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Best cards for flexible travel credits: $300+ credits for travel purchases

Some premium credit cards offer flexible travel credits—credits that can offset a variety of travel expenses. If you consistently use these travel credits, you can offset a large part of a premium card’s annual fee, bringing the effective cost of these premium travel credit cards down substantially, making benefits like premium travel insurance and airport lounge access much more affordable.

Here are the best cards offering flexible travel credits.

Cards with the best travel credits

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card: $325 in automatic credits for most travel or dining purchases

Travel credits: Get up to $325 in annual automatic statement credits for eligible travel purchases.
Eligible purchase include travel (airlines, hotels, car rentals, taxicabs, limousines, passenger trains and cruise line companies) and dining (restaurants, fast-food restaurants or bars)

3x points (3% cash back or 4.5% toward travel) anywhere you use a mobile wallet, travel insurance, 8 Priority Pass visits per year. Read our review.

Annual fee: $400

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card: $300 annual travel credit

Travel credits: Up to $300 in credits for travel purchases charged to your card.
Eligible purchases include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

Market-leading travel insurance protections, Priority Pass airport lounge access, and transferable points.

Annual fee: $550

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: $300 toward bookings with Capital One Travel

Travel credits: $300 annual travel credit toward bookings with Capital One Travel.
Awarded as a discount on bookings with Capital One Travel bookings such as airfare, hotels, and rental cars.

Offers airport lounge access, 10,000 bonus anniversary miles, travel insurance, and transferable points. Read our review.

Annual fee: $395

Capital One Venture X Business: $300 toward bookings with Capital One Travel

Travel credits: $300 annual travel credit toward bookings with Capital One Travel.
Awarded as a discount on bookings with Capital One Travel bookings such as airfare, hotels, and rental cars.

Offers airport lounge access, 10,000 bonus anniversary miles, travel insurance, and transferable points.

Annual fee: $395

Our methodology: How we selected the cards with the best flexible travel credits

In our list of the best cards with flexible travel credits, we looked for cards that had travel credits that were easy to use for a variety of travel purchases. Many cards offer “travel credits” that can be used for a single type of purchase—ridesharing, airline incidentals, or specific services like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. We didn’t include these on our list. We’ll likely publish additional lists that include these credits, but for this list, we wanted to focus on ease-of-use.

Specifically, we included cards that:

  • Have a travel credit that can offset purchases for a variety of travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel stays, and rental cars.
  • Apply the credit automatically toward eligible purchases.
  • Don’t require onerous hoops to use the credit—at most the cards on our list require you to book eligible travel through a bank’s travel portal.

The order cards appear on this list is based on the judgement of our editors. Cards are more likely to move to the top of the list if the credits are easier to use, apply to a wider range of travel-related purchases, or represent a greater percentage of the card’s annual fee.

The best cards for travel credits

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card: The best value, easiest, and most generous travel credit available

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card card art

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card offers the best travel statement credit available—and the competition isn’t even close. The card’s travel credit applies to more categories of purchases than the other cards on our list. You can use your credit for most travel purchases, plus most dining purchases. The card’s up to $325 in annual credits offsets all but $75 of the card’s $400 annual fee—making the card the most affordable card on our list after you consider the value of the credit.

The rewards on the card are market-leading if you’re interested in either cash back or booking travel through a portal. If you’re paying with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, or Samsung Pay, you’ll earn 3x points on your purchases, which can be redeemed for an effective 3% cash back or 4.5% toward travel.

The card offers a less-generous airport lounge access benefit than the other cards on this list—you’ll only get 8 free visits to Priority Pass lounges each year. And while the card offers good travel insurance benefits, the benefits on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are better. But if you’re an occasional traveler and you like cash and cash-adjacent rewards, the Altitude Reserve might be your best choice.

Learn more from our review of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card card art

Learn how to apply.

Annual fee: $400

This is a direct bank link. All information about the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card sign-up bonus

Earn 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel. Just spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can get a bigger welcome bonus with several other competing cards with similar annual fees.

More about this card


Benefit highlights:
$325 in annual statement credits for travel and dining purchases.
Primary auto rental collision damage waiver.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
Trip delay reimbursement.
Lost luggage reimbursement.
Extended warranty.
Purchase security.
Return protection.

Rewards:
5x on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked with the Altitude Rewards Center.
3x on eligible travel purchases.
3x on mobile wallet purchases made with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay.
1x on other eligible purchases.
Rewards are earned as points which can be redeemed for cash back at 1 cent apiece, or toward travel at 1.5 cents each.

Learn more:
Learn more about in our review of the Altitude Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card: An easy to use $300 annual travel credit on a card with stellar travel benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card offers up to $300 in statement credits each cardmember anniversary year for most kinds of travel you charge to your card. And the credit is easy to use—simply charge an eligible travel purchase to your card and you’ll receive an automatic statement credit posted to your account the same day.

Eligible purchases include a wide variety of travel and travel-related categories, but do not include dining, making the credit less convenient to use than the credit offered on the U.S. Bank card.

But when it comes to travel benefits, the Sapphire Reserve offers the most of any card on our list. The card has market-leading travel insurance benefits including the best Trip Delay Protection benefit on any card, plus a roadside assistance benefit that pays for covered services. It also includes unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges for the primary cardmember and two guests, plus similar lounge access to the Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club.

Finally, if you’re redeeming your points for cash back or travel through a bank portal, the Chase and U.S. Bank cards will give you equivalent rewards value. But the strength of Ultimate Rewards®—the rewards points you earn with the Sapphire Reserve—is in transfers to travel partners. When you transfer your points to travel partners, you can book travel through select airline and hotel loyalty programs, which can sometimes result in getting outsized value for your points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer: 75,000 bonus points after $4,000 of spending in 3 months. (Annual fee: $550)

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art

bonus_miles_full (Get this welcome bonus.)

Limited time offer. This welcome offer was recently increased from 60k. Rewards are earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Best-in-class travel insurance. Airport lounge access. Point transfers to partners. 50% more value for redemptions through Chase Travel℠.

This is an affiliate link.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: A lower-cost way to get airport lounge access

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card carries a relatively modest $395 annual fee that can be largely offset by the up to $300 in travel credits you can earn each year on the card.

The downside to the Capital One travel credit is that it is awarded as a discount toward bookings with Capital One Travel. This means you must book your travel through Capital One’s portal to access your credit.

While booking through Capital One represents a small hurdle to jump through, for most people this likely means booking one or two airline tickets per year through the portal. When you pay for airfare with your credits, you can still enjoy your elite benefits with your airline and earn airline miles when you fly. However, unless you’re booking one of Capital One’s Lifestyle Collection hotels, we don’t recommend using the travel credit for hotel bookings—most hotel bookings through third-party sites like Capital One Travel won’t earn points in a hotel’s loyalty program or get elite benefits.

Where the Venture X shines is if you want unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for the lowest price possible. With the card, you’ll get Priority Pass for you and two guests, plus access to Capital One lounges at the handful of airports that have them. The card’s annual fee is $400—$150 less than the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card’s annual fee.

If you have a large family, or frequently travel with a large group, the card offers a way to get more Priority Pass memberships for free. You can add authorized users for free on the Venture X and each authorized user gets their own Priority Pass membership.

Learn more in our review of the Venture X.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offer: 75k miles after spending $4k in 3 months. (Annual fee: $395)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art

Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Get this welcome bonus.

Not nearly as good as the card’s 100k point launch offer, but an above-average bonus when compared to competing cards.

$300 Capital One Travel annual credit. Transferable points. Travel insurance. (More in our card review.)

This is a referral link. All information about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Capital One Venture X Business: Low-cost Priority Pass access for small business owners

Capital One Venture X Business card art
Capital One Venture X Business

The Capital One Venture X Business card is very similar to the personal version. It carries the same $395 annual fee and up to $300 in annual travel credits. But it is a charge card meant for small business owners.

Like the personal card, you must book through Capital One Travel to access your $300 annual travel credit. That’s probably more easy to do as a small business owner—if you have employees who travel, you may be booking travel for them and the Capital One Travel portal gives you a convenient way to book airfare, hotels, and car rentals together as one itinerary.

For small business owners who want to grant Priority Pass lounge access to their employees, the card represents an affordable way to get your employees into airline lounges. Authorized users are free and also get their own Priority Pass lounge memberships.

Capital One Venture X Business offer: 150k miles after $30k spend in 3 months. (Annual fee: $395)

Capital One Venture X Business card art

Earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $30,000 in the first 3 months, which is equal to $1,500 in travel. Get this welcome bonus.

Giant bonus, but ridiculous spending requirement. Most will be better off with the bonus on the personal version of the card.

Priority Pass lounge access. $300 annual travel credit. Transferable points.

This is a direct bank link. All information about the Capital One Venture X Business has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Frequently asked questions

Is Visa or Mastercard better for travel?

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted globally. Today, even American Express is accepted in most places that most people based in the United States travel. The specific benefits and perks offered on your card are likely more important than your card’s processing network.

Can I cash out my travel credit?

Most credit card travel credits are issued as statement credits to offset eligible purchases. Travel credits are not intended to be used to access cash from your credit card.

What happens if I cancel a purchase that I’ve gotten a travel credit for?

Issuers may handle this differently, depending on how they issue travel credits. Capital One will re-issue your travel credit to your Capital One Travel account within a few days if your cancelled itinerary is eligible for a refund. American Express and Chase may recapture travel statement credits if you cancel a booking for which you’ve gotten a credit.

Can I use a travel credit for someone else?

In most cases, you can use your credit card travel credit when you book travel for someone else, as long as you charge their travel to your card. The Chase and Capital One travel credits both have no restrictions on booking travel for others.

About the author

  • Aaron Hurd

    Aaron Hurd is a credit card, travel rewards, and loyalty program expert. Over the past 15 years, he has authored over a thousand expert contributions published by leading outlets including WSJ, TIME, Newsweek, Forbes, NerdWallet, The Points Guy, Bankrate, CNET, and many others. He has also served in consulting roles for many of these same outlets, designing content strategy, hiring teams of teams of editors and contributors, developing thought-leadership pieces, and ghost-editing for senior editors. Aaron is well-known in the miles and points community and regularly presents about travel rewards at conferences like the Chicago Seminars and Minnebar. Aaron has enjoyed the game of optimizing credit card rewards since getting his first credit card shortly after he turned 18. He started learning about credit cards and travel rewards from the (now defunct) FatWallet Finance forums and FlyerTalk. He holds more than 40 open credit cards and has first-hand experience with almost every major credit card product.

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