Advertiser Disclosure

RewardExpert.com is an independent website that is supported by advertising. RewardExpert.com may be compensated by credit card issuers whose offers appear on the site. Because we are paid by our advertising partners it may impact placement of products on the site, including the order in which they appear. Not all available credit card issuers or card offers are included on the site.

Best Credit Cards for Car Rental of 2018

Jennifer Blocker
Updated on: 01/03/2018

While it’s easy to focus on the big perks offered by rewards credit cards, like sign-up bonuses, free checked bags, bonus categories for purchases, lounge access and outsized redemption values, there’s one often overlooked benefit that can easily save you hundreds of dollars. If you frequently rent a car, or even rent one just once or twice a year, you’re going to want to get a credit card that offers rental car insurance. If you do, you can skip the expensive add-on insurance offered by the rental agency and save a ton of cash.

Get Free Rental Car Coverage With Your Credit Card

Whenever you rent a car, you’ll be offered some sort of insurance by the agency. Depending on who you rent from, they’ll call it either a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Getting this added coverage is important because it can protect you financially in the case of an accident. But it can be expensive, sometimes adding $30 or more per day to a rental. Luckily, there’s no reason forego the coverage and the peace of mind it offers. Some credit cards will give you this insurance for free. You just have to pay for your rental with the right credit card.

Discover it® Miles Card
Raiting: 95/100

Discover it® Miles Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
10.99% intro APR for 14 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by April 10, 2018
Regular APR
12.24% to 24.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Discover it® Miles Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 1.5Miles on Airfare Purchases
  • 1.5Miles on Hotels
  • 1.5Miles on Gas
  • 1.5Miles on All Other Purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5X rewards on every purchase offer

    • Miles earned are matched at the end of the first year of cardmembership
    • We will reimburse up to $30 of your in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each year with automatic credits to your statement
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

$30 In-Flight Wi-Fi Access

You will be reimbursed for up to $30 in purchases of wireless internet access on an aircraft per anniversary year. The statement credit will be issued for the purchase amount in U.S. dollars within seven business days.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Discover miles card does not charge foreign transaction fees so you can rest easy when you are abroad.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You always earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent, which equates to 1.5 percent cash back. Don’t settle for 1 percent! The Discover it Miles card is better.
  • Miles Can be Redeemed for Anything: You don’t have to wait until you have travel coming up to use your miles. Even though the Discover it Miles card earns Miles, it is a cash back card.
  • Miles Doubled for the First Year: At the end of your first year as a card member, Discover will match all of the miles you’ve earned!
  • $30 in Annual Wi-Fi Credits: Next time you have a long flight you can purchase Wi-Fi and have Discover cover the cost up to $30 per year.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Discover it Miles card is wonderful for two types of people. The first, and most obvious, is for someone looking for a single credit card that’s easy to use and that can do it all. The Discover it Miles card is a great option because it earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and redemptions areone cent per mile toward any purchase. Plus thereare a couple of other nice benefits, like $30 in annual Wi-Fi credits and no foreign transaction fees. As a no-fee card, all of that is essentially free.

The second type of person that the Discover it Miles card is a great option for is someone who is looking to truly maximize rewards. The Discover it is basically a no-brainer for the first year because all miles are doubled , meaning that it effectively earns 3 miles per dollar spent (1.5 when you purchase and 1.5 at the end of the year). After the first year it deserves a spot in the wallet of someone who wants to maximize rewards for purchases not included in the bonus earning categories of their other rewards credit cards.

  • Get unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year (new cardmembers only). For example, 30,000 Miles turns to 60,000 Miles.
  • No blackout dates. Fly any airline, any time.
  • We will reimburse up to $30 of your in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each year with automatic credits to your statement.
  • Freeze ItSM on/off switch for your account.
  • Keep tabs on your FICO® Score.
  • You can always count on 100% US-based customer service, anytime. We will not waste your time selling you other products when you call us.
  • Your Miles never expire.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Raiting: 96/100

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by April 10, 2018
Regular APR
12.24% to 24.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %5% in rotating categories each quarter like Gas, Dining, Amazon.com, Wholesale Clubs and more
  • %1% on Travel
  • %1% on Groceries
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back offer

    • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %3% balance transfer fee

Travel Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You won’t be hit with any additional fees for using your Discover card while traveling internationally.

Why should you get this card?

  • Cashback Match: After your first year, Discover will double all of the cash back you earned with no cap!
  • Good Earning Potential: The Discover it card earns 5% back on quarterly rotating categories that include things like dining and gas stations, and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Your cash back is worth what you think it is, and there are no minimums or category restrictions to your redemptions.
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?

Our Expert's Conclusion

Discover it is a solid credit card that should be in just about everybody’s wallet. The card offers a great five percent return on categories that rotate quarterly, and one percent back on all other purchases. The first year as a cardholder can be really good for your bank account because all the rewards you earn will be doubled by Discover, with no limit!

In addition to being a great everyday earner, the Discover it card doesn’t have an annual fee and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you want to use the card abroad. Redeeming cash back is super simple with no minimum redemption amount and no restrictions about what you can use the cash back for.

  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, anytime.
  • Your cash back never expires.
  • $0 Fraud Liability.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.

Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Raiting: 95/100

Venture® Rewards Credit Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
14.24% to 24.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • 2xMiles on Gas
  • 2xMiles on Hotels
  • 2xMiles on All Other Purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • +No cap to the amount of rewards you can earn

Travel Benefits

Premium Hotel Benefits:

Enjoy perks, such as room upgrades and free breakfast, at over 900 Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You’ll never have to pay additional fees to use your card while traveling abroad.

Complimentary Concierge Services:

24/7 assistance for dinner reservations, booking travel and special access to sporting and entertainment events.

Why should you get this card?

  • A Generous Sign-up Bonus: The 50,000-mile sign up bonus can be redeemed for $500 worth of travel.
  • Earnings Add up Quickly: Every dollar you spend earns 2 miles, not 1.5 or 1 like other cards. There are no categories or promotions to keep track of.
  • It’s Easy to Redeem Miles: Find the best travel deal, pay with your Venture Rewards card and redeem your miles for a statement credit to erase your purchase. Or just redeem your miles online from the Capital One Rewards Center.

Our Expert's Conclusion

With a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles and the ongoing earning power of two miles for every dollar spent, there’s a good case for owning the Venture card. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and you’ll have $460 to spend on travel once you’ve made the required $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. That makes this card a solid contender for your everyday spending. However, if you’re not going to be able to spend a minimum of $3,000 a year on the card, you would be better off selecting a card that has no annual fee.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles—that's 2 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards.
  • Use your Venture® card to make travel purchases on any website or app—any airline, any hotel, rental cars and more.
  • Once you make a travel purchase with Venture, redeem your miles as a statement credit toward the cost. Your rewards don't expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen.

VentureOne® from Capital One®
Raiting: 93/100

VentureOne® from Capital One®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for the first 12 months that your account is open
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
13.24% to 23.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 1.25Miles on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • 1.25Miles on Gas
  • 1.25Miles on Hotels
  • 1.25Miles on All Other Purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • +No cap to the amount of rewards you can earn

Travel Benefits

Travel Upgrades and Savings:

Free upgrades and discounts at select hotels and resorts are part of the Visa Signature card benefits.

Complimentary Concierge Service:

Enjoy free assistance 24-hours a day, even while you’re traveling.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

Use your card anywhere in the world and never pay additional fees.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points for every purchase you make. No matter what you buy, you’ll earn 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. Those miles will add up fast.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Miles can be applied to any travel purchases, not just airfare. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or limited award space because you buy the travel you want and then apply miles to the purchase.
  • No Annual Fee: It’s hard to be a rewards card that does not charge an annual fee. Every reward you earn is essentially free!
  • Sign-Up Bonus: For a no-fee card, 20,000 miles is an excellent sign-up bonus. It’s worth $200 in travel. All you have to do is spend $1,000 during the first three months you have the card.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card that offers a solid sign-up bonus and hassle-free redemptions, than the the VentureOne card from Capital One is a great option. You’ll get 20,000 miles worth $200 for spending just $1,000 in 90 days, plus you’ll earn a generous 1.25 miles per dollar for every purchase.

Getting the card is a risk-free proposition because it won’t cost you a penny. Whatever miles you earn with the card are pure profit because there aren’t any fees. You can even use the card while traveling internationally, since there are no foreign transaction fees either.

  • One-time bonus of 20,000 miles—equal to $200 in travel—once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles—that's 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards.
  • Use your VentureOne® card to make travel purchases on any website or app—any airline, any hotel, rental cars and more.
  • Annual Fee $0.
  • Once you make a travel purchase with VentureOne, redeem your miles as a statement credit toward the cost. Your rewards don't expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen.
  • Get 10% off thousands of hotels on HotelTonight through January 2017.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Raiting: 93/100

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first twelve billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening
Regular APR
16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $89
Rewards Program
Barclaycard Arrival Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • 2xMiles on Gas
  • 2xMiles on Hotels
  • 2xMiles on All Other Purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
    • 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, everytime you redeem
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

24/7 Concierge:

You have access to a complimentary concierge any time of day. This service works like a personal assistant to help with reservations, hard-to-find items, and more.

No foreign transaction fee:

You can earn miles outside the U.S. without worrying about extra fees.

Why should you get this card?

  • Valuable Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a sign-up bonus worth $400 toward any travel purchase.
  • Excellent Everyday Earning: You’ll get 2 miles for each dollar you spend. That will add up fast.
  • Easy to Redeem: Your miles aren’t tied to a loyalty program. Just buy the flight you want and redeem miles toward that purchase. There are no blackout dates or limited award space.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The short answer is absolutely. Depending on your travel and spending habits, this card may or not make sense for you after the first year when you start paying the annual fee, but earning 40,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend and earning 2X miles on all purchases are tremendous benefits. Not only that, but if this becomes your go-to card, miles will rack up fast, and with the 5 percent redemption bonus, that’s like earning 2.1 percent back on every purchase, every day. This card is just as good as any other cashback card currently on the market.

  • 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchase in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem.
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country.
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits starting at 10,000 miles for $100 toward all or a portion of your travel purchase of $100 or more made within the past 120 days.
  • 0% introductory APR for the first twelve billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
  • $89 annual fee waived for the first year.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Raiting: 93/100

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
15.74% to 24.74% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
ThankYou®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3xPoints on Travel, Gas, Airfare, Hotels, Cruises, Car rental and Railways
  • 2xPoints on Dining and Entertainment
  • 1xPoints on Groceries
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
    • 25% more points when redeemed through the ThankYou® Travel Center
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fees:

Never pay an extra fee to use this card outside the U.S.

Concierge Service:

Citi Concierge provides help with travel, shopping and dining.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potental: Generous double and triple point-earning categories, including all travel and gas purchases.
  • Discount on ThankYou Travel Purchases: Get a 25 percent rebate when redeeming for travel through the ThankYou Rewards travel portal.
  • Flexible Redemption Options: You’ll always find a use for your points with 15 airline transfer partners.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: This card is great for earning rewards while traveling abroad.

Our Expert's Conclusion

You can get excellent value out of ThankYou points, particularly if you transfer them to airlines and redeem for expensive premium cabin tickets. If you are a traveler that often books the cheapest economy class ticket, then there can also be strong value in redeeming points through the ThankYou program’s travel portal thanks to the 25 percent discount offered by this card.

If you are interested in domestic award travel or simple award redemptions, this card may prove to be too complex. Instead, consider cards with more domestic transfer partners. You may not get quite the same value for your points, but there will be more availability and easier redemptions.

  • 3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on travel including gas, airfare, hotels, cruises, car rental agencies, travel agencies, railways, public transportation, tolls, taxis, parking and much more.
  • 2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on dining out and entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou Points on other purchases.
  • ThankYou® Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou® Travel Center, as compared to gift cards redeemed from the ThankYou® Rewards collection.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases.
  • Annual Fee $95(Fee waived for the first 12 months).
  • No expiration and no limit on the number of points you can earn.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Raiting: 77/100

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95.
Rewards Program
MileagePlus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on tickets purchased from United
  • 1xMiles on Dining
  • 1xMiles on Gas
  • 1xMiles on All Other Purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
    • 5,000 bonus miles after you add the first authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your Card during the first 3 months
    • 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 on purchases on your Card each calendar year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • 2United Club℠ passes each year

Travel Benefits

Priority Boarding:

The primary cardmember and companions on the same reservation will be invited to board United-operated flights prior to general boarding.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection:

Cardholders receive the benefits of the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (LHRC) program when booking through an LHRC travel specialist.

Complimentary United Club Passes:

Enjoy airport lounge access with two free United Club passes every year you have the card.

Why should you get this card?

  • Big Sign-Up Bonus: The 40,000-mile sign-up bonus can get you at least $750 in travel. If you are strategic with your miles, it could be worth over $1,500.
  • Free Checked Bags: Between you and your companion, you can save up to $100 in checked baggage fees per round-trip booking.
  • Extra Award Availability: Cardholders get access to extra saver level award space and guaranteed standard level award space when flights are available for purchase.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great sign-up bonus to help you book free flights with United or one of its Star Alliance partners, the MileagePlus Explorer card might be just what you need. With a 40,000-mile sign- up bonus, you’ll be well on your way.

Since the annual fee waived for the first year, you have time to see if the card is right for you before making a long-term decision. After the first year, the annual fee will be 95 .

  • Get 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus miles after you add the first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Each calendar year, you are eligible to receive one 10,000-mile bonus after you reach $25,000 in purchases on your Card.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United.
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free first checked bag – a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip.
  • Priority boarding.
  • 2 United ClubSM passes each year for your travel.
  • Use miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • Enjoy luxury hotel & resort collection privileges.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Raiting: 88/100

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xPoints on Airfare, Hotels and Dining
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on Groceries
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    • 5,000 Bonus Points after your first purchase and the adding of an authorized user to your account in the first 3 months.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %25% more in travel redemption

Travel Benefits

Concierge Service:

No matter the time of day, Chase promises that a representative will answer your call to answer questions about your card or to assist with travel arrangements, dining reservations, show tickets and more.

No Foreign Transaction Fee

No fees for using the Sapphire Preferred for non-U.S. dollar purchases abroad or online.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn two points for every dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases, and one point per dollar for everything else.
  • Big Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers a lucrative 50,000 points sign-up bonus, as well as an extra 5,000 points for adding an authorized user.
  • No Annual Fee the First Year: Chase waives the $95 annual fee the first year, but the card’s great benefits make it worth keeping well beyond that.
  • Transfer Partners: The Ultimate Rewards program offers several great airline and hotel transfer partners. Popular airline options include United Airlines and Air France, and great hotel chains include Hyatt and Marriott.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for just about everybody. Whether you’re just getting started with travel rewards cards or you’re a frequent business traveler, this card offers many great benefits including a big sign-up bonus, a great earning rate on spending and a host of other travel benefits.

On top of that, since Chase picks up the annual fee the first year, you don’t pay anything out of pocket to get the card, and 2 bonus points are a great way to pad your Ultimate Rewards balance or to get you started. And because you always earn double points on travel and dining purchases, the mid- range $95 annual fee makes this a great card to keep beyond the first year and to also keep at the top of your wallet.

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95.
  • Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants- from airfare and hotels to fine dining and cafés.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • With Chase Sapphire Preferred®, you can transfer your points to leading frequent travel programs at 1 to 1 value.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Compare Rental Car Insurance Credit Cards

Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.

Credit Card
Bonuses & Rewards
First Year Rewards
FEES
RE® value
Discover it® Miles Card

Discover it® Miles Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$720
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$720
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

More Details
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$367
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$367
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 60,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,360
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,360
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,071
FEES
-$99
RE® value
$972
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express

Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 72,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 80,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$957
FEES
-$85
RE® value
$872
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
The Hyatt Credit Card

The Hyatt Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,069
FEES
-$75
RE® value
$994
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card

Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 80,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$957
FEES
-$99
RE® value
$858
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 75,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 72,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$470
FEES
-$75
RE® value
$395
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$660
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$210
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,429
FEES
-$400
RE® value
$1,029
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

More Details
RCI® Elite Rewards® MasterCard®

RCI® Elite Rewards® MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2,500 Rewards sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 Rewards for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$265
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$265
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$462
FEES
-$79
RE® value
$383
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

More Details
U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Select Rewards Card

U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Select Rewards Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$386
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$386
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$980
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$980
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

More Details
VentureOne® from Capital One®

VentureOne® from Capital One®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 30,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$500
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$500
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

More Details
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 25,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$987
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$987
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Platinum Card® from American Express

Platinum Card® from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,720
FEES
-$550
RE® value
$1,170
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,332
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,332
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,632
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,182
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$437
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$-13
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$926
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$926
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$560
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$560
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

More Details
Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

More Details
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,087
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,087
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
United MileagePlus® Club Card

United MileagePlus® Club Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,633
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,183
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details

What You Need to Know About Rental Car Insurance

As with any insurance, nothing’s simple when it comes to rental car coverage. To help you navigate this potential minefield, we’ve put together a little guide covering the basics. What’s covered? Do you really need to worry about added insurance? Is it worth getting a card just for rental cars? What if you don’t have your own personal insurance? Let’s take a look.

  • Primary vs. Secondary Insurance

    If you have car insurance on your own car, you’re most likely already covered for your rental, particularly if you have comprehensive and liability coverage. If you aren’t sure, you definitely need to check with your insurance company. This is very important if you decide to decline the CDW or LDW offered by the rental agency and coverage is not supplemented by your credit card. You could be in serious trouble financially if you’re in an accident and don’t have any coverage at all.

    There are two types of car rental insurance offered through credit cards: secondary and primary. Secondary insurance kicks in after your personal car insurance coverage is exhausted. It’s essentially added insurance that pays for the costs not covered by your primary insurance, which in this case would be your personal auto insurance. If a credit card includes auto rental coverage, it’s most likely secondary insurance. Check with the card issuer to figure out what coverage they offer, if any.

    If you add CDW or LDW coverage through the rental car company, it will become your primary insurance. That means that your personal insurer won’t see a claim if you have an accident and damage the rental. This is the most expensive option, but also the most hassle-free.

    While you may have to pay $30 or more a day, you’re personal insurance rates won’t go up if you have an accident. It also means that if you damage the rental card, you can simply hand off the keys to the rental company and have them deal with the details. You won’t have to negotiate coverage with your personal insurer or your credit card issuer.

    There is another way, though. There are some credit cards that actually offer primary rental insurance as a free benefit. If you rent often, you’re going to want one of these cards. We’ll get into the specific cards to look for at the end of the article, but Chase is the major issuer offering this perk. Most other banks, if they offer any rental coverage at all, will give you secondary insurance.

  • Liability Coverage

    If you’re getting auto rental insurance through your credit card, it probably does not include liability coverage. That is, it will only cover damages done to the rental car itself. So if you’re at fault, and you cause damage to other cars and personal property or injuries to yourself and others, you’re liable for those expenses.

    In many cases, you’re personal auto insurance will kick, but not always. And many states require some liability coverage to be built into the cost of the rental itself, but this is usually a small amount that wouldn’t be enough to cover a major accident.

    So what do you do? You can ask the rental company for the amount of liability coverage included with the rental. If it’s not enough, make sure your personal car insurance offers additional coverage. Some rental companies will offer supplemental liability coverage, too. Be sure to ask about this if you need it. It’s different than the standard CDW and LDW they offer.

  • Domestic vs. International Rentals

    If your credit card offers secondary auto rental insurance, it will become primary coverage when you rent internationally as long as your personal auto insurance does not cover you while traveling abroad. Most policies don’t.

    That’s great, but you might still want to consider buying insurance through the rental agency. If you do, then you won’t have to deal with the hassle of contacting the card company and waiting for the process to work itself out.

    If you’re on vacation abroad, you probably don’t want to spend your time dealing with insurance. If you bought through the rental agency, it becomes their responsibility to work out the details of the coverage. Depending on the cost and your schedule, it might be worth the extra cost to avoid any hassle that could potentially ruin your big vacation.

    Another issue with international rentals is that many cards don’t offer coverage in specific countries. Presumably there are legal reasons for this, but the important part is to make sure you have some sort of coverage. The list of excluded countries sometimes varies, but often includes Australia, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica and New Zealand.

  • Which Cars Are Covered

    Credit card car rental insurance doesn’t typically cover every type of car. You’ll be safe with the standard categories of rentals, such as compact, intermediate and full-sized cars, but you might not be covered for specialty cars.

    If you plan to get a passenger van, pick-up truck, antique car, motorcycle or any sort of high-end luxury vehicle, be sure to contact your card issuer to see if you’ll be covered. If not, contact your personal auto insurance company. You may not be covered there, either. Many insurers won’t cover cargo trucks, like U-Hauls, either.

  • If You Don’t Have Personal Auto Insurance

    Believe it or not, some people don’t own a car. If you don’t, then you won’t have any coverage through personal car insurance. The good news is that, like international rentals, any secondary coverage through a credit card will automatically become primary coverage.

    The bad news is that the coverage probably won’t include liability. Again, check with your card issuer and the rental agency. If you’re not going to be covered for liability, you may be stuck getting rental agency’s extra coverage.

  • Paying With Points or Miles

    Unfortunately, most cards won’t offer protection unless you pay for at least one full day, if not the entire rental, with the card. That means that if you pay for a rental entirely with points or miles, you won’t get coverage through your card.

    There is one exception to this rule, though, and that’s the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you get a rental through the portal with your Ultimate Rewards points, you will have rental coverage through your Chase credit card.

  • How Long Will You Be Covered

    Another limit to credit card auto rental insurance is the length of the coverage. Some cards limit their insurance to a maximum of 15 consecutive days or less, while others offer over 40 days. Check with your card issuer if you’re planning on renting for a long period of time. Remember, you can always return a rental and get a different car part way through your vacation, thus resetting the time limit.

Credit Cards With the Best Rental Coverage

If you ever rent a car, you’re going to want a credit card that has the best auto rental insurance benefits. That means you should look for a card that comes with primary coverage. Most just offer secondary, which kicks in only after you personal auto insurance, which means that the accident will go on your record and your rates will likely go up.

While it’s harder to find a card with primary rental coverage, there are still plenty of options. Let’s take a look at some of these cards.

  • Chase Sapphire

    Both of the Chase Sapphire cards — Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ — offer primary car rental coverage for up to 31 days. That’s a fantastic benefit, making these already great cards even more appealing.

    These cards are part of the excellent and flexible Ultimate Rewards program. You can either transfer the points you earn to a variety of travel partners, including seven airlines, or redeem them directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you do that, you can still get rental coverage even if you pay with points. That’s something no other credit card allows you to do.

    The Sapphire Preferred is the more affordable of the two cards. It has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year. You’ll get a 50,000-point sign-up bonus, double points for travel and dining purchases and 25 percent more in travel redemptions made through the UR portal.

    That means that your points would be worth 1.25 cents each through the UR website, instead of the standard value of one cent. That’s not bad considering that the prices are competitive with other websites and that you can get just about any travel you want, including hotels, airfare and car rentals.

    The Sapphire Reserve is notably more expensive with a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year. While the sign-up bonus is the same as the Preferred’s, you’ll get a lot of other perks with this card that can justify the added cost.

    Right off the bat, you’ll get an annual $300 travel credit that will automatically be applied to your account, covering any travel purchases you’ve made. That alone brings down the net cost of the card to just $150. You’ll also get complimentary airport lounge access with a Priority Pass Select membership, reimbursement for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees and triple points for travel and dining purchases.

    Your points are worth more, too. You’ll be able to get 50 percent more travel through the UR portal, which translates to 1.5 cents per point. So the 50,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 in travel through the portal with the Reserve card. This card definitely pays for itself if you use all of the perks and benefits.

  • Chase Ink Business

    In addition to the Sapphire cards, small business owners might consider the Ink Business Preferred℠credit card or Ink Cash® Business Credit Card. They both offer primary rental coverage, though you must be using the car for business purposes in order to qualify.

    Both are excellent cards that have some nice bonus earning categories for purchases and solid sign-up bonuses. If you travel enough, though, the Ink Business Preferred will be more lucrative since you’ll be able to squeeze more value out of your points through travel redemptions. The Ink Cash has no annual fee, and the Ink Business Preferred costs $95 a year.

  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards

    Yet another option from Chase that offers primary rental coverage is The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card. This is definitely more of a niche product, with a hefty $450 annual fee and co-branding with a high-end hotel chain, but it has a lot to offer.

    You’ll get two free nights at a Ritz-Carlton as a sign-up bonus, which can be quite valuable if you choose the right hotel, plus an annual $300 travel credit, $100 hotel credit with any two-night Ritz stay and Priority Pass Select membership for free airport lounge access. When you stay the Ritz-Carlton, you can upgrade to Club Level three times every year. You’ll also get instant Gold Elite Status the first year you have the card.

    If you stay at the Ritz, this card will pay for itself. If you don’t, or you don’t very often, then the Sapphire Reserve is probably a better choice for a premium card because of its added flexibility.

  • United MileagePlus Cards

    It may seem strange at first that all of the United MileagePlus credit cards offer primary auto rental insurance, but it makes a lot more sense once you realize that Chase issues the cards. Obviously these cards are designed for frequent United customers. If you don’t use the carrier, they probably won’t do you much good since they earn United miles that can only be redeem through United’s frequent flyer program, MileagePlus.

    United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is the base offering from United. It has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year and offers free checked bags, priority boarding, two United Club passes and a solid sign-up bonus.

    The MileagePlus Club card offers complimentary United Club lounge access, a slightly bigger sign-up bonus, more free checked bags per passenger and slightly more earning potential. You’ll get 1.5 miles per dollar spent, instead of one mile per dollar with the Explorer card. It comes with a sizable $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year.

  • American Express

    If one of the Chase cards aren’t a good option for you and you still want primary coverage for car rentals, consider getting an Amex card. You’ll have to pay extra—either $19.95 or $24.95, depending on the level of coverage you want—but that’s a flat fee for a rental of up to 42 consecutive days. Just go to the Amex Premium Car Rental Protection webpage and elect to upgrade your secondary insurance to primary.

    Like other credit card rental car insurance programs, American Express does not offer liability coverage. Don’t let the extra cost fool you into thinking it’s somehow better.

    You have to have an American Express card to get this coverage, but there are a lot of options. Any Amex card will do, including Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, American Express® Green Card or Blue from American Express®, Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and more.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

  • What does the rental car insurance you get with a credit card actually cover?

    That depends on the card, but in most cases you’ll get secondary coverage against damages done to the rental car itself. With secondary coverage, your personal auto insurance will kick in first and the credit card’s coverage will take care of the anything not covered by your personal insurance. It’s a nice benefit to have, but if you’re at fault, the accident will go on your record with your insurance company and your rates may increase.
    Some cards offer primary insurance, which also covers just the damages done to the rental. The difference is that this coverage will kick in before your personal insurance. In many cases that would mean that your insurance company will never even be notified of an accident. In other words, your rates won’t go up.
    None of these options include liability coverage, which is for damage done to other cars and property and any injuries to you or anyone else. If you’re at fault in an accident, you’ll still be liable for those expenses. You’re personal auto insurance may cover some or all of that, or the rental agency might have some liability coverage built into the cost of the car. You’ll have to check with both your insurer and the rental company to see if you’ll be covered.
    Many rental car companies may also offer added liability coverage, which is different than the standard LDW or CDW coverage they offer. The cost for this add-on insurance varies by company and location.
  • Can I rent a car without a credit card?

    It is possible, but it can be tricky. Rental companies consider renting to someone without a credit card to be a risky proposition. They assume that if you don’t use a credit card, you can’t get one. And if you can’t get a card, then you probably have poor credit. Letting someone who’s a credit risk drive off with an expensive vehicle is something rental companies want to avoid.
    However, an increasing number of rental car agencies will accept a debit card as payment. Unfortunately, there are some conditions. They may require your debit card to have a Visa or MasterCard logo, and some agencies will even perform a credit check on you before renting. They want to make sure you have the proper funds to cover the rental.
    If they let you rent, you could be required to pay a deposit. This takes the place of the hold that rental companies typically put on a credit card. The deposits can be over $200, depending on the company and location.
    It’s really much easier to rent a car with a credit card if you can. You’ll save a lot of time and hassle.
  • Does Discover offer car rental insurance with its cards?

    Yes, all Discover cards, including the popular Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and Discover it® Miles Card, offer coverage for car rentals. The coverage is secondary, meaning that it will kick in after your personal car insurance. Discover will cover up to $25,000 in damages to the rental car through its Rented Vehicle Damage or Loss Insurance.
    You must pay for the entire rental with your Discover card in order to receive coverage. Note that Discover is no different than other card companies in that the insurance does not include liability coverage. That means that if you’re found to be at fault in an accident, you’ll be responsible for any damages done to other vehicles and injuries to yourself and anyone else involved.
    The rental agency may include some liability coverage in the base price of the rental, or you may be covered through your personal auto insurance. Check with the rental company and your insurer to confirm that you have coverage. If you don’t, you may be able to purchase liability coverage, which is separate from the CDW or LDW insurance, through the rental company.
  • What rental car coverage do you get with Visa Signature credit cards?

    Visa covers cardholders who pay for the entire rental with their qualifying card. The insurance is secondary to your personal auto insurance. It provides reimbursement for the damage or theft of a rental vehicle for up to its actual cash value. The cardholder and any additional drivers permitted by the auto rental agreement will be covered.
    The insurance also pays for loss-of-use charges imposed by the rental company. That’s the amount of money they did not make because they cannot rent the car. Towing charges due to theft or damages may also be covered.
    Coverage is good for up to 15 consecutive days for U.S. rentals and 31 consecutive days internationally.
    There may be other limits to the coverage, so be sure to contact your issuer or Visa to confirm your coverage. Certain classes of vehicles, such as vans, trucks and high-end luxury and sports cars, may not be covered.
    As with any credit card rental car insurance, Visa Signature cards do not offer liability coverage. That means that any damage done to anything or injury done to anyone inside or outside of the vehicle is not covered. If you are at fault in an accident, you will be held liable for costs associated with those damages and injuries.
Have A Question?
Ask our credit card expert!