[2024] 3 family credit cards stretch our modest travel budget

Since traveling with kids is our priority, our card picks skip cashback and focus on travel rewards

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

If you are a busy parent trying to figure out how family credit cards can stretch your travel budget, it’s understandable if you wind up thinking travel reward credit cards aren’t for you. I’ve been there too.

When Jodie and I first encountered the entire concept of travel reward cards, the whole thing sounded interesting, but far too complicated and over-focused on luxury travel that wasn’t our jam.

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“Travel expands our children’s understanding of the broader world, giving them context and perspective that they can use to inform their life choices as they become adults.”

A few ways our family credit cards have saved us thousands of dollars

  • 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.

Our family credit cards fit our travel style

Jodie and I are digital nomads and the parents of two kids. We prioritize travel, but on a modest family budget. We travel the world in a slow, cozy style, where we decide our sightseeing and activities based not on a fast-paced catch-em-all attitude, but on our interests and priorities.

Since 2022, we have traveled the world full time. From Malaysia to Mexico to Morocco, world travel isn’t just a personal dream for us adults. Travel expands our children’s understanding of the broader world, giving them context and perspective that they can use to inform their life choices as they become adults.

Getting the most out of our travels also means getting the most out of our modest family budget. That’s where our travel family credit cards come into play.

For example, instead of cashback rewards, we make our card choices based on how we use them for travel. Whether miles, points, multiple miles or points on select purchases, and special features that help us save further money on our travels, our card picks help us get more out of every trip with our kids, such as (but remember, benefits vary from card to card):

Airfare

For many of our flights over the past couple of years, we’ve only needed to pay taxes and fees out of pocket.

Hotels

When we returned to the USA in 2024 and learned that rodents had caused damaged in our RV throttle, points and miles helped cover some of our hotel stay while things got sorted out.

Other benefits

Carrying this card includes access to various airport lounges around the world. A neat thing about airport lounges? They typically have free food and drink. When traveling as a family, cutting down on out-of-pocket airport costs such as dining goes a long way to stretching our travel budget.

Below, we’re going to share the primary cards we rely on, along with links so you can learn more about each card, check out any special offers, and apply for the card or cards that will help you get more out of your family travel budget too.

Before we do that…

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The 3 family cards in our wallets

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

The MOST POPULAR travel credit card

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!

And one more reminder

Remember, sign up for the FREE Daily Drop email! It’ll help you stay in the know about points, miles, and the latest on rewards credit cards, including our favorite family credit cards and many others.

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.

About the author
Anthony St. Clair
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.