Top 6 No Annual Fee Credit Cards with Travel Rewards

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

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One of the benefits of Thrifty Traveler Premium is our free credit card consulting service. Through this, I am constantly asked my opinion on the best no annual fee credit cards that offer travel rewards. In general, credit cards that have an annual fee offer better rewards, which can easily offset the cost of the fee.

That being said, there are still a number of no annual fee credit cards offering travel rewards that are worth a spot in your wallet. In this post, I will outline our favorites in no particular order.

 

The Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom card is a fantastic card to combine with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve credit cards. If you hold a Sapphire card, you can combine the points earned from the Freedom card and redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal. More card details below:

  • Sign up Bonus: Earn $150 Bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 5% Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories.
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back: Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Affected By The Chase 5/24 Rule: This card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so this is something to be aware of before applying.
  • Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Card. 

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

 

The Capital One Venture One Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture One Rewards credit card is a great card that provides a lot of flexibility in how you use your miles. It is a great option for booking hotels via the new partnership with hotels.com. See our guide on maximizing your Capital One Venture miles. More card details below:

  • Sign up Bonus: Earn 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. ($200 in travel)
  • Earn 1.25 Miles: Earn a fixed 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase.
  • Earn 10X Miles: Earn 10X miles when using your card to make purchases at hotels.com
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Click Here to learn more about the Capital One VentureOne card.

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

 

Wells Fargo Propel Credit Card Card

The Wells Fargo Propel credit card is another great no annual fee travel rewards credit card. The card earns 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months. These can be redeemed for up to $300 towards travel.

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
  • 3X Points on travel, eating out and ordering in, gas stations and streaming services like Hulu & Netflix
  • 0% Intro APR: Receive a 0% APR for the first 12 months from account opening.
  • Learn more about this card and other travel rewards cards here.

 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card launched in 2016 as an offshoot of the original Chase Freedom card mentioned above. Instead of rotating quarterly bonus categories, the card earns a straight 1.5% cash back on all spending with no annual limit. Just like the regular Freedom card, if you hold a Sapphire card, you can combine the points earned from the Freedom Unlimited and redeem them at 1.25 or 1.5 cents (depending on the Sapphire card you have) towards travel in the Chase portal. More card details below:

  • Sign up Bonus: Earn $150 Bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 1.5% Cash Back: Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Affected By The Chase 5/24 Rule: This card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so this is something to be aware of before applying.
  • Click Here to learn more about the Freedom Unlimited card. 

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

 

The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Credit Card

PenFed is the second largest federal credit union in the United States, and earlier this year, they launched an intriguing no annual fee travel rewards credit card. The Pathfinder Rewards credit card does require you to be a member of the credit union, but this is very easy to do. It is the only no annual fee travel rewards credit card offering an application credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓. More card details below:

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 25,000 points after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of card membership.
  • 3X Points On Travel: You will earn 3X points on all travel purchases and 1.5X points per dollar on all other spend.
  • $100 Annual Airline Incidental fee credit: Intended to pay for incidental airline fees such as checked bags.
  • $100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: If you apply for either Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ and pay with the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards card, the application cost will be reimbursed ($100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA Pre✓).
  • Join the National Military Family Association: to be eligible for a PenFed account. Learn more about that here.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Learn more about this card and other travel rewards cards here

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

 

The American Express Blue Business Plus Business Credit Card

The Blue Business Plus credit card from American Express is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards. It earns 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases up to $50,000 a year. I place a high value on Membership Rewards because of the flexibility they provide. For example, they can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio directly into your Delta SkyMiles account.

The card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, but that shouldn’t deter you from getting the card. Earning 2x Membership Rewards points on every purchase is an incredible offer. More card details below:

  • Welcome Offer: None
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. Earn 1X points thereafter.
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • Click Here to learn more about the Amex Blue Business Plus Card.

 

Thrifty Tip: Almost anybody can be approved for an American Express business credit card. Read our guide to applying here.

 

Bottom Line

While the rewards structure on cards with an annual fee is usually better, no annual fee credit cards can still provide good value. This list represents our favorites and should be the six you focus on if you are considering no annual fee credit cards offering travel rewards.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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

  1. anthony says:

    How could the Citi Double Cash not make your list? Granted no incentive to sign up for it, but for the long haul. Everything 2% cash back.

    • Nick Serati says:

      While the Citi Double Cash card is an excellent no annual fee cash back credit card, the focus of this post was no annual fee cards that earn travel rewards. Both the Chase Freedom & Freedom Unlimited cards earn cash back, however their real value is unlocked when paired with a Chase Sapphire card as the “cash back” can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points.

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