How to Get the Most Mileage from Your Travel Credit Card
Consider these six factors before choosing a travel rewards credit card.
The right travel rewards credit card should help you earn free trips, while also enhancing your travel experience. But with so many different cards to choose from, how do you pick the one that best suits your sense of adventure?
Here are six factors to consider if you’re in the market for a travel rewards credit card.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #1: Earn rate
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points towards travel expenses by giving you a reward based on what you spend. Typically, these rewards range from 1 to 5 percent, depending on the purchase category. Consider how much you’ll spend in higher-earn categories and look for a standard earn rate over 1%. Not all travel credit card point systems are created equal, so be sure to look into what a point is really worth when redeemed.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #2: Travel credits
An annual travel credit is a statement credit that you earn when you make a required amount of purchases in certain categories. These are typically travel-related purchases such as airlines, hotels or rental cars. This is a great perk, but it’s not offered by all travel credit cards, so be sure to check.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #3: Annual fee
The truth is, most travel credit cards charge an annual fee. What you need to assess is the value you are receiving in return. Does your card offer upgraded benefits that will enhance your travel experience? Is the earn rate higher than a card without a fee? Does an annual travel credit offset the cost of the fee? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the fee is likely worth it.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #4: Redemption
The most important thing to look for in any travel credit card is how rewards can be redeemed. Earning points is, well, pointless if you’re never able to actually use them. Read the fine print about how redemption works, how long the redemption process takes and be sure the rewards are ones you’ll use and enjoy.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #5: Sign-up bonus
This is exactly what it sounds like. A good travel credit card will offer you extra points or earning power in the first few months of opening your account as a bonus. For example, $150, or 15,000 points, when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days. Be sure to select a card with a sign-up bonus that fits your lifestyle and doesn’t require you to overspend unnecessarily.
Travel rewards credit card consideration #6: Perks
Speaking of benefits, make sure to look at the full suite of perks and benefits that a travel credit card offers. For example, with a Zions Bank Premium Visa Credit Card you receive access to:
- 24-hour Visa Signature Concierge Service: You can get assistance with tickets to top events, booking travel, making dinner reservations and more.
- Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: You receive VIP Guest Status, automatic upgrades, best available rate guarantee and more — at more than 900 luxury hotels around the world.
- Unique Opportunities and Experiences: You gain early ticket access and discounts on everything from fine wine and food events to unique golf outings.
- Additional Travel Benefits: Your benefits include lost luggage delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption/delay reimbursement, no foreign transaction fees, to name a few.
- Zero Liability Protection: You won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized transactions if your card is ever lost, stolen or fraudulently used.
- Dedicated Support: You get personal attention at your local Zions Bank branch or call our 24/7 US-based customer service line.
- Priority Pass Select membership: Available only to Zions Bank Reserve Visa Cardholders, this benefit includes access (with some restrictions) to airport lounges participating in the Priority Pass Select Network.