5 Credit Cards for Frequent Travelers

airplane

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Airport security can be a big source of frustration, subjecting fliers to time-consuming lines and checkpoints. Now, programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck offer expedited security lines with fewer requirements to eligible travelers. Unfortunately, you’ll need to come up with an application fee of up to $100 and a renewal fee every few years.

Some travel credit cards can help get you to your gate by reimbursing you for these costs or offering expedited security through membership programs.

Here are five cards that can help you get through airport security faster.

1. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent at participating hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining, car rentals, and flights purchased from the airline; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Two free nights at eligible tier 1–4 Ritz-Carlton hotels if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, and 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and the addition of an authorized user within the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Ritz-Carlton lovers can earn elite travel benefits and receive a Global Entry application credit.
For Airport Security: This card earns rewards points for all purchases and offers perks including an annual $300 travel credit and elite benefits at Ritz-Carlton properties. On top of that, there’s a $100 credit for your Global Entry application every four years.
Drawbacks:
If you don’t frequent Ritz-Carlton hotels, this card’s specific rewards may not be best for you. 

2. JetBlue Plus Card

Rewards: Six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases; two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
30,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: $99
APR:
Variable 12.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR on purchases; 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within 45 days for 12 months, then variable 12.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Big spenders can earn their way into a membership program with security benefits.
For Airport Security: 
Frequent JetBlue fliers can use this card to earn rewards points and many JetBlue perks. On top of that, spending $50,000 in a calendar year gets you into the TrueBlue Mosaic Program, which includes access to expedited security lines and complimentary alcohol on flights.
Drawbacks: 
If you don’t fly JetBlue, this card may not get you the reward points you want.

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve 

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on travel and dining; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
APR:
Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: 
This card earns valuable travel points and offers a credit for your security application.
For Airport Security: 
Travelers can use this card to earn rewards points with competitive redemption rates, receive an annual $300 travel credit, access airport lounges, and more. Plus, you’ll get up to a $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years.
Drawbacks: 
There’s a steep $450 annual fee.

4. Citi Prestige Card 

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels; two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
75,000 bonus points if you spend $7,500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$450
APR: 
Variable 16.74% to 24.74% APR on purchases; and balance transfers. Balance transfer must be made in the first two months from the date the card is opened.
Why We Picked It: 
Many spending categories earn double or triple rewards points, and you get a credit for your security application.
For Airport Security: 
Along with travel rewards points, an annual $250 travel credit, airport lounge access, and complimentary hotel nights, you’ll receive a $100 credit toward your Global Entry application every five years.
Drawbacks: 
At $250, the annual travel credit is slightly lower than some competitors.

5. The Platinum Card from American Express

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent on flights booked with the airline, flights booked with American Express Travel, and eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
60,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$550
APR: 
There is no APR, as it’s a charge card that requires your balance to be paid in full every month. Late fees may apply to late payments.
Why We Picked It: 
American Express offers a security application credit for you and every authorized user.
For Airport Security: 
The Platinum Card boasts a seriously impressive list of travel benefits, including VIP hotel perks and Uber, hotel, and airline credits. Both primary cardholders and authorized users with their own cards get up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits every four years.
Drawbacks: If you prefer to carry a balance month to month, this card isn’t right for you. 

How to Choose a Card for Airport Security Perks

Many credit cards can help you get through airport security, usually by offering a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. Most premium travel credit cards that offer this feature charge steep annual fees, so make sure the offered benefits are worth the cost of admission.

Look for a card that rewards the types of purchases you tend to make, or it won’t be a good fit. For instance, if you prefer to fly Southwest, a competing airline’s credit card won’t land you the best value.

If you can’t take full advantage of a travel card’s benefits and rewards, you may want to consider more cost-effective cards and put the money you’ll save in annual fees toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.

What Credit Is Required for a Travel Credit Card?

Premium travel credit cards usually require excellent credit. You’ll want to be confident in your credit before you apply and trigger a hard inquiry into your credit report. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com.

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At publishing time, the JetBlue Plus Card and the Platinum Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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