card, a $500 yearly cost card is a good investment.
6. No foreign transaction fees – Credit cards are excellent to use while traveling abroad since they provide you the greatest conversion rate available, but if you have to pay a fee every time you use the card, it loses its value. Nowadays, there are so many credit cards that don’t charge international transaction fees that you should never, ever get a credit card that does. NEVER!
Best premium travel credit cards for road trip
1. Chase Freedom Flex
With the Chase Freedom Flex card, you get 1% cashback on all purchases. The rotating bonus categories, though, make this card one of the great credit cards for road trips.
You get 5% on certain categories, such as gas, every quarter. When gas is a rotating category, you could get 5% cashback.
For a card with no annual charge, a 5% return is quite impressive.
You can select between cashback and points with the Chase Freedom Flex card. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can use your points to pay for your hotel night at selected hotels.
Pro tip: During the 5% bonus, stock up on petrol station gift cards at food stores. Then, on your road trip, use those cards to pay for gas.
2. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
One of the greatest credit cards for road trips is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Because of the following features:
- Spend $20,000 on purchases during the first 12 months of account opening to earn 100,000 bonus miles, or spend $3,000 within the first three months to get 50,000 miles.
- Every transaction, every day, earns you 2X miles. Miles will not expire over the account’s lifetime, and there is no limit to how many you can earn.
- Get a $100 credit on your Global Entry or TSA Pre® application fee.
- Use your points to book flights, vacation rentals, vehicle rentals, and more. In addition, you can transfer your miles to over 15 different travel loyalty programs.
- There are no costs for international transactions.
3. American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
With the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you may earn cashback on your road trip. Some folks would rather have cashback than points. Because cash may be used for anything. You get 3% cashback at gas stations in the United States, 6% cashback at supermarkets, and 1% cashback on everything else. You may get cashback while stocking up on munchies for the journey.
The annual fee for this card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is a moderate $95. (for more information, see the rates and fees page) There’s no way to get cashback on hotels, but there is a workaround.
Many grocery stores in the United States sell Visa, Mastercard, and Hotels.com gift cards. When you pay with your American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you’ll get 6% cashback.
4. US Bank Altitude Connect
One of the greatest credit cards for road trips is US Bank’s Altitude Connect. At gas stations and on trips, you earn 4X points.
In addition, 2X points are earned at grocery stores, restaurants, grocery delivery, and streaming. Having groceries delivered to your hotel, motel, or vacation rental is ideal for filling up on road trip snacks and treats, eating out while on the road, and ordering groceries delivered to your hotel, motel, or vacation rental.
If you’re traveling with children, they can pass the time by viewing movies or listening to music on long rides. Earn bonus points while having a wonderfully silent car ride!
Your points can be used for flights, hotels, rental cars, cashback, and much more!
The first year’s membership cost of $95 is waived. There’s even a welcome bonus if you sign up.
5. Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is another excellent credit card for a road trip because it is so convenient. When you fill-up your tank, sleep (at motels), dine, and use the card in general, you earn 1.5 percent cash back. Because there is no annual charge, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card should be kept in your wallet at all times.
If you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer points to qualifying airlines and hotels.
6. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best credit cards for road trips. When you travel, you earn 3 points for hotels, auto rentals, and flights. You can also gain 3 points at fast food places. Which is almost a road trip staple, as every road tripper knows!
You not only earn a lot of points, but you also obtain bonuses that are useful on a road trip. You gain elite status, upgrades, and vehicle rental discounts. When you book accommodations through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and Relais & Chateaux, you also get complimentary room upgrades, dinners, and other benefits.
You can offset the $550 annual charge with a $300 travel credit each year. The credit is applied to all trip purchases, including Airbnb rentals, automatically.
Pro-tip: Although the Chase Sapphire Reserve does not offer additional points for gas purchases, you can utilize the same strategy as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Prepaying for gas in a rental car is a good idea.
7. Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best cards for road trips. Every dollar spent on meals and travel (airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars) earns you two points. On a road trip, using this card will get you a lot of points.
Southwest and Marriott are two of the 13 airline and hotel partners that accept points. As a result, you’ll be able to redeem your points to get free nights on the road. If you’re just getting started with collecting travel points, this is an excellent card to use. The $95 annual price is reasonable. The only drawback is that you won’t get any points for buying gas.
Here’s how to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn points on petrol purchases.
Prepaying for gas in your rental car for your road trip can earn you points. You’ll spend more on gas, but you’ll receive two points per dollar spent instead of just one.
Pros and Cons of premium travel credit cards for road trip
Pros of premium travel credit cards for a road trip
- Get to have a jump start on getting free or low cost travel. You’ll earn points for your purchases that you may use to lower the cost of future travel.
- Perks and benefits reserved for the elite. Many credit cards provide money-saving benefits such as free luggage or breakfast.
- Foreign transaction fees are not charged. Some of the best travel credit cards will not charge you a fee if you use your card outside of the United States.
Cons of premium travel credit cards for road trip
- Rewards with a finite number of uses. The easiest way to get the most out of a travel rewards card is to redeem the points for more travel.
- Annual fees can be quite expensive. The cards with the most premium perks also tend to be the most expensive.
- Redemption can be a difficult process. Squeezing the most outsized value out of your points or miles can take some effort with some rewards schemes.
Frequently Asked Question: FAQs
What is a road trip credit card?
Sincerely there aren’t any credit cards expressly designed for road trips, several do offer flexible rewards and bonuses. The best credit cards for road trips allow you to maximize rewards on major expenses such as the cost of a rental car or vehicle maintenance, gas, tolls, parking, hotel or camping fees, and food.
What are the best Premium credit cards for road trip?
- US Bank Altitude Connect
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card for Road trip
Credit cards offer a plethora of benefits, making it difficult to choose just one. While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all credit card, there are several basic steps you may take to choose the credit card that best suits your needs. The steps are as follows:
- Check your credit score and report: Start by looking at your credit score and report. This informs you of your financial situation and can influence the credit cards you apply for. The majority of the cards on this list demand outstanding or good credit. Experian BoostTM, Discover Credit Scorecard, or your card issuer all offer free credit score checks.
- Choose the credit card that best suits your needs: Examine what you want to spend the most money on throughout your road trip after you have your credit score. Choose a card for those purchases if you plan to order a lot of takeout and eat at restaurants. If you like to buy groceries, though, a supermarket rewards card is a better option. Many credit cards also provide rewards in a variety of areas, such as gas and groceries, allowing you to maximize your earnings.
- Shop around for the best credit card deals: Whether you’re still having difficulties deciding, fill out an online pre-qualification form to check if you qualify. This might help you filter down which credit cards you’re eligible for without affecting your credit score. Pre-qualification does not guarantee that you will be approved for a card, and applying for one has an impact on your credit score.
These 7 best premium travel credit cards for road trips might help you pay for your journey. Whether you’re traveling for work, planning an epic family vacation road trip, or relocating across one country or the other, the appropriate credit card can help you accumulate points and/or cashback.
Chase Sapphire Preferred, Capital One Venture Rewards, and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards card can help you earn more than enough points and/or cashback. Cashback is earned on all purchases with American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred Card, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited. With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you’ll get 6% cashback on gas purchases.
Your next road trip will just become less expensive with a few of these cards in your wallet.
Q1: Which credit card do you use most often when traveling by car?
Q2: Which credit card do you prefer for road trips?
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