There are a multitude of travel credit cards out there and choosing the best one for your lifestyle can seem like a daunting task.
Your best bet is to look at the standard credit card terms and conditions first – the basic stuff you should be worried about on any card…like APR, annual fee, and any surprise fees or penalties. See credit card terminology for an explanation of all that jargon. Below are a few things to watch out for when choosing a travel card:
Even many of the best travel credit cards have annual fees to make up for all the reward points given out, so weigh the costs and benefits. If you know for sure that you will make enough purchases to earn a free flight, then that $125 annual fee is a small price to pay for a free flight! Banks make annual changes to the legal agreements for cards and are required to notify you by mail. Always scan them over to make sure that a new annual fee wasn’t introduced (or increased) for your card.
Some cards have stipulations for cashing in your rewards points. You will usually be required to pay a small fee and cover the tax on a ticket. However, the best travel credit cards allow you to book travel with any airline rather than only one…ie…Delta. Be on the lookout for “blackout dates” which limit where and when you can fly with your free ticket. What good is a free ticket to Alaska if you can only fly there in December? The best travel cards allow you to go when you want where you want.
Last, many of the best travel credit cards (like Discover and AMEX) offer bonus rewards points for specific purchases such as groceries or gasoline. If you already have a card, check the contract and be sure to take advantage of any double point opportunities.