Travel credit cards offer consumers an opportunity to earn free points towards travel accommodations, including airfare, hotels, rental cars or sometimes just cold hard cash. These travel credit cards entice you with benefits such as special discounts, loyalty points, and sign-up bonuses. When executed carefully, these travel credit cards allow you to travel the world or the country inexpensively; here are seven tips to get the most out of your travel card.
1. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
No matter which type of travel credit card you have, whether it’s a general one that lets you earn points and miles or one that’s specific to an airline or hotel, definitely make sure you sign up for the loyalty program. It’s generally free to join, and be smart: sign up with the airlines and hotels you frequent the most.
2. Join an Online Mileage Manager
It can be difficult to keep track of points and miles, especially if you have multiple travel credit cards. Using an online mileage manager can help with this, so you can see all your points and mile accumulations in one place.
3. Sign-Up Bonuses
Take advantage of huge sign-up bonuses that help jump start your account. Typically, after you meet a minimum spending requirement within a particular time frame, the travel credit card jump starts your account with a large number of free miles. For example, the Alaska Airlines card comes with a 25,000-mile sign up bonus.
4. Look For Travel Credit Cards that Give You Extra Points for Spending at Certain Locations
While most credit cards offer one point for every dollar spent towards travel rewards, the good travel credit cards give you additional points for spending money within a particular category.
5. Maximize Reward Earnings With Multiple Cards
Without letting spending get too out of control, getting a few travel credit cards that reward the most for categories you spend a lot of money it makes sense strategically. For instance, say you spend a lot every month on gas (because commuting) and eating at restaurants. Getting two separate travel credit cards, one that offers big rewards on gas and one that offers rewards for dining out. Combining the points from both give you plenty of free points towards your next getaway.
6. Only Spend What You Can Afford
Many of these travel credit cards have minimum spending requirements, so it’s best to stick to cards with low minimum spending requirements (say between $1-3k within 2-3 months) so that your spending doesn’t get too out of control. The key is to spend money on what you normally would be buying anyway to avoid getting into mountains of debt.
7. Don’t Forget About the Special Perks
Not only do these cards let you earn free miles, but you’ll also enjoy VIP-esque benefits that come with it:
- Free checked baggage
- Waived foreign transaction fees
- Priority plane boarding
- Free hotel nights
Just to name a few. They’ll vary depending on the card, but many of these perks will come along with loyalty programs or with repeated spending.