11 Best Travel Credit Card No Annual Fee Options for Travelers

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11 Best Travel Credit Card No Annual Fee Options for Travelers

Get the best travel credit card no annual fee options as we Navigate the world of credit cards. Perfect for frequent travelers looking to optimize rewards and minimize costs.

Discovering the best travel credit card no annual fee options is essential for maximizing rewards and making the most of your travel adventures. With the different types of credit cards out there, the right travel credit card can make all the difference in your journey.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ve evaluated and ranked the top 11 best travel credit card no annual fee options, including my personal top 5 recommendations, so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect fit.

When considering going on endless travel adventures, the ultimate sidekick isn’t a magic carpet or even a golden compass; it’s something much smaller but equally mighty – a credit card. More specifically, the best no-annual-fee travel credit card.

That’s right, folks, even Aladdin would swap his flying carpet for this financial gem in a heartbeat!

Now, I’ll be honest with you; it wasn’t until I found myself on a solo expedition across Europe that I realized the true worth of such a card. As I gazed at the Eiffel Tower with awe, the daunting foreign transaction fees were the last thing I wanted on my mind.

Thankfully, I had my trusty no-annual-fee travel credit card in my wallet, which not only saved my day but also my vacation budget.

In this post, we’re going on a quest to uncover the best travel credit card with no annual fee options. Not because I want to be your financial guru but because I believe that you, like me, deserve to savor your tiramisu in Italy or ride a tuk-tuk in Thailand without fretting over credit card fees.

So join me as we navigate the landscape of annual fee travel credit cards, weeding out the foreign transaction fees and highlighting the best no-annual fee options that will make your travels more carefree and rewarding.

Understanding Travel Credit Cards and Annual Fees

eligible-american-airlines-purchases

Before we embark on our credit card exploration, it’s essential to have a lay of the land. So let’s talk about travel credit cards and annual fees.

You see, travel credit cards are like your personal cheerleaders, rewarding you every time you use them. They shower you with points or miles when you spend on flights, hotel stays, and other eligible purchases.

It’s like getting a pat on the back for every dollar you spend, which can later be redeemed for more travels. Sounds good, right?

However, as in every superhero story, there’s always a villain lurking around the corner. In our tale, it’s the annual fee that some travel credit cards charge.

Think of it as a membership fee, a price you pay to avail of the card’s benefits. For some cards, these fees are worth it because of their fabulous perks. But for travelers like us, who want to squeeze the most out of every penny, the best no-annual-fee travel credit cards are the real heroes.

These cards are ready to go the extra mile (pun intended!) to help us avoid unnecessary costs, including the dreaded foreign transaction fee.

Why You Need a No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card

no annual fee

A no annual fee travel credit card might be the hidden gem you’re seeking in your financial toolkit, particularly if you’re a frequent traveler. This type of card can notably save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Firstly, the advantage is evident in the name – no annual fee. You get to keep an extra chunk of change in your pocket that you’d otherwise give away yearly. This might not seem like a huge saving at first, but it certainly adds up when compounded over years of card usage.

Moreover, these cards often offer incredibly beneficial rewards for those who love to traverse the globe. For example, many of these cards let you earn points or miles on every dollar you spend, helping you save on future travels. Some of these cards go even further by offering bonuses on minimum spending, adding a nice little boost to your travel budget.

Another crucial benefit comes in the form of foreign transaction fees. While some credit cards charge you every time you purchase abroad, the best no annual fee travel cards often remove this hurdle, allowing you to spend internationally without the nagging worry of accumulating fees.

In essence, a no annual fee travel credit card is a savvy traveler’s best friend, offering an array of cost-saving benefits and travel rewards that cater to your globetrotting lifestyle. In the following sections, we’ll explore some specific cards offering these exceptional advantages.

Review of the Best Travel Credit Cards No Annual Fee

1. Chase Freedom Flex℠ (5 Stars)

Chase Freedom flex

When it comes to a card that offers value, flexibility and a whole host of benefits, it’s hard to ignore the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Like the loyal travel buddy that never lets you down, this card has your back whether you’re exploring a local market or dining at a world-renowned restaurant halfway around the globe.

Highlights

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a no-annual-fee credit card that showers you with Chase Ultimate Rewards on travel booked through their portal, dining, drugstore purchases, and other eligible purchases.

Here are the standout features of this credit card.

  • No Annual Fee: Traveling the world doesn’t have to come with yearly membership costs!
  • Earn Bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Varied Rewards: Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards on travel booked through Chase’s portal, dining, drugstore purchases, and other eligible purchases.
  • Rotating Categories: Get bonus points on different spending categories that change each quarter, making every season a bit more exciting.

Pros

  • Flexibility: You can use Chase Ultimate Rewards not just for travel but also for gift cards, cash back, or even shopping on Amazon.
  • No Redemption Minimums: Cash out your rewards whenever you want. There’s no need to wait until you’ve accumulated a certain number.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Perfect for the globetrotter who doesn’t want those sneaky fees creeping up!

Cons

Of course, no credit card is perfect, and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has its share of downsides. Here are a few considerations for this credit card:

  • Requires Activation: You’ll need to activate the rotating categories each quarter. Forget to do so, and you’ll miss out on those bonus points.
  • Variable Rewards: If your spending habits don’t align with the rotating categories, you might find the rewards less beneficial.
  • Conditions Apply: While the card doesn’t charge an annual fee, some benefits come with specific requirements you’ll need to meet to take full advantage.

2. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: (4.8 Stars)

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Now, allow me to bring another credit card into the spotlight.

If you’re a fan of simplicity and love the idea of flat-rate rewards, then the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card might win you over.

It’s one of the best no annual fee options that don’t make you jump through hoops to earn and redeem rewards.

When a credit card rolls out and offers 2% cash back on everything, it’s time to pop the cork and celebrate!

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has a $0 annual fee, gives you unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, offers a juicy sign-up bonus, and even throws in a no-interest promotion on new purchases and balance transfers. Quite a package, right?

This combination of features is, honestly, hard to find elsewhere. It’s like finding a unicorn in the world of credit cards. This makes this credit card an absolute gem for anyone who loves the simplicity of just one card for all their shopping.

Of course, some cards give you higher rewards for specific categories like groceries and dining. You might miss out on these extra goodies if you’re a one-card Johnny.

However, if you don’t mind juggling a few cards, then the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card could be a fantastic addition to your other credit cards.

Highlights

  • No Annual Fee: Keep your costs down while still enjoying a heap of benefits.
  • Uncomplicated Rewards: Earn a flat cash-back rate on all purchases, with no categories to track or activations to worry about.
  • Introductory Offer: Enjoy an enticing cash rewards bonus after meeting the spending requirement in the first few months.
  • Cell phone Protection: Safeguard your precious phone with coverage of up to $600 for any potential damage or theft when you choose to pay your monthly mobile bill with your qualifying Wells Fargo card. Be aware a deductible of $25 applies. As with everything, terms, and conditions are in effect.
  • Safety Measures: Elevate the security of your account with our advanced protection features, such as Voice Verification and 2-step Verification at sign-on to ensure your account details stay under lock and key.

Pros

  • Simplicity: Earning rewards doesn’t have to be complicated. With this card, you earn a flat rate of cash back on all purchases.
  • Flexibility: You can redeem rewards in various ways, including statement credits, direct deposit to a Wells Fargo account, or at a Wells Fargo ATM.
  • Bonus Offer: An attractive introductory cash rewards bonus sweetens the deal, putting some extra money back into your pocket.

Cons

  • Limited Bonus Categories: While the flat-rate cash back is convenient, you might miss out on higher reward rates on specific categories other cards offer.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Travelers beware, this card does charge a fee on foreign transactions.
  • Wells Fargo Account: To reap some of the card’s redemption benefits, you might need a Wells Fargo account.

3. American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® (4.55 Stars)

airline credit card

If the sight of an airplane taking off gives you a rush of adrenaline or the simple mention of the word ‘travel’ have you daydreaming about your next adventure, then allow me to introduce you to the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® card.

It’s a standout in the arena of no-fee travel credit cards and a potential game-changer for those who frequently fly with American Airlines.

Highlights

A few features that really put the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® card on the map include:

  • No Annual Fee: Because nobody enjoys paying fees, right?
  • Travel Rewards: Earn AAdvantage® miles on every purchase, not just on American Airlines flights.
  • Statement Credit: Receive a statement credit after reaching a certain spending threshold within the first few months.

Pros

  • Earn Miles: The chance to earn miles on every purchase is a big win, especially for those of us who enjoy earning while spending!
  • Bonus Categories: You’ll earn extra miles when spending at grocery stores and on American Airlines purchases.
  • Bonus Offer: The potential to earn a statement credit is an attractive benefit that effectively puts money back into your pocket.

Cons

Despite its advantages, there are a few aspects to consider before choosing the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® card:

  • Limited Flexibility: While it’s one of the best travel rewards credit cards for American Airlines loyalists, its benefits may not be as valuable if you prefer to fly with different airlines.
  • Limited Redemption Options: AAdvantage® miles are primarily redeemable for flights and upgrades on American Airlines and its partner airlines.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Unlike many cards with no annual fees, this card does charge a foreign transaction fee, which might sting a bit when you’re roaming abroad.

4. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: (4.5 Stars)

Bank of America

Like a reliable travel compass, this card is a steady option for travelers who prefer no-fee travel credit cards and wish to accumulate points effortlessly toward their next journey.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a superb choice for habitual travelers craving adaptable rewards without the burden of an annual fee for a credit card.

Card users enjoy a limitless earning potential of 1.5 points per dollar spent on purchases. Your rewards won’t expire as long as your account is in good standing, though some redemption options do come with a time clock.

You can use points for travel or dining purchases. With no foreign transaction fees and a yearly fee of zero dollars, this card keeps your financial backpack light.

Highlights

  • No Annual Fee: Say goodbye to the yearly membership charges.
  • Straightforward Earnings: Acquire points on every purchase, with no limit on the points you can earn.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: No unexpected surprises when you’re traveling overseas.
  • Intro APR period: There is a 0% Intro APR for your first 18 billing cycles for purchases and any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account.
  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Pros

Here’s why the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be an attractive choice:

  • Easy Earnings: You’ll earn a flat rate on all purchases, which means you don’t have to worry about bonus categories or spending caps.
  • Flexible Redemption: Points can be redeemed for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees.
  • Introductory Offer: You can earn a substantial points bonus as a welcome gift, which can push you closer to your next vacation.

Cons

Even though there’s much to like, there are a few things to keep in mind about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card:

  • No Bonus Categories: While the flat-rate earning system is simple, it also means you might miss out on earning maximum rewards on certain spending categories.
  • Limited Additional Perks: This card lacks some of the travel-specific perks and protections offered by some other travel credit cards.
  • Rewards Value: The value of points may be less when compared to other travel reward programs, especially if you’re not a Bank of America customer.

5. Hilton Honors American Express Card: (4.3 Stars)

hilton honors american express

If your travels often find you resting your head in Hilton hotels, then the Hilton Honors American Express Card might be your ticket to even more rewarding stays.

It’s one of those hotel credit cards that is tailored to make your hotel experiences not just comfortable but also filled with perks.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card, with its $0 annual fee, presents an enticing proposition for travelers seeking more benefits from Hilton without denting their wallets.

This card automatically grants you Silver status, which brings along a bouquet of perks, including bonus points on eligible Hilton stays, complimentary breakfast at selected hotels, and more.
Not only does it reward generously for Hilton purchases, but it also doles out robust ongoing rewards for expenses at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.

While it may not boast the luxurious perks of its $95-annual-fee counterpart, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card – such as airport lounge passes – it remains a sturdy choice for an annual fee of precisely zero dollars.

Highlights

The Hilton Honors American Express Card certainly has bragging rights when it comes to its features:

  • No Annual Fee: You can enjoy the card’s benefits without any yearly membership cost.
  • Free Night Reward: A free night reward awaits you even after you use points to book five or more nights at a Hilton property.
  • Automatic Silver status: This gives you a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors base points

Pros

Here are some reasons why the Hilton Honors American Express Card could be a good fit for your wallet:

  • Hotel Perks: Access to Hilton Honors Gold status brings with it a host of benefits that can make your stays even more enjoyable.
  • Bonus Points: You’ll earn a generous number of points on Hilton purchases, as well as on common spending categories like restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status: This card unlocks the path to Hilton Honors Gold status, which comes with room upgrades, bonus points, and even free breakfast at participating hotels.
  • No Foreign transaction fees

Cons

Before you decide if this card is your perfect travel companion, consider these potential drawbacks:

  • Limited Flexibility: While it’s one of the best hotel credit cards for Hilton loyalists, it might not offer the same value if you prefer other hotel chains.
  • Variable Reward Value: The value of Hilton Honors points can vary widely depending on how you redeem them.
  • High Spending Requirement: To earn the free night reward, you must meet a high spending requirement, which may not be achievable for everyone.

6. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (4.5 Stars):

Ink Businesss Cash

So, you’re running a business and traveling often? Let’s talk about the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.

Now, this isn’t just a credit card; it’s practically a business partner that doesn’t ask for a share of your profits.

Why do I think this credit card might be a game-changer for you?
First, that welcome bonus is fantastic – how does a $750 bonus cash back sound? All you’ve got to do is spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

But that’s just the start. With the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can score bonus points on everything from office supplies to internet bills, even your dinners out.

These bonus categories are pretty much tailored for small businesses. Here’s the deal:

  • Rack up 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year. That’s 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, folks!
  • You also get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Again, that’s 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar.
  • And then there’s 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Even though it’s promoted as a cash-back credit card, you’re actually earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

When you’re ready to redeem them, each point is worth 1 cent, whether you choose cash back, gift cards, or travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Pretty neat, huh?

Highlights

  • Zero Annual Fee: That’s right, keep the money where it belongs – in your business.
  • Cash Back: Earn up to 5% cash back in selected business categories.
  • A Hefty Welcome Bonus: Spend $3,000 in the first three months and get a welcome bonus.

Pros

  • High Cash Back Rates: 5% and 2% cash back categories cover everyday business expenses.
  • No Annual Fee: Because every dollar counts in business.
  • Flexible Rewards: Redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards, and more.

Cons

  • Cap on High-Earning Categories: The 5% and 2% categories are capped at $25,000 in combined purchases yearly.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: This card charges 3% for each transaction in a foreign currency.
  • High APR: It could get expensive if you carry a balance.

7. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card (4.4 Stars)

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

When maximizing rewards on travel purchases without worrying about foreign transaction fees, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card makes a compelling argument.

You see, if you’re not the type to drop loads of cash left and right, then an annual fee for a high-end travel credit card might just leave a bigger dent in your wallet than the rewards you’d earn.

But with this card –the no-annual fee sibling of Capital One’s superstar travel card – you can start racking up those rewards without stressing over a pesky fee nibbling away at their value.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are other travel cards with no annual fees that might throw a bit more rewards your way, and some even have pretty juicy sign-up bonuses to help kick things off.

So, before you decide, it’s definitely worth your time to check out what other options are on the menu.

Highlights

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card boasts several noteworthy features:

  • Zero Annual Fee: The card charges no annual fee, making your rewards earning virtually cost-free.
  • Reward Miles: Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Travel Flexibility: Miles can be redeemed for various travel purchases.

Pros

Here are a few advantages of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card:

  •  Flexible Rewards: This card allows you to earn miles on all purchases and doesn’t limit you to specific categories.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: You can use your card abroad without worrying about extra charges.
  • Travel Insurance and Protections: Includes auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, and 24-hour travel assistance services.

Cons

Before you dive in, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • Lower Reward Rate: While earning 1.25X miles on every purchase is decent, other cards offer higher reward rates.
  • No Special Categories: Unlike some cards, VentureOne does not offer higher rewards for spending in certain categories.
  • No Introductory Bonus: Unlike many cards in its category, this card does not offer an introductory bonus.

8. Discover it® Miles (4.2 Stars)

Discover it Miles

If you want to earn rewards on every purchase and prefer fee travel credit cards, you might want to explore the Discover it® Miles. It’s a unique product that goes beyond the traditional confines of an airline credit card.

A lot of credit cards let you swap your points or miles for cash back instead of travel, but usually, that means you’re getting a bit less bang for your buck. However, this no annual fee travel credit card plays by its own rules.

Each mile you earn with this card is worth 1 cent, whether using it to fund your next adventure or turn it into cash back.

You’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend with the Discover it® Miles, which isn’t too shabby for a card with a big fat $0 annual fee.

But, it’s worth noting it falls a bit short when compared to other travel cards that do charge an annual fee.

This card really shines in its flexible redemption options and unique sign-up bonus. It’s a pretty solid choice if you’re an occasional traveler looking for a simple, low-cost credit card.

But, if you’re more of a frequent flyer, especially if your travels take you abroad quite a bit, you might find more value in a beefier travel card.

Highlights

  • No Annual Fee: You can start earning rewards without any yearly membership cost.
  • Miles Rewards: You earn miles on every purchase that can be redeemed for travel or as cash back.
  • Match Bonus: Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, effectively doubling your rewards.

Pros

  • Easy Earning: The card offers a simple way to accumulate miles, with no categories to track or caps on earnings.
  • Flexible Redemption: You can redeem your miles for travel purchases or as cash back, allowing you to choose how you use your rewards.
  • Match Bonus: The first-year match bonus can significantly boost your rewards, making this an appealing card for the first year of use.

Cons

Before you rush to apply for the Discover it® Miles, consider these potential drawbacks:

  • Limited International Acceptance: Discover isn’t as widely accepted internationally as other card networks.
  • No Premium Travel Perks: If you’re looking for perks like airport lounge access or travel insurance, you won’t find them with this card.
  • Low Base Rewards Rate: The base rewards rate isn’t as high as other travel cards. Without the match bonus after the first year, other cards offer better value.

9. Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (4.2 Stars)

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Delta

If you’re someone who doesn’t exactly live out of a suitcase but does like to hop on a Delta flight every now and then, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card might be your kind of card. Why, you ask? Well, this little gem comes with a $0 annual fee.

But hey, just a heads up. If you’re more of a frequent flyer who’s always on the lookout for those sweet travel perks or if Delta is like your second home, you might want to check out some other options.
This card is pretty neat, but there might be a better fit for you!

Highlights

  • Earning SkyMiles: Rack up 2x SkyMiles on purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide. Plus, earn 1x SkyMiles on all other purchases.
  • In-flight savings: Enjoy 20% back as a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

Pros

  • No annual fee: Yes, you heard it right. You can enjoy the perks of this card without the worry of an annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee: Making a purchase abroad? Rest easy because there’s no foreign transaction fee with this card.
  • Earn while you dine: With 2x SkyMiles on restaurant purchases, you can earn while you enjoy your favorite meals.

Cons

  • Limited bonus categories: If your spending isn’t heavily skewed towards Delta or dining, the earning rate could be somewhat low.
  • Lesser perks: While this card has advantages, it lacks some high-end perks like free checked bags or priority boarding that come with Delta’s other cards.

This card is a solid option for casual Delta travelers looking for a low-cost way to earn more SkyMiles, making it one of the best no annual fee travel credit cards out there.

10: IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card (4.0 Stars)

IHG

Speaking of some serious reward action, especially for those who love a free night’s stay, let me introduce you to the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card – a strong contender for the best no annual fee travel credit card.

Now, like other $0-annual-fee hotel credit cards, you’ve got this give-and-take thing happening – it won’t cost you a dime to hold onto it but don’t expect a free hotel stay to drop into your lap each year.

That said, the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card does sweeten the deal by giving you a hefty load of points for every buck you spend at any of IHG’s many hotels, like Holiday Inn, InterContinental, and Crowne Plaza, to name a few.

And let’s not forget the nice nudge towards elite status and that enticing sign-up bonus. Granted, it might not be as big-hearted as its $99-per-year sibling, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, but hey, did I mention it’s free of an annual fee?

So, if your travels tend to lead you towards IHG properties regularly, and you’re not the type to shell out an annual fee, this card might be your perfect travel buddy.

But if you’re the sort who likes to wander off the beaten path, or maybe you fancy using those hard-earned rewards for something other than hotel stays, a card with more flexible redemption options might be a better fit for your wallet.

Highlights

  • No Annual Fee: You heard it right – keep your cash for your travels, not for fees!
  • Reward Points: Earn up to 15X points total per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts.
  • Free Night: Earn a free night after spending $10,000 in purchases each account anniversary year.

Pros

Here’s what makes this card a standout:

  • Bonus Earnings: On top of the base earnings, you also get 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Free Night: Who doesn’t love a free night stay? Especially after a year of travel.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Use this card worldwide without extra charges.

Cons

Nothing’s perfect, of course, and the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card is no exception:

  • Limited High-Earning Categories: Outside of IHG properties, only a few categories earn bonus points.
  • Redemption Flexibility: Points are most valuable when redeemed for IHG stays.
  • Large Spending for Free Night: $10,000 spend requirement for a free night might be steep for some.

11. United Gateway℠ Card (3.8 Stars)

United gateway

If you’re one of those, who fly United Airlines now and then but not enough to justify a hefty annual fee, then the United Gateway℠ Card from Chase could be a great fit for you.

Why, you ask? Well, it’s one of those rare airline credit cards that doesn’t ask you to pay an annual fee. Yeah, that’s right – it’s $0!

So, you can keep it in your wallet without worrying about it costing you, even if you only use it once in a blue moon. Plus, you can earn those United MileagePlus frequent flyer miles, which could be handy.

But here’s the deal. It doesn’t come with all those fancy airline-card perks you might be dreaming of, like free checked bags and early boarding.

For all the United loyalists out there, you might want to check out the United℠ Explorer Card instead. It has an annual fee – $0 for the first year and then $95 after –but it’s packed with more perks you’ll love!

Highlights

Bonus Miles: You get 30,000 bonus miles after spending up to $1000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Here’s how you earn miles

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases.
  • 2 miles per $1 on gas station purchases.
  • 2 miles per $1 on local transit and commuting.
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Pros

  • No annual fee, making it a strong contender for the best no-annual-fee travel credit card.
  • Reward rates are great for frequent travelers, especially those who often fly with United.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees, so international trips won’t incur extra charges.
  • A 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi onboard United-operated flights when you pay with your United Gateway℠ Card.

Cons

  • You may find limited value if you’re not a frequent United flyer.
  • It lacks some of the luxurious perks you’d find in more premium cards, like lounge access or free checked bags.
  • Low introductory APR offer.

How to Maximize the Benefits of a No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card

Bonus points

Getting a no annual fee travel credit card is only half the battle; it’s how you wield it that brings in the victories.

And by victories, I mean those maximum rewards that satisfy your desire to travel. Let’s discuss a few strategies to help you squeeze every advantage from your card.

First, to reap bonus points or miles, you should aim to use your card for as many purchases as possible. Every gallon of gas, a grocery run, or dinner out could contribute to your next vacation.
Remember, the key here is to make sure these are expenses you would have incurred anyway – overspending to earn points can quickly backfire.

Another pro tip is to pay attention to minimum spending requirements for sign-up bonuses. Most cards offer these juicy bonuses, but they come with a catch – you must spend a certain amount within a specific time frame.
Plan your larger purchases around this requirement if possible, but remember not to buy unnecessary items to meet the quota.

Lastly, some cards offer additional bonuses or rewards for certain categories or purchases made at specific partners. Make sure to read the fine print and understand these offers to take full advantage.

By adhering to these tactics, you can maximize the benefits of your no annual fee travel credit card, leading to more adventures and less financial stress.

FAQs

cards with no annual fee

Is it better to have a credit card for travel?

If you’re frequently hopping on a plane or love a good road trip, a travel credit card can be a plus. It can help you earn rewards like air miles or hotel points for money you’d be spending anyway.

Plus, many have added perks like insurance coverage, no foreign transaction fees, and airport lounge access.

What card is best for traveling?

This can vary based on your travel habits and preferences. For instance, if you’re loyal to a certain airline or hotel chain, their branded card might be a good fit.

If you like flexibility, a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture might be best.

It’s important to compare options and read the fine print to find the right card for you.

What are the disadvantages of a travel card?

Travel cards aren’t perfect. Many have annual fees, and some can be quite high. You also often need a good to excellent credit score to qualify. Rewards can be limited to certain airlines or hotels, and some cards charge foreign transaction fees. Plus, the interest can quickly eat up your rewards if you carry a balance.

What is the difference between a travel card and a credit card?

All travel cards are credit cards, but not all credit cards are travel cards.

Travel cards are a type of credit card specifically designed to reward you for travel-related spending. They can offer benefits like airline miles, hotel points, and other travel perks. Other credit cards might offer cash back or rewards for different types of spending.

Do travel cards work everywhere?

Most travel cards are Visa or MasterCard, so they’re widely accepted. But remember, not all cards are accepted everywhere, especially abroad. It’s always a good idea to have a backup payment method.

Can you withdraw cash from a travel money card?

Yes, you can typically use a travel money card to withdraw cash at ATMs, but be aware that fees may apply. Also, this generally isn’t the best use of your card as interest rates on cash advances can be high.

Do travel money cards expire?

Yes, like all credit cards, travel cards have an expiry date printed. But don’t worry; your issuer will usually send you a new one before your card expires.

What is the purpose of a travel card?

The main purpose of a travel card is to earn you rewards on your travel purchases. They’re designed to help frequent travelers save money and enjoy perks like airport lounge access, free checked bags, and priority boarding. For some, they’re a way to make travel more accessible and enjoyable.

Can I use a travel credit card for everyday purchases?

Of course! While travel credit cards are designed to reward you for travel-related expenses, most also offer points or miles for everyday spending. This means you can earn rewards for things like groceries, gas, and dining out.

But it’s a smart move to pay your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges that could wipe out your rewards.

Are travel credit cards worth it if I don’t travel often?

A travel credit card may not be your best bet if you only travel once or twice a year. You might be better off with a general rewards or cash-back card.

However, if your card has other perks you can use, like dining or shopping rewards, it might still be worth it. It all depends on your spending habits.

Do travel credit cards offer insurance benefits?

They sure do! Many travel credit cards come with a suite of insurance coverages, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and even rental car insurance.

These benefits can add a layer of protection when you travel, but the specifics vary by card, so you’ll want to read the fine print.

Is it hard to redeem points or miles earned on a travel credit card?

Well, this varies from card to card. Some cards make it super easy to redeem your rewards for travel, with flexible options and straightforward point values.

Others might have blackout dates, seat restrictions, or complex redemption procedures.

Before you pick a card, understand how the redemption process works so you’re not stuck with points you can’t use.

In Conclusion

foreign transaction fees earn

As we’ve explored in this post, the benefits of having a no-annual-fee travel credit card are numerous. They offer the chance to earn rewards on travel purchases, often come with enticing sign-up bonuses, and they can even save you money on foreign transactions.

And let’s not forget – you don’t have to shell out any annual fee. That’s a significant plus for both infrequent and seasoned travelers.

However, choosing the right card is not a one-size-fits-all matter. It’s essential to consider your unique spending habits, travel frequency, and what specific card benefits appeal to you most. Are you after maximum rewards? Are you aiming to meet minimum spending for a juicy welcome bonus? Or are you trying to avoid those pesky foreign transaction fees?

Understanding what you value most in a travel credit card will make your choice far easier and more beneficial in the long run.

So please take a moment to reflect, weigh the pros and cons we’ve discussed, and consider what matters most to you.

Ready to embark on a journey to make your travels more rewarding? Browse our curated list of the best no-annual-fee travel credit cards and find the one that suits you perfectly. Start earning rewards on your travel purchases and enjoy your travels even more.

Remember, the world is at your fingertips, and the right card can take you there in style.

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Oladejo Elisha

I'm a Digital Marketer, Blogger, Content marketer, and SEO expert with proven results. I’m detail-oriented, results-driven, and dedicated to helping my clients achieve their goals.

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Oladejo Elisha. A Digital Marketer Blogger, Content marketer, and SEO specialist who loves the internet space so much that the competition drives me to the top as I keep finding ways to prove them irrelevant.