Travel Credit Cards
Recognizing the growing importance of international travel to many consumers, banks and credit card issuers have been responding with new travel credit cards. These products generally come with some combination of rewards, benefits, and bonuses that appeal to frequent travelers. In fact, there are now more options for travelers than ever before.
This article takes a closer look at these new products and their advantages for consumers who frequently travel or plan to do so in the foreseeable future.
What is a Travel Credit Card?
A travel credit card, also known as a rewards credit card, is a credit card designed for people who want to earn rewards for their travel spending. These cards generally come with more rewards, benefits, and bonuses than a regular credit card.
While rewards credit cards are available to all consumers, travel credit cards are generally geared toward frequent travelers. Travel credit cards come with rewards, benefits, and bonuses tailored to travelers. Most of these cards offer rewards points that can be redeemed for travel-related purchases.
Most travel credit cards also have other benefits and rewards that improve the travel experience by reducing the hassles and increasing the enjoyment of travel.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel rewards credit cards are among the most popular and most useful travel credit cards available. They appeal to frequent travelers who want to earn rewards for their travel spending and want to use those rewards for travel-related expenses.
These cards come in many shapes and sizes and offer a range of rewards and travel benefits. The best cards offer a mix of travel-related rewards, generous travel benefits, and excellent customer service. There are generally two types of travel rewards credit cards - those that offer travel rewards for all spending and those that specialize in travel rewards.
The first type is best for people who want to earn travel rewards from all of their spending, including groceries and gas. The second type is best for people who want to use their card only for travel-related purchases.
Other Benefits and Rewards
Along with rewards, travel credit cards often come with other benefits, such as travel insurance (such as trip delay, cancellation and interruption coverage), airport lounge access, concierge service and other services and features designed to improve your travel experience.
Travel credit cards often include rewards that extend beyond travel, such as cash back, points that can be redeemed for gift cards, or points that can be used to reduce your monthly payments. Some travel credit cards offer other rewards and benefits that make them especially attractive to frequent travelers.
For example, some cards offer travel credits for flight delays or special travel services such as priority boarding or special seat assignments.
Travel Protection Benefits
Travel credit cards are also often packed with travel-related benefits. Some of the most common travel-related benefits include trip delay and interruption insurance, medical and health insurance, car rental insurance and travel assistance services.
In addition to the specific benefits offered by travel credit cards, many general rewards cards also offer travel-related benefits. These include travel insurance (such as trip delay, cancellation and interruption coverage), car rental insurance, travel assistance services and more.
Costs and Fees of Travel Credit Cards
To get the most out of travel credit cards, it’s important to understand the costs and fees associated with them. Like most financial products, travel credit cards have associated costs and fees that you need to consider before applying.
Minimum credit card spend - Most travel rewards cards require that you spend a specified amount each month to qualify for the card’s travel rewards. For example, you might need to spend $2,000 each month on your credit card to earn a travel rewards bonus.
Interest rate - Even if you pay your balance in full each month, you should be aware of the card’s interest rate. While most travel rewards cards have lower interest rates than other credit cards, it’s important to factor the interest rate into your budget if you plan to carry a balance.
Annual fee - Many travel rewards cards charge an annual fee. While this fee is a disadvantage of having the card, it is often outweighed by the travel rewards offered by the card. Travel benefits expiration - Most travel benefits expire within a year, so you need to make sure you take advantage of them before they expire.
Travel credit cards often come with other benefits, as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to earn travel rewards? - With most travel rewards credit cards, you need to wait at least one or two billing cycles before you see the rewards from your spending.
How much do travel rewards cost? - Travel rewards credit cards often come with a yearly fee, which is one of the costs associated with having the card. How do I use travel rewards?
Some travel rewards credit cards let you use your points or miles to book travel directly through their websites or travel booking websites such as Orbitz or Expedia. You can also generally use rewards points or miles to reduce the cost of travel by booking flights through a travel rewards card’s airline or hotel partner.
Can I use travel rewards to book hotels? - Many travel rewards credit cards let you use your points or miles to book hotels, too. Can I use travel rewards to pay for my trip? - Some travel credit cards let you use your rewards as a credit on your travel expenses. This means you can use your rewards points or miles to pay for airline tickets, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses.
If you travel frequently, a travel rewards credit card is a great way to earn free travel and other rewards from your spending. With so many travel rewards credit cards to choose from, it can be tough to decide which is best for you.
For frequent international travelers, the travel rewards offered by co-branded credit cards are a great option. These credit cards offer special travel rewards and benefits for loyalty to a specific airline or hotel. If you plan to use travel rewards to pay for your trip, a flexible travel rewards credit card is a good choice.
If you prefer to use travel rewards to reduce the cost of your travel, a fixed-value travel rewards credit card is a better option.
Travel credit cards are fantastic products for frequent travelers. Whether you prefer travel rewards that can be used to book travel directly or rewards that can be used to reduce the cost of travel, travel rewards credit cards will reward you for your spending.
With so many travel rewards credit cards available, you're sure to find one that suits your needs and travel habits.