Best Travel Credit Cards for 2017
There was a time when we planned our vacations and gave no thought to running down to our bank to turn our cash into traveler’s checks because we knew they were much safer to carry than cash. While that is still true today, there is a no cash alternative that can provide you more protection and save you more money. If you find the right kind of travel credit you will not have to worry about carrying cash ever again. The operative words here are “the right kind” because the wrong kind of Travel Credit Cards can actually leave you open to more risk and higher costs. In the vast universe of credit cards, some are designed for travelers while most are designed for shoppers, two distinct groups of people with distinct needs.
Most credit cards provide basic travel protections, such as travel accident insurance, flight insurance, car rental insurance, lost baggage reimbursement, as well as fraud and security protection. Travel Credit Cards that are geared toward travelers will provide the maximum level of protections including zero liability for unauthorized purchases.
Some card companies are better at providing global customer service coverage than others. One of the more frustrating problems travelers encounter is when they need customer service help in a foreign country. Many card companies don’t operate on a global clock keeping their hours restricted to western time zones. Even more frustrating is the lack of English-speaking service staff when you do contact customer service based in a foreign country. Before traveling, you should contact your credit card company to find out what kind of service coverage they have in the area you are traveling. The other reason to contact them is to let them know that you will be using your card overseas, otherwise, you could find yourself cut off from card usage.
Foreign Transaction Fees
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While most travelers are aware of the varying exchange rates among the world’s currencies, they may not consider the cost of foreign transaction fees when using their credit cards overseas. These fees are charged by the banks and the card issuers to cover the cost of currency conversion, and they can add up fairly quickly. Most banks will charge as much as 3% on transactions. Using debit cards or trying to take out cash from ATMs won’t cost you any less. In fact, they can be more expensive when added fees are tacked on. Before traveling, shop and compare credit cards for the way they handle foreign transaction fees. Some cards charge low or even no transaction fees.
Get Rewarded for Your Travel
If you are going to spend thousands of dollars on travel, you might as well be rewarded for your efforts. Some cards are simply more generous in their incentives than others, offering 3 to 5 percent cash back on purchases for gas, restaurants, and other travel related purchases. Equally important is the way you are able to use your cash back rewards. Some cards offer extremely flexible redemption terms for earning free flights. Because a good rewards program can generate significant cash back or points, they can substantially reduce your overall travel costs. As an added benefit, some rewards memberships also include perks such as VIP club access, pre-boarding, and free checked luggage.
Credit Cards that Travel Well
For the best combination of travel features, flexibility and rewards, two credit cards stand out – The Capital One Venture Rewards Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both offer generous rewards on travel-related purchases and they are full of travel-friendly features, such as no foreign transaction fees, lost luggage protection, full rental car insurance and travel insurance.
Capital one is more generous with its $2 miles earned per $1 spent on everything. Plus you can earn a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards you with 2 points on $1 spent on dining and travel and 1 point for everything else. Points go 25% further when you book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase awards 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Neither of the credit cards offers any loyalty perks, such as free carryon luggage or club access. If you are a business or frequent traveler flying with a particular airline, you can generally earn more points and receive more perks with a loyalty credit card for the particular airline you fly.
Which Travel Credit Cards do you use?