If you ask a soon-to-retire individual about his or her retirement plans, traveling would definitely be most of their lists. People save money their entire life to be able to enjoy their retirement and experience new adventures.
Did you know that having the right travel credit card could make trips slightly cheaper? Many retirees are unaware of the power that comes with having the right travel rewards program.
I decided to put together a list of travel reward credit cards to make your vacations more pocket-friendly so that you can go further, do and see more!
When it comes to credit cards exclusively for retirees, this is as close as it gets. There really aren’t many cards made exclusively for retirees. The best cards are available to almost everyone. With that said, the AARP card is for members 50 years of age and older.
Benefits of the AARP Membership Travel Card
This card gives you 3% cash back on travel purchases and rental car reservations and 1% cash back on all non-travel purchases. There is no minimum value needed to redeem you cash value nor is the cash back capped. This card also has the added benefit of no blackout dates or restrictions.
Additional Features of the AARP Membership Travel Card
- AARP will offer you credit and purchase monitoring and will alert you of any fraudulent purchases, for which you won’t be held liable.
- You can also add friends or family to be as authorized users and receive rewards from their purchases.
- Rewards never expire for as long as your account is open.
The card comes with the cost of membership
Chase offers one of the best value packages with its Sapphire Preferred Card. The Sapphire Preferred Card is built for frequent travelers. It provides rewards from every service you use while traveling, such as airline rewards, concierge service offers, rewards on hotel bookings, travel accidental insurance, roadside assistance, and everything that you would need on your trip.
Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- 60,000 bonus points: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 60,000 signup bonus points to every cardholder that spends $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account. 60,000 points comes out to be over $750 in rewards when you redeem it using Chase Ultimate Rewards program – so that’s a hefty reward just for opening the card and using for your purchases.
- 2X reward points on travel and dining: Travel and dining are perhaps the two most important things that you would do during retirement, and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will help you earn 2 points on every single dollar spent on these purchases
Additional Features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Transfer points to travel partners: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card allows you to transfer your reward points to more than 12 travel partners.
- No foreign transaction fees: If you are going to foreign countries during retirement, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is perfect for zero transaction fees throughout your trip.
- Full of features for frequent travelers: It comes full of traveler-oriented features including lost luggage reimbursement, purchase protection, trip cancellation insurance, travel assistance, mobile pay ready, and other excellent benefits.
Travel and hotels are the two primary expenses you will have during your vacations. If you intend to travel local or even overseas, having Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card will make your hotel stays affordable. This credit card is created explicitly for frequent travelers who spend a significant amount of time at hotels.
Capital One offers the Venture and the VentureOne cards. The Venture card gives you more rewards and benefits.
Benefits of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 50,000 miles signup bonus: If you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening this card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card will give you 50,000 miles in signup bonus.
- 10x miles on hotel reservations: All you need to do is to make your hotel reservations through hotels.com, and Capital One Venture Rewards credit card will reward you with 10x miles for every purchase.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card provides up to $100 worth of credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.
Additional features of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 2X miles on every purchase: Against every purchase you make with this credit card, you’ll receive 2x miles, making your air travel quite affordable.
- Transfer miles to 15 travel partners: Instead of going through any specific travel program, you can transfer your travel miles to any of the 15 travel partners of Capital One, such as Etihad, Aviance, and Finnair Plus.
You pay $0 for the first year and $95 annually after that.
If you dreamt of enjoying luxury vacations in retirement, the Platinum Card from American Express is the most suitable option for you. This card offers a myriad of premium travel services such as lounge access, Uber credits, credit at Saks Fifth Avenue, Delta Sky Club access, and much more.
What we liked the most about the Platinum Card from American Express
- 60,000 membership rewards: As soon as you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening the Platinum Card, American Express will credit 60,000 membership reward points. Periodically, 75,000 open points are rewarded.
- 5x points on airfare: You will earn 5x reward points on every dollar spent on airfare on the airlines’ website or Amex Travel; that’s roughly 10% return on your airfare expenses.
- Lounge access: The lounge offers available with this Platinum Card from American Express caught our attention. You will get access to Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass lounge access, Delta Sky Club access, and a complimentary Hilton Honors Gold access.
- $200 in Uber credits: American Express will give you $200 in Uber credits with the card.
- $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue: You’ll receive $100 worth of credits for your purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, so if you’re into luxury shopping/items, here are $100 for your next purchase.
- Discount on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee: Platinum Card will offer a rebate on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee once every four years.
- Transfer membership rewards to 20+ travel partners: You can transfer your rewards points to more than 20 travel partners, including the likes of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer for their ultra-premium Singapore Suites.
Since it offers multiple offers for luxury vacations, you will have to spend $550 annually.
Yet another card from the giants at Chase. In addition to offering 3x reward points on your travel purchases, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers at least a quarter dozen rewards for your travel expenses.
What we liked the most about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
- 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points: Once you spend $4,000 in purchases during the first three months of opening Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you will receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem at 1.5 cents per point through Chase travel portal.
- $300 annual travel credit: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card entitles you to $300 in annual travel credits which can be redeemed against different types of purchases.
- 3x on travel purchases: For every dollar you spend on travel purchases, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card will give you three reward points.
Additional features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
- Priority Pass Select lounge access: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card comes with a Priority Pass that will give you access to multiple premium lounges.
- Discount on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a discount on your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
- Multiple travel benefits: Some additional travel benefits with Chase Sapphire Reserve Card include no foreign transaction charges, trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance, and many more.
You will have to pay $450 in annual maintenance and service charges.
If you love traveling by train, then the Amtrak rewards cards might entice you. Amtrak offers two types of rewards cards: the World Mastercard and the Platinum Mastercard.
You can use the cards to make purchases domestically and internationally on more than just Amtrak services and still receive rewards points. Reward travel begins with 800 points.
This card rewards you with 20,000-40,000 points upon opening the card and after having made at least $2,500 in purchases during the first 90 days. When you travel on Amtrak, you can use the card to receive rebates for food and drink purchases, which will be credited to you on your statement. Making purchases within Amtrak services also can get you anywhere from 1-3 rewards points per dollar spent.
The platinum card gives you 12,000 points upon opening and after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Similar to the World card, this card offers a 10% rebate toward food and beverage purchases and 1-2 rewards points per dollar spent with Amtrak or other qualifying purchases.
Both cards come with some additional perks such as companion discounts, periodic ability to upgrade tickets, and passes to the Amtrak lounge.
The World card has a $79 annual fee while the platinum card has no annual fee.
Best Travel Cards for Veterans
I wanted to know if there were any great travel cards for our military members. There are cards but they aren’t exclusively for travel.
If you are an active-duty military member or a veteran and you are looking for a great travel card, the best options are those already mentioned in this post. If you want to see which military cards are best for other ventures you can read this article here.
When it comes to military cards, it appears that USAA has the most military targeted cards, otherwise the best cards for travel, groceries, gas, and many other items are available to both civilians and military personnel.
There are dozens of cards out there, each with their own rewards programs Even if a particular card isn’t exclusively for travel, a card may still offer cash indirectly that you can use to pay bills and free up money for travel purchases. It might be worth it to sit down and look at different card options so you can come up with a plan for covering expenses while earning points/cash back on money that you have to spend anyway.
Use travel cards wisely and make sure you look at the interest rates on the cards. Don’t go spending all of your money just for the sake of travel points either, make sure you are staying within a reasonable budget based on your retirement income.
Remember, if you need help in any aspect of your financial life, feel free to contact me!