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4 Questions to Ask So You Can Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

how to choose the best travel credit card: Young woman smiling, holding credit card and looking at camera.
Written by Lauren Saccone

This blog post was updated on May 1, 2020.

If you’re a frequent traveler (or just a fan of saving money), odds are you’ve considered getting a travel credit card. There can be serious advantages to getting a travel credit card, including great deals and discounts normal travelers simply don’t get to experience. But with the plethora of different credit cards out there for the savvy traveler, how do you determine which one is right for you and your specific needs?

Luckily, we can help. We’ve put together some questions that’ll help you pick the best travel credit card, so you can hit the road secure in the fact that you’re getting the best deal no matter where you go. Read on to find out which credit card will give you the biggest bang for your buck on all your travel needs.

Does It Offer a Sign-Up Bonus?

Upper view of smiling stylish woman in white pants and striped blouse with credit card and laptop booking hotel online near open travel suitcase

Does the travel credit card you’re considering come with a sign-up bonus? They’re a great way to earn tons of points on your travel-related purchases, and can help you save a lot of cash in the long run. Typically, your sign-up bonus is available after you’ve hit your minimum spending threshold, or when simply making a purchase (be sure to check with your credit card to see what the requirements are). Once they’ve been met, you’ll be able to earn anywhere from 1x to 5x points for every dollar you spend.

Are There High Rewards?

The very best travel credit cards provide you with impressive rewards — on average anywhere from 1.5% to 2% of your spending! Before you sign on the dotted line, find out about the available rewards that come with your card. Ask if they have to be used with specific vendors (this usually occurs with co-branded credit cards), or if you can reap the benefits wherever you go. And if you’re willing to pay slightly higher annual fees, your rewards can be even greater — saving money on flights, hotels, and much more has never been easier.

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What Sort of Travel Protection Is Available to Cardholders?

 how to choose the best travel credit card: Young romantic couple wearing Hawaii accessories and sunglasses is preparing for travel at home. Sitting on sofa with laptop and credit card in hands while suitcases are standing nearby

When you’ve got fun flight bookings to parts unknown (or even just heading out on boring business trips), you want to make sure you’re secure and protected — and your travel credit card can help. Many come with rental car insurance, and quite a few come with the option to get travel insurance. You can even opt for lost luggage protection, or get coverage in case your flight is cancelled. See what options are available to you, and which sync up with what you need when you travel. It’s a great way to get the most out of your travel credit card, earn some great savings and deals, and make sure your trip is covered all at the same time. Keep in mind, if you’re traveling internationally it’s best to determine beforehand if you can reap the benefits of your travel credit card. While many major cards are accepted internationally, check before you book just to be safe!

Does It Have Points Where They Matter?

Before you decide to invest in a travel credit card, take a look at the credit cards you already have. Where do you get the most points? Where could you benefit from some added rewards and bonuses? See if any of your points are transferrable, providing you with the most bang for your buck on the things that matter. By paying attention to the benefits and advantages of each travel credit card, you can decide on the one that will benefit you the most. So whether you’re looking to get some free international flights or want to get some great deals on your next hotel stay, there’s a credit card that will help you achieve these goals — now that’s smart traveling!

What are some of the things you look for when choosing a travel credit card? Tell us in the comments below!

About the author

Lauren Saccone