How to choose the best travel rewards credit card
Travel rewards cards are a great option if you’re a frequent traveler and accumulate points quickly. That depends on whether you frequently use one airline for travel and stay at one hotel chain.
Travel Cards – Low Interest or Rewards Program?
â You can get travel cards that offer no perks. These are mainly low APR or no annual fee cards. They help keep interest rate and costs down, but there is no way to convert your card usage into rewards.
â If you have a good credit score and can manage your credit card balance, choose travel rewards credit cards
â If a card comes with no annual fee for the first year, check what the fee would be the next year. If the fee cancels the benefits provided by the rewards program, choose another card.
â If a card offers low or 0% APR for an initial period, check the regular APR to see if it would suit your habits
Travel Rewards Cards – Types
Travel rewards cards can be co-branded cards. That is, they’re tied to a particular airline or hotel chain. These can help you get rewards and other benefits from loyalty programs. However, if you don’t stick to a single airline or a particular hotel chain, don’t get these cards.
Bank travel rewards cards are far more flexible. You can earn more points on your regular use, and you can use the rewards earned at multiple airlines or hotel chains.
Travel Rewards Cards – Benefits
Look for a signup bonus on travel cards. However, you need to spend a high amount within the first 3 or 6 months of getting the card. You may have to spend anywhere from $500 to $4000 or more to get the points.
Once you get the bonus points, it kickstarts your rewards system. Then you earn 1.5x points or more on travel related purchases. You’ll also get at least 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Look for cards that give you high rewards, like 3 to 5 points per dollar spent on special categories like groceries, office supplies, dining and more.
Most cards don’t have an expiry date on the rewards accumulated as long as you keep the cards active.
With bank cards, you can redeem your reward points at any airline or hotel. You may get even more benefits when you make your travel purchases though the card issuer’s platform.
Some cards offer other benefits like free baggage check-in. This can help you save a lot of money.
A travel card with a good reward program can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars in travel expenses every year. Use your travel cards optimally and accumulate rewards. You can even treat your family to a great vacation that you couldn’t otherwise afford.