According to Experian’s National Score Index, the average number of credit cards per consumer is four with one in ten consumers holding more than 10 credit cards. This demonstrates that credit cards are still favorites for many households and today, consumers are enjoying from rewards schemes set by card issuers and their partners. Travel rewards cards are intended for those people who fly frequently.
The value of a travel or airline credit cards largely depends on how you plan to use the card. There are many different travel and airline rewards cards in the market and you need to choose one that serves you optimally. Your attention may be grabbed by the reward rates you are entitled but you need to check on other things like ARP and annual fees. Also, you need to estimate the value of the card based on points per dollar.
You also need to take a card, which is tied to the airline or hotel, which you are most attached to, otherwise if you use services and facilities not featured in the reward scheme. You may not benefit from rewards points. There are also hotels and travel cards, which are general, but they offer lower rates on their point rewards. Travel rewards cards may feature in different forms. There are statement credits and these are quite flexible because you can redeem your points for things like hotel rooms, gas or in-flight meals. Some of these cards are such as the Discover Miles and Capital One Venture rewards.
There are also cards that allow points transfer to airline or hotel loyalty programs. These cards have a list of partners and they will offer discounts if you book your hotel or flight through the card issuers website. The other type of travel and hotel cards are loyalty rewards cards. These are designed for particular airline or hotel.
For example, the Starwood credit card is one favorite card that offers a reward rate of up to 5%. When choosing travel and hotel rewards cards, you need to check on foreign transaction fees and EMV chip compatibility. Besides the value allocated to points of a travel card, you also need to find out how much foreign transaction fees you have to pay. Some cards will charge you up to 3% when you use them overseas but there are others that wave out this fee.
International credit cards may help international travelers because they often do not attract the foreign transaction fees. If you are travelling frequently in oversees countries, you need to look for a card that does not charge international transaction fees. F/X fees can amount to tens if not hundreds of dollars.
In addition, if you are travel overseas frequently, you need to check that the cards offer you the chance to you get an EMV chips embedded for verification purposes. Some countries may not have the infrastructure, which is used to authenticate American cards like use of magnetic strips, PINS and signatures. This means that it is common for travelers to try to use the cards in overseas countries with no such infrastructure only to find that they cannot access their funds in restaurants or stores. A number of card issuers offer the EMV compatible cards and they include Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, and US Bank.