Having a credit card can get lots of amazing perks. The trick is to find the right card and know how to use it to collect bonuses which can be used for free travel. Even in the case when the journey you are planning might not be totally free, you can get a hefty discount.
Should I get one travel credit card? Or maybe two?
To get the best credit cards and the best travel rewards generally an excellent credit score is necessary. In case your credit score is not optimal, you should work on improving it by paying all past debt and construct a positive payment trend.
Mainly you can find two different types of travel credit cards. On the one hand there are every scenario credit cards, which provide bonuses on every travel purchase. On the other hand there are brand specific cards which provide bigger bonuses when used on specific hotels or airlines.
Owning more than one travel reward credit card will allow you to get the most out of every offer. As an example, one card can get you the biggest bonuses on gas purchases while the other one gets you the most when booking accommodation. It is highly recommended for you to research which are the top credit cards for travel and how to make the most of them.
Be aware of Fees, Perks, and Conditions
Pay close attention when choosing a card, which does not have a limit on bonuses or has a short validity in time. Not to be dismissed are foreign transaction fees, benefits on baggage fees, complimentary tickets, extra bonuses when using travel partners for bookings.
In most scenarios, there is an annual fee that needs to be paid on the best travel credit cards. As an incentive, the providers will waive the fee for the first year, and you will start paying in the second year. If you are able to collect enough bonuses for a free hotel or a flight, you will not notice the fee you have to pay.
Use the credit card for everything, particularly for travel.
In order to get free travel using the credit card bonuses, you need to collect enough rewards to be able to use them. The number of rewards is directly linked with how much you use your credit card. To maximize the rewards, you should know in detail the reward programs and learn the best strategy to use your credit card. If your credit card gives you more bonuses when paying for travel, you should always use the credit card for travel.
Pay full balance
One of the main rules you need to keep In mind when using a reward credit card, particularly a travel reward credit card. Paying each month your balance in full will help you to keep an excellent credit score, and as a result, you will benefit from better credit cards. However, the credit score is not the only important reason to pay a full balance every month. By carrying a balance on your credit card there are finance charges which need to be paid. Such charges can negate the bonuses you get from the credit card. If you really want to use the credit card for free, you must pay the full balance every month in order to avoid interest.
Many travel reward credit cards provide very attractive registration bonuses. In many cases, the rewards are so big that they can be transformed directly into a flight. Generally, to benefit from these big rewards, there is a specific amount you need to spend on your card in a timeframe of three months right after you create your account.
For example, in the case of Chase, you should be able to pay off every month between 1000 to 3000 dollars to get the best rewards. In case you cannot cover such a monthly cost, you need to search for a travel reward card that has a smaller spending bonus.
In many cases, there is a delay for your bonuses to be credited back to your bank account, in the case of American banks six to eight weeks.
One thing to consider is that many credit card companies have limitations on how many bonuses you can use in a period of time, for example, one bonus every 2 to 4 years. Also, there are cases that you can use only 1 bonus throughout the lifecycle of the credit card. Be aware of the fine print, where all the conditions regarding period and how frequently you can use your bonuses.
Also in the fine print, you can find the conditions on how you can lose the rewards of the credit card. Mainly late payments will remove the bonuses you might have gathered. Set reminders or automatic payments to avoid such scenarios.