Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The 17 Best Credit Cards for Road Trips [Gas, Hotels, Dining, and Attractions]

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton
Christine Krzyszton's image

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

313 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
Keri Stooksbury's image

Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

36 Published Articles 3278 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
& Kellie Jez
Kellie Jez's image

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

6 Published Articles 1179 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Upgraded Points: Expertise You Can Trust

Our seasoned and experienced team brings years of expertise in the credit card and travel sectors. Committed to integrity, we offer data-driven guides to help you find the card(s) that best fit your requirements. See details on our intensive editorial policies and card rating methodologies.

  • Content by Leading Industry Experts
  • Routine Updates and Fact-Checks
  • First-Hand Credit Card Experience
  • Shared Across 200+ Top Outlets
  • Methodical “U.P. Rating” System
  • 1042+ Expert Credit Card Guides

Road trips allow you to see the country up close and in relatively slow motion. Unlike flying, road trips are less about efficiently traveling from point A to point B than they are about creating experiences during the journey.

Planning your road trip can include earning and redeeming rewards to help you fund your adventure. You can also earn rewards along the way. Regardless of which is your primary objective, we can help you accomplish either or both.

We’re exploring credit cards that offer elevated earnings on typical road trip expenses and cards that can add value to your journey, such as those that allow you to offset the cost of activities. We’ll even talk about credit cards that can help you earn free hotel nights to use on the road.

The 17 Best Credit Cards for Road Trips — Overview

A road trip is a perfect opportunity to earn and redeem reward points or cash-back.

Before we detail each card in depth, let’s quickly summarize the value offered by each card when planning or executing your road trip.

SCROLL FOR MORE

Credit Card

Welcome Offer and Annual Fee

Best For

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (rates & fees)

Gas

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $0 (rates & fees)

Gas

Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $0

Gas, Dining

American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 60,000 points when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $250 (rates & fees)

Accommodations, Dining, Sightseeing, and Entertainment

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $0

Gas, Accommodations, Dining, and Transit

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Earn 130,000 points plus a Free Night Reward after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $150 (rates & fees)

Gas, Accommodations, Dining

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual fee of $99

Accommodations

The World of Hyatt Credit Card
  • Earn 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months and up to 30,000 more points by earning 2x points total on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 spent, in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $95

Accommodations

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
  • No welcome offer available.
  • Annual fee of $0 with your paid Costco membership

Gas, Dining

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $550

Accommodations, Dining, Sightseeing, and Entertainment

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $95

Accommodations, Dining, Sightseeing, and Entertainment

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee of $95

Accommodations

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • Annual fee of $95

Dining

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $695 (rates & fees)

Gas, Sightseeing, and Entertainment

American Express® Green Card
  • Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $150

Dining, Sightseeing, and Entertainment

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Earn 95,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $650 (rates & fees)

Dining

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points, enough for up to 13 free nights at participating properties, after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • Annual fee of $75

Accommodations

The 7 Best Credit Cards for Gas Station Purchases

You’ll fill up on gas often on your road trip, so be sure you’re earning rewards on every fuel purchase.

Here are some of the best credit cards for gas station purchases.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

HIGHEST CASH BACK
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.
Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
$250
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.

With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases, this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases, this could be the card for you!

Pros
  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year)
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on U.S. gas stations and transit (including rideshares, parking, etc.)
Cons
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit on Amazon.com at checkout.
  • $84 Disney Bundle Credit: With your enrolled Blue Cash Preferred Card, spend $9.99 or more each month on an auto-renewing Disney Bundle subscription, to receive a monthly statement credit of $7. Valid only at Disney Plus.com, Hulu.com or Plus.espn.com in the U.S.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Rewards Center

Redeem cash-back through your American Express account

Why We Like This Card for Gas Station Purchases

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card earns 3% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and on transit such as buses, trains, parking, and tolls. It also earns 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets — which often sell gas station gift cards — on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.

Additional Card Benefits

  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming services
  • Secondary car rental insurance with the option to purchase premium protection for 1 low fee that covers the entire rental period
  • Shopping benefits such as extended warranty, purchase protection, and return protection
  • Terms Apply
Hot Tip:

Gas stations often sell gift cards for restaurants, streaming services, and other road-trip-related purchases. When you use a credit card that has bonus earnings at gas stations, you may be able to pick up a gift card and earn additional cash-back or points. 

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ CardRates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Wells Fargo Autograph Card offers great 3x bonus points and cell phone protection with no annual fee.

Learn More(at Wells Fargo's secure site)
The Wells Fargo Autograph Card offers great 3x bonus points and cell phone protection with no annual fee.
Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
20,000 points
$0
0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases, 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is an excellent no annual fee card that offers 3x points on 6 different bonus categories. Choose from multiple options when you’re ready to redeem your rewards, and take advantage of great perks including cell phone protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, and no foreign transaction fees.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 spent on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans
  • 1x points per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No annual fee
Cons
    • Points are worth a fixed 1 cent per point, so it isn’t possible to get outsized value
  • Select “Learn More” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $200 cash redemption value.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up – like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases, 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Why We Like This Card for Gas Station Purchases

The Wells Fargo Autograph card earns an uncapped 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations and electric vehicle charging stations, making it a great option each time you stop to fuel up or charge up.

It also earns 3 points per dollar on transit purchases such as parking and tolls, travel expenses such as hotels and rental cars, and restaurants. This card earns 3x rewards on the vast majority of road trip expenses.

Additional Card Benefits

  • 3 points per dollar on popular streaming services and phone plans
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Cell phone insurance protection

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
$200
$0
0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.

The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.

Pros
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Powerful cash-back earner: 5% back on quarterly categories and travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
Cons
    • 3% foreign transaction fees in U.S. dollars
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why We Like This Card for Gas Station Purchases

Cardmembers earn 5% cash-back at gas stations when the merchant is a quarterly bonus category merchant. Gas station gift cards purchased at quarterly bonus category merchants, such as supermarkets, drugstores, or warehouse clubs, also earn 5% cash-back.

Additional Card Benefits

  • Welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Earns cash-back as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to premium Chase credit cards for up to 50% greater value when redeeming points via the Chase Travel portal or Chase transfer partners
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Free 3-month DoorDash DashPass food delivery subscription and the option to purchase an additional 9 months for 50% off
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Additional Credit Cards for Gas Station Purchases

Hot Tip:

You can earn rewards with gas station fuel rewards programs on top of earning credit card rewards.

The 8 Best Credit Cards for Road Trip Accommodations

You’ll need a place to stay on your road trip, and you’ll find plenty of hotel card options. You can use hotel cards to earn rewards points, receive free hotel nights, and get complimentary elite status.

American Express® Gold Card

We like that the Amex Gold card can help you earn rewards to help fund your trip and continue to earn rewards during your travels.

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Why We Like This Card for Road Trip Accommodations

The American Express Membership Rewards program makes hotel rewards easy since Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Choice Privileges are all Amex transfer partners. When redeeming with Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors, cardmembers can receive the fifth hotel reward night free.

The Amex Gold card also has big earnings at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.

Additional Card Benefits

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

It’s difficult to imagine a road trip that doesn’t include a stay at a Holiday Inn Express along the way.

With IHG Hotels & Resorts’ huge footprint of properties throughout the country, there’s always a Holiday Inn nearby with a warm breakfast to start each day.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.
Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
140,000 points
$700
$99
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you regularly visit IHG hotels throughout the year, then the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is probably a perfect card to have in your wallet.

The IHG Premier card offers a great bundle of perks and benefits, including automatic Platinum elite status, an annual free night certificate, and travel protections.

Pros
  • Up to 26x points per $1 on IHG stays
  • 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points
  • Earn 140,000 Bonus Points
  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Plus, enjoy a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier cardmember
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG One Rewards Bonus points are redeemable at Hotels & Resorts such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Why We Like This Card for Road Trip Accommodations

On top of a generous welcome bonus offer that can be redeemed for several free hotel nights, the IHG Premier card comes with complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status that can offer room upgrades and other hotel benefits. You’ll also receive a free hotel night certificate at each card anniversary renewal.

Additional Card Benefits

  • Trip interruption and cancellation coverage
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card can bring value during your road trip by offsetting accommodation expenses.

GREAT TRAVEL CARD
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros
  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why We Like This Card for Road Trip Accommodations

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 5 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 3 points per dollar on dining, and 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to IHG One Rewards, and cardmembers receive the fourth hotel reward night free.

You can also transfer points to World of Hyatt for good value stays starting at 5,000 points per night. Redeem your points for 25% more via Chase Travel, including accommodations.

Bottom Line:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers great travel insurance benefits and is a smart choice for frequent travelers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers great value and is a source of travel funds to use during your road trip.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros
  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why We Like This Card for Road Trip Accommodations

Similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can transfer Chase Sapphire Reserve card points to IHG One Rewards and World of Hyatt.

Travel, including accommodations, earns 3 points per dollar on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and you can offset travel expenses with a $300 travel statement credit each card anniversary year.

You can also redeem points for 50% more via Chase Travel, including accommodations.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Surpass card offers great value for those who frequent Hilton properties. With elevated earnings and complimentary Hilton Honors elite status, the card could be the perfect companion for road trip earning and redeeming.

LIMITED TIME OFFER
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

An excellent high-earning Hilton credit card that comes with perks like Hilton Honors Gold status and up to $200 in Hilton credits every year.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

An excellent high-earning Hilton credit card that comes with perks like Hilton Honors Gold status and up to $200 in Hilton credits every year.
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.
130,000 points plus a Free Night Reward
$650
$150
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you’re someone who loves traveling and loves staying in Hilton hotels, adding a co-branded Hilton hotel card to your wallet is almost a no-brainer. From automatic Hilton elite status to up to $200 in Hilton credits every year, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a great fit for Hilton loyalists looking to up their travel game.

Pros
  • 12x points per $1 at Hilton hotels
  • 6x points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants
  • 4x points per $1 at U.S. online retail purchases
Cons
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.
  • Get up to $200 back each year on eligible Hilton purchases after you use your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Points for each dollar of purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 4X Points for each dollar on U.S. Online Retail Purchases.
  • Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Earn a Free Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors ™ Gold Status with your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • Enjoy complimentary National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive® status. Enrollment in the complimentary Emerald Club® program is required. Terms apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Hilton Honors

Why We Like This Card for Road Accommodations

A great choice for Hilton Honors devotees, the Hilton Surpass card has a generous welcome offer that can be redeemed for free hotel nights and earns 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties, including Hampton by Hilton.

It also earns 6 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants, plus 4 points per dollar on U.S. online retail purchases. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on all other purchases, including every road trip purchase you make.

Hilton Honors Gold status is complimentary, and cardmembers receive a Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 each card anniversary year.

Additional Card Benefits

Additional Credit Cards for Road Trip Accommodations

A hotel-branded credit card can earn you free nights to use during your road trip, but cards that earn transferable points can also accomplish this objective.

For a breakdown of the best credit cards for hotels, including earning free hotel nights, we offer our take on the topic in this detailed article.

Bottom Line:

Many hotel-branded credit cards also offer free night certificates at card renewal. If you’re a frequent Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, or World of Hyatt guest, you’ll want to check out our card comparisons for each program.

The 9 Best Credit Cards for Road Trip Dining

Road trips generally call for a less formal meal experience that can include picnics, carryout, mom-and-pop restaurants, and even food delivery. There are plenty of options for statement credits, earning rewards, and getting free food delivery.

Here are a few of our recommended cards and why the cards work well for road trip dining.

Amex Gold Card

You’ll earn plenty of rewards with the Amex Gold card in your wallet during your road trip. This card offers:

  • 4x earnings at restaurants
  • 4x earnings at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x), some of which sell restaurant, gas station, and other road trip-related gift cards
  • An up to $10 monthly dining statement credit for participating restaurants (including Grubhub delivery)

Hilton Surpass Card

This card works well for dining with 6x Hilton Honors points at U.S. restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

With the Costco Anywhere card, you’ll get:

  • 3% cash-back at restaurants
  • 4% cash-back at U.S. gas stations or on EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year; 1x thereafter
  • 2% cash-back at Costco (which may sell restaurant gift cards)

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
70,000 points
$1,120
$95
21.24%- 29.24% Variable APR

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is a great all-around travel rewards card that allows you to earn big rewards on a variety of purchases like air travel, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and more, along with flexible redemption options, all for a modest annual fee.

Pros
  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel, other hotel purchases, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • $100 annual hotel benefit
Cons
    • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24%- 29.24% Variable APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Citi Strata Premier card earns well for dining and more with these rewards:

  • 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, EV charging stations, airfare, and hotels
  • 3x ThankYou Points at grocery stores (which might sell restaurant gift cards)

Freedom Flex Card

You’ll find several ways to earn rewards on road trip dining with the Freedom Flex card:

  • Quarterly bonus-category merchants offer 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter and often include restaurants
  • 5% cash-back at bonus-category merchants that may sell restaurant, gas station, and other road trip-friendly gift cards
  • Free 3-month DoorDash DashPass food delivery subscription and the option to purchase an additional 9 months for 50% off

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Road trip dining is also very rewarding when you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which offers:

  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points at restaurants and on travel purchases
  • Free DoorDash DashPass food delivery subscription for at least 1 year (activation must occur before December 31, 2024)
  • $5 monthly DoorDash credit

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorite travel rewards cards. You’ll also find it a worthy companion for earning during your road trip, offering:

  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases
  • Free DoorDash DashPass food delivery subscription for at least 1 year (activation must occur before December 31, 2024)

American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This card can provide a great way to accumulate Membership Rewards points on eligible travel, transit, and at restaurants.
Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
40,000 points
$880
$150
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Green Card is an excellent all-around travel rewards card thanks to earning 3x Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel and transit purchases and at restaurants, access to American Express transfer partners, and a reasonable annual fee.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide, on all eligible travel purchases, and transit purchases
  • Up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits after you pay for a CLEAR® Plus membership with the Card.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits annually when you purchase airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy with the Card.
Cons
  • $150 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the US.
  • $189 CLEAR Plus Credit: Receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) with the American Express® Green Card.
  • $100 LoungeBuddy: No airport lounge membership? No problem! Purchase lounge access through the LoungeBuddy app using the American Express® Green Card and receive up to $100 in statement credits annually.
  • Payment Flexibility: When it comes to paying your bill, you have options. You can always pay in full. You also have the flexibility to carry a balance with interest or use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee, up to your Pay Over Time Limit. You may be able to keep spending beyond your limit – you’ll just need to pay for any new purchases in full when your bill is due.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If a round-trip is paid for entirely with your Eligible Card and a covered reason delays your trip more than 12 hours, Trip Delay Insurance can help reimburse certain additional expenses purchased on the same Eligible Card, up to $300 per trip, maximum 2 claims per eligible account per 12 consecutive month period. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: No matter where you’re traveling, when you use your American Express® Green Card there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

The Amex Green card earns 3x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide and on travel.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card offers:

  • 3x Marriott Bonvoy points at restaurants worldwide
  • Up to $25 in monthly statement credits (up to $300 per year) for eligible purchases made at restaurants worldwide
Hot Tip:

Earn up to 20 Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Restaurant.com for dining gift certificates via the Shop Through Chase portal

Best Credit Cards for Sightseeing and Entertainment

You’re sure to enjoy some sightseeing during your road trip, perhaps a rainy-day museum visit or even a tour.

We don’t often consider using our credit card rewards points for purchasing experiences, but there are several ways to find good value when doing so.

Here are a few ways to offset the cost of sightseeing and entertainment during your road trip.

Chase

Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase credit cards offer an excellent option to redeem points for experiences.

In your Chase Ultimate Rewards online account, click on Things to Do at the top of the page and type in your destination. You’ll find a long list of activities that can be purchased using your Chase card or with Ultimate Rewards points.

Hot Tip:

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to premium Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card can receive up to 50% more value when redeemed for travel, including lodging and experiences, via Chase Travel.

American Express

While you can’t use Membership Rewards earned on your Amex cards to purchase activities directly, you can transfer your Amex points to airline partners and book vacation packages or experiences that can include theme park tickets, boat rides, museum entrance passes, and much more.

Citi

While the best redemption option for ThankYou Points is transferring to partner airlines and flight redemptions, it’s also possible to redeem points as gift cards for golf, dining, grocery stores, and other road trip-friendly merchants.

However, never redeem your ThankYou Points for less than 1 cent in value per point, and watch for special deals in your Citi card account for gift cards that can be purchased with ThankYou Points.

Final Thoughts

Whether your objective is to earn rewards in advance to offset the cost of your journey or rack up rewards during your road trip, selecting the right card can make a difference in your bottom-line road trip expenses.

Selecting a card that will provide free hotel nights, for example, can offer tremendous value. Purchasing road trip-related gift cards with a rewards-earning card at participating grocery stores or other eligible bonus category merchants will allow you to earn rewards while prepaying for expenses you’d normally incur during your trip.


For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

For the purchase protection benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the extended warranty benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the return protection benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

For the baggage insurance plan benefit of the American Express® Gold Card eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the trip delay insurance benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

For the car rental loss and damage insurance benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

For the purchase protection benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the extended warranty benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees for The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best credit card for road trips?

The best credit card for road trips depends on your objectives. If you’re looking to earn rewards in advance and redeem those rewards to offset the cost of your trip, you may select a card that is different from the one you would use to earn rewards during your trip.

For example, if you wanted to cover some of the lodging costs you would incur during your trip, you might select a hotel-branded credit card with a generous welcome bonus offer that can be redeemed for free hotel nights.

During your trip, a card that earns at gas stations, on dining out, and at supermarkets might fit your situation.

How do travel rewards cards work?

Travel rewards cards focus on earning rewards on the types of purchases made by frequent travelers, travel-related redemptions, and travel perks. The cards may earn rewards in the form of cash-back, points, or miles.

Rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotels, and statement credits, or transfers to airline or hotel programs and other travel-related options.

Which is better, cash-back or points?

Whether cash-back or points is better for you will depend on your redemption preferences.

For example, if a card allows you to accumulate cash-back in your account, it can serve as a savings account for an annual family vacation or another large purchase.

If a card earns points that can be redeemed for free hotel nights, and that is a redemption option you value, points may deliver better value for your situation.

Which is the best credit card for free hotel nights?

A card from a hotel brand you frequent will generally provide the best value for staying with that brand. It’s also common for these cards to offer welcome bonuses that can be redeemed for several free hotel nights.

Many hotel credit cards offer free hotel night certificates at the card anniversary renewal.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse

Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. Google's privacy policy  and terms of service  apply.

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse
DMCA.com Protection Status