Travel is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend your money. You should work to maximize your money when you travel and by using a good travel credit card to get the best perks and rewards you can have the best experience. Some cards give you free access to lounges at airports, free upgrades at top tier hotels, or even ridiculous cash back!
American Express Platinum
The American Express Platinum card starts with a whopping $550 dollar in annual fees, but comes with a LONG line of benefits. Here is my attempt at listing them out as well as their value $250 Uber credits, $200 airline incidental credit, $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, free lounge access at airports, free upgrades at select premium hotels, TSA Pre-Check / Global Entry Credit valued at $100, free upgrades available at the Global Dining Collection, automatic status with Marriot Bonvoy, the American Express concierge and so many more benefits. On top of all the benefits and some that I consider too minor to list the card provides a great 5% cash back on travel booked using the card. It's an expensive card, but if you think you can utilize it correctly it can easily become one of the best cards in your arsenal. When you sign up for the card, make sure you sign up to maximize your bonus. There have been reports of of a $1000 sign up bonus!
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve recently upped their fees to $550 to match with the American Express Platinum. The card comes with a $300 annual travel credit, $100 for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, the same lounge access as the platinum, a complimentary year of Lyft Pink, and a free Door DashPass subscription, and two years of $60 DoorDash credit. If you're a big DoorDash user then this is definitely the card for you. This has been THE premier travel card for the last 5 years, but there have been a number of challengers who are coming for the throne. The card gets 3% back on dining and travel and 1% on all other purchases. Make sure to maximize your signing bonus which can be as high as $600.
Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture card offers 5x points on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and in general offers 2x points on every other spending category. The card only has an annual fee of $95 which is a lot lower than the above two cards. The Venture card also comes with the similar TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credit.. maybe that's why the PreCheck line has exploded the past couple of years. The card offers a $500 sign up bonus so make sure to make the most of that!
Bank of America Travel Rewards
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a 0, you heard it right, ZERO fee card. The card gets 1.5x points on every category and has a sign up bonus of $250. It's really just a travel card in name only. There isn't too much "Travel" about this card.
American Express Gold Card
4x on food and groceries, 3x on travel, 1x on everything else, the American Express Gold is a lite version of the American Express Platinum. The card comes with a much lighter annual fee of $250, but it comes with a $100 in incidental airline fees, $120 in dining credits at participating partners, and up to a $100 hotel credit. The card has great rewards to try if you're not quite sure you want to commit to the Platinum just yet.