Despite the stigma that credit cards create debt, they can actually be tools for saving money – assuming you know how to use them properly. By understanding how your card works and how to spend money on it, you can quickly cut down your travel costs just by spending money like you normally would. In this guide, we will go over how credit cards can lower your travel costs so you can save money on your next vacation. Resources: discover, delta, huffington post
It All Starts with the Right Credit Card
sources: usa.gov, consumerfinance, fdic
A good travel credit card with a strong rewards program is the key to saving money on travel expenses. The best travel credit card for you may not be the best card for someone else, so it’s important to think about your personal needs. When you start comparing credit cards, look for:
How you earn rewards – Will your spending fit in well with the rewards program?
How high the fees are – Will the annual fee be more than you will realistically earn in travel rewards
What the sign-on bonus is – Can you spend enough money in the timeframe allotted to earn that bonus?
How much the foreign transaction fee is – Will you be charged money for using your card overseas?
How transferable the rewards are – Can they be used for other loyalty programs?
How much the rewards are worth – Will they add up to enough savings to make the card worth applying for?
Think about how you plan to use your credit card, and find one that will yield the best rewards for your money. Weigh out the costs of owning the card and the benefits to be gained from the card until you find the one that’s right for you.
Use the Card. Pay off the Balance. Repeat
The whole point of having a travel credit card is to rack up rewards points to use for future vacations, business trips, etc. In order to maximize the amount of rewards you earn, you need to use your card as often as possible. If you have money in the bank to pay for a transaction, use your card to make it instead. Wait a few days and then pay off the balance. You will still get credit for the rewards you earned, and you won’t have a hefty debt lingering over your head. Plus, you’ll be able to build up your credit score and potentially qualify for an even higher line of credit in the future.
Use Your Rewards to Book Your Trip
When it comes time to book your vacation, try going through the rewards program on your credit card provider’s website. Not only will this give you the maximum value for your rewards, but it could also lower your overall expenses. Credit card companies often get special discount deals from airlines, cruise ships, etc. as part of their partnership terms. They pass those discounts onto you, the consumer, so you are more likely to use their site to book your trip.
As long as you take advantage of the opportunities before you, you can significantly lower your travel costs with your credit card. Plus, if you pay for your trip with your credit card, you can earn a whole new set of rewards to apply to the next vacation!