CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison and financial education website. This website is made possible through financial relationships with card issuers and some of the products and services mentioned on this site. Advertiser Disclosure†

What You Need to Know About Travel Credit Cards

Read more about Travel Rewards
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Today, we're going to get more in detail about travel credit cards.

The main benefits of using the right travel reward cards are:

  • Bonus points in the form of airline miles (or hotel points)
  • More airline miles with everyday purchases
  • More flexibility in how you want to redeem them
  • Travel-specific protection and benefits

Ready to jump into signing up for those credit cards already?

Not so fast.

First, you need to think about your needs. There are a ton of travel rewards cards, but not all of them will be the right fit for you.

© CreditDonkey

How often do you travel? How much do you spend a month on your credit card? Do you want something simple to use? Do you have an airline loyalty?

Keep these questions in mind as we go over the different kinds of cards.

Airline rewards cards basically boil down to 3 types:

1. Transferrable credit card miles to airlines

Some credit cards allow you to transfer your points to the credit card's airline and hotel partners. This gives you flexibility to redeem with different airlines.

If you don't want to transfer the points, you can also use them toward credit to book travel on the credit card company's travel portal.

  • Pros: You can use your points for maximum value. For example, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points can be worth a LOT more than just $500. You can use them to book 2 roundtrip award tickets from Los Angeles to Hawaii that otherwise cost over $1,000. We'll cover this more in detail in Day 7.

  • Cons: You have to do more homework to transfer your points the smartest way. And you usually would need travel flexibility to find available award seats.

Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can earn 5,000 bonus points if you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months from account opening. This card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has a $0 foreign transaction fee. The card also comes with premium travel and purchase protection benefits (including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver). There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

2. General travel reward credit cards

These are also called "fixed value" cards. You can just book travel as normal and later apply your points toward statement credit for travel-related expenses. This kind of card cannot be simpler to use. You don't have to worry about seat availability or blackout dates.

These cards are also good if you travel, but may not necessarily fly. You can redeem for purchases such as hotels, trains, car rentals, and cruises.

  • Pros: Easy to use, almost total flexibility. You can start redeeming with a much lower number of points. And you can redeem for almost any travel-related purchase.

  • Cons: The redemption value will generally be fixed at 1 point = 1 cent. So 50,000 points will equal $500.

Capital One Venture offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. 50,000 miles is equal to $500 in travel. This card earns 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. You can redeem miles toward travel purchases on any airline, hotel, or car rental. There are no foreign transaction fees. There is a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).

3. Airline co-branded credit cards

A third type of travel card is an airline co-branded card. You still earn miles on all purchases, but you can only redeem them on that particular airline and its partners. But you usually get airline-specific perks, such as free checked bags and priority boarding. These cards are good if you often fly with a certain airline.

  • Pros: Get cool little perks with your favorite airline to make your flight experience better.

  • Cons: You can only use the points for that airline (and its partners). You usually only get bonus points for purchases made with that airline, not on daily purchases.

Head over to this article to see our favorite airline miles cards.

Key Takeaways

© CreditDonkey

  • Transferrable cards will allow you to use your points for the best value, but they take a bit of work to use.
  • Fixed value cards are the easiest and most flexible to use, but the value will always be the same.
  • Airline co-branded cards are great if you often fly with the airline, as you will receive perks that may make your flight experience better.

Because transferrable cards are the hardest to understand, we will focus a more on them. Tomorrow, we will talk about the 4 major transferrable travel reward programs and how to best utilize them.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Travel Cards

Credit Cards for International Travel

The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. Read this before you take off.

Leave a comment about What You Need to Know About Travel Credit Cards?

Name
Email (won't be published)


    Beginner's Guide to Airline Miles and Points

    Learn how airline miles work and 10 steps that you should follow to start collecting travel rewards. Before long, you'll be well on your way to redeeming miles for free flights and hotel rooms.

    Hotel Rewards

    The sign-up bonuses for hotel rewards credit cards can be tempting, but is a hotel card right for you?

    Study: Credit Cards for International Travel

    The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. Read this before you take off.

    Airline Rewards

    The best airline credit card racks up miles fast with reasonable fees and amazing rewards.

    Travel Rewards

    Looking for a new travel credit card?

    Foreign Transaction Fee: What to Know Before You Travel Abroad

    Before you go on a trip overseas, be sure you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Read on to learn how to save money on international travel.

    Credit Card Deals

    Applying for a card with a bonus or an introductory offer can be a great way to get a head start on earning rewards or to get a handle on your debt.

    Credit Card Bonus Offers

    Take advantage of credit card bonuses for new customers, including bonus cash, reward points, and airline miles.

    Dining Rewards

    If you're usually eating out rather than slaving over a hot stove at home, make a point of using a rewards credit card every time you pick up the tab and save up some serious cash.

    Best Credit Cards

    Here are the CreditDonkey picks for "Best Credit Cards" from our partners in the following categories ...

    Credit Card Rewards

    So you've decided you want to earn rewards for your spending but aren’t sure how to pick the right card?

    Credit Card Deals for People with Excellent Credit

    If you have excellent credit, now is the time to take advantage of it.

    No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

    Most credit cards tack on a 3% charge, or foreign transaction fee, on purchases made outside the United States. If you travel internationally with a no foreign transaction fee credit card, you'll save money on your purchases.

    Study: Hotel Credit Cards for Free Nights

    Must-read list of hotel credit card promotions. Check out this essential list of credit card offers before your next hotel stay.

    Study: Credit Card for European Travel

    Traveling to Europe? Look for a card with chip technology and no foreign transaction fees. Here are our favorite cards for international travel.

    Best Chase Credit Card

    Find the best Chase credit card in our rankings of top offers and promotions. Read the latest reviews and score the best deals with this guide.

    Credit Card for High Spenders

    If you spend over $1,000 each month, this list is for you. The top credit cards for big spenders come with large sign-up bonuses and high rewards.

    Which Chase Sapphire Has No Foreign Transaction Fee?

    Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve are great for travel as they both have no foreign transaction fees. But there are some differences you need to know. Read on before you take off.
    B737

    How to Earn United Miles Fast

    You don't need to fly a lot to earn a TON of United miles. Read on for 15+ smart ways to earn United miles fast.

    Which Southwest Credit Card is Right for You?

    Fly Southwest? You may want to consider a Southwest credit card from Chase. But which one is right for you? We break it down.







About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.