Rewards for All Kinds of Travelers

Glossary Terms

Annual Fee
A credit card issuer may charge you a fee each year for your account. <a href='/glossary/what-is-annual-fee' title='See the full definition of Annual Fee'>read more</a>
Credit History
The record of how you've borrowed and repaid debts. <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-history' title='See the full definition of Credit History'>read more</a>
Credit Limit
A credit limit is the maximum amount of charges that may be charged to an account. <a href='/glossary/what-is-credit-limit' title='See the full definition of Credit Limit'>read more</a>
A point is equal to one percent of a mortgage loan amount. Loan fees may be quoted in points or in flat dollar amounts. “Discount points” are... <a href='/glossary/what-is-points' title='See the full definition of Points'>read more</a>

Do you love traveling to new places? Does your work require you to frequently travel? Travel rewards credit cards offer the possibility to earn airline miles, hotel stays, car rentals, and even cash on the money you're already spending.

Why Get a Travel Card?

If you like to travel, or travel a lot for business, chances are you're probably already spending money. The only difference is, if you don't have a travel rewards card, you're probably not getting any perks from the money you're spending or the miles you're traveling. Travel rewards cards offer a variety of perks, benefits, and rewards that can make having one well worth using.

How to Choose a Rewards Travel Card

Sign up bonuses

Credit card companies want your business, and there's a lot of competition out there. Sign up bonuses range from loyalty points, frequent flyer bonus miles, special discounts, cash, and more. When you're comparing travel cards, it may make sense to go for the one that offers the maximum sign up bonus. Believe it or not, sometimes these sign up bonuses are equal to the cost of a domestic flight anywhere in the U.S. This usually amounts to 35,000 miles just for signing up.

Points per dollar

Many travel rewards cards offer miles or points for each dollar you spend. These points or miles can then be spent on various rewards, which could include upgrades to first class flights, free nights at a hotel, other upgrades, or even cash back. Some cards offer you more than just a single point on every dollar spent. In some cases, it may be 2-3 points. This allows you to accumulate points quickly.

Annual fees

Some cards charge an annual fee. While paying an annual fee for a credit card may make you cringe, it may be well worth it. Some of the best travel rewards cards charge a fee – usually under $100 per year. If you travel or fly often, the fee-based cards offer higher rewards, allow you to accumulate points faster, and may offer travel perks, such as travel protection, preferred status (first to board, no charge for extra bags), or special travel offers. If you're going to save more money on travel than you spend on the fee, then pay the fee.

Foreign transaction fees

Something to consider if you travel outside the U.S. is foreign transaction fees. Some credit cards charge a fee when you use them outside the U.S. This can make using the cards more costly. However, when choosing a travel rewards card, it makes sense to choose one with no foreign transaction fees if you enjoy traveling overseas. That way, when you use it overseas, you save money.

Can Getting a Travel Card Hurt My Credit?

Opening and closing credit card after credit card can hurt your score, so it's important that you choose one or two travel rewards cards and stick with them and important to monitor your credit score when opening new accounts. Some rewards cards experts advocate signing up for a card to get the initial bonus, then closing the account. This can definitely hurt your credit, and we don't advocate doing things like gaming the system just to earn a few bonus miles.