My husband and I have been living on the road as digital nomads for more than six years. We work remotely online while traveling with no permanent home base. So, I’m writing this piece from a prolonged, personal experience.
Although every traveler values credit card benefits differently, this guide considers some of the credit cards that I think are the best fit if you’re living the extended travel or digital nomad life.
The best credit cards for digital nomads and long-term travelers
First, the quick hit list of the best cards for digital nomads and long-term travelers. I’ll get into the details below.
†The information for the Green Card from American Express has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Comparison of the best credit cards for digital nomads and long-term travel
|Earning rates (return based on TPG’s valuations)
|Chase Sapphire Reserve
|60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening
|10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (until March 2025)
10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases booked through Ultimate Rewards (20%)
10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals* booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (20%)
5 points per dollar on flights booked through Chase Travel* (10%)
1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases (2%)
|The Platinum Card from American Express
|Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership
|5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel (on the first $500,000 spent per calendar year) and on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel (10%)
1 point per dollar on other purchases (2%)
|$695 (see rates and fees)
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
|Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
|10 miles per dollar on hotels & rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (18.5%)
5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel (9.25%)
2 miles per dollar on all other purchases (3.7%)
|$395 (see (see rates and fees)
|Citi Premier® Card
|Earn 60,000 ThankYou bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening
|3 points per dollar on air travel, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets (5.4%)
1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases (1.8%)
|$95 (see rates and fees)
|American Express Green Card†
|40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership
|3 points per dollar on restaurants and travel, including transit (6%)
1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases (2%)
|$150 (see rates and fees)
*after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, this bonus is worth $1,230.
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- 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Travel
- 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards on prepaid restaurant reservations
- 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
- 5 points per dollar on flights booked through Chase Travel
- 3 points per dollar on all other dining and travel purchases
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
- Annual travel credit of up to $300
- Priority Pass Select lounge access
- Points redemption directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents apiece or points transfers to 11 airline and three hotel partners
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years
- Special car rental privileges from National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercar
- Access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
- Complimentary Lyft Pink membership for 12 months
- At least 12 months of complimentary DashPass when the subscription is activated by December 31, 2024
- No foreign transaction fees
- Travel protections, including primary auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, emergency evacuation and transportation insurance, an emergency medical and dental benefit, lost luggage reimbursement, roadside assistance, trip delay protection and trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Shopping protections, including extended warranty protection, purchase protection and return protection
Annual fee: $550
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an excellent card for long-term travelers because of its 3 points per dollar earning on all other travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining purchases, as well as its travel protections. These travel protections include everything from reimbursements for expenses related to travel delays and delayed baggage to emergency medical and dental benefits.
Although the annual fee is $550, the up-to-$300 annual travel credit, strong earnings on travel and dining purchases and travel protections can provide significant value when you’re on the road all the time. Plus, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to hotel and airline partners or redeem them for 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase travel portal.
Apply here: Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. (worth $1,600 based on TPG’s most recent valuations).
Rewards: 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, then 1 per dollar) and on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)
The Amex Platinum comes with more than $1,400 in annual statement credits and the most comprehensive lounge benefits of any credit card on the market.
It’s worth noting that you likely won’t be able to maximize every credit. And admittedly, those of us who spend a lot of time outside the U.S. may have trouble using the Uber perk, since it’s a monthly credit that’s only good in the United States.
However, lounge access — especially to Centurion Lounges — and hotel elite status at Marriott and Hilton can be especially valuable to those living on the road. The primary reason I believe the Platinum Card from American Express is worth it for long-term travelers and digital nomads: the emergency medical evacuation benefit that’s provided just by being a Platinum Card cardmember as long as you return (even briefly) to your official residence every 90 days. However, note that enrollment is required for select benefits.
Apply here: The Platinum Card from American Express
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
If you redeem miles at a fixed rate for travel, the bonus is worth $750. But, if you transfer your miles to airline or hotel partners, TPG’s valuations estimate the bonus is worth $1,388 (valuation not provided by the issuer).
- 10 miles per dollar on hotels & rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
- 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases
*Benefits only available to accounts approved for the Visa Signature card. Terms apply.
**Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g., at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program, and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.
Annual fee: $395 (see rates and fees)
The Capital One Venture X Card is great for bookings made through Capital One Travel and a flat-rate, hassle-free rewards on all other purchases. The card also offers the ability to transfer your miles to airline and hotel partners. The card’s $300 annual credit and 10,000-anniversary miles make for great benefits on a yearly basis. The Venture X stands out with the ability to add a number of authorized users (see rates and fees) at no cost who also receive access to Capital One and Priority Pass lounges with the ability to bring up to two guests each.
Apply here: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Citi Premier® Card
Rewards: 3 points per dollar on air travel, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets, plus 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $95 (no fee to add authorized users; see rates and fees)
The Citi Premier features a 24-month extended warranty benefit that can be especially useful when living on the road, as nomadic life can take a toll on electronics and other gear. Plus, it carries a fantastic earning rate for a nice blend of everyday and travel-related purchases.
Apply here: Citi Premier
American Express® Green Card
Rewards: 3 points per dollar on restaurants worldwide and travel, including transit, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
*Enrollment required for select benefits.
Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)
The American Express Green Card† earns 3 points per dollar on travel, including transit, which can provide great value to frequent travelers. The Amex Green’s† annual fee is slightly higher than the Citi Premier® Card, but the Amex Green† has annual statement credits that can more than offset the $150 annual fee if you’re able to get significant value from Clear membership and LoungeBuddy credits.
Airline and hotel credit cards
If you frequently fly a particular airline or stay at a particular hotel brand, it may make sense to carry a cobranded credit card from the airline or hotel. These cards provide many benefits, which can range from free checked bags to extra award availability to bonus-earning to elite status.
Take a look at TPG’s guide to airline credit cards to see if the benefits provided by any of the cobranded credit cards make sense for your travel. Many of the cards provide a free checked bag, which can save you big time when you fly frequently — especially if you tend to purchase basic economy fares.
Even if you only check a bag a few times each year, cards such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and United Explorer Card can pay off.
Check out TPG’s guide to hotel credit cards to see if signing up for a hotel cobranded credit card makes sense for your travel style. For example, I’ve gotten excellent value from the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card. Since I often stay at IHG hotels, the benefits that come with this card easily make up for the $99 annual fee.
Notable benefits include up to 26 points per dollar earned at IHG properties, an anniversary night at an eligible IHG property worth up to 40,000 points after each account anniversary, automatic Platinum Elite status and a fourth-night reward when redeeming IHG points for stays of three nights or longer.
I also love the benefits that come with Hilton Diamond Elite status from the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, but the card’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) may be difficult to justify if you don’t stay at Hilton properties frequently.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Business credit cards
Many long-term travelers and digital nomads have businesses that they’re running from the road. These travelers may find it useful to have one or more business cards as well.
One business card that’s particularly well-suited to long-term travelers and digital nomads is the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. This $95 annual fee card currently has a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening; TPG’s most recent valuations value this bonus at $2,050.
Earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, social media, search engine advertising and internet/cable/phone services each account anniversary year, plus 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The card offers cellphone insurance, primary rental car insurance on business-related rentals and no foreign transaction fees.
If your company is working remotely, you may be able to give the digital nomad life a try. If you decide to hit the road, having any of the cards on this list can make your work and travel experience a lot more secure.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.