Travel Credit Cards
If it seems like traveling is more expensive than ever, it's probably because it is. The biggest culprit is the constantly increasing cost of fuel, but several other factors contribute to the problem too. Whether you need to travel for business or just like to get out and see the world for fun, actually being able to afford to do so is easier said than done. One savvy way to put a dent in your travel expenses is by using a travel credit card. These days, there are more travel credit cards than ever, and many of them offer some truly amazing perks.
Before You Apply
It is essential to carefully review your own financial information and information about a given card offer before completing applications. The majority of travel rewards cards will only accept consumers with very good or excellent credit scores. Individuals who have no credit, poor credit or good-to-poor credit generally can't qualify for these cards. If you don't have very good or excellent credit, work on bringing up your credit score before applying for a travel rewards card so you don't add unnecessary hard inquiries to your credit report.
Airline Credit Cards
There's a dizzying array of credit cards that are geared toward frequent flyers. If you primarily use the same airline when flying, you should look for a travel credit card that is specific to that company. If you usually just shop around for the lowest price, though, you should choose a card that rewards you regardless of the airline that you use. The point is to maximize the rewards that you're able to earn. After earning a decent number of points, you'll be able to cash them in for free or discounted flights.
Hotel Credit Cards
Hotel accommodations can really add up over time. With a hotel travel credit card, you can rack up points and rewards for every night you spend in a hotel. As with airline credit cards, you should choose one that's tied to a specific chain if you're loyal to a particular brand. If you stay in several different hotel chains, choose a card that rewards you regardless of where you stay. You'll be able to put a big dent in your travel bill by earning free nights.
With all of the different types of rewards programs available, one of the least utilized is the hotel credit card. Many hotel chains have partnered with banks to offer hotel credit cards, and these cards can be used to earn points toward free stays at that hotel. Hotel credit cards are not practical for people who rarely travel, but those who travel frequently for business or personal reasons may find that using a hotel credit card is quite profitable.
With a hotel credit card, the cardholder purchases everyday items on credit and earns points toward free stays at the hotel chain's properties. These points can pile up quickly for big spenders, but some of the other perks may still make a hotel credit card worthwhile for others. Some programs offer increased rewards rates for travel-related expenses such as flights and car rentals.
In addition, many programs give a large amount of points just for signing up or after the first purchase on the card. Some programs also give a certain number of free stays each year as a cardholder anniversary gift. Having the hotel's credit card also identifies the cardholder as a loyal customer. This encourages hotel staff to provide optimal customer service. Cardholders are usually offered room upgrades before other customers. Many people find that hotel credit cards are a good idea just because of the higher quality service they receive when they present their card.
Some people still worry that they won't be able to use their hotel rewards before the points expire. Many companies are willing to extend the expiration dates or send a gift certificate instead. Of these two options, most companies seem to extend the expiration date, but the company can always choose to do neither. For this reason, hotel credit cards are not ideal for people who do not travel frequently. Instead, such people may choose a broader rewards program.
Hotels usually offer different levels of credit cards in order to give better rewards to cardholders with higher credit scores. Businesses can also get hotel credit cards for employees to use on business trips. A business can earn points rather quickly if it sends employees on frequent business trips.
Whether for personal or business use, applying for a hotel credit card can be beneficial. However, some people can earn rewards that are more applicable to their needs using other programs. If you have a favorite hotel chain, the best course of action is to research their credit card and decide if you can benefit from the specific rewards they offer.
Extra Perks to Look for in Travel Credit Cards
In addition to allowing you to earn free flights and hotel stays, the best travel credit cards are loaded with a variety of other perks. Some of them give you VIP access to airport lounges while others allow you to avoid foreign transaction fees. In some cases, you may also receive concierge services that simplify the process of booking flights and hotels. When flying, you may be able to board early or receive free upgrades. When staying at hotels, you may receive special rates, special gifts or even free upgrades to larger rooms. With the right credit card, traveling is sure to be a lot more affordable.
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