The 7 Best Free Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2019

Don't pay for travel credit card perks when you don't have to

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You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg in annual fees for a credit card that offers great travel rewards. There are many free travel rewards credit cards that offer rewards and perks you can use to fuel your wanderlust. We’ve uncovered the best free travel rewards credit cards. You’ll find credit cards with great signup bonuses, lucrative rewards and even promotional interest rates. Our list includes:

  • Best Overall: Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • Best Overall, Runner Up: Capital One VentureOne
  • Best Promotional Rate: Discover it Miles
  • Best for Flights: Blue Delta Skymiles American Express
  • Best for Flights, Runner Up: JetBlue Card
  • Best for Military: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature
  • Most Flexible Redemption: Wells Fargo Propel

None of the credit cards on our list come with an annual fee, so that's one less cost to worry about. As you're thinking about the best travel credit card for you, consider whether you'd like to earn miles you can use for flights or points that can apply to any travel purchases. An introductory promotional rate is great for paying off large purchases with no interest. If you're choosing between two credit cards, the extra perks and benefits can help you narrow down the selection.

 

01

The Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students
Courtesy of Bank of America

What we like: The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card offers 25,000 online bonus points worth $250 toward travel purchases if you make $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account. 

Ongoing, you’ll earn 1.5 points on every dollar spent. Plus, if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you can receive an additional 10% bonus on your points.

What we don't like: If you're a big spender, your excellent credit would allow you to qualify for a credit card with a higher rewards rate, as long as you're willing to pay an annual fee.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 billing cycles
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% to 25.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $10 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months 

02

Capital One VentureOne
Courtesy of Capital One

What we like: As a new cardholder, you can earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

With the Capital One VentureOne credit card, you’ll earn an unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases you make on your credit card. You can redeem your miles as a statement credit toward travel purchases you make on your credit card. There’s no limit to the number of rewards you can earn and your rewards don’t expire.

What we don't like: You must redeem rewards for a statement credit towards travel purchases you've made to your credit card and you only have 90 days from the purchase date to make the redemption.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases for the first 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% to 24.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount during the promotional period. None after for balances transferred at the regular APR
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

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03
Best Promotional Interest Rate: Discover it Miles

Discover it Miles
Courtesy of Discover

What we like: Rather than offering a signup bonus with a minimum spending threshold, Discover matches all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. If you earn 500 miles, Discover will reward you with 500 bonus miles. 

Ongoing, you’ll earn 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. The bonus applies only to miles you earn in the first year. You can redeem every 100 miles for $1 statement credit toward travel purchases or cash back.

You’ll enjoy one of the longest introductory promotional periods: zero% on purchases for 14 months. You could book your first trip and take a year to pay it off with no interest.

What we don't like: There's no foreign transaction fee, which makes it great for traveling internationally. However, be aware that Discover may not be widely accepted in other countries.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases, 10.99% on balance transfers the first 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.24% to 25.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount during the promotional period. 5% after for balances transferred at the regular APR
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup bonus: None offered

04

Blue Delta Skymiles American Express
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Blue Delta Skymiles American Express is a great entry-level card for Delta loyalists who don't want to pay an annual fee.

You’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend at U.S. restaurants and Delta purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. Use your card for in-flight purchases and you'll receive 20% in-flight savings in the form of a statement credit.

What we don't like: There's no free checked bag benefit with the Blue Delta Skymiles. The card also charges a foreign transaction fee on foreign purchases. If you're traveling internationally, another travel rewards credit card would save on fees.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: Not offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.99% to 26.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the purchase amount in U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of opening your card

05

JetBlue Card
Courtesy of Barclays

What we like: As a new cardholder, you’ll have the opportunity to earn 10,000 bonus points just by spending $1,000 in the first three months of having your credit card.

Ongoing, you’ll earn three miles per dollar on JetBlue purchases, two miles per dollar on restaurants and grocery purchases. Plus get 50% in-flight savings on cocktails and food purchases when you use your JetBlue Card.

What we don't like: Your points are limited to JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines flights. You don't get the benefit of a free checked bag and there's no priority boarding benefits.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on balances transferred in the first 45 days
  • Ongoing APR: 18.24% to 27.24%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 10,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your card

06

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature
Courtesy of Penfed

What we like: With the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature, you’ll earn five points per dollar on gas purchases, three points per dollar on grocery purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. 

You must be a PenFed member with a savings/share account to apply. You qualify for membership if you or a relative are a member of the armed forces.

What we don't like: The signup bonus is fairly low compared to other credit cards, especially for minimum spend amount

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 billing cycles on balances transferred in the first 45 days
  • Ongoing APR: 11.99% to 17.99%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: None
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days

07

Wells Fargo Propel American Express
 Courtesy of Wells Fargo

What we like: With the Wells Fargo Propel, you can earn three points for every dollar you spend on spend on travel including flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals. Plus, you'll earn three points per dollar on dining and popular streaming services. All other purchases will earn one point per dollar.

What we don't like: You'll have to spend a little more to earn the signup bonus.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 16.24% to 27.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount for 120 days from account opening; $5 or 5% after that
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

About Our Reviews

We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. Jacara has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The above content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.