The Best Travel Credit Card Welcome Bonuses Right Now

Check out the latest and greatest offers for adding a new travel credit card to your wallet.
Dec 15, 2021

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There are a number of travel rewards credit cards with boosted welcome bonuses to have on your radar.

Here’s a look at some of the best travel credit card offers out there right now, based on the value of the welcome bonuses, which were calculated using NerdWallet's valuations of credit card and loyalty program points.

This is the shortlist of the best travel credit card deals of 2021:

New travel credit card offers

If you're in the market for a credit card designed with travelers in mind, start here.

Card name

Welcome bonus

Value of welcome bonus

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

2 cents

$2,400.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.

0.7 cent

$1,225.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

1.4 cents

$1,400.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..

0.8 cent.

$1,000.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

1 cent.

$1,000.

A closer look

Learn more about these new cardholder incentives, each vying to offer the best credit card welcome bonus for travel today.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
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Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $595 (10/14-1/12/22).

  • Value of welcome bonus: $2,400. According to our analysis, American Express Membership Rewards are worth about 2 cents each for this card.

  • Why you should get it: The current welcome offer is 20,000 points more than the previous offer, which was still an impressive $2,000 in award travel. Plus, the annual fee is going up $100 if you apply on or after Jan. 13, 2022. This is a good chance to lock in a lower annual fee for one year.

  • Who should get it: Entrepreneurs or people who qualify for small-business credit cards through their side hustles or freelancing. Find out if you can apply for a small-business credit card.

  • Who should skip it: People who don't own a business or don't have good credit. If you can't spend $15,000 in the first three months, look for a business card with a smaller spending minimum to earn the welcome bonus.

  • Learn more: Read our full review of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Terms apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
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Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.

  • Annual fee: $95.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,050. Marriott Bonvoy points are worth about 0.7 cent each according to NerdWallet's valuations.

  • Why you should get it: You can earn up to 17x on eligible Marriott spending (6x from the card, 10x as a Marriott Bonvoy member, 1x with the automatic Silver elite status). The most notable benefit is the one Free Night Award up to 35,000 points every year after the account anniversary.

  • Who should get it: People who are ready to dip their toes into co-branded hotel credit cards and can spend at least two nights every year at a Marriott, particularly if you visit properties that cost 50,000 points or less per night.

  • Who should skip it: If you want a more luxurious hotel travel experience, like a higher level of automatic elite status and a Free Night Award you can use at higher category hotels, consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card instead. Terms apply.

  • Learn more: Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
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Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

  • Annual fee: $149.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,400. Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth about 1.4 cents each according to NerdWallet's valuations. The previous offer was just 40,000 points, or $560 worth of award flights.

  • Why you should get it: Southwest just revamped all of its cards by increasing the rewards rate that you earn for Southwest purchases and adding non-airline bonus spending categories for the first time. Plus, the welcome offer is the highest one we've ever seen. If you're able to max out the sign-up bonus, you'll likely be earn at least 112,000 points, which is well within striking distance of the 125,000 points needed to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

  • Who should get it: People who fly Southwest a few times per year, especially with a partner, so they can take advantage of the BOGO deal through the Southwest Companion Pass. If the annual fee is a little steep, Southwest's other personal cards have lower annual fees and the exact same sign-up bonus offer.

  • Who should skip it: Southwest doesn't have a ton of international flights or international airline partners and their value of Rapid Rewards points is pretty fixed. If you're a hardcore solo travel hacker that likes to find sweet spot flights to exotic destinations, you might want to find a different airline card.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
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Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening..

  • Annual fee: $89.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,000. IHG Rewards Club points are worth about 0.8 cent each according to NerdWallet's valuations.

  • Why you should get it: The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of our favorites because the free nights come easy and the elite status helps you get room upgrades. This isn't the biggest offer we've ever seen, but any bonus worth $1,000 is respectable.

  • Who should get it: People who plan to do some four-night or longer stays. Because you can get a fourth night free on award stays, you will save a bunch of points and you'll be able to spend a little more time in that upgraded room that comes as part of the elite status perks.

  • Who should skip it: People who don't plan to stay at IHG hotels. Get familiar with the IHG brands before you apply for this card.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
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Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

  • Annual fee: $395.

  • Value of welcome bonus: $1,000. Capital One miles are worth about 1 cent each when you redeem miles through the Capital One Travel portal, but they could be worth even more if you take advantage of transfer partners.

  • Why you should get it: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the first premium travel card from Capital One, and its annual fee is hundreds of dollars cheaper than some of the competing cards from American Express and Chase. Plus, Capital One recently improved the transfer ratios, added more transfer partners, and it's building its own network of Capital One airport lounges.

  • Who should get it: People who want to use their miles mainly to fly with Capital One's new-and-improved list of transfer partners or redeem their miles through the Capital One Travel portal.

  • Who should skip it: People looking for hotel benefits. While you can redeem your miles for hotel stays, many of the card's other perks (including a limited-time offer on Airbnb and VRBO purchases) are aimed at frequent flyers.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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