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Our Top 10 No Annual Fee Credit Cards for Travelers

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When it comes to credit cards, the best things in life aren't free.

Generally, travel credit cards with annual fees offer bigger bonuses and benefits that can offset whatever annual amount you are paying. It's the main reason why we encourage readers to do the math before ruling out even cards with a hefty annual fee.

But we get it. Not everybody has the appetite – or the budget – to pay a high fee just for holding a travel rewards credit card. Thankfully, there are a number of no-annual fee credit cards offering travel rewards that are worthy of a spot in your wallet. And with some best-ever welcome bonus offers currently available, now might be the time to pick one up.

Annual fees or not, credit cards are serious business. You should never apply for a credit card if you’re already in debt, and never charge more to a credit card than you can afford to pay off immediately. That story doesn't change just because your card doesn't charge an annual fee.

Here is our list of the current best no-annual fee credit cards for travelers.



The Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The *freedom unlimited* earns a straight 1.5% cash back on all spending with no annual limit.

And there's never been a better time to get the card than now. As part of the card's special introductory offer, you can earn an extra 1.5% cashback on up to $20,000 in spending during your first year of card membership. This means you'll earn a bare minimum of 3% cash back (or 3x Ultimate Rewards) on up to $20,000 in spending with the no-annual fee Freedom Unlimited card in the first year.

Even without the special bonus offer, it's easily among the best no-annual fee travel rewards credit cards, period. And it gets better if you hold a *chase sapphire preferred* or *chase sapphire reserve*, as that allows you to transfer your cashback into Chase points. Every 1 cent of cashback gets you 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point.

You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cashback (1.5x points) on every dollar you spend. You’ll also earn 5% back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3% back on dining at drugstores.

Read our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Here are the card's highlights:

  • Welcome bonus: *chase freedom unlimited bonus offer*
  • Earn 5% cash back (5x points) on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Earn 5% cash back (5x points) on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025).
  • Earn 3% cash back (3x points) on dining (including takeout and delivery services).
  • Earn 3% cash back (3x points) at drugstores.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on all other purchases.
  • No Annual Fee


*freedom unlimited*


Learn more about the *freedom unlimited*.


The Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is another fantastic card to combine with the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve – or even a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning business card.

Just as with the Freedom Unlimited Card, you can combine the cash back earned from the Freedom card into Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1 cent gets you 1 point. Depending on which Sapphire Card you have, you can redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents apiece towards travel in the Chase portal – or simply send them to Chase transfer partners.

Be sure to check out our guide on Freedom Flex vs Freedom Unlimited to help you decide which version is right for you.

More card details below:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn $200 Bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 5% Cash Back (5x points): Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories.
  • Earn 5% Cash Back (3x points): On travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3% Cash Back (3x points): At restaurants and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 3% Cash Back (3x points): On drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1% Cash Back (1x points): On all other purchases
  • No Annual Fee


chase freedom flex credit card


Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex Card.  (for full disclosure, this is our personal referral link).


The Chase Ink Cash Back Business Cards

The *Ink Cash* and the *Ink Unlimited* are two no-annual fee cash back business cards that pack a huge punch.

Small business owners who already have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points like the *chase ink preferred*, the *chase sapphire preferred*, or even the *chase sapphire reserve* should give these two Ink Business cards a long, hard look. With one of those cards in your wallet, the cash back from these two Ink cards can be turned into Ultimate Rewards points, making the rewards much more valuable – especially if your ultimate goal is travel.

Wondering if you are eligible to open a small business credit card to earn more travel rewards? You might be surprised by the answer. And trust us, it’s less intimidating than you may think.

If you're unsure which one to pick, Chase doesn’t restrict you from having both, so you might not have to choose. But while they offer some of the same benefits, there are other key differences to be aware of between the Ink Cash vs. the Ink Unlimited cards.

Read More: Chase Ink Cash vs Ink Unlimited: Which Offers the Best Return for Your Business?


Full Benefits of the Chase Ink Cash Card

  • Welcome Offer: *ink cash bonus*
  • 10% Relationship Bonus: Chase Ink Cash cards opened between March 17 and Nov. 17, 2024, can get a 10% bonus on all rewards earned in the first year (sign-up and referral bonus points are ineligible). In order to be eligible for the one-time bonus you also need to have a Chase Business Checking account open on your cardmember anniversary date.
  • 5x points (5% cash back) on office supply purchases; internet, phone and cable service charges (up to $25,000 in combined spending each account anniversary year).
  • 2x points (2% cash back) at restaurants and gas stations (up to $25,000 in combined spending each account anniversary year).
  • 1x points (1% cash back) on all other eligible spending
  • Primary rental car collision and damage waiver coverage
  • Lost luggage insurance of up to $3,000 per person per trip
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Annual Fee: None


*ink cash*


Learn more about the *Ink Cash*.


Full Benefits of the Chase Ink Unlimited Card

  • Welcome Offer: *Ink Unlimited Bonus*
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x points (1.5% cash back) on all business purchases
  • Earn 5x points (5% cash back) on Lyft rides through March 2025.
  • Primary rental car collision and damage waiver coverage
  • Lost luggage insurance of up to $3,000 per person per trip
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Annual Fee: None


*ink unlimited*


Learn more about the *chase ink unlimited*.


The Bilt Rewards MasterCard®

If you pay rent, the *Bilt Mastercard* is a complete no-brainer. Not only is it one of the best no-annual fee travel rewards credit cards on the market, it's also the easiest way to earn points on one of your biggest monthly expenses: Rent.

That's because it's the only credit card that allows you to pay your rent and earn points on that payment with no additional transaction fees. That's right: You can earn up to 100,000 transferable points each calendar year on rent, all without paying any additional transaction fees for processing your payment.

Even if you don't pay rent, the card is still a great no-annual fee travel credit card option that deserves a spot in your wallet.

You'll earn 3x points per dollar spent on dining, 2x points per dollar spent on travel, and 1x points on other purchases (including rent payments) – so long as you make at least five transactions each statement period. And best of all, you'll earn double points on other purchases (excluding rent) on the first of each month as part of Bilt's monthly Rent Day promotion.


Bilt Mastercard


The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and even offers some solid built-in travel insurance when you book with your Bilt Card. That includes up to $5,000 reimbursement for non-refundable airline tickets if your trip is interrupted or canceled for a covered reason as well as reimbursement for expenses incurred (including meals) when your trip is delayed more than six hours due to reasons like inclement weather, airline mechanical issues or air traffic control delays.

Finally, the *Bilt Mastercard* provides up to $800 (subject to a $25 deductible) of cell phone protection against covered damage or theft as long as you pay your wireless phone will with your card.

Those are benefits that you'll typically only find on cards with annual fees.

You'll get the best bang for your Bilt bucks by transferring points to one of its 14 travel partners, including World of Hyatt, American Airlines, Turkish Airlines Miles & SmilesUnited Mileage Plus, and British Airways Avios.

Read more: A Full Review of the Bilt Rewards Mastercard


*bilt rewards card*


Learn more about the *bilt rewards card*


The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The *Cap One VentureOne* is a great card that provides a lot of flexibility in how you use your miles. You can also transfer Venture miles to 18 different airline & hotel transfer partners.

Think of the VentureOne Card as the little sibling of the *capital one venture card* and the *venture x* which both provide more miles on everyday purchases, bigger welcome bonuses, and credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Capital One Venture Miles are fantastic for many travel expenses you typically can't cover with other points and miles, like cruises, tours, or Airbnb.

  • Welcome Offer: bonus_miles_full
  • Earn 1.25x Miles: Earn a fixed 1.25x miles per dollar spent on every purchase.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees


*Cap One VentureOne*


Learn more about the *Cap One VentureOne*.


The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

*blue biz plus* is one of our favorite no-annual fee credit cards (see rates & fees). It's a business card, but it earns 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 a year.

Earning 2x Membership Rewards points on your business spending is a pretty incredible offer – especially if your business doesn't typically spend in a traditional bonus category. And even if you don't think your small business will qualify, you might be surprised – read our guide to applying here.

Related reading: Amex Blue Business Plus Review

More card details below:

  • Welcome Offer: *blue biz plus bonus*
  • Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards points after the first $50,000 spent each year
  • Buy above your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power. The amount you can spend above your credit limit adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, and other factors.
  • No annual fee (see rates & fees)


*blue biz plus*


Learn more about *blue biz plus*.


Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card earns 2% cash back on every single purchase you make. You’ll earn 1% cash back when you make the purchase, and an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases.

And right now, there's an exciting new welcome offer: Earn a $200 cashback bonus after spending $1,500 within the first six months of card membership.

Since the bonus is issued as Citi ThankYou points, you can make it even more valuable by transferring the points to any of Citi's travel partners – so long as you hold one of Citi’s top-tier travel credit cards like the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card or the no-longer-available Citi Prestige Card.


Citi Double Cash Card


Learn more about the Citi Double Cash® Card (for full disclosure, this is not an affiliate link).


Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Delta has four different co-branded credit cards, but the *delta blue* is the only one without an annual fee. But with that comes a lack of benefits. You won’t get free checked bags, lounge access, priority boarding, or access to Delta's TakeOff 15 benefit which gets you a 15% discount on Delta award tickets.

You will, however, earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and have foreign transaction fees waived.It could make sense for travelers just starting to fly with Delta.

  • Earn 10,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. 
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Annual Fee (see rates & fees)

Not a Delta flyer? Check out the *United Gateway*, or the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠  Card. Both cards have no annual fee and offer similar welcome offer bonuses and benefits.


*delta blue*


Learn more about the *delta blue*.


Hilton Honors American Express Card

The no annual fee *Hilton Honors* is a great option for the occasional Hilton guest who wants to earn bonus Hilton points on their stay and for their regular spending. And to kick start your point earning, the card even comes with an excellent welcome offer not often seen on other no-annual fee cards.

Just for holding the card, you will receive Hilton Honors Silver status. You can earn Hilton's Gold status by spending $20,000 or more in a calendar year.

Here's the full rundown on the card:

  • Welcome Offer:*Hilton Honors Bonus*
  • Earn Hilton Honors Silver Status: For as long as you have the card.
  • Earn Hilton Gold Status: If you spend $20,000 or more in a calendar year, you will earn Hilton’s Gold status.
  • 7x Hilton Honors Points:  At participating hotels in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5x Hilton Honors Points: At U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3x Hilton Honors Points: On all other eligible purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No Annual Fee (see rates & fees)

Check out our post on all four of the Hilton Honors Credit Cards!


*Hilton Honors*


Learn more about the *Hilton Honors*


Bottom Line

While you can typically earn far more points and miles on cards with an annual fee, no-annual fee credit cards can still provide good value – especially when pairing them with another card in your wallet that you're paying for yearly.

This list of our favorites should give you an idea of which cards to focus on if you are considering adding a no-annual fee credit card to your points and miles earning wallet.


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.

2 Responses

    • The Freedom Unlimited makes our list because of how it works with the Chase Sapphire cards. And because it has a pretty incredible return on spending for a card with no annual fee.

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