Today’s society revolves around money — how we get it, how we spend it, how we transfer it. And with everyone turning to technology to solve their problems and function in their daily lives, the best bet for your next trip is to get a travel credit card.
With so many options, it can be overwhelming to try and pick one. Since there can be multiple factors that differentiate one card from another, using these five factors can help you better determine which credit card is right for you.
Special Travel Perks
When you’re looking for a card that has travel benefits, it is important to see what special travel perks a card offers.
Some airlines have credit cards that allow you to bring a free checked bag when you obtain a certain number of points. Other cards allow you to enter their special lounges in the airport just for owning the card. In-flight perks such as a free drink or snack may be available to certain cardholders.
Certain credit cards with United Airlines feature priority boarding. If you like to get on the plane to be seated and situated before everyone else, this is a feature to look for in a credit card.
Are you looking to upgrade your seat from economy to first class? This feature may be possible with some cards. Once you decide which of these perks are most important or useful to you, you’ll be able to better choose a card that fits your needs.
Low — Or No — Foreign Transaction Fees
If traveling internationally is in your near future, having a travel credit card that has a low foreign transaction fee — or no fee at all — is crucial.
Believe it or not, there are in fact credit cards that offer 0% foreign transaction fees. These include options by Chase, Capital One, Bank of America and Discover.
Most cards come with a fee that range from 1-3% of the purchase total. If you don’t want to pay this, be sure to open a credit card with no foreign transaction fee.
No annual fee
Since travel credit cards often have so many perks, it is common that they will also come with high annual fees. These can easily add $100 and up to your yearly bill. Try and find a credit card with a low annual fee.
Often times, travel credit cards offer $0 annual fee for the first year, but then require the normal fee again after the first year is up. If you decide on one of these cards, make sure to cancel the credit card after the first year is up, or else you’ll be stuck paying the annual fee.
A couple of credit cards exist that always have a $0 annual fee. The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card has a $0 annual fee, no matter how long you decide to have the card.
One of the best perks to take advantage of on some cards are the benefits of the points when you first get the card. Several cards have these opportunities. If you spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time after opening the card, you can get a large number of extra bonus points.
For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card gives a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. This can equal a whopping $400 in travel spending!
Looking for these types of perks can earn you a lot of extra points and miles for not doing anything extra at all.
Be aware that some cards that have points earning systems depend on what you’re buying. If you get triple the amount of points for buying gas, but you live in a city where you only depend on public transportation, this feature would not be of use to you. Be sure to investigate what gets you the most points for each card and choose the one that benefits you.
While some cards are general travel credit cards that allow you to redeem points or miles for many hotels and airlines, if you travel frequently with only one airline, it may be best to look into that specific airline’s card.
For example, if you choose to get a credit card with Southwest, you won’t ever be restricted as to when you can fly. This card features no blackout dates, no restrictions and no change fees. This could be a huge perk if you are a frequent flyer with this airline.
Depending on how you choose to travel, and how often you travel, some cards will make more sense. Be sure to weigh all factors of each card, in the end choosing the one with the most rewards that benefit you.