The Six Best Vacation Credit Cards

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Regardless of what time of year you're headed to a resort, theme park or cruise, there's a credit card that will make the trip a little cheaper, and let you earn points and perks toward your next vacation. Here are six popular vacation destinations with their own credit cards, most of which have no annual fee. From Disney to Universal, these options are bound to allow families to have a more affordable experience on their vacation.

The Disney Rewards Visa Card

Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland Paris.

This card is a must-have if you're planning a Disney vacation. In fact, brand new cardholders can earn a $200 statement credit with the Disney Premier Visa Card. Cardholders can receive this after spending $500 on purchases in their first three months from opening an account. With this card, there is a $49 annual fee, and members can receive the bonus if they have not received a new one in the last two years.

You earn 2 percent on all Disney merchandise and at Disney theme parks, including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and other places at most of the Disney locations. Other purchases will receive 1 percent cash back rewards.

The real value in this card is with the discounts and the perks. You get discounts for using the card to book vacations and purchase items at Disney stores, theme parks, and cruises. If you use the card to book a Disney vacation through the Disney Travel Company, you get 0% financing for six months. Plus, kids can participate in a "Meet 'N' Greet" with a Disney character at a private card member location, including a free 5x7 photo.

The Universal American Express Card

Universal Orlando
Studio Sarah Lou / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Like the Disney Rewards Visa Card, the perks for this card are as valuable as the rewards.

American Express is the official card of the Universal Orlando Resort. Cardholders will experience in-park privileges and special guest rewards. For example, members will receive 10 percent off when purchasing a Universal Dining Plan with the American Express Card. 

Another 10 ​percent off is available when using the card to purchase $75 or more at in-store merchandise at Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure in Orlando.

The Sandals Visa Signature Credit Card

Sandals resort pool.
Greg Johnston / Getty Images 

If you take frequent vacations at Sandals resorts, this credit card can help you earn points toward your next trip. With this credit card, there is no annual fee and an instant decision is available. Cardholders will be happy to know that there are no foreign transaction fees, and double points for purchases are available at Sandals and Beaches resorts.

Members will also be able to earn one point per dollar spent on everyday purchases. As the points build, redemptions like character breakfasts, spa credits, and candlelight dinners will be rewarded.

The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Credit Card

Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, berthed in Sydney Harbour.
James D. Morgan / Getty Images

The most attractive feature of this card is the upfront bonus. You earn 10,000 bonus points after your first transaction, whether it's a purchase or a balance transfer. This offer is available within the first 65 days and is valued at $100 in onboard credit.

You can earn two "Royal Points" per dollar on all Royal Caribbean purchases, either for the trip itself or what you purchase on board. You also earn one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Points can be redeemed for cruises, stateroom upgrades, cruise discounts, onboard credits, cash or merchandise. There is also no annual fee.

The Norwegian Cruise Line MasterCard

Cruise ship MS Astor, Norwegian Cruise Line
Holger Leue / Getty Images 

This card is virtually identical to the Royal Caribbean Visa card. The only real difference is the cruise line sponsor. You can earn the same two points per dollar on all Norwegian Cruise Lines purchases, either for the trip itself or what you purchase on board ​and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, travel discounts, onboard credits, and more.

The upfront bonus is also identical: 10,000 points after your first transaction, whether it's a purchase or a balance transfer. This is available when the card is used within the first three months. Luckily, there is also no annual fee for this card.

The Carnival World MasterCard

Curves of pool, whirlpool, lounge, and stern of Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

With the Barclay card, there is no annual fee and 20,000 "FunPoints" after the first purchase. After the card is used for the first time, up to $200 in credit can be redeemed toward your next cruise purchase on Carnival and other World Leading Cruise Lines.

You also earn two Carnival "FunPoints" per dollar on Carnival, Holland America or Princess cruise lines vacations, as well as on any purchases charged to the Sail and Sign account on board any Carnival cruise ship. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

There is also chip card technology used to make paying for purchases more secure. This is available at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad.