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Millennials have more credit card debt than the generations before them, for a myriad of reasons. But, is this generation (ages 22 to 35) making the right choices when it comes to picking a credit card? While they might be tempted to take advice from parents or other well-meaning members of other generations when it comes to choosing a card, it’s worth remembering that millennial spending habits — especially when it comes to travel — are much different from their predecessors.
Because of this, the card that works best for mom or dad doesn’t work best in a millennial wallet. So, what are some of the best travel credit cards for millennials? Here are four that are sure candidates for a good pick.
1. Wells Fargo Propel Card
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The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is an overall good pick for the average millennial for many reasons. As a newer card, it’s been pretty heavily marketed toward millennials as well. Here’s why.
You get 3x points for every dollar you spend on dining (both at restaurants and with ordering services such as UberEats), as well as every dollar you spend on Uber and Lyft, car rentals, flights, hotels, gas and streaming services.
Even better, there’s no annual fee, which is a big bonus if you’re not quite looking to drop extra cash on a credit card at the moment. This also gives you a chance to get your feet wet so to speak, without having to worry about a yearly fee. This option, as well as the potential to earn points for many everyday purchases, make this one of the best credit cards for millennials.
The current bonus is 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months (an easy enough target to hit), which translates to $300 in rewards that you can receive as plain cash back or as travel.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire family of cards is well revered in the travel community. This card is quite a good option for millennials who travel a lot and want to be paid for it, but they’re not necessarily looking to tie the knot just yet with a specific travel brand with an airline or hotel credit card.
The bonus offer for spending is huge right now — 50,000 bonus points for $4,000 of spending in the first three months — and worth $750 in travel. Additionally, cardholders receive $300 in travel credit each year.
As far as earning, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders receive 3x points for every dollar spent on travel (flights, hotels, taxis/rideshares and trains) and dining.
Travel credit card pros highly recommend using the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal for spending your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, as you can usually get more value for those points when you book travel there versus elsewhere.
Other benefits that come with the card include fee waivers for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck, airport lounge access and rental car privileges.
The bad thing about this card? It is a premium card, which means it comes with a hefty annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $450 annual fee, one of the highest in the industry. If that’s something you’re looking to steer clear of right now, you definitely will want to bypass this card for another on this list.
Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Is it worth it? Some say so. When you look at the signup bonus, travel statements, and perks, it can be one of the best, especially for frequent travelers. But if cash is a bit tight right now, consider signing up for a different card or checking out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Consider one of the best travel credit cards for beginners, this card comes with the ability to earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening (also worth $750 in award travel). However, you’ll only earn 2x points on dining and travel. Still, the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are well worth considering, even though the annual fee is $95.
Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit card offers July 2019, along with some other enticing travel cards that have limited time offers for the summer.
3. Blue Delta SkyMiles American Express
Say you want an actual branded travel credit card. Well, those do often come with annual fees as well, though not so large as that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But if you fly frequently or stay often with a certain brand, that annual fee could be worth it to you.
There is one travel co-branded credit card that does not require an annual fee: the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees).
The card has a welcome bonus of 10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months of account opening (totally do-able). It also gives you 2x miles on dining at U.S. restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta. You save 20 percent on in-flight purchases and, pending approval, you’ll receive a $1,000 line of credit to use at delta.com instantly.
The potential downsides to this card include foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees) and the dedication you’ll need to make to the Delta brand. With miles worth the most when you actually spend them with Delta or a partner airline, you’ll have to hang your hat at the Delta door for most of your flights to get top value out of this card.
If you prefer the brand, this could be no problem for you. If you’re less than familiar with Delta, however, do note the airline is one of the priciest for domestic flights. Plus, its frequent flyer program is lackluster until you begin earning major miles.
4. Capital One Venture Rewards
If you spend more on hotel stays versus flights (say you drive to most of your destinations rather than fly, to save on cost), this is the card for you. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you 10x miles when you book through the Venture portal at hotels.com/venture. Additionally, you receive 2x miles on every other purchase, regardless of what it is.
The current bonus is 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in three months. There’s a $95 annual fee, which is pretty typical for most credit cards. Capital One waives the annual fee for the first year of account opening. You won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees.
If you do want to spend your earned miles with airlines, the card gives you the ability to transfer your miles (and fly for free!) to one of the following airlines: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, EVA, Finnair, Hainan, Qantas and Qatar. Yes, these are all international airlines. But if you’re flying domestically, there are a few workarounds that would allow you to transfer your miles twice to get flights in the states with domestic airlines like United.
Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Millennials
While these cards are not only some of the best credit cards for millennials, they are also some of the best credit cards for travel miles, best travel credit cards 2019, and even some of the best credit cards for international travel that you can have in their wallet. Each of these cards with plenty of travel perks and benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for, one of these cards can fuel your travel for the rest of the year.
For rates and fees of the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, please click here.
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