Choose a Travel Rewards Credit Card That Gives You Options & Flexibility
The title of this article really says it all; make sure you apply for a travel rewards credit card that gives you lots of options. Let me explain. There are numerous travel reward credit cards. More and more credit card companies are offering this type of reward incentive. However, some are more restrictive than others.
Be on the Lookout for the Best Travel Reward Cards
Many of the best travel reward cards offer you a travel reward bonus on initial sign up (e.g. a free 10,000 point award). However, be sure they can offer you flexibility on using these travel reward points. Specifically, the best travel reward cards should offer you the following options and flexibility:
You should be awarded at least 1 point for every dollar you spend;
The reward point you get should be able to be converted to an airline mile reward on more than one airline. In other words, if you have accumulated 25,000 points, you should be able to convert this to 25,000 airline miles on an airline of your choosing. (25,000 airline miles is the typical amount you will need for a free domestic, round trip ticket);
The best travel reward cards should give you the option of using the travel reward points towards other travel benefits besides airline miles, (i.e. car rental, hotel stays, option to convert the points dollar for dollar into cash should you wish to receive cash back rather than an actual travel reward);
The redemption should not have black out dates. In other words, you should be able to use the travel points you earned on the dates you wish and not be restricted to only non peak, non holiday, non-prime travel times. Otherwise, you are better off simply applying for a cash back reward credit card;
Be sure that if a travel rewards credit card offers you an unusually high amount of reward points for every dollar you spend, like 2 travel reward points for each dollar you spend, you are not being charged an unusually high interest rate or annual fee to pay for this reward;
Read the fine print carefully on the travel rewards credit card application to make sure you fully understand the benefits you are receiving and the restrictions on usage;
Apply for two of the best travel reward cards and use them both to see which is truly easier to use when it comes to redeeming your points. Then, use the better card going forward. Don’t cancel the other card you applied for because, believe it or not, having more credit and using less of it actually helps your credit score. See our article titled “Don’t Cancel Your Credit Card“.
Make sure the travel reward points don’t expire yearly if you don’t redeem. You should be able to accumulate reward points for as long as you desire and use them when you are ready and not feel pressured to lose them; and
A travel rewards credit card is for people who travel at least 5 or 6 times a year. Otherwise, simply apply for another type of reward credit card, because you won’t get your money’s worth on a travel rewards credit card. However, if you follow the advice and the travel rewards credit card doesn’t pigeon hole you into only using your reward points towards travel, then you’re fine to apply for a travel rewards credit card even if you don’t travel much.
Just be sure you read the fine print in order to choose the best of the travel reward cards and make sure the travel rewards credit card you apply for gives you plenty of options & flexibility in using your hard earned points, even if you don’t want to use them for just travel.