How to pick the best credit card for travel and why it's important?


In the last two years, the world went through a pandemic and still trying to recover from it. Many countries have started to open their borders for international travel. But travel for a vacation doesn’t seem to be an everyday thing anymore. You often have to plan about it in advance, arrange for a visa, flight tickets, manage accommodation, etc. Another crucial thing you need to plan about in advance is to procure local currency. Without local currency, it would be difficult for you to survive in the area. This is where credit card for travel comes into the picture.

A travel credit card can help you earn points for travel rewards and improve your travel experience. The card also offers additional perks like annual free nights, travel insurance, waived checked bag fees, airport lounge access, best fare deals, and more. However, when you have to choose the best travel credit card, it is complicated as many options are available in the market.

In the following blog, you will get an idea of how you can choose the best travel credit.

1. Co-branded or general travel card- Chose One

Before you make the first move towards choosing a travel credit card, you must know that there are two types of travel cards available in the market for your travel hacking: co-branded and general travel cards.

  • Co-branded Travel Cards: Cards that are dedicated to specific airline or hotel loyalty program. They offer travel rewards like free checked bags, priority boarding, annual hotel credits, or automatic hotel elite booking status for specific on-brands. With this card, you can earn points in a particular travel program. Also, if you use the same brand frequently, they provide the best for travel loyalists.
  • General Travel Cards: These cards let you earn rewards in a program that enables you to use your points in various ways despite any brand, airline, or hotel bookings. You can use points for direct travel purchases at a fixed rate or transfer points to multiple airlines and hotel loyalty programs.

2. Search for cheap travel, best fare deals, discounts on Flight tickets booking

Since many options are available, it is easier to get lured by the offers. But before you make a final decision, make sure you compare everything like cheap travel, best fare deals, discounts on Flight tickets booking, etc. If you want a card that offers you bonus points in a specific category like dining, gas, groceries, travel, etc., you may opt for Citi Premier® Card. On the other hand, you may also opt for a flat-rate card that allows you to earn 2% cashback on all purchases and has no annual fee like Citi® Double Cash card.

3. Look for minimum spending requirements-

There are cards available in the market with a threshold for minimum spending to earn bonus rewards that may range from $500 to $15,000 within three to six months. At times, it becomes difficult to manage on the higher end of the scale, followed by a welcome bonus. You may also opt for a credit card with generous welcome bonuses and low spending minimums. You can swipe such cards for a minimum amount and earn enough miles for a trip to Europe.

4. Count the number of travel benefits offered by the card

Another critical thing to keep in mind while finalizing a travel credit card is the travel perks offered by the card. The right card will help you offset your card’s annual fee and generate hundreds of dollars’ worth of value every year. Some of the travel benefits you may look for while choosing the card are:

  • Travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary or secondary auto rental coverage, baggage delay insurance, etc.
  • A specific number of lounge entries or airport lounge membership
  • Free credits whenever you make a global entry
  • Automatic hotel elite status
  • Free checked bags, priority boarding, and other airline perks
  • Annual resort credits

For instance, you travel once a year with your friends and pay $130 for baggage on a round trip. Imagine your credit card offering you travel perks where you can pay $99 as the card’s annual free and baggage fee is waived off. There are premium travel cards that offer the most benefits but also charge higher annual fees. However, it is you who needs to evaluate if you wish to take advantage of enough of the card’s plentiful benefits to justify the annual fee.

If you find yourself stranded in the situation, pick a card with perks and protections you can take advantage of and be comfortable in paying the annual fee.

5. Pick a card where you have to pay a minimum fee

You may choose a card where you can spend a minimal annual fee of justified $100 as they offer welcome bonuses and help you earn rewards on your spending. There are some travel cards where you don’t have to pay an annual fee but make sure you search well. Also, when finalizing the travel card, be aware of the foreign transaction fee. If your travel credit card charges a foreign transaction fee, it may add to your spending abroad. In such a scenario, try to find a card with no foreign transaction fee, even if it comes with an annual fee. Such a card may help you save in the long run.

When you finalize your travel card, make sure you compare it with other cards available in the market and offer you the best deals. When you compare the cards available in the market, you can easily find a card that suits your needs with minimal requirements. If you didn't like the travel credit card or aren’t satisfied, you can always change the product or apply for a new one.