The 13+ Best Credit Cards for Vacations & Vacation Packages [2021]

Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Tuscany Village

We may be compensated when you click on links from one or more of our advertising partners. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details.

Planning an entire vacation can be complicated. As you attempt to book flights, hotels, ground transportation, activities, and other pertinent elements of your journey, the process can soon become overwhelming.

Fortunately, vacation packages were designed to simplify the process by delivering a 1-stop solution that can combine all of your vacation components. A vacation package can be as simple as a flight combined with a rental car or it can include your flight, hotel, rental car, activities, ground transportation, and more.

Booking each element of your vacation separately also has its benefits. Perhaps you have points and miles spread across several loyalty programs and want to utilize them all in 1 vacation. Booking a package may not always work for you in that situation.

Regardless of whether you book your trip elements separately or choose to purchase a package, knowing you’ve offset a portion, or all, of your vacation expenses with points, miles, or cash-back can be a satisfying accomplishment.

If that’s the direction you’d like to go, covering your vacation expenses with points, miles, or cash-back, you’ll find today’s article right on target. We’ll talk about the best credit cards to consider for building your trip piece by piece, and for vacation packages.

Hang in there as there’s a lot to cover.

Vacation vs. Vacation Package

Should you try to book every component of your vacation separately, or select an all-in-1 vacation package? Let’s look at some of the advantages of each option.

Advantages of Building Your Own Vacation

If you found a great deal on a hotel, airfare, or another element of your trip, you might not want to consider a vacation package. You may be able to build each piece of your trip based on that deal. Here are some advantages of BYOV (Building Your Own Vacation).

  • Cost — BYOV allows you to find the best deal for each element of your vacation. For example, you found a killer deal on a hotel and can add the airfare and other elements of your trip later.
  • Ability To Use Points/Miles From Several Programs — If you have a lot of points/miles spread across several loyalty programs, booking separately may allow you to utilize each reward currency for its maximum value.
  • Flexibility — Changes may be easier to make on individual hotel, airline, and ground transportation bookings than with a travel package. If you decide to forgo the big city hotel, for example, and secure a country bed and breakfast, you can do that within the cancellation terms of your individual hotel booking. Additionally, if you’re planning a lengthy trip, you might not want to lock in all your hotel stays upfront with a vacation package.

Advantages of a Purchasing a Vacation Package

Booking a vacation package creates an all-in-1 itinerary that can be easy to manage, save you money versus booking each element separately, and may offer the option to utilize points and miles.

  • Convenience — Having your flight, hotel, rental car, and activities all in 1 package eliminates the need to coordinate each element of your trip. If you’re looking to book for several travelers, the package option may be more convenient than booking each element separately.
  • Cost — Purchasing your flight, hotel, rental car, and activities together can result in bundled discounted pricing.
  • Ability To Utilize a Large Stash of Points and Miles — Many airlines and credit card rewards programs allow you to use your frequent flyer miles/points to book vacation packages. If you have a lot of miles/points in 1 loyalty program, you may be able to maximize their value by booking a vacation package.

Bottom Line: Whether you’re a fan of building your own vacation, element by element, or securing an all-in-1 vacation package, the right travel rewards card can help you earn the points or miles you need to pay for a portion, or all, of your trip. 

Best Travel Rewards Cards for Vacations

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort Spa
Use points to pay for your flight, hotel, activities, or to purchase a vacation package. JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort Spa. Image Credit: Marriott

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel via the Chase travel portal. Additionally, you have the option to transfer points to airline and hotel partners where those miles/points can be used to purchase flights or vacation packages.

But there are so many more reasons for using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to book travel!

Why We Like the Card for Booking Vacations and Vacation Packages

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorite travel rewards cards. We like its lower annual fee, the ability to earn flexible Ultimate Rewards points, and its solid collection of travel benefits and protections.

Why We Like the Card for Booking Vacations and Vacation Packages

  • A generous welcome bonus that can be used to offset travel expenses
  • 2x earnings on travel and dining purchases
  • Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for 25% more value via the Chase travel portal
  • Use Ultimate Rewards to purchase flights, hotels, ground transportation, experiences, or rental cars
  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value to book flights, hotels, and vacation packages
  • Travel benefits and protections including primary car rental coverage, trip interruption and cancellation coverage, baggage insurance

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

We like that the Amex Business Platinum card often has a generous welcome bonus that, once earned, can jumpstart your travel fund. Plus, every purchase you make with the card will be earning additional rewards that can help cover those annual vacation expenses, whether booking separately or for a vacation package.

Why We Like the Card for Vacations and Vacation Packages

  • A generous welcome bonus that can be used for travel
  • 5x earnings on prepaid hotels and flights booked via Amex Travel
  • 35% rebate when using points to book your flights via Amex Travel
  • Worldwide airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges
  • Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, upon enrollment
  • Car rental perks
  • Transfer points to airline/hotel partners for potentially increased value for flights, hotel nights, or vacation packages
  • Up to $200 statement credit for airline incidental fee purchases

The Platinum Card® from American Express

With a heavy collection of premium travel benefits, statement credits for select purchases, and several ways to receive value at redemption time, the Amex Platinum card is a good choice for booking vacations.

Why We Like the Card for Vacations and Vacation Packages

We like that you can use Membership Rewards points to pay for your flights. It’s worth noting, however, that the card is not the best choice for purchasing vacation packages with your points as points are worth just 0.7 cents each when used for this purchase versus 1 cent per point for flight purchases.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

With its simplistic earning structure and several good-value redemption choices, the CapOne Venture card offers plenty of reasons to consider the card for booking your vacation or vacation package.

Why We Like the Card for Vacations and Vacation Packages

  • A generous welcome bonus that can be used for travel
  • Earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, including travel
  • Redeem rewards as a statement credit for travel purchases with Purchase Eraser
  • Transfer miles to airline partners to use for flights or vacation packages

Bottom Line: When selecting a card to use for building your own vacation or purchasing a vacation package, you’ll want to select a card that allows you to accumulate rewards quickly, such as a card with a generous welcome bonus and one that has elevated earnings on your most common purchases. You’ll also want the card to have redemption options that will allow you to use those rewards to cover the major elements of your trip. 

Best Cash-Back Cards for Vacations and Vacation Packages

SeaWorld Orlando TurtleTrek Turtle Habitat
Cash-back credit cards can help you fund your next vacation. Image Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

Cash may be king when you’re looking for vacation dollars, however, these no-annual-fee cards can help you accumulate that cash faster or earn rewards that can be used to help you purchase your next vacation.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card


Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

In addition to elevated earning on travel, drugstores, and dining, the Freedom Flex card offers quarterly bonus category merchants that may sell travel-related gift cards. You’ll earn 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter.

Why We Like the Cards for Vacations and Vacation Packages

  • Welcome bonuses that can be used toward travel purchases
  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased via Chase travel portal
  • Points add up quickly with 3% cash-back at drugstores and on dining
  • Cards earn cash-back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for 1 cent each for cash-back, travel, gift cards, and more
  • Ultimate Rewards points earned on the cards can be transferred to premium Chase cards and redeemed for travel for up to 50% more in value
  • Ultimate Rewards points transferred to premium Chase cards can then be transferred to travel partners for even greater value for flights, hotel rooms, and vacation packages

Can’t decide which card is better for you? Check out our comparison of the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom Flex card.

Citi® Double Cash Card

With a simplified earning structure and redemption options, the Double Cash card is a good choice for those who want an easy route to earn and redeem rewards.

Why We Like the Card for Vacations and Vacation Packages

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1% when you make your purchase and an additional 1% when you pay for a total of 2% cash-back
  • We like that you can accumulate the cash-back in your account and redeem it for cash or a statement credit to offset vacation expenses
  • You have the option to convert cash-back to ThankYou Points and redeem for travel

Note that while these cash-back cards work well for earning rewards that can be used for vacations, the cards do not travel well internationally as all of these cash-back cards charge foreign transaction fees.

Hot Tip: Booking a Disney or Universal vacation with credit card rewards requires some research. If you’re looking for the best credit card for a Disney or Universal vacation, you won’t want to miss our article with some of the best cards to use and also a few booking tips.

Best Hotel-Branded Cards for Vacations and Vacation Packages

Sheraton Kauai Resort
Category 4 and 5 properties like this Sheraton Kauai Resort can be sweet spots for using points for Marriott Hotel + Air packages. Image Credit: Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

CardHotel RewardsSample Benefits/Fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • 6 Marriott Rewards Points/$1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Up to $300 statement credit for purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Gold Elite status, Priority Pass Select Membership, complimentary anniversary night, premium internet access
  • Annual fee: $450
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, click here.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card earns Marriott Bonvoy points that can be used for free hotel nights or used to purchase Marriott Hotel + Air packages. The card also comes with several features and benefits that make it a good choice when it comes to booking your vacation.

Why We Like the Card for Booking Vacations and Vacation Packages

We like that the card offers several ways to earn free hotel nights and upgrade your Marriott experience but we also like that points can be used to purchase Marriott Hotel + Flight packages.

Here are several more top reasons this Marriott-branded card works well for booking vacations and hotel/air packages:

  • A generous bonus that can be used for free hotel nights, Hotel + Air packages, and more
  • Free hotel night certificate each year, up to 50,000 points
  • Use Marriott Bonvoy rewards points to purchase Hotel + Air packages that come with 7 nights at a hotel and a set amount of airline frequent flyer miles to use toward flights
  • Rewards points can be transferred to airlines partners
  • $300 in statement credits each anniversary year for Marriott purchases
  • $100 property credit at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties
  • Priority Pass Select lounge membership good at over 1,300 properties worldwide
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status + 15 elite qualifying nights each calendar year toward higher elite status

To learn more about earning and redeeming Marriott Rewards points and the best overall cards for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists, you’ll not want to miss these informative articles. Additionally, for everything you need to know about booking Marriott Hotel + Air packages and the sweet spots for using your points, we’ve put together a summary with everything you need to know.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Why We Like the Card for Vacations

While Hilton Honors points can be transferred to Delta Air Lines, the redemption ratio is 10,000 Hilton Honors points yielding just 1,000 Delta SkyMiles and not good value. Hilton Honors points are best used for free hotel nights.

To learn more about the best cards for Hilton loyalists, you’ll find this article packed with useful information.

Hot Tip: Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors loyalty programs offer the benefit of receiving your fifth consecutive award night for free. Marriott offers this benefit to all Marriott Bonvoy members while Hilton offers it to elite members. Hilton-branded cards come with complimentary Hilton Honors elite status so it’s easy to qualify and make your points go further.

Best Airline-Branded Cards for Vacation Packages

Delta Vacations MCO
Several airlines allow you to use miles to pay for your vacation package. Image Credit: Delta Vacations

Earning miles on an airline-branded credit card can help you build a stash of travel currency you can use for your next vacation. Let’s look at some popular airline-branded cards that serve this purpose well and allow you to use miles/points for a portion, or the entire cost, of your vacation package.

Delta Air Lines-Branded Credit Cards

Use your Delta SkyMiles (or a combination of miles and cash) to purchase vacation packages that include flights, hotels, rental cars, ground transportation, and activities for all the travelers in your group. Delta offers vacation packages for over 300 destinations.

A minimum of a flight and 2 nights hotel is required to book a Delta Vacation and there is no minimum as to how many miles you can use for payment.

Delta SkyMiles are normally worth 1 cent each towards a vacation package but watch for specials where miles could be worth more.

To find out which Delta-branded card is a fit for you, you’ll want to read our comprehensive article that illustrates the features and benefits of each Delta Air Lines credit card and how the cards enhance your travel experience.

American Airlines-Branded Credit Cards

Booking your vacation package with American Airlines Vacations gives you access to discounted airfare for your customized vacation package. You can pay for the non-flight portion of the vacation package, including hotel rooms, ground transportation, activities, car rental, and more with AAdvantage miles.

To learn more about earning AAdvantage miles and the best cards for American Airlines loyalists, you’ll want to check out these informative articles that covers these topics well.

JetBlue Airways-Branded Credit Cards

Earn TrueBlue Points on The JetBlue Card, The JetBlue Plus Card, or The JetBlue Business Card and use your points to pay for the flight portion of your JetBlue Vacations package.

Bottom Line: Many airlines allow you to book vacation packages using your frequent flyer miles and points. Check the airline’s vacation package terms and conditions to determine if you are allowed to use miles/points to pay for a portion, or all of, the cost of the vacation package. 

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit To Use for Vacations and Vacation Packages

You will normally need good to excellent credit to secure any of the travel rewards cards mentioned here. However, there are several cards that you can qualify for with bad credit. We’ve put together a collection of the best secured credit cards for no credit or bad credit and the best overall credit cards for bad credit to help you get started in the right direction.

You may also want to check to see if you have credit card offers already available to you. Use the no-risk CardMatch tool to check for offers with no inquiry on your credit report.

Hot Tip: If your next vacation is a road trip, don’t load up the minivan before reading our article on the best credit cards for funding a road trip and for earning while you’re on the road.

Best Credit Cards for Vacations and Vacation Packages — Summary

We’ve covered some of the best cards to use for building your own vacation, to use while on vacation, and for purchasing vacation packages. Let’s summarize all the information in 1 spot and see how the cards compare.

CardVacation and Vacation Package Benefit Highlights
Chase Sapphire Reserve card
  • Book each element of your vacation via the Chase travel portal with Ultimate Rewards points at 50% more value for your points
  • Transfer points to airline partners to book flights or vacation packages
  • Transfer points to hotel partners to book free award nights
  • Worldwide lounge access via Priority Pass Select membership
  • $300 travel statement credit each year
  • Earn 3x rewards on travel purchases
  • Travel benefits and protections
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
  • Book each element of your vacation via the Chase travel portal with Ultimate Rewards points at 25% more value for your points
  • Transfer points to airline partners to book flights or vacation packages
  • Transfer points to hotel partners to book free award nights
  • Earn 2x rewards on travel purchases
  • Travel benefits and protections
Amex Business Platinum card
  • 5x earnings on prepaid hotel and flights via Amex Travel
  • 35% rebate when using points for select flights via Amex Travel
  • Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors upon enrollment
  • Worldwide lounge access
  • $200 statement credit for airline incidentals each year
  • Car rental perks
  • Travel protections and benefits
Amex Platinum card
  • 5x earnings on prepaid hotel and flights via Amex Travel (capped at $500,000 per year)
  • Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors upon enrollment
  • Worldwide lounge access
  • $200 statement credit for airline incidentals each year
  • Car rental perks
  • Travel protections and benefits
CapOne Venture card
  • Redeem rewards as a statement credit for travel purchases
  • Transfer miles to airline partners to use for flights or vacation packages
Freedom Unlimited card

Freedom Flex card

  • Ultimate Rewards points earned on the cards can be transferred to premium Chase cards and redeemed for up to 50% more
  • Ultimate Rewards points that are transferred to premium Chase cards can then be transferred to travel partners for even greater potential value
Double Cash card
  • Accumulate cash-back to use for travel or convert cash-back to ThankYou Points and redeem for travel
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card
  • Use Marriott Bonvoy points earned on the card for free hotel nights, transfer to airline partners, or Hotel + Air packages
  • Free hotel night certificate each year worth up to 50,000 points
  • Transfer points to airline partners
  • $300 statement credit each year for Marriott purchases
  • Worldwide lounge access
Hilton Aspire card
  • $250 resort credit each card anniversary year
  • $250 airline incidentals statement credit
  • Free weekend hotel night each card anniversary year
  • Worldwide lounge access
Delta Air Lines-branded cardsBest for earning Delta SkyMiles which can be used to book Delta Air Lines flights, partner flights, and Delta Vacations
American Airlines-branded cardsUse AAdvantage miles to purchase the non-flight portion of your vacation package
JetBlue Airways-branded cardsUse TrueBlue Points to purchase the flight portion of your vacation package

Final Thoughts

Utilizing credit card rewards to offset the cost of your vacation is a grand economic accomplishment that can be the result of making purchases you’d normally be making anyway.

However, you’ll want to select a card that aligns with your travel goals to receive the most value at redemption time. The best card for individual flights, hotels, activities, or ground transport, for example, could be a card that earns flexible rewards such as Ultimate Rewards points or Membership Rewards points. The best credit card for purchasing a vacation package may be a hotel- or airline-branded card.

Then, of course, you’ll want the card to earn lots of rewards you can use for your vacation expenses. To do this, you’ll want your highest most common spending categories to be rewarded well, and/or you’ll want the card to have a generous welcome bonus you can use for travel.

Finding a card that meets your travel redemption options and ensures your spending earns maximum rewards will help you nicely offset a portion, or nearly all of your next vacation expenses. You may even be able to elevate your trip experience with the associated card perks and benefits.


The information regarding the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, The JetBlue Card, The JetBlue Plus Card, and The JetBlue Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business 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 vacations?

The best credit card for vacations or vacation packages for you will be the card that provides elevated earnings on your most common purchases and comes with redemption options that allow you to use the rewards you’ve earned to cover some, or most of, your vacation expenses.

You’ll also want to determine if you will use the benefits that come with the card and if you’re comfortable paying the annual fee.

The best card for you may be different than the best card for someone else, depending on your priorities.

Should I get a credit card for vacation?

Yes. A travel rewards card that earns well on travel purchases is an excellent way to earn rewards that could be used for future trips.

You’ll want to select a card that offers elevated earnings on the largest purchases you’ll be making during your trip, a card that has redemption options that match your future travel goals, and a card with an annual fee you’re comfortable paying.

What is the best credit card for international travel?

The first attribute you’ll want to look for in a card to use for international travel is that it does not charge foreign transaction fees. These fees can be as high as 3% and can add up significantly.

The best card to use for international travel will also be the one that rewards the specific types of purchases you’ll be making. For example, if you are doing a lot of train travel, using ground transportation, and eating out, you’ll want a card that earns elevated rewards on travel and dining.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a good choice for international travel as it earns well on travel and dining and does not charge foreign transaction fees. Plus, the card comes with several useful travel benefits such as primary rental car insurance.

How do I use credit card miles for vacations?

There are several ways to use credit card miles for vacations. Some credit cards earn flexible points that can be transferred to airline partners and turned into miles. You can then use these miles to purchase award flights or vacation packages with the airline.

You may also be able to transfer points to hotel partners to book award nights. Additionally, points may be able to be used to purchase travel directly via the card issuer’s travel portal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning cards and Amex Membership Rewards-earning cards both allow these types of redemptions.

Additionally, you may be able to use the points/miles you earn on a credit card towards a statement credit for travel purchases. Capital One is one card issuer that allows you to do this on select cards.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

Use this points strategy to lock in pennies-on-the-dollar pricing in 2021, all without being a frequent flyer...

How do I only pay $30 to go to Hawaii, $200 for business class to Asia or just $150 to Europe?

Discover the real-life strategies that anyone can use to enjoy limitless travel (even on a limited budget!)

Just sign up below and I’ll send you the Limitless Travel Playbook instantly:

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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 by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.