If you are a frequent traveler then you should be carrying a credit card that gets you to the places you want to go cheaply and in style. There are many travel credit cards out there from general points programs to hotel cards to airline cards. These cards are better than cash, especially when you can get so many rewards and freebies from them. Travel credit cards provide a great opportunity to earn free points that can be redeemed for airfare, hotels or cold hard cash.
No matter what credit card you get, whether it is a hotel, airline, or general rewards cards, the card should offer all of the following things:
First, you should get a huge sign bonus. Most travel credit cards offer joining bonuses of 20,000 or more rewards/miles/points. Don’t join one that doesn’t offer you anything or it will take a long time to exchange rewards for hotels, cash, or airfare.
Furthermore, make sure you pick a travel credit card where you have the opportunity to earn extra points. Most of the time you just get one point for every dollar spent. However, the good credit cards give you extra points when you shop at special retailers or, if it is a brand card, with that one brand. This way you get points quicker. Finally, don’t forget to read the fine print. Are there are reward blackout dates, a fee structure, taxes, or other things the credit card company might try to sneak in there. Businesses don’t give away anything for free so for most cards they will try to sneak in some service charge. Compare the cards to make sure you pick one that doesn’t.
Remember that all good reward cards have fees. Most fees range from $45-$80 dollars. For those who travel a lot and fly a lot, it is worth getting a fee based card. Fee cards give you a better rewards scheme. You can accumulate rewards faster; you get better access to services and special offers, and better protection.
So which card should you get? A hotel card? A general point’s card? An airline card? To answer that question, think about how you travel. Are you loyal to one airline? If so, you should get a premium rewards card for one airline. You will accrue miles quicker as well as elite qualifying miles that will get you access to lounges and upgrades. Not only that, you specialty status will transfer over to other airlines. If you are on the road for business a lot, then getting a hotel card is a good choice. You would get a lot of hotel points, free nights stays, discounts at other retailers, and you could also transfer those points to airlines for free flights.
For those who only care about price and not brand loyalty, a general card would be best. You will still get points for free flights and discounts as well as cash back but you wouldn’t get any of the elite benefits. However, by getting a general travel rewards card you would have access to a wider range of brands and companies than if you had a brand specific card.