Best Luxury Travel Credit Cards | Top Hotel & Airline Rewards

Last updated on Jun 27, 2022

Best Luxury Travel Credit Cards | Top Hotel & Airline Rewards

Traveling is costly, but traveling can be even more expensive when you’re a luxury traveler who enjoys the finer things in life. That is why finding the best luxury travel credit cards is so vital for a perpetual luxury traveler.

Finding the best travel card is more than getting a discount per dollar spent. Even if you’re staying in the most expensive hotels in the world, it’s still nice to get a few travel advantages and perks on holiday.

However, not all travel cards are the same. When looking for the best credit card for international travel, there are a few things to consider, like an annual fee, hidden costs, and foreign transaction fees.

These are the top luxury travel credit cards for travel, hotels, and airlines available right now.

What is a Luxury Travel Credit Card?

A luxury travel card is a credit card that accumulates points per dollar spent, which you can use while traveling to get discounts or rewards. What and how many rewards you’ll receive depends on the card company, but generally, you can continue to earn points for your holiday while you’re on it.

How Do You Get Points?

Many travel credit cards give their users account opening bonus points. This means that they’ll get a large number of points if they spend a minimum amount of money on travel purchases. So, to earn travel rewards, you need to spend money on travel expenses.

These cards are a good investment if you’re a frequent traveler as you’d spend money on your holiday anyway, so you might as well get rewarded for it. These rewards might include lost luggage insurance, eligible Equinox Club memberships, airport lounge access, and discounts on prepaid hotels.

Credit card companies differ in their offers and rewards, so it’s best to find out what each has to offer before applying to any one of them.

How to Get Premium Credit Cards

Some travel credit card companies offer exclusive premium credit cards to their members by invitation-only. These members are very wealthy and are usually part of the top 1% earners.

To access the best travel rewards credit cards, you’ll need to fulfill specific criteria to apply to the program. The process to become a basic card member includes credit and income check. This means you need to have good or excellent credit and a high enough annual income to meet the criteria before you apply.

Best Rewards Credit Card for Travel

Premium credit cards can help you save a lot of time and money. Take a look at the best travel cards to have in your wallet while you are on the go.  

Platinum Travel Reward Card from American Express

Annual Fee: $695

Recommended Credit Score: Good

American Express gives its customers some fantastic benefits, whether they’re traveling or not. But, having these convenient cards could come in handy, especially while you’re traveling.

This Platinum Card from American Express has many of the benefits of the Amex Black Card without the need for an invitation. All you need is an annual income of at least $50 000 and two years of good credit with a minimum score of 720.

This American Express Card earns its users 5x membership rewards points for every dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. Users also get credits for using their cards on companies like Uber, Equinox, Walmart, and multiple digital entertainment services.

The card allows you to choose your preferred metal card design since its collaboration with two world-renowned artists, Kehinde Wiley and Julie Mehretu. But, the classic and straightforward platinum design is still available as well.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual Fee: $550

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is an excellent option for luxe travelers who are constantly on the go. This account credits its users with plentiful Chase Ultimate Rewards.

By swiping and using $4 000 within the first three months of owning this card, you’ll already get 50 000 points as an account opening bonus. This translates to $750 in travel points which you can redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

To get this premium credit card, you’ll need a credit score of 750 or above. While Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t specify the required annual income, bear in mind that the credit card issuer will look at your income and expenses before approval.

Other travel benefits card users can enjoy include airport lounge access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide. You’ll also get 5x membership rewards points of your total on flights and ten times your total points on hotels after you’ve spent your annual $300 travel credit.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards you get on dining options are also worth it and have the meals practically paying for themselves. Get 10x on Chase Dining purchases and three times the total points for any other dining bills you pay with your card. You can redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards and receive 50% of your points in cashback.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: $395

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

The Capital One Venture X rewards credit card might be one of the newer premium credit cards, but it proves to be a tough competitor. Its rewards are well worth the $395 annual fee as it has no foreign transaction fees and outstanding benefits.

Capital One is very strict with its acceptance rate for this card. You need a high credit score for the company to consider this, with a score of at least 750. They don’t disclose how much your annual income should be. However, when you fill in your application form, you may put down shared income with a partner in a joint account as your annual income total.

The Capital One Venture X rewards credit card gives you many perks, but its travel and shopping benefits are the most rewarding for luxury travelers. You receive up to $100 credit on global entry or TSA pre-checks with this card. This means you’ll save so much time at the airport since you’ll receive accelerated customs processing.

These travel benefits also get you into over 1000 priority pass lounges and round-the-clock travel assistance at the airport. You can also rack up benefit points while on holiday with their dining and entertainment rewards. This incredible card membership will give you exclusive access to award-winning restaurants, events, and suite experiences.

Delta SkyMiles

Annual Fee: $ 250

Recommended Credit Score: Good

The Delta SkyMiles is the only airline travel credit card on this list but is an essential travel card for frequent flyers. Your sky miles can save you some serious cash, whether for business or pleasure.

When you first sign on as a member, you can earn up to 100 000 bonus miles if you spend $5 000 within the first three months. You’ll also earn 3x the miles on flight tickets purchased through Delta or its partners. This is an easy way to rack up points because, after only 4 500 SkyMiles, you’ll have enough points for a free domestic flight.

The card also gives you complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club. These allow you to relax in the lap of luxury before a potentially stressful flight with food from award-winning chefs and leading mixologists. You don’t have to enjoy this experience alone. Each year you get two one-time guest passes to share your Sky Club experience with your family and friends.

Other airport benefits include free bag check-in on your first bag, luggage and rental car insurance, and complimentary upgrades. It also has a concierge service to help you get priority bookings to shows and restaurants to entertain your family and friends.

Invite-Only Travel Credit Cards

Some travel credit cards are so luxe that they are only for the high-earning few. These members get access to the most prestigious credit cards by invitation-only. The details of some of these cards are so exclusive that if you’re reading about them, you’re probably not invited.

Centurion Card from American Express

Annual Fee: $5 000

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

The Centurion Card from American Express is the most exclusive credit card. It is more commonly known as the Amex Black Card and is invitation only. However, you need to have already used other American Express cards for at least a year before being considered for an invitation. Of course, you’ll also need to receive a small annual income of at least $1 million.

While Jerry Seinfield claims he was the first Amex Black Cardholder, nowadays, many celebrities have it and can enjoy its unique perks. These perks include elite hotel status at exclusive hotels like the Marriot and the Hilton.

These allow room upgrades, resort and spa credits, and complimentary breakfasts. You’ll also get airline perks like complimentary upgrades and airport lounge access.

Perhaps the best perk is a 24/7 concierge service that gets you a personal driver wherever you are. The concierge service also gets you tickets to almost any event, restaurant reservations preference, and complimentary gifts.

Citigroup Black Chairman Card

Annual Fee: $500

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

The Citi Chairman is another invite-only credit card that only the elite can own. It is one of the best credit cards for travel if you own one, as the benefits for its members are as impressive as it is exclusive.

Its exclusivity is wrapped in secrecy. Not much information is available about the requirements except that you must have invested a considerable amount of money in the Citigroup Broker Group. If you are one of the lucky ones to own this premium credit card, you’ll receive benefits such as airport lounge access and members-only event entry.

Its travel point rewards are another excellent perk, including a 24/7 concierge service. With this service, members will get travel upgrades and can arrange travel and dining prospects at their leisure, with often the best seats in the house.

J.P. Morgan Reserve

Annual Fee: $595

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

J.P. Morgan Reserve credit cards are only for society’s most affluent and elite members. To receive an invite into the club’s most prestigious credit cards, you need a high net worth and at least $10 million available to invest with J.P. Morgan.

The metal card is part of Chase Bank and is made out of the rare Palladium chemical element. It gives its users its weight worth in hotel and travel rewards. They receive complimentary airport lounge access, comprehensive travel insurance, and access to VIP events and experiences through this card.

When you use this card for traveling, you get an initial $300 travel credit to spend on travel purchases annually. After you’ve spent your credit, you’ll receive 3x the points per dollar spent at restaurants and worldwide travel. Besides this, you’ll also receive 50% more on your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you order through Chase Dining.

Bank of Dubai First Royale MasterCard

Annual Fee: Unknown

Recommended Credit Score: Excellent

If you’re looking for luxury, this travel credit card oozes it. Not only is this credit card the most exclusive card to own in the world, but it is also one of the most expensive to own – literally. This card is trimmed with authentic gold and has a 0.235-carat diamond embedded in the center.

The card is shrouded in mystery as most information surrounding it is unknown to the uninvited. Rumor has it that there are only about 200 cardholders worldwide. It is believed only to be sent to the top net-worth individuals in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, including its Royal Families. The card has no credit limit or restrictions with such a high-earning clientele.

Instead, your “Royal Lifestyle Manager” will assist you in getting anything you need 24/7. This could range from buying tickets to events to buying a multi-level mansion. This card has endless possibilities for the chosen elite.

Best Travel Credit Cards for Hotel Stays

If you’re staying in a luxury hotel, chances are you’re already taking advantage of the hotel rewards programs on offer. But, you could potentially save more if you use one of these hotel and travel cards as well.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual Fee: $450

Recommended Credit Score: Good

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a credit card designed to reward its loyal customers. To get the card, you need a good credit score of at least 700. As a welcome, you’ll get 150 000 bonus points if you spend $4 000 within the first three months.

As you spend more time at any of the 2,244 Hilton Hotels and Hilton Properties, you earn more points and ultimately more free luxury hotel stays. In addition to your already free weeknight stay you get for simply owning the card, you get 14x points per dollar for every hotel stay you pay for with your card.

If you are a basic card member, you already get a few extras, but the Express Aspire Card awards you the highest elite status– Diamond. With the high ranking of Diamond status, you get great discount perks. These include two free weekend stays, access to Hilton Hotel priority pass lounges, and a complimentary 24/7 concierge.

You get 7x the total points for eating at U.S restaurants as well as booking your flights or renting a car directly from the companies. Any car rentals booked directly with the company and Express Aspire Card get you automatic car insurance at no extra cost.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual Fee: $95

Recommended Credit Score: Good

The World of Hyatt Credit Card has the lowest annual fee of all premium credit cards mentioned. While it may be so, it still offers some good benefits to its users. You get 30 000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first three months. But, the welcome benefits don’t end there, as you get an additional 30 000 bonus points for spending up to $15 000 in the first six months.

Spending over $15 000 also gets you a free night’s stay at any 1-4 tier Hyatt Hotel on top of your already complimentary night’s stay. Using the card gives you 9x the points for every dollar spent at the hotel for visits, dining, or spa sessions. If you pay with your card for restaurant meals and gym memberships anywhere else, you’ll receive double the points per $1 spent.

The Hyatt knows its members love traveling, which is why they add double points per total spent on commuting, flying, and other eligible travel purchases. These costs include taxi rides, toll payments, and rideshare services. You’ll still receive double points per dollar in the first six months, and then one point per dollar spent with the card after that.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Annual Fee: $450

Recommended Credit Score: Good

The Marriott is a 5-star luxury hotel that offers its clients top-tier stays and travel perks. Try these premium credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, airport lounge access, high membership rewards points, and more.  

This Marriot Hotel credit card from American Express offers its users excellent benefits that increase in value the more they use it. Their card holders need to have a high credit score of about 670 and above before being approved. If they are approved, these metal credit cards can eventually offer a lot of free hotel stays and experiences.

There are six-benefit levels and start with a basic card-member tier. As a Marriott Bonvoy member, you’ll get perks like complimentary enhanced in-room internet access and members-only rates at the hotel. You’ll receive more benefits as you spend more nights at the hotel. To reach the top-tier, Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite, you need to spend over 100 nights at this prestigious hotel per year.

While the basic membership is an adequate travel card, it doesn’t offer many benefits. Once you’ve stayed at the hotel for more than ten nights, you get a Silver Elite Membership, and this is where you start to get your money’s worth. With this membership level, you get 11 points per $1 spent staying at over 7 000 Marriott Hotels. You also get priority late checkouts, exclusive member rates, and free in-room enhanced wifi.

Have You Found the Best Credit Card for Travel for You?

Travel perks often include hotel room upgrades, complimentary hotel and airline services, and free access to exclusive airport lounges. If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll enjoy the airport benefits of the Delta SkyMiles. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card also has good flight rewards.

Unless you’re staying at the Marriott Hotel for a few months in a year, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card won’t be much benefit to you. Instead, try the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. You get more points per dollar spent on hotel rooms, dining, and entertainment.

Final Thoughts on Luxury Travel Credit Cards

Using these credit cards for travel can save you a lot of money on your travel purchases annually. While the most exclusive travel cards are reserved for the top net-worth earners and are invitation-only, you don’t need an invitation to get a travel credit card.

You can apply for these premium cards through a card issuer if you have a good enough credit score and annual income. Once you have these cards, the world is your oyster and you get rewarded for using them.

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