Do you refuse to pay an annual fee of $95 or more for a credit card? No problem---you can still earn fantastic travel rewards with these cards that, in some cases, can be worth more than cash back.

Everyone loves the idea of travel hacking their way across the globe. Trouble is, many of the best travel rewards credit cards have annual fees of $95 or more, and most don’t love the idea of paying an annual fee to earn “free” travel. Fortunately, there are plenty of good no annual fee travel rewards credit cards.

These cards are perfect if you want to pocket points toward a free vacation but don’t spend enough—or don’t want to spend enough—on your cards justify an annual fee. In some cases, you might just be against the idea of paying an annual fee on principle.

Either way, consider these top travel reward cards that do not charge an annual fee.

Overview: Best no annual fee travel rewards credit cards

CardBest For
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardLow regular APR
Discover it® MilesMost valuable sign-up bonus
Amex EveryDay®Optimizing point value
JetBlue Credit CardCo-branded airline card
Hilton Honors™ Card from American ExpressCo-branded hotel card
Expedia®+ Card from CitiCo-branded booking site card

Best for simple, flexible rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

In A Nutshell

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has a litany of benefits including a 20,000 mile one-time bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (after which the standard rate of 16.49% – 26.49% Variable applies).

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In A Nutshell

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has a litany of benefits including a 20,000 mile one-time bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (after which the standard rate of 16.49% – 26.49% Variable applies).

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Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit. ?
  • Good/
  • Excellent
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • A one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $500 in the first three months

  • 1.25 miles earned on every $1 spent

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 16.49% - 26.49% variable APR after that
Intro APR Purchases
0%
Intro Term Purchases
for 15 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers
0% intro on balance transfers
Intro Term Balance Transfers
for 15 months
Regular APR
16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0

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The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has a host of impressive features, including:

  • No annual fee
  • Great welcome bonus
  • High mileage earn rate
  • No expiration on miles
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0% introductory rate on purchases

In addition to all that, Capital One also throws in some non-essential but valuable perks.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is one of the best all around travel credit cards, especially for people who don’t necessarily spend a lot of money on their credit cards each month.

  • Best for: Frequent travelers who don’t want to deal with a complicated rewards program and instead prefer a a straightforward, valuable travel card.
  • Keep looking if: You’re a high-spend traveler. There are cards out there that will give you more than this card can offer, including the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which has a much more generous rewards program but also carries an annual fee of $95.

Get card details or apply here or read our Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review

Best for most valuable sign-up bonus

Discover it® Miles

The Discover it® Miles rewards you with miles that can be redeemed at one cent each as statement credits toward any travel reservations.

You earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with no limits.

Perhaps the best thing about this card is that Discover will automatically match the miles that you’ve earned during your first year. For example, if you spend $15,000 on the card in the first year, you would earn 22,500 miles worth $225 toward travel. At the end of your first year, you’ll receive another 22,500—worth another $225 in free travel. That makes for an effective 3 percent rewards rate on every purchase during your first year.

There’s no annual fee for this card and foreign transaction fees. Keep in mind, however, that while Discover cards are accepted almost everywhere in the Unites States, you’ll run into limited acceptance overseas.

  • Best for: Infrequent or frequent travelers who want an easy, flexible rewards program. Or consumers who can charge a large amount to this card in the next year to take advantage of the matched miles promotion.
  • Keep looking if: You want to strategically plan your spending to try to earn more than 1.5 cents in travel per dollar spent or you’re looking for a card to use outside the U.S.

Get card details or apply or read our Discover it® Miles review

Best for optimizing point value

Amex EveryDay®

Although not advertised as a travel credit card, the Amex EveryDay® credit card is worth considering if you’re eyeing a no annual fee credit card to earn free travel.

That’s because one of best ways to earn free travel from your credit card is to earn reward points that can be transferred to points or frequent flyer miles at several different hotel brands and airlines. This allows you to use your rewards wherever they are most valuable, rather than be stuck with miles for a single airline.

The Amex EveryDay® is the only card I know of that allows you to do this with no annual fee. This card offers new customers 10,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in new purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn double points at U.S. supermarkets (on your first $6,000 of eligible spending each year), and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Also, if you use your card at least 20 times in the statement period, you’ll earn a 20 percent bonus on points earned during that period.

Points are earned in the American Express Membership Rewards program and can be transferred to miles with 17 different frequent flyer programs including Delta, Air Canada, JetBlue, British Airways, and Virgin America. There’s no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee. (Learn why you might want care about these fees, or about the best cards that do not charge them.)

  • Best for: Consumers with excellent credit who can use this card at least 20 times per month and are willing to plan award by transferring Membership Rewards Points to partner hotels and airlines.
  • Keep looking if: You won’t make at least 20 purchases a month or you don’t want the hassle of transferring points or you want a card to use outside the United States.

Best co-branded airline card

The JetBlue Card from Barclaycard

The JetBlue Card is a rare airline co-brand card that doesn’t charge an annual fee.

It offers new cardholders 5,000 bonus points after their first purchase, and 3x points for all JetBlue purchases. You also get double points for all restaurant and grocery store purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.

Unlike other airlines’ complicated redemption rules, JetBlue points can be redeemed for any flight they operate, with no blackout dates. This is one of several reasons Money Under 30 thinks JetBlue Mosaic is the best frequent flyer program for casual travelers. You don’t have to be a road warrior or frequent flyer nerd to earn—and actually use—miles on JetBlue. When you use the JetBlue Card for your paid flights, groceries, and restaurant purchases, you’ll earn that free travel faster.

One thing to keep in mind with JetBlue: The number of points required for an award flight will correlate closely with its current price. That is, in part, what makes JetBlue points so easy to redeem, but will make JetBlue less attractive to optimizers who are looking to extract extra value from their miles.

There’s no annual fee for the JetBlue Card and no foreign transaction fees either. For a $99 annual fee, the premium version—The JetBlue Plus Card—gives you a richer sign-up bonus (30,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days) and gives you 6 points per dollar spent on JetBlue flights. Compare the JetBlue and JetBlue Plus Cards here.

  • Best for: Infrequent travelers who can fly JetBlue and want a straightforward way to earn free JetBlue flights.
  • Keep looking if: You can’t easily fly JetBlue or want more flexibility in how you redeem your rewards.

Best co-branded hotel card

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express

As with airline credit cards, it’s rare to find a hotel rewards card without an annual fee. The Hilton HHonors™ Card offers you 7x points for charges at all Hilton portfolio properties, 5x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and 3x points everywhere else.

Points can be redeemed for free night stays at Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts with no blackout dates or capacity controls. You also receive complimentary HHonors Silver status and the opportunity to earn Gold status when you spend $20,000 with your card in a calendar year. There’s no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee.

  • Best for: More frequent travelers who prefer Hilton hotels. Best if you can meet the $20,000 annual spending threshold to obtain free Gold status.
  • Keep looking if: You don’t already stay at Hilton hotels at least 10 nights a year; You want a card to use outside the United States.

Best co-branded booking site card

The Expedia+ credit card from Citi

Many travelers prefer to make their reservations through an online travel agency, rather than shopping directly with dozens of airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. Expedia is one of the largest online travel agencies, and you can earn additional reward points from them with this card.

It offers new customers 15,000 Expedia+ bonus points after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening. You also earn 3x points for all Expedia purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are worth 1.33 cents each towards +VIP Access hotels, but less when redeemed for flights and other hotels. There’s no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

  • Best for: You book all of your travel on Expedia and are mostly interested in using rewards for upscale hotel stays.
  • Keep looking if: You want the flexibility to book directly with airlines or hotels or you want a card to use outside the United States.

Summary

Infrequent travelers looking for an easy way to earn flexible free travel without paying an annual fee have several options. If you want a simple, straightforward rewards program, consider Discover it® Miles. Our other picks may yield a slightly better rewards rate if you’re willing to carry multiple cards or, in the case of the Amex EveryDay® card, transfer points to the travel partner offering the best redemption rate.

Want to improve your chances of getting approved for a credit card of your choice? Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score, and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool – then find the perfect card for you!

Credit Score Estimator

Estimate your credit score in about 30 seconds. Just answer a few simple questions about your past credit usage:
1 Have you ever had a credit card or loan?
2 How long ago did you open your first credit card or loan?
3 Have you ever made a late loan or credit card payment?
4 How many new loans or credit cards have you opened or applied for in the past 6 months?
5 In the last five years, have you:
  • Gone through foreclosure or repossession?
  • Had debt go to collection?
  • Made a loan or credit card payment 90 days (or more) late?
6 In the last ten years, have you declared bankruptcy?
7 What is the total credit limit for all your credit cards?
8 What is your total amount of credit card debt?

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About the author

Total Articles: 35
Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards, travel and personal finance since 2008, and is passionate about using his cards to travel for free. Jason contributes to many of the top personal finance and travel sites and has been widely quoted in mainstream media as a credit card expert. Jason lives in Denver Colorado where he enjoys bicycling, snowboarding and flying. You can follow Jason on Twitter, Facebook or on his website.