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What To Look For In A Travel Rewards Credit Card

Alexis Raskin

When evaluating your options for travel rewards credit cards, the sheer number out there can be overwhelming. Ideally, you aspire for a card that earns you free flights or allows you to avoid international fees. Let’s evaluate what you should be investing in for your travel rewards card.

Sign-Up Bonus

There will be several cards that require you to reach a certain number of points before you receive your perks like a free flight. Points can be anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 before you see any of the benefits of a travel rewards card. Be sure to pick a card that will start you off with a higher number of sign-up bonus points, getting you closer to your minimum goal.

Low Minimums

On a similar note, make sure the card you decide upon has a low minimum spending. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have to spend an absurd amount to get the desired amount of points. Shoot for somewhere around $1,500 for a reasonable minimum on your card.

Great Rewards

The ideal travel rewards card will have a rewards system of at least 1.5 percent of your spending. Credit cards that typically spend more annually will have even higher rewards rates.

Some cards have systems that offer higher rewards on travel spending with a lower base rate on other spending, while other cards require you to pay that same on all your spending. As a general rule, 2 percent rewards on a card with an annual fee and 1.5 percent for a no-fee card are standard rates that you should look for when deciding your card.

Consider How Often You Travel Internationally

Are you a constant jetsetter? If so, asses which cards are accepted overseas. Discover (NYSE: DFS) and American Express (NYSE: AXP) often struggle being accepted internationally. These types of cards will collect international transaction fees surpassing 3 percent at times of every purchase. If you see yourself traveling often in the near future, look for a card such as MasterCard (NYSE: MA), which is accepted nearly everywhere. MoneyLion is another debit card option that enjoys zero bank fees from 55,000 ATMs across the globe.

Frequent Flyer

If you frequent a certain airline while flying, then hone in on that company. By choosing the right cobranded travel rewards card, you can maximize benefits and earn additional miles for your next journey. For example, if you frequently use Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL), then by using their Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card through American Express, your first checked bag will be free.

Multiple Travel Options

If you’d prefer to earn travel rewards across multiple travel platforms, there are several options that allow you to do so. Certain rewards cards will allow you to earn transferable currencies, such as Case Sapphire Card, which transfers points to their partnered airlines and hotels. Other programs can give you other special perks, such as priority boarding, free nights in a hotel, free checked bagged, no foreign transaction fees, and much more.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect card for everyone. Decide what caters best to your own personal needs depending on your spending and travel habits.

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