Finding a Travel Credit Card That’s Right for You | Six Things to Consider With Credit Cards

Heather Arbour

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If you’re planning on traveling at all, heck if you want free stuff, you need to get a travel credit card. Travel credit cards save you loads, and can even give you free hotel nights, flights, and more!

With more and more credit card companies jumping on the train of giving users points on their purchases, it’s hard to know what travel card is best for you. Regardless of what card you choose, there are some things to look for when searching for the right one.

Check this post for the card we absolutely love.. and maybe just abuse the points and benefits a bit too much! 😉

Six Things To Consider When Choosing a Credit Card

Pay Attention To The Type of Card

Okay, so obviously you want to pick a credit card, but man, those things come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! Just think, MasterCard, Discover, Visa, American Express.. the list goes on and on.

We recommend getting a Visa, as Visa has been accepted everywhere we’ve traveled to between Europe, both North and South America, and Asia.

When we traveled in South America, we only had an American Express travel credit card, and it bit us in the butt over and over again. In our opinion visa is the way to go!

Look for Sign-Up Bonuses

Sign-up bonuses are HUGE people! And honestly, the sign-up bonus is why we originally got our American Express card – though we no longer have it. Getting a sign-up bonus can mean automatic free nights at hotels and/or racking up major points to cash out later!

Compare what sign-up bonuses you get with each card. Look for things like double or triple the points when you spend x amount of money within the first three months (usually $3,000-$5,000), and bonuses when adding a second authorized user too!

This Chase Credit Card offers 60,000 sign up bonus points, just for signing up! In some cases, that’s a free flight to Hawaii or elsewhere! Be sure you have good sign up bonuses!!! You won’t regret it!

{Traveler Tip…Before that huge number scares you for the money spent within the first three months, think, you could go and purchase gift cards or those little pre-paid visa things to use later at your favorite stores or gas stations. You’ll technically be spending that amount on your new credit card, without actually buying that much stuff!}  

Make Sure There’s A Incredible Reward System

How many points do you get for each dollar you spend? Typically, with travel cards, you get 3x’s the points on travel purchases like transportation and accommodation and 2x’s on eating out, while just 1 point per dollar on everyday purchases like groceries.

Look for a card that gives you double or triple the points on things you use your credit card most for! There’s no better way to rack up the points than getting more for each dollar you spend! If you’re only getting one point per dollar spent, look for a different card, as that one-to-one ratio is not going to rack up points fast!

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Zero Transaction Fees.. Hello, Budget Freedom

Oh my gosh… Banking fees are the absolute worst! It’s not very fun when you swipe your card and in the back of your head are adding 3-5 USD per foreign transaction. Remember, you’re searching for a travel credit card here, so it needs to be travel-friendly.

Make sure the card has no foreign transaction fee.

This means that when you swipe it for things like coffee, rental cars, groceries, really anything abroad… there won’t be any extra fee tacked on for converting the currency or using the card abroad. No transaction fees is a huge game changer in the budget world!!

{Traveler’s Tip… If you want a debit card that has no fees when you pull out money abroad, check out this card here. Charles Schwab is an online bank that allows you to access money from an ATM with no ATM fee!!}

Find An Annual Fee That Works For You

Travel credit cards always come with an annual fee. I mean, come on, you can’t get all the extra benefits of a travel credit card for free. But here’s the deal. If you use and maybe slightly abuse the credit card perks, then the fee will pay for itself. The trick here is to figure out if you’re going to use the points/rewards to the max outweighing the annual fee.

For example, the Chase Hyatt Credit Card has a hefty annual fee, however, you get a free night at a Hyatt every year, which in and of itself pays for the annual fee anyway. But this is only good if you’re going to be traveling and actually using this free night. Whereas, if you’re not traveling where Hyatt resorts are, this wouldn’t be beneficial to you.

Remember though, that the annual fee covers all the money you save not having foreign transaction fees and the money you save in other travel credit card benefits, that in the end cost way more than the silly fee itself!

Travel Card Benefits | The Biggest Money Saver Around

The number one money saver for having a travel credit card is by far card benefits. Our travel credit card benefits have saved us hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the past couple of years. When looking for a travel credit card, be sure to check the benefits that come along with the card.

Look for things like rental car insurance, travel insurance, luggage and flight delay compensation, and extended warranties. Our card has extended warranty coverage on anything purchased with it. So that one-year warranty on my computer has now turned into a two-year warranty simply because we bought it with our credit card. Holla!!

Read the benefits inside and out to see if you’re getting a good deal – and then smile when you realize that the annual fee has yet again paid for itself just with the benefits!

Extra Notes On A Travel Credit Card

Something we didn’t know before getting a credit card, was that you don’t have to bank through the particular bank the credit card is through.. haha.. does that even make sense??

Say you bank at Wells Fargo, but want the Chase Sapphire Visa, you can still get the Chase credit card with no problem. You just have to get your credit cleared! And better yet, with online banking, you can even set up automatic payments to other banks, so you can pay off your cards with no problem.

That brings us to one MAIN POINT we don’t want you to miss… If you can’t pay off your credit card, do not use it. To actually benefit from having a credit card, and make the most of your points, you need to pay off the balance every month, so you don’t occur interest. We in no way, shape, or form recommend getting a credit card if you cannot pay it each month!

More on this mini-series here… Be on the lookout for these live posts too!!

The Credit Card We Use and LOVE.. What We Recommend for You!

Rack Up the Points this Season With Our Christmas Gift Lists for Traveling Souls

Photography Gear Guide | What’s In Our Camera Kit

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