Best Cash Back Cards That Are Great for Travel

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.

You don’t have to be a world traveler or jet-setter to benefit from travel rewards. But if you only travel a few times each year, it can be difficult to justify the annual fees many premium travel rewards cards charge. Instead, you might find more benefit from a cash back credit card that’s also great for travel.

These cards help you reap the benefits of cash back on travel expenses without sacrificing everyday rewards categories or having to figure out complex rewards programs. Instead of earning points or miles, you can use a cash back card to earn cash on your spending across both travel and everyday categories. 

You might use your cash back card like a more traditional travel credit card, to earn a percentage back when you book a flight or hotel room. Or you might choose a card with everyday categories and put your savings toward future travel — if you earn $300 in cash back from groceries and gas, for instance, and apply that money to a car rental on your next vacation to help cut expenses. 

Here’s more about how you can use a cash back card to save on your next trip, and our favorite cash back cards for travel:

Before You Start

At NextAdvisor, we believe eliminating high-interest debt balances and building healthy credit habits are essential prerequisites to enjoying the perks of a rewards credit card.

Even the best cash back rewards won’t outweigh the cost of revolving debt on a card earning double-digit interest. What’s more, you may risk rejection from issuers, who often reserve approval for applicants with the best credit scores, especially in today’s economic environment. Before seeking the best cash back rewards for your wallet, make sure you’re prepared to use your new card responsibly. Establish a great credit score alongside healthy credit habits like timely payments, paying balances in full, and low credit utilization.

 

The Best Cash Back Cards for Travel

These are our favorite cash back cards that are also great for travel:

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)

Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $200

  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99% – 24.74% Variable

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and on drugstores. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Pros

  • Flexible, hybrid rewards structure made up of tiered categories and flat cash back
  • No annual fee
  • Easily obtainable cash bonus
  • Competitive intro APR period can be useful for paying off large purchases over time

Cons

  • No balance transfer introductory offer
  • Not a great choice for international travelers — you’ll incur a 3% foreign transaction fee

The Bottom Line

Chase Freedom Unlimited is NextAdvisor’s pick for the best cash back credit card for its impressive rewards and flexibility for everyday spenders. But the card’s value goes beyond its primary rewards structure. A standout first-year bonus, introductory interest offer, and boosted redemption options make this card one of the best available on the market today.

  • 0% introductory interest offer on purchases for the first 15 months after account opening, variable 14.99% – 24.74% interest thereafter
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Complimentary 3-month subscription to Doordash’s DashPass, followed by 50% off DashPass for 9 months (activate by 12/31/21)
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $200 cash rewards

  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99%-24.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Pros

  • 2% unlimited cash rewards on purchases
  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • Introductory 0% APR for purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • Cellphone and travel protections

Cons

  • High variable APR after introductory offer ends
  • No bonus categories to maximize
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

The Bottom Line

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card comes with an enticing 2% cash rewards on purchases, along with a valuable welcome bonus. You won’t pay an annual fee, and can also benefit from 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 14.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99%).

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99%
  • Cellphone protection protection worth up to $600 (subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Visa Concierge Service
  • Emergency cash disbursement and card replacement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $300

  • Annual fee:

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

  • Regular APR:

    13.99%-23.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Pros

  • Great rewards in everyday spending categories
  • 0% introductory interest offer for new purchases
  • Competitive welcome bonus

Cons

  • $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95
  • No intro offer for balance transfers
  • U.S. supermarket 6% rewards capped after $6,000 annual spend

The Bottom Line

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is one of the only cash back cards we think is worth an annual fee, especially for modern families. This card’s excellent rewards on everyday purchases can help you maximize all of your most frequent spending — from dining in to at-home entertainment to the expenses that come with your daily commute.

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR
  • Early event ticket access and seating through American Express Experiences
  • Eligible for Amex Pay It, Plan It
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
  • Minimum $25 rewards redemption
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $200

  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases). Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases). Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Pros

  • Tiered cash back rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Limited rewards potential if you consistently exceed rewards caps in choice categories
  • 3% balance transfer fee ($10 minimum)

The Bottom Line

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card* comes with some serious — and customizable — perks: a tiered cash back system, introductory 0% APR offer for 15 billing cycles on purchases and for balance transfers made in the first 60 days (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter, a 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers), and a cash bonus welcome offer. Use this customizable cash back card to get rewards on your most frequent purchases.

  • Introductory 0% APR for first 15 billing cycles after account opening for purchases and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days, after which you will receive a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%. A 3% fee (minimum $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • You can change your selection for the 3% category every calendar month, among: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Earn 25%-75% boosted rewards if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member
  • Access free FICO score, updated monthly
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $200

  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99% – 24.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®). Earn 1% on all other purchases.

Pros

  • Tiered cash back structure
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory 0% purchase APR for 15 months

Cons

  • High APR
  • Limited redemption options
  • Can earn higher rewards rate on same categories with Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*

The Bottom Line

With great cash back rewards for dining, entertainment, and groceries — all for no annual fee — the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card* is a solid option for anyone who enjoys a night out. But its broad rewards categories can help you save on nights at home and travel experiences, too.

  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, variable APR between 14.99% and 24.99% thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
  • Access to the Capital One Shopping portal for online shopping discounts
  • Access to Capital One culinary, music, and sports experiences
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.2/5)

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.2/5)

  • Intro bonus:

    $200

  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99% – 24.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.

Pros

  • Flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Welcome bonus
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 months

Cons

  • No promotional 0% balance transfer rate
  • No higher-earning bonus rewards categories

The Bottom Line

The Capital One Quicksilver Rewards card has a great 0% interest intro offer on purchases for 15 months (14.99% – 24.99% variable APR thereafter) and a nice flat cash back rate on everyday purchases.

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then a variable APR of 14.99% – 24.99% based on creditworthiness
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Rewards don’t expire as long as the account is open
  • Unlimited 1.5% rewards
  • Multiple redemption options
  • Access to Capital One Experiences
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections

Why Consider a Cash Back Card for Travel

If you’re debating between a cash back card and a standard travel credit card, think about how often you travel. If you only have a few trips on your calendar each year, you may not earn enough rewards to justify a travel credit card. Instead, a travel-friendly cash back card can help you score rewards on gas, hotels, and flights. But when you’re not traveling, you can still use the card to earn cash back on your everyday expenses at home. 

Or if you travel a lot, but don’t want to manage points and miles within a rewards system, cash back can be much simpler to track and redeem. It all boils down to how you spend and the redemption options that you value most. 

What to Look for in a Cash Back Card for Travel

If you’re considering a new cash back card for travel, there are a few details to consider. These can help you save on travel costs and keep you protected while away from home:

  • Travel insurance and protections: While they don’t usually offer as many benefits as travel cards, some cash back cards include complimentary travel protections and services you can use while traveling. These may be offered from the issuer, such as Chase, or the card network — if your card is a Visa Signature, for example. Check for features like trip cancellation or interruption insurance, rental car coverage, and travel emergency assistance services. 
  • No foreign transaction fees: If you’re thinking about traveling abroad, consider a card with no foreign transaction fees to avoid paying extra when you’re out of the country. This benefit is much less common among cash back cards than travel cards, though. And if you only travel within the U.S., this may not be as important for you.
  • Good cash back rates: A great cash back card for travel is one you can benefit from both while you’re traveling and at home. You may prefer a flat-rate card to earn money back on every purchase, or a card with bonus rewards in certain categories  — like travel, dining, gas, and more. 
  • Additional travel perks: Your credit card issuer may offer additional benefits that can help you save activities while traveling, like exclusive cardmember discounts, tickets, and special offers to use on your trip or a night out. Don’t forget to see which added perks and benefits you can use before you book, on top of your cash back rewards. 

Pro Tip

Look for cash back cards that offer travel insurance and assistance services. Many card issuers offer medical, legal, and other emergency assistance to readily access if you need them while away from home.

The Best Cash Back Cards for Travel

These are our favorite cash back cards that are also great for travel:

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best Overall

No matter whether you’re looking for savings at home or on the road, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has plenty of benefits you can get value from, for no annual fee. To start, you can earn a $200 welcome bonus when you spend $500 within the first three months. It also has an introductory 0% APR on new purchases for the first 15 months (variable 14.99% – 24.74% APR thereafter). 

As for rewards, you’ll get 5% cash back when you book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) for the first year, and 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.  You’ll also get 3% at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. 

You’ll also get plenty of travel protections with this card, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, secondary auto rental collision damage waiver for coverage against theft and collision, and travel and emergency assistance services. Aside from its benefits, this card isn’t a great option for international travelers, since there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for Simplicity

A flat cash back card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a good way to get 2% cash back on all your spending, whether you’re traveling or not. It has no annual fee, and comes with a $200 welcome bonus after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. There’s also a 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (variable APR of 14.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99% thereafter). 

Because this is a Visa Signature Card, you’ll get access to additional benefits that can help make your travel easier, like travel and emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, and Visa concierge service for assistance with travel, restaurants, and more. However, this card isn’t a great choice for traveling abroad, since there is a 3% fee on all foreign transactions.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card: Best for Groceries and Gas

If you find yourself on the road more often than you fly, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers great rewards on road trip staples like supermarket and gas station purchases. You can earn a $300 welcome bonus after spending $3,000 within the first six months. There’s also an introductory  0% APR on new purchases for the first 15 months, with a 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR after the introductory period ends. Purchases you make abroad will incur a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Whether you’re on your daily commute or taking a road trip, you’ll get 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%) and streaming services; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, including rideshare services, trains, and buses; and 1% on everything else. Plus, it comes with cardmember events and ticket presales with American Express Experiences. 

The card also has car rental loss and damage insurance and access to the Global Assist Hotline when you’re over 100 miles away from home and need help with medical or legal referrals, missing luggage, cash wires, and more. 

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Flexibility

If you don’t travel often, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a good choice. You’ll earn the highest rewards rate in categories of your choice, which you can change based on your spending habits. 

It comes with a $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. And you’ll also get an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months for purchases and balance transfers with a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% thereafter. A 3% fee ($10 minimum) will apply to any transferred balances, and there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee. 

You’ll earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, between gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. You’ll also get 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and 1% on all other purchases. Each month, you can change your cash back category to match where you expect to spend most — so even if you normally spend most on gas, you might choose travel when you book your next vacation, and dining when you actually take the trip. 

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Card: Best for Dining and Entertainment

If you’re into sightseeing, trying new restaurants, and excursions on vacation, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Card offers cash back you can use while traveling. There’s also no foreign transaction fees, which makes this a great option for international travel. 

You can earn a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within the first three months, and get an intro 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, with a variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99% thereafter.

Whether you’re traveling or at home, you’ll earn 3% on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores, plus 1% back on all other purchases. And while you’re on the road, you can benefit from 24/7 travel assistant services to get a replacement card and cash advance while on vacation, concierge services, travel accident insurance, and more. 

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card: Best for Foreign Travel

If you like flat cash back rewards but also plan to travel abroad, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card is a good option for rewards that also charges no foreign transaction fees. There’s also no annual fee, and you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases — regardless of where you spend. 

You can qualify for a $200 welcome bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months, and the card comes with a 0% APR for the first 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers (a 3% fee applies to balance transfers). After the introductory period ends, you’ll take on a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR. 

And when you’re taking a trip, you’ll have travel accident insurance, complimentary concierge service, and 24-hour travel assistance to replace your lost or stolen credit card and get a cash advance. 

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99% – 24.74% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99% – 24.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $0

  • Regular APR:

    14.99%-24.99% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about getting a cash back card to use for travel, choose one that reflects both your everyday spending habits and your travel preferences. For instance, if you prefer to fly, you may choose a card with cash back rewards on travel, including airfare. If you don’t travel internationally, you may not mind if your card charges foreign transaction fees. With cash back cards, everyday spending categories  — like groceries, streaming, dining, and more — can also help you earn cash back toward your next trip. 

Most importantly, remember that any rewards you earn are only beneficial if you pay your balance in full each month to avoid debt. Only charge what you can afford to pay down when your statement is due, so you can avoid the high interest rates these cards charge.

Leave a Reply

Previous post Travel update: High-priced exams keep on being for vaccinated vacationers when returning to British isles | Vacation News | Vacation
Next post Greatest Individualized Equipment For Business enterprise Travelers