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Planning a road trip and want to maximize your travel rewards? What are the best credit cards for road trips? That’s what the Nerdy Millennial wants to know.
This is great information because I am entering a time in my life where I will be making monthly road trips to see my kids while I go to graduate school. I need something that will earn me points on hotels and possibly gas. Do you have any suggestions for my specific needs?
The freedom to decide when and where to go versus maintaining a strict time schedule is exhilarating.
It’s gotten me so excited that I’m planning road trips to other states for later in the year.
If you’re a miles and points junkie like me you’ll want to make sure to bring the right credit cards to hit the road.
So you don’t leave any miles (pun intended), points, or cash back behind, here are the best credit cards to use for a road trip.
- Best Credit Cards for Road Trips
- 1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 2. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (learn more)
- 3. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more)
- 4. Chase Freedom
- 5. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card (learn more)
- 6. Chase Freedom Unlimited
- 7. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Best Credit Cards for Road Trips
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
One of the best cards for a road trip is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel: airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars. If you use this card you’ll earn lots of points on a road trip.
Points are transferrable to 13 airline and hotel partners like Southwest and Marriott. So you can use the points for free nights on the road.
This is a great card if you’re getting started earning travel rewards. The annual fee of $95 is reasonable. The only downside, you won’t earn points for gas purchases.
Pro-tip: Here’s how to earn points for gas purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Prepay your fuel on your rental car for your road trip and you’ll earn points for gas. You may end up paying more for gas but you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent instead of only one.
2. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (learn more)
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (learn how to apply) is one of the best credit cards for road trips.
Because you earn 2 miles on all purchases and you earn 10 miles per $1 spent on hotels.
As a bonus you get the $95 annual fee waived your first year. But you can only use miles for travel.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS CARD.
3. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more)
You can earn cash back during your road trip with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more). Some people prefer cash back to points. Because you can use cash for everything. 🙂
You get 3% cash back at US gas stations, 6% cash back at US supermarkets, and 1% cash back on everything else. You can stock up on snacks for the road and earn cash back.
With this card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the annual fee is a reasonable $95. You won’t earn cash back on hotels but there’s a workaround.
Pro-tip: You can buy Visa, Mastercard, and Hotels.com gift cards at many US grocery stores. If you pay with your Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express you’ll earn 6% cash back.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS CARD.
4. Chase Freedom
You earn 1% cash back on all purchases with the Chase Freedom card. But what makes this card one of the best credit cards for road trips is the rotating bonus categories.
Every quarter you earn 5% on certain categories like gas. So you could earn 5% cash back when gas is a rotating category.
A 5% return is pretty impressive for a no annual fee card.
With the Chase Freedom card you can choose cash back or points. If you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve you can transfer points to participating hotels to pay for your hotel room.
Pro-tip: Stock up on gas station gift cards at grocery stores during the 5% bonus. Then use those cards to pay for fuel on your road trip.
5. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card (learn more)
The rarely talked about no annual fee Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is among the top credit cards for a road trip.
You earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases making it a versatile card for all types of travel.
Mobile wallet purchases earn 1.8% cash back during your first 12 months of having the card. With so many gas stations accepting mobile wallet payments, you can earn 1.8% cash back on fuel and snacks bought at gas stations.
One of the best features of this card is up to $600 cell phone protection. So if you drop, run over, or someone steals your phone during your road trip, you’re covered.
Pro-tip: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card offers 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS CARD.
6. Chase Freedom Unlimited
Another top credit card for a road trip is the Chase Freedom Unlimited because it’s so handy.
You earn 1.5% cash back when you fuel up, when you sleep (at hotels), when you eat, and everywhere you use the card.
Because there’s no annual fee this Chase Freedom Unlimited should have a permanent spot in your wallet.
7. Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the best credit cards for road trips is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You earn 3 points on travel which includes hotels, car rentals, and flights.
You also earn 3 points at restaurants including fast food. Which any road tripper knows is practically a road trip staple!
Not only do you earn lots of points but you get perks that come in handy on a road trip. You get elite status, upgrades, and discounts on car rentals. Plus you get free room upgrades, meals, and other discounts when you book hotels through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and Relais & Chateaux.
You can offset the $550 annual fee because you get a yearly $300 travel credit. The credit is automatically applied to all travel purchases including Airbnb rentals.
Pro-tip: The Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t earn bonus points for gas but you can use the same trick as you would with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Prepay your fuel on rental cars.
These best credit cards for road trips can help you cover your travel expenses.
Whether you’re on the road for work, planning the epic family vacation road trip a la National Lampoon, or relocating across the country with the right card you can earn lots of points and/or cash back.
Cards like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more), Chase Freedom, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa (learn more), and Chase Freedom Unlimited earn cash back on all purchases. You’ll earn 6% cash back on gas with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more).
With a few of these cards in your wallet, your next road trip just got cheaper.
Which is your favorite credit card for road trips?
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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.