The 10 Best Credit Cards For Travelers in June 2019

Qatar QSuites A350, Alex & Erin Miller of Upgraded Points

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Last month I focused on the simplest of travel rewards cards: cash-back credit cards. This month, I’m headed in nearly the opposite direction with my recommendations for the top 10 premium travel rewards credit cards.

Premium travel rewards cards are loaded with travel benefits, statement credits for specific purchases and additional features that render the cards favorable options for frequent travelers. Premium travel rewards cards also come with higher annual fees. This characteristic is important because a traveler will need to utilize the benefits offered by the card in order to receive maximum value and offset the cost of the annual fee.

But don’t let the higher annual fees deter you. If you can use the benefits, you’ll find the value adding up and exceeding the outlay of any annual fee.

Here are my recommendations for the best premium travel rewards cards for June:

Recommended Personal Credit Cards

1. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection for cardholder and up to 2 guests
  • Airline and Uber credits
  • Welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars
  • 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flight purchases directly with the airlines
  • 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels (hotel booked and bailed in advanced) booked on amextravel.com

update:You might be eligible for a 100,000 welcome bonus with the Platinum Card®. Click here to see if you qualify for those 100k points!

Why We Like the Card

If you have a large family or frequently travel with others, you find a lot of value in the lounge access offered with the Platinum Card®.  While the annual fee is higher than other cards, you receive great value in return.

Specific airline lounge memberships can cost upwards of $600 annually and limit the number of guests you’re allowed. With the Platinum Card, authorized users receive the same lounge access as the primary cardholder, and you can add up to 3 additional users for a total of $175 annually and each user will have full lounge access plus be able to bring 2 guests.

Access includes thousands of lounge locations in the American Express Global Lounge Collection that includes Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and cardholder access to Delta Sky Clubs. Your authorized users do not have to be traveling with you to enjoy this amazing benefit.

Overall, the card has tremendous additional value, including free global internet, hotel and rental car elite status, and retail credits.

The Perfect Cardholder

The frequent traveler who enjoys lounge access, luxury perks, and elite status will get the most value from the card.

Good Value Redemption Option

Transferring 50,000 Membership Rewards points to Avianca will yield enough Avianca miles to secure a round-trip transcontinental flight in business class on United’s new 787-10. For more great ways to use Membership Rewards points, check out the article on 10 great ways to use 60,000 Membership Rewards points.

United Polaris Middle Seats
Fly transcontinental in United Polaris Class by transferring Membership Rewards points to Avianca. Image Credit: united.com

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Platinum Card from American Express.

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars towards travel
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide
  • Points can be redeemed for 50% more value through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership with access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide

Why We Like the Card

Free lounge access is a valuable benefit worth hundreds of dollars per year. Authorized users, which can be added for $75 each, also receive Priority Pass Select membership that grants access for the cardholder, or authorized user, and 2 additional guests.

We also love the extra 50% in value received when you redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.

Unlike other travel rewards cards, the $300 annual travel statement credit includes a broad range of travel purchases not just airline incidentals.

The Perfect Cardholder

The frequent traveler who values lounge access and spends a lot on travel will benefit greatly from having the card.

An Excellent Redemption Option

Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to ANA and fly round trip business class from the U.S. to Japan starting at 90,000 miles.

ANA Business Class
Try ANA’s business class product on your way to Japan. Image Credit: ANA

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

3. Citi Prestige® Credit Card

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now:

  • 4th-night credit when booking consecutive nights; unlimited use until Sept 1, 2019
  • $250 travel statement credit each calendar year
  • Lounge access for the cardholder, immediate family, or 2 guests to over 1,200 Priority Pass™ lounges
  • 5 ThankYou® points per dollar spent on air travel and restaurant purchases
  • 3 ThankYou® points per dollar spent on hotels and cruise lines
  • A generous sign-up bonus worth hundreds of dollars in travel

Why We Like the Card

The 4th-night free benefit can be worth hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Book your stay through the Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel portal and receive a discount in the amount of the average base cost per night of the 4 hotel nights. This benefit is being reduced to 2 uses per year beginning September 1, 2019, but until then, you can book as many 4-night stays as you want, even stays beyond September 1st.

With elevated earnings of 5 points per dollar spent on travel and restaurant purchases and 3 points per dollar on hotel and cruises, points will be accumulating quickly.

Additionally, airport lounge access is a great benefit that can offer tremendous value. Your entire immediate family can have access to the Priority Pass lounges worldwide without having to pay guest fees.

The Perfect Cardholder

Since the card comes with a $495 annual fee, the ideal cardholder will need to be a frequent traveler who spends a lot on travel and dining to maximize the earnings and benefits of the card.

The cardholder who uses the complimentary lounge access benefit, 4th-night hotel credit, and the $250 travel credit will generate more than enough economic value to offset the annual fee.

Hot Tip: Securing the Citi Prestige® Card allows you to use the 4th-night free benefit for all your family summer travel. There is currently no limit on how many times you can use the benefit (this unlimited use ends September 1, 2019). 

An Excellent Redemption

Book any hotel through the Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel portal and receive a credit for the 4th consecutive night. For example, book the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview for $176 per night this summer. Receive a $176 credit on the 4-night booking with the Citi Prestige Card. Use the benefit as many times as you’d like until September 1, 2019, and enjoy discounted hotel stays.

Hilton Niagara Falls
Enjoy a family getaway and get the 4th night free at Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview. Image Credit: Hilton

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Citi Prestige® Credit Card.

4. U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • A welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars worth of travel
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and mobile wallet spending
  • $325 in annual travel statement credits
  • 4 free Priority Pass visits for cardholder and 1 guest to over 1,200 lounges worldwide
  • 12 complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes per year

Why We Like the Card

As a premium travel rewards card, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® card holds its own. You’ll find elevated earning on travel, travel statement credits, and limited complimentary lounge access. Additionally you’ll enjoy earning on mobile wallet spending that could result in building points quickly.

While the card doesn’t have unlimited Priority Pass lounge access like other premium travel rewards cards, or transferable rewards points, its lower annual fee, which is offset by the $325 travel statement credit, makes the card an overall inexpensive choice.

The Perfect Cardholder

The perfect cardholder would make mobile wallet purchases frequently to maximize the earning power of the card. The travel statement credit would need to be utilized in its entirety to also take full advantage of the cards benefits.

You could travel just a few times a year and still benefit greatly from having the card.

An Excellent Redemption Option

You can easily book 4 nights at the incredible Waldorf Astoria Shanghai with your points, and use your annual travel credit, to receive great value. Use your annual travel credit to book the first hotel night stay to cover the $279, which is the actual cost per night for an October stay. Then use 60,000 points to cover the remainder of your stay.

Waldorf Shanghai
Use your U.S. Bank points to enjoy the luxury of the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai. Image Credit: Timeout Shanghai

5. United MileagePlus Club Card

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • A welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars in free flights
  • Complimentary United Club Membership
  • 2 miles per dollar for United purchases
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 2 free checked bags, priority boarding, check-in and security screening priority, upgrades eligibility on award tickets
  • Waived fees on tickets purchases within 21 days of departure

Why We Like the Card

We can’t imagine being a United Airlines frequent flyer and not having a United branded credit card, especially if you don’t have elite status with United. You’ll be getting benefits with the card like priority boarding, free checked bags, priority check in, and other elite benefits that are normally reserved for elite members.

We also like that the card comes with complimentary access to the United Club, a valuable benefit that alone would cost hundreds of dollars per year.

The Perfect Cardholder

The perfect cardholder is a loyal United flyer who wants to enjoy an elevated experience when flying United and appreciates the value of United Club access.

An Excellent Redemption Option

Fly from the U.S. to the Caribbean for just 35,000 United miles round-trip. Since United allows a stopover, you could visit more than one island. For more creative ways to use your United MileagePlus miles, check out this list of ideas.

Use your United MileagePlus miles to visit the Caribbean.  Image Credit: mycaribbeanlife.com.

For more information about this card, read the full review on the United MileagePlus® Club Card.

6. Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Complimentary Admirals Club® Membership
  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to 8 travel companions
  • Priority boarding, screening, and check in for cardholder and up to 8 travel companions
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines

Why We Like the Card

We like the card mainly for the complimentary Admirals Club membership, which is a value of up to $650. However, frequent American Airlines travelers will enjoy having a free checked bag and other priority benefits at the airport.

The Perfect Cardholder

The perfect cardholder will be the frequent American Airlines traveler who is currently paying for Admiral’s Club membership or who is considering a membership. Cardholders receive complimentary access and are able to bring in 2 guests who are traveling with them.

The card also adds value for families who travel on American Airlines as authorized users, which cost nothing to add to the card, are allowed full access to the Admirals Club and can bring 2 guests.

An Excellent Redemption Option

You can book domestic flights of 500 miles or less in length for as little as 7,500 AAdvantage miles in economy class. Splurge on first class for just 15,000 miles each way. For additional ideas on maximizing your AAdvantage miles, including securing premium seats worldwide, check out our list of options.

This is how to book flights between New York (LGA) and Chicago (ORD)
Put your AAdvantage miles to good use for award flights of less than 500 miles for 7,500 award miles. Image Credit: shutterstock.com.

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® Review.

7. Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® lounge access for cardholder and 2 guests
  • Free annual first class or economy companion ticket certificate; pay taxes and fees only
  • Complimentary upgrade priority on Delta Air Lines flights
  • Free checked bag and priority boarding for cardholder and up to 8 travel companions
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta
  • Earn elite Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)

Why We Like the Card

Complimentary lounge access is a valuable benefit. A family Sky Club membership can exceed $1,000 annually, making this benefit a really money saver for the cardholder who would normally be paying for access.

Delta Reserve cardholders also gain priority for receiving complimentary upgrades over travelers and elite members who do not have a Delta Reserve card.

Unlike other airline-branded credit cards, the Delta Reserve card offers the opportunity to earn elite status for reaching specific spending levels on the card.

The Perfect Cardholder

The perfect cardholder is the frequent Delta traveler who values, and utilizes, the Delta focused benefits that come with the card. Lounge access, free checked bags, priority boarding, and a fast track to elite status, make the card indispensable for the Delta frequent flyer.

Add in an annual first class companion ticket and there’s plenty of tangible value in having the card.

An Excellent Redemption Option

Use 35,000 SkyMiles each way to fly Aeromexico in business class on the 787 Dreamliner from New York, NY to Mexico City for a historic weekend getaway. Here are some great ideas on how to maximize your SkyMiles to ensure that you make the most of your points.

Mexico City offers historic, archaeological, and gastronomic experiences, making it perfect for a weekend getaway. Image Credit: National Geographic.

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

8. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • 14x points per dollar spent at participating hotel or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7x points per dollar spent on flights directly booked with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 7x points per dollar spent on car rentals booked directly from select car rentals companies
  • 7x points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • Priority Pass™ lounge access
  • $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • 1 weekend night reward

Why We Like the Card

The card offers a great deal of value, even with the premium annual fee. With Priority Pass lounge access, Hilton property credits, $250 in airline credits, and a free weekend night reward, the value adds up quickly to justify the annual fee.

The Perfect Cardholder

Hilton loyalists will realize the most value from this card. They’ll earn 14 Hilton Honors Points per dollar spent at Hilton, a $250 resort credit, and complimentary top elite status.

An Excellent Redemption Option

Families who stay at Hilton Resorts for their vacation can utilize the $250 resort credit to reduce the expense of their family getaway. Book a vacation at any of these 266 Hilton Resorts and use your $250 resort credit.  The resort credit can help cover the cost of additional nights, food, beverage, and activity charges.

To learn more about the best way to maximize Hilton redemptions, check out  the 13 best ways to redeem Hilton points for maximum value.

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa
Use your $250 resort credit at one of the Hilton resorts in the Seychelles. Image Credit: Hilton

9. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit
  • Free hotel night at card anniversary
  • $100 St. Regis or Ritz Carlton hotel credit with 2 night stay
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 6 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties

Why We Like the Card

There’s no better way to earn Marriott Bonvoy rewards points than having a premium Marriott branded credit card. We like that the annual free night is good for properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night and that 15 nights per year are automatically credited towards elite status.

The card also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status that will give you enhanced room upgrades, 25% bonus points on stays, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more.

The Perfect Cardholder

The perfect cardholder is the Marriott loyalist who values elite status, uses the $300 statement credit each year, and takes advantage of the annual free hotel night. Those benefits alone make the card worthwhile for the frequent Marriott customer.

An Excellent Redemption Option

The JW Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, is a 5-star property that it can be booked for just 17,500 Marriott Bonvoy Rewards points per night or even 15,000 during off-peak season.

Using the 5th night free benefit, you can reserve 5 consecutive award nights and get the 5th night free. That’s only 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a 5 night stay off-peak.

There are plenty of other great options for creatively redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy Rewards points at interesting properties.

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi
Book the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi with Marriott Bonvoy Rewards points for a great value. Image Credit: Marriott.

Wildcard Pick for June

10. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred is not a premium travel rewards card, it can serve as a great alternative without the higher annual fee you find on the premium cards.

Top Reasons to Get the Card Now

  • Hundreds of dollars in travel value as a welcome bonus
  • 2x earnings on travel, which includes airfare, hotels, taxis, and trains
  • 2x earnings on dining
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Why We Like This Card

We like that it earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases. And when it comes time to redeem your points, you’ll receive an additional 25%  value when redeeming for travel via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Another benefit of Ultimate Rewards is the flexibility to transfer Ultimate Rewards to many travel partners.

The Perfect Cardholder

If you spend a lot on dining out and travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will match up with your spending profile and result in maximized earnings.

The card is also a great first travel rewards card because it earns valuable, flexible Ultimate Rewards Points and delivers great value when redeeming for travel.

An Excellent Redemption Option

Book the Hyatt Place Los Cabos for an entire week with just 35,000 Ultimate Rewards points after transferring points to Hyatt. With the current sign-up bonus of 60,000, you’d have points to spare. Check out this inspiring list for other great Ultimate Rewards redemption options.

Hyatt Place Los Cabos
Book a week in paradise for as little as 35,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Image Credit: Hyatt

For more information about this card, read the full review on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. 

Final Thoughts

Premium travel rewards cards aren’t for everyone, but they provide exceptional value for those frequent travelers who can utilize the offered benefits.

So, that’s it for this month, but stay tuned as I’ll continue to check in again next month with my list of the 10 best cards I think offer great value.

In the meantime, because it’s not possible to list all the best cards in my monthly list, you’ll want to explore the rest of our site for reviews on other travel rewards cards such as cash back cards, airline-branded credit cards, hotel cards, and a selection of rewards earning credit cards.


*Featured Image Credit: Timeout Shanghai

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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2 comments

  1. Agness | the adventure traveler · April 7, 2019 · Reply

    I was actually wondering about this one. I really appreciate the list you’ve compiled here. I’m going to look it up individually and see what I like the most. Thank you!

    • Christine Krzyszton · April 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Agness and thank you for your comment. We’re glad you found the information helpful.

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