Finding The Best Travel Credit Card:Rule of Thumb

Finding The Best Travel Credit Card: Rules of Thumb

There is no one credit card that is best for everyone. But there are a few rules of thumb that can help you sift through the hundreds of cards available to help you find the right one for you. The difference between finding the right credit card and the wrong card can literally be worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars. So pay attention and start getting more for your money today.

  1. Strong Insurance Package: Many people don’t realize this, but travel credit cards may be your best insurance broker yet! Book your travel with your credit card and many cards will protect your travel with coverages such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel medical, car rental, baggage, hotel theft, etc… The more premium the card, typically the more coverages and the higher the value of the coverage. The total value if you were to buy these insurance on your own for any given trip could add up to $500 easily, maing any annual fee alone worth the cost.
  1. High Sign-Up Bonus Offer: Credit card issuers are competing more than ever for the best customers. Just compare Aeroplan credit card offers and you’ll sign-up bonuses ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 points depending on the promotion. When evaluating travel card sign-up bonuses, make sure to check how much you have to spend to receive the bonus, and if so, over what period of time. Some cards will give you the bonus on approval, others on activation, and still others may require you to spend let’s say $500 in the first 3 months. Make sure you can meet whatever hurdle it is.
  1. Annual Fee: Many premium travel credit cards come with a hefty annual fee. But that’s not always the case. Just as many cards will offer promotions where they waive the annual fee for the first year. Some banks will waive the annual fee on their credit cards if you keep a certain amount of money on deposit with them. Others will simply waive the fee if you call and are lucky enough. Give it a shot, you’ll miss a hundred percent of the shots you never take.
  1. Foreign Exchange: The newest trend is for issuers to waive the foreign exchange fee, usually between 2.5% to 3% on foreign transactions. This is a great savings, considering if you wanted to exchange money at the airport or hotel foreign exchange booth you would be charged 8%-15%!
  1. Points and Miles: Obviously, travel credit cards are predicated on rewards. Make sure you get a travel card whose rewards you value. For example, if you like hotels, get a hotel card. But if you like always stay at a Marriot hotel, perhaps consider the Marriot credit card. If you like to fly, get an airline card. But if the cheapest route is always through WestJet, get a WestJet card. In other words, get a travel card with a rewards program, you’ll use AND you’ll earn the most value from.
  1. Rewards Program Structure: How many times have you had points to burn, called up to redeem them for a specific travel date and been told there’s no seats available to Miles holders, or that your Miles have expired. Study the rewards program first, get comfortable with how it works and then choose your credit card. If you’re looking to fly any airline, any time, with no black-out dates, perhaps Aeroplan is not the credit card for you.