Council Post: Travel Smarter With Four Credit Card Benefits You May Be Overlooking

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David Herpers is the SVP of Digital Bank at Credit One Bank, His expertise includes wealth management, banking and product management.

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Whether you’re planning a getaway with friends, a romantic weekend or getting ready to jet set with the family, it’s time to refamiliarize yourself with that important travel tool in your wallet—the travel rewards credit card—and make sure it’s working hard for you.

There are three primary types of travel rewards credit cards: airline, hotel and general travel rewards. General travel credit cards offer points or miles you can redeem for a variety of activities as opposed to restricting you to earning and redeeming solely with a card’s specific brand.

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In addition to points or mile-based rewards, travelers often find the best travel credit cards are those that provide a variety of perks. These may include perks that enhance travel, like lost luggage assistance, complimentary upgrades, and TSA Precheck, or general benefits including statement credits, annual bonuses and discounts on fees. It may surprise you that select travel credit cards don’t require an exorbitant annual fee to get you access to a variety of desirable travel benefits—you can even reap great rewards from a travel credit card with an annual fee of less than $100.

Here are four travel credit card benefits that can pay off in a big way.

Earn More By Booking With A Partner Site

Some credit card issuers offer customers access to unique booking platforms or maintain preferred agreements with third-party travel providers that will allow you to maximize earned rewards when you’re spending travel dollars. Perks of booking with a partner site can include special discounts or offers that may not be available to the public and access to dedicated customer service when you need assistance during or after travel. Research your options so you’re capitalizing on every available offer and maximizing rewards with every purchase—and then you can redeem those points for your future adventures.

Protect Your Investment With Trip Interruption Protection

Canceling a trip or cutting a vacation short, whether by choice or necessity, could cost you. Unless you have trip insurance, which can often be a costly add-on, you may struggle to get back certain expenses like airfare, accommodations, tickets for tours and more. You may be able to find trip interruption and trip cancellation protection from your credit card. With interruption coverage, you may be reimbursed for certain expenses if your trip ends early. Cancellation coverage applies to reimbursing for certain expenses if the trip is canceled ahead of time. Make sure to review any specific terms and conditions that your credit card provides.

Never Pay A Foreign Transaction Fee

This one is simple but something many people get wrong. When traveling abroad, you typically get a lower exchange rate when you use a credit card instead of manually exchanging currency. But don’t stop there; read the fine print and make sure your travel credit card of choice offers no foreign transaction fees as a core benefit. You shouldn’t be paying extra on every swipe just to enjoy a trip outside the US

Get More Rewards On Everyday Purchases

Bonus rewards in specific purchase categories are a benefit not to be neglected if they are included with your travel credit card, even if they aren’t overtly travel related. If you only use travel cards to pay for traditional vacation expenses like airfare, rental cars and hotels, you could be missing out on valuable reward-earning opportunities.

Whether you’re eating out with the family, filling up your gas tank or spending on outings like concerts or shows, you could earn thousands of additional points each year with the right credit card for your spending habits. The math is simple in most cases: The more money you charge on a travel credit card, the more rewards you’ll receive. Know the categories where you can earn or stack rewards and capitalize on earning opportunities to get the most out of your everyday spending.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.


Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

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