Choosing a Credit Card Travel Rewards


I travel a lot and when I can, I like to share all the benefits that my experience can offer.

It is no wonder then that my daughter asked for advice on behalf of a friend, which credit card is best suited for winning travel awards. This question, however, was not the one I had been thinking about for a long time.

There are many bonus programs to choose from. I am not an expert on them. I mainly use two programs offered by American Express and Chase, but they are not necessarily the best. They will not always be suitable and even available to everyone. Although I'm happy with the two programs I use, I dig a bit to see what will be around if I started from scratch today.

The main card I use for travel pay is the American Express Optima credit card. An important note about the distinction between credit cards and charge cards: A credit card does not have to be paid in full every month. I pay the card completely and strongly recommend it, even if it is not required. Interest charges on credit cards are extremely expensive and may particularly apply to reward cards. If you ultimately pay large interest and fees, this can significantly reduce the benefits of travel rewards.

The advantage of the Optima card is that there is no annual fee, but it earns rewards. The bad thing about the Optima card is that American Express stopped offering it to new customers in 2009. Unless a targeted offer is sent, it cannot be submitted.

For the American Express option without an annual fee that earns travel rewards, the Blue Sky card received positive online reviews and an oral opinion. For every 7,500 points you earn, you'll receive a $ 100 credit, which you can use to cover any travel costs you book as you like. The disadvantage of American Express is that cards are not accepted wherever Visa and MasterCard are taken. On the other hand, if you already have a debit card secured by Visa or MasterCard (or one of their credit cards), you probably get along well, using it to cover cases where you can't use an American Express card. If I were looking for a new travel rewards card today, I'd probably explore the Blue Sky.

In my research I also came across the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard and the CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards card (Visa offer). In the past I wore the CapitalOne card with the rewards program I used frequently. The card added a fee I didn't want to pay, and I had other issues with the CapitalOne service, so I dropped the card. However, I would not rule out CapitalOne as an option, especially because VentureOne rewards do not have an annual fee.

I don't have personal experience with Barclays products, but it's also worth exploring the Barclaycard MasterCard. The card offers a relatively high reward rate and appears to be highly flexible. However, it has an annual fee of 89 USD. Although the fee is lifted in the first year, everything else is equal, I would stay away from cards with an annual fee.

That said, I pay an annual fee of USD 29 for the travel rewards program on my Visa Chase card. I have a Chase card for a long time and it has a large credit limit. I also use it when making large purchases for my company, so I tend to score a significant number of points on a small number of transactions. I do not know whether a personal user applying for today would receive an equally good offer or the same value. The Chase program is a bit more cumbersome to use because the trip must be booked via Chase (online or by phone), and in my experience not all flights are available. Although I use a Chase card, it probably won't be my first recommendation for someone looking for a new travel rewards card.

If you use almost only one airline or hotel chain, almost all major carriers offer proprietary cards that offer various bonuses. For example, Delta Skymiles American Express allows you to lift the fee for the first checkered bag. Starwood American Express gives you automatic gold status in your hotel rewards program if you spend $ 30,000 a year, and lets you convert your hotel points into airline miles with several major carriers. However, closing yourself in at one of the major travel service providers may not be effective if you change routes or if you want to travel somewhere, a travel partner from your card cannot take you. Although you can earn miles a bit faster, you devote flexibility to it.

Just like choosing any credit card, you'll probably get a better deal and you'll have more options if you have good credit. Don't be tempted to simply grab the card with the highest registration bonus. Note the annual fee levels, APR, low minimum expenses before you qualify for rewards, restrictions on how you book your trip and which trip you can book, and other "fine print" details. If you're planning to travel abroad, it's also worth comparing the & # 39; foreign currency conversion fees. The card that's right for you ultimately depends on your personal habits and travel needs.

If you do your homework and have the discipline not to dig into the hole paying high interest on the transferred balance, a credit card with travel rewards can be a great way to cover travel costs. And reducing travel costs is a great way to make it a little more comfortable.