Credit Cards With the Best Annual Travel Statement Credits

Jul 18, 2019

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To The Point

These credit cards can save you hundreds of dollars toward travel each year.

Travel rewards credit cards entice new cardholders with flashy sign-up bonuses and waived annual fees during the first year. However, many of the premium rewards cards on the market also offer ongoing travel benefits. These perks not only include things such as airport lounge access and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee waivers, but also annual statement credits toward travel purchases.

This benefit can vary from a flat $300 per year for a wide variety of travel purchases, like you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, to $200 specifically for non-ticket airline incidentals with The Platinum Card® from American Express, or $300 toward purchases with specific hotel groups, like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers.

If you carry one or more of these cards, it’s worth paying attention to their annual travel credits and to use them up within the specified time frame – whether that is a calendar or cardmember year.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the best rewards credit cards with annual travel credits, including how you can use each, and a rundown of each card’s other compelling benefits.

Credit Cards With The Best Annual Travel Credits

Card Travel Credit Welcome Bonus Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve up to $300 general travel 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in first three months $450
Citi Prestige up to $250 general travel 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in first three months $495
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card up to $250 on Hilton purchases, up to $250 on airline incidentals 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in first three months $450
(See rates and fees)
US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite up to $325 general travel 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 in first three months $400
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card up to $300 toward Marriott purchases 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $3,000 in first three months $450
(See rates and fees)
Platinum Card from American Express up to $200 for airline incidentals, up to $200 for Uber 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in first three months (possibly higher through CardMatch) $550
(See rates and fees)
Business Platinum Card from American Express up to $200 for airline incidentals up to 100,000 points after you spend $25,000 in purchases in the first three months $595
(See rates and fees)
Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card up to $100 for airline incidentals 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in first 90 days $95
Amex Gold Card up to $100 for airline incidentals 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in first three months $250
(See rates and fees)

Now for the details on each…

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Part of the reason this card remains so popular is that it has the easiest of these travel credits to understand and use.

Annual travel credit: $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for a broad range of travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. This credit must be spent before you earn higher points per dollar spend on travel.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Annual fee: $450

Other benefits: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is widely considered one of the best all-around travel rewards credit cards thanks to its slate of chart-topping benefits. In addition to that annual travel statement credit, cardholders earn unlimited 3x points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to nine airline partners including United and JetBlue, and three hotel partners including Hyatt, IHG and Marriott. Points may also be redeemed directly through the Chase Travel Portal for 1.5 cents apiece. Cardholders can access Priority Pass lounges and will be reimbursed once every four years for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Waived foreign transaction fees.

Citi Prestige

Though Citi has stripped the travel protections from many of its credit cards, this one still has some interesting benefits that might make it worthwhile.

Annual travel credit: Up to $250 worth of annual travel statement credits each calendar year toward travel purchases including airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, commuter transportation, subways, taxis, train tickets, etc.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $495

Other benefits: The Citi Prestige earns an incredible 5x points per dollar at restaurants and on air travel, 3x points per dollar at hotels and on cruise lines and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Citi ThankYou points transfer to 15 airline partner programs including Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Cardholders can enter Priority Pass lounges and receive the fourth night free on up to two hotel stays per year when booking through the Citi concierge or online at thankyou.com. You won’t pay  foreign transaction fees. You can receive Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement once every five years.

Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card

Hilton loyalists can take advantage of this card’s many benefits on hotel stays and other travel throughout the year.

Annual travel credit: Enjoy up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts, plus up to $250 back each year for airline incidentals such as checked bags and seat selection.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Other benefits: The card earns a whopping 14x points per dollar on Hilton purchases; 7x points per dollar on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through airlines, on car rentals and at US restaurants; and 3x points per dollar on everything else. It comes with automatic top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, an annual free weekend night and Priority Pass Select lounge access. Get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking two-night-minimum stays via HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite

Although its annual fee is high, this card’s travel credits and cash-back benefits are persuasive points in its favor.

Annual travel credit: Up to $325 in statement credits per cardmember year for purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,500 within 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $400

Other benefits: Earn 3x points per dollar on travel and mobile wallet purchases and 1x point per dollar on everything else. Cardholders can redeem points for 1.5 cents apiece on airfare, hotels and car rentals (or lower values for other purchases). If used mostly for travel, your rate of return is a considerable 4.5%. Get 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year, a 12-month Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access, reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years, and waived foreign transaction fees.

(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Marriott’s high-end personal card offers hotel-focused annual credit to get cardholders into hotels each year.

Annual travel credit: Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Other benefits: There are almost too many other benefits to mention. The card earns 6x points per dollar on Marriott purchases, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points per dollar on everything else. It confers Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access, and provides Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement once every 4.5 years. Cardholders receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status (and Platinum status if they hit $75,000 in calendar-year spend), complimentary premium in-room internet and a free anniversary award worth up to 50,000 points each year. You can also get up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges by using your card to book a special rate on stays of two nights or more at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties.

(Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

The Platinum Card from American Express

The long-reigning premium rewards product, the Platinum Card, has remained a top choice for luxury travelers thanks to its many benefits.

Annual travel credit: Up to $200 back on airline incidental fees charged by the carrier you select each year. Unfortunately, airfare does not count, and it’s getting hard to trigger these credits on airline gift cards. Cardholders can score up to $200 in annual Uber credits, too.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Annual fee: $550

Other benefits: This card has plenty of perks to justify its high annual fee. Earn 5x points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel and prepaid hotels purchased through Amex Travel. You can transfer the Membership Rewards points you earn with this card to a total of 22 airline and hotel partners. There’s also up to $100 in credit at Saks Fifth Avenue plus a statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee once every 4.5 years.

The card gets you into Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounge access, plus Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying Delta. At hotels, enjoy value-added benefits when booking stays through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts plus Gold status with Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status with Marriott. Through Amex’s International Airline Program, cardholders can get discounts on premium economy, business- and first-class tickets on 25 airlines.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The business version of the Platinum Card offers similar benefits as the personal version, plus some great additional ones.

Annual travel credit: Up to $200 back on airline incidental fees charged by the carrier you select each year.

Current welcome bonus: Up to 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first three months and another 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000, also in the first three months. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $595

Other benefits: In addition to the perks that the personal version confers, the Business Platinum Card also offers one complimentary year of WeWork access and a $200 annual statement credit for Dell technology purchases. Cardholders can count on a 50% points bonus (1.5x per dollar) on purchases over $5,000, up to 1 million bonus points a year, plus a 35% rebate when redeeming points for airfare on their selected airline, or for business or first class tickets on any airline.

Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card

Cardholders can use the travel credit offered by this card to offset its $95 annual fee.

Annual travel credit: Cardholders can enjoy up to $100 in statement credits for airline incidentals like checked bags, seat selections or upgrades each year.

Current welcome bonus: Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $95

Other benefits: This card has a solid cash-back rate of return. Cardholders earn 2x points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1.5x points per dollar on everything else. You can boost your earning 25%-75% depending on how much you have in deposits with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Points can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards and purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center, or as a deposit to a Bank of America account at a rate of one cent apiece. The card waives foreign exchange fees and will reimburse cardholders for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee once every four years.

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Amex Gold Card

American Express recently revamped this card’s benefits to offer more bonus earning opportunities.

Annual travel credit: Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees on one selected qualifying airline. This works the same as the Platinum Card’s benefit.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.

Annual fee: $250

Other benefits: Cardholders now earn 4x points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases each year, then one point), 3x points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel, and one point per dollar on everything else. Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

Bottom Line

Whether you prefer a travel rewards card that earns transferable points, a hotel co-branded one or a card that earns fixed-value points, there are some phenomenal options that offer annual travel statement credits. Picking one of them will ensure you continue to get value from your credit card long after you’ve earned its welcome bonus and paid its annual fee. This particular perk is one of the most compelling reasons to continue carrying a specific credit card and take advantage of it for free flights, hotel nights and other travel purchases year after year.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, please click here.

Featured image by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.