How to choose the best credit card to travel?
Learn how you can make travel more affordable with one of the best credit cards for travel.
Lost in the pursuit of the perfect travel credit card? Let us give you a hand!
There’s no denying it, travel can be expensive. However, you can make it more affordable if you have the best credit card for travel.
With credit cards that offer rewards such as cash back, points, or miles that you can redeem for travel expenses you can make traveling more affordable.
However, with so many credit cards available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. When selecting a credit card for travel, it’s essential to consider several factors.
One of the most important is the rewards program. Different cards offer different rewards, so it’s crucial to find one that matches your spending habits and travel goals.
Further, some cards offer higher rewards for certain types of spending, such as dining or gas purchases, while others offer more general rewards.
Another important factor you should also consider is the annual fee. Some travel credit cards come with hefty annual fees, while others have no annual fee.
It’s essential to weigh the value of the rewards against the cost of the annual fee to determine if the card is worth it for you.
In addition to rewards and annual fees, it’s also important to consider other features of the card. A few examples are foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, and other perks that can enhance your travel experience.
In this article, we’ll explore how to choose the best credit card for travel based on your specific needs and preferences. Just keep reading!
The best credit cards for travel has a sign-up bonus and high rewards
When selecting the best credit card for travel, ensure that it offers rewards equal to 1.5% to 2% of your spending. Cards with larger annual fees provide even higher rewards rates.
Also, consider sign-up bonuses too, which offer windfalls of points for hitting a certain amount of purchases on the card in the first few months.
The higher the annual fee, the higher the sign-up bonus should be.
Furthermore, examine how they earn and redeem rewards. Some cards offer higher rewards on travel spending and lower base rates on other purchases, while others pay the same rate on all purchases.
Additionally, look for at least 2% rewards on cards with an annual fee and 1.5% on no-fee cards. Avoid cards that provide less than 1 cent per point or mile when you redeem.
Although sign-up bonuses are a great perk, ongoing rewards are more crucial.
If you plan on keeping your card long term, ensure that you can reasonably cover the spending required to earn the bonus. Don’t go into debt to earn a bonus.
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Think about international travel
If you intend to travel internationally, it’s important to note that some cards may not enjoy wide acceptance globally.
The payment network, not the card issuer, determines acceptance, with Visa or Mastercard being the ones with the widest acceptance. Further, American Express and Discover are hit or miss.
Also, many cards charge extra fees on foreign transactions, typically around 3% per purchase. To prepare for overseas travel, bring at least one card that has wide acceptance.
Additionally, if AmEx is your primary card, consider Visa or Mastercard as a backup option. It’s essential to have a card that doesn’t charge for international transactions if you travel internationally.
The best credit cards for travel offer perks and protections into account
To find the best credit card for travel, consider the various perks and protections offered by the card issuer and network. These can include rental car coverage, lost luggage insurance, and travel delay.
Further, some may even include accident insurance, concierge services, and emergency assistance.
Premium travel credit cards, such as co-branded airline and hotel cards, offer additional benefits. Some of these benefits include free checked bags, priority boarding, discounts, upgrades, and travel credits.
So, to choose the right travel card for you, decide which perks and protections are essential. For example, if you frequently check bags with expensive items, you may want lost baggage protection.
Also, if you rent cars frequently, look for a card with excellent rental car coverage. Co-branded travel cards can be a good option if you frequently fly with a particular airline.
Still, be aware that they may earn less on non-travel purchases than general travel credit cards. It’s usually best to limit yourself to just one co-branded card if you do choose to go that route.
General or Co-Branded travel credit cards?
Co-branded cards can be some of the best credit cards for travel. They feature the name of a specific hotel or airline chain and usually allow you to redeem rewards solely with that company.
Although this limits your options, you can enjoy exclusive perks like free checked bags and priority boarding for airlines. You can also enjoy complimentary upgrades and bonus amenities at hotels.
In contrast, general travel credit cards earn rewards that you can use for any travel expense.
You may redeem your points to book travel directly or apply your points toward a credit on your account. This approach provides greater flexibility but fewer exclusive benefits.
Also, if you frequently travel with a single airline or stay at hotels within a specific group, a co-branded card is a practical way to reduce your costs.
However, if you prefer the freedom to book with any provider, a general travel card is your best option. By evaluating your travel needs and preferences, you can select the card that offers the most value for you.
The bottom line
Choosing the best credit card for travel depends on several factors that need consideration.
Rewards program, annual fee, foreign transaction fees, and other features of the card, such as travel insurance and other perks, are some of the factors to consider.
Furthermore, look out for the various perks and protections the card offers. Take a close look at rental car coverage, lost luggage insurance, and travel delay, and decide the ones that make the most sense to you.
Ultimately, by selecting the right travel credit card, you can make traveling more affordable and enjoy exclusive perks and benefits while on the go.
Tips for traveling on a budget
With or without a travel credit card, you will surely need to stay within your budget when you travel. Otherwise, your dream travel can turn into your debt nightmare.
On the following link, you’ll find essential tips to keep your finances on track while traveling worldwide.
About the author / Danilo Pereira
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