Best Travel Credit Cards of Spring 2017

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best travel credit card, according to If you can afford the $450 annual fee and spend $4,000 in first three months, you’ll have little trouble earning a free flight or luxury hotel stay.

Cardholders who use Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal to redeem their 50,000 sign-up bonus points should be able to claim up to $750 in free travel. And the $450 annual fee is reduced by a $300 travel credit and a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit. The card also offers complimentary airport lounge access and three points for every dollar spent on travel and dining without any foreign transaction fees.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard was awarded second place for providing many of the same benefits as its pricier competitors without the supersized fee. It charges cardholders $89 a year after the card’s first 12 months and yields an array of high-dollar benefits, including a 50,000-point sign-up bonus and two miles for every dollar spent. Unlike most U.S. credit cards, it is chip-and-PIN compatible, which comes in very handy while traveling abroad, especially at unmanned train kiosks, gas stations and toll booths.

In third place is the United MileagePlus card. For those willing to forgive United’s customer service and public relations struggles, the $95-annual-fee card offers significant value. This includes priority boarding, a free checked bag for you and a companion and a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus (after spending $3,000 in the first three months).

To help consumers pick the best travel card, evaluated some of the top-rated cards in the category and asked a panel of judges to rate the staff’s top three picks. Judges for the Best Travel Credit Cards of Spring 2017 were travel expert Johnny Jet (, personal finance expert Holly Johnson (, Money magazine staff writer Taylor Tepper, editor-in-chief Daniel P. Ray and senior industry analyst Matt Schulz.