[2024] best travel credit cards for families

Real talk (and really useful rewards cards) for families who want to stretch their travel budget

We travel with two kids, and our budget is modest. We travel more with our kids for less money, because the best travel credit cards for families save us precious vacation money on things like this:

  • Points and miles covered the cost of flights for four from Tokyo, Japan, to Seattle, Washington. We paid taxes and fees out of pocket (and we only learned about this special Japan fare because we subscribe to this newsletter).
  • For a family vacation at Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida, points and miles covered the entire cost of our 5-night stay hotel stay.
  • A round trip flight from Miami, Florida to Porto, Portugal? No worries. You can guess how we covered it. That’s right: with points and miles.

If you’ve been looking into rewards cards, it can seem like everyone talks about first-class flights and luxury hotels—especially for solo or couple travelers. Luxury is nifty. However, if you simply want to stretch your family budget for an amazing vacation or bigger travel adventure with your kids, it can seem like travel rewards cards aren’t for you at all.

We’re here to tell you that they are.

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“We fly regular economy. When we stay in hotels, they’re mid-range. Learning how to effectively use travel rewards cards has been essential to us getting the most out of our travel dollars.”

Our background with travel rewards cards (and a modest family budget)

Travel credit cards have helped our family of four save thousands of dollars on travel expenses

On a train from Tangier to Rabat, Morocco, in 2024.

Our family of four has traveled the world full time since 2022. Whether staying for a month in Porto, Portugal, or visiting LEGOLAND Malaysia for a week, we manage to show our kids some of this amazing world, all while sticking to a modest family budget. We fly regular economy. When we stay in hotels, they’re mid-range. Learning how to effectively use travel rewards cards has been essential to us getting the most out of our travel dollars.

We have not executed some sort of flawless master strategy. There are cards we used for a while, then closed them when we decided they no longer served us. There are also rewards cards that we use regularly. Doing so has provided points and miles that cover the costs of rental cars, hotel stays, and even trans-oceanic flights—for all four members of our family.

Keeping it simple helps us save

Today, if there’s a scale of travel rewards cards savvy that ranges from simple to convoluted, Jodie and I would say we aim to keep things simple:

Travel credit cards have helped our family of four save thousands of dollars on travel expenses. We believe that a useful travel credit card deserves a place in every financially responsible traveler’s wallet. Thanks to affiliate relationships with networks, credit card issuers, and banks, we earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you sign up for a travel credit card using the links on this site.

Sign up for the newsletter that helps us understand points, miles, and rewards cards

Points, miles, and rewards cards are constantly changing. There is always something new to learn. One email newsletter gives us all the info we need to make good travel card choices for our family of four.

Maximize miles and points in under 5 minutes a day

Travel card recommendations for a family

Using the best travel credit cards for families helped us travel to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and Italy.
Using the best travel credit cards for families helped us travel to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and Italy.

The best travel credit cards for families we’ve used or currently use

This isn’t an exhaustive list, btw. When it comes to the cards we’ve gotten value from and the best travel credit cards for families we continue to use day to day, here are the cards we’ve relied on for our family travels:

The card that started it all for us

Using this card got us started on traveling more with our kids. It was also the beginning of our journey to better understand points, miles, and rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer: 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℠.

  • Chase Ultimate Reward points are extremely valuable given their flexibility and ability to make an award booking.
  • Ultimate Reward points are worth more when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal.
  • Transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to a handful of transfer partners (airlines and hotels) for continued travel benefits. That’s our favorite way to use Chase points to maximize their value!

We travel the world full time with kids. This card is at the top of our wallets

(And yes, the annual fee has been worthwhile.)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Current Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

We use this card for our preferred global hotel brand

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG hotels have become a family favorite (especially with the included breakfast at some properties).

Current Offer: Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Also consider these hotel cards

We use this card for the airline we fly the most

United℠ Explorer Card

It’s pretty common for us to fly on United Airlines and other Star Alliance member airlines. Over the years, we’ve found that the benefits of keeping this card have justified its annual fee for us.

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Also consider these airline cards

Find rewards cards that help you get more out of your family travel budget

From hotel stays in Miami to flights from Japan to Seattle, our strategic use of the best travel credit cards for families have helped our family get so much more out of our travel budget than we could have otherwise.

You can find the right card (or cards) for your family too. Along with our picks above, you can search for more cards (and check out current offers) here:

This content was not created or commissioned by a bank. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within this article or post. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

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