So why get a travel credit card?
Travel is a high priority in our lives. I’m not sure about you, but if you’re reading this, I’m going to guess it’s pretty high up on your priority list too.
But travel can be expensive. Even though there are lots of ways to travel cheaper, you still have to buy flights and have somewhere to sleep. But what if you could get these costs down to next to nothing… or even free?
It might mean you can travel more often, travel better and experience more things from the money you saved on flights and accommodation. Depending on your income, it might actually give you access to travel, when you may not have been able to afford it previously.
So if travel’s a priority to you, and if you understand the best way to use a credit card, then I wouldn’t hesitate to get a travel credit card. But which one is right for you?
Take a look at our tips to find the best travel credit card for you…
Tip #1 – Annual Fees
This is a fine line. Often travel credit cards with annual fees offer better rewards/value. Before you do anything, you need to ask yourself:
- How much can I afford/am I willing to spend on annual fees? Keep in mind the reason you are getting the card and how much you think you can save? For example, if you don’t think you will be using the card extensively then you wouldn’t pay $300 per year for a card that you may not see many rewards from.
- Is the value I will get from this card more then the annual fee? For example, if you pay $200 in annual fees but get free travel insurance and a free flight each year despite your miles, then you are probably making back your money. Always ask yourself would you have spent that money anyway?
Tip #2 – How Many Points do you earn per dollar?
No brainer. Obviously if one travel credit card earns 3 points per dollar and another card earns 1 point per dollar… the more points the better. But, make sure you look at the other tips before you decide, as points per dollar isn’t the only thing to take into consideration.
Some cards also let you earn more points overseas. For example, you might earn 1 point per dollar in your own country but 4 points per dollar when you travel overseas. If you travel a lot, your points will quickly add up.
Tip #3 – Reward points conversion
As I mentioned above, it’s not all about points per dollar. You also need to look at how these points convert.
For example, If you are going to convert your points to a specific frequent flyer program connected with your card, look at how the points are converted to miles. You may receive 3 pts per dollar then look at converting the points and realise 3 points = 1 mile. So make sure your reward points convert well.
Tip #4 – Reward Partners
If you are after specific rewards, for example, a specific airline or hotel group, then check which travel credit cards are partnered with them.
Tip #5 – Point Expiry
A lot of travel credit cards don’t have a point expiry. Check the life of your points to make sure you don’t sign up with a card that kills your points off faster then you can earn them.
Tip #6 – Are there Foreign Transaction Fees?
If you’re getting a travel credit card, chances are you like to travel. Check out the foreign transaction fees before you commit.
Tip #7 – ATM Fees
Check your local and overseas ATM fees. Most cash advances on travel credit cards automatically get hit with the interest too. I would personally never use my credit card at an ATM. Look into a debit card that has zero ATM fees both locally and overseas.
Tip #8 – Does it meet your wants/needs/goals for having a credit card?
Some people just love the idea of rewards, of getting something for free. With credit cards, nothing is really for free (annual fees etc.), So make sure you know why you want a credit card and get one that meets those needs. What is your priority? Airfares, hotels, a range of products? Travel insurance? And if you are not going to use the rewards, why get a credit card?
Tip #9 – Does it have a minimum spend?
Make sure you check this out first, and if the travel credit card does have a minimum spend, only commit if you spend this anyway (expenses etc.), not if you have to spend more to get the card.
Tip #10 – Co-branded Credit Cards
If you fly frequently with a particular airline, look into their co-branded travel credit cards. Co-branded credit cards usually give you more points when used to purchase tickets with that airline. But still make sure to compare the number of points you earn from daily purchases with non co-branded cards, as they can be higher with non co-branded cards. Weigh up which works out best for you.
Tip #11 – What are the Sign Up Bonus Points
Some travel credit cards come with a certain number of points when you sign up, often you get more points on cards with a higher annual fee. Search frequent flyer websites, travel websites and credit card websites before you commit. Sometimes the best sign up deals are found on websites other then the bank providing it. We signed up for a credit card through pointhacks.com.au and got more sign up points for doing so.
So good luck on your search for the best travel credit card for you! If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, let me know in the comments below…
For some other ways to save money on travel see: