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How to Select The Best Travel Credit Cards

Credit cards have so many benefits which make using them super rewarding. But how do you select the best travel credit cards? Travel cards are credit cards that have travel...

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This story originally appeared on Due

Credit cards have so many benefits which make using them super rewarding. But how do you select the best travel credit cards?

Due - Due

Travel cards are credit cards that have travel benefits and protections. When owning a travel card, you can be entitled to perks such as airport lounge access, preferred boarding, free luggage, and more bonuses that can make your trip all that more exciting.

Travel cards also benefit you when you book hotels, payments and car rentals. You can be eligible for hotel status upgrades, car rental upgrades, and more.

Different types of travel cards

There are over 400 different credit card products out there. All credit cards offer unique benefits and rewards. Travel cards often offer benefits and rewards that are travel oriented. But even within travel cards there are two types of travel cards. There are travel cards that cater to luxury travelers and there are travel cards that cater to simpler travelers.   

What are luxury travel cards

Luxury travel cards, such as the Amex Platinum card and the Capital One Venture X card, have excellent travel benefits. Some examples are airport lounge access and upgraded membership 

status. 

Understandably, luxury cards have higher price tags and will have higher annual fees. You pay for what you get. But, in many cases, the benefits on the card outweigh the card’s annual fee.

Luxury cards are great for those who travel often and can make good use of the travel perks.

What are basic travel cards

Basic travel cards have basic travel benefits such as no foreign transaction fees. An example of a basic travel card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Basic travel cards are great for the everyday consumer who travels enough and need a card to use aboard. 

Many consumers looking for a basic travel card are really just looking out for a card with no foreign transaction fees. If that’s you, then you even have options of credit cards without an annual fee. An example of a free card with no foreign transaction fees is the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card.

So depending on your frequency and level of travel, you can get a luxury travel card or a basic travel card to suit your needs.

In this post, we are going to check out some luxury travel cards and some basic travel cards and we’ll talk about the benefits and protections each one of them have. You can pick one or you can get ‘em all!

 

Amex Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum card is a luxury travel card. The annual fee for the card is steep, at $695.

Upgraded status with the Amex Platinum

With the Amex Platinum card, you get upgraded to Hilton Gold status and Marriott Gold status. That covers hotels and includes late checkout, free drinks, room upgrades, exclusive extras, points, and more. You also get upgraded to Uber VIP, Avis Preferred Club status, Hertz Gold Plus status, and National Emerald Club Executive status. 

 Uber credits

A nice and useful credit that the Amex Platinum offers is the $15 Uber cash credit that you get each month, plus a bonus of $20 in December. In total, you can get $200 a year in Uber cash added to your Uber account. You get to use the credits for UberEats and Uber rides. 

The $200 Uber credit can add up to a free lunch every month, or free rides around town.

Other credits

In addition to the Uber credits, the card offers a $200 credit each calendar year on prepaid Fine Hotels and Resorts and The Hotel Collection bookings through Amex Travel, which includes many wonderful hotels and resorts. Also, a $300 Equinox statement credit, $25 per month, and $179 for a CLEAR statement credit per year to help ease you through airport security. And last but not least, you get a $200 credit to cover airline incidental fees like overweight luggage, seat selection fees, and more. 

Wait comfortably with lounge access

Another great travel benefit on the Amex Platinum card is the lounge access. You get access to over 1,200 airport lounges with a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select: Centurion Lounges, AirSpace lounges, Escape lounges, Delta Skyclub lounges (when flying Delta), select Lufthansa lounges (when flying Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, or Swiss). 

As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you can get prime access to the airport lounges listed above. Why miss out on that?

More travel benefits with the Amex Platinum

Following are some more great travel benefits you get with the Amex Platinum card. 

Foreign Transaction Fee No foreign transaction fee.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Coverage for canceled or interrupted travel due to an unforeseen medical emergency etc. Max $10,000 per person per trip, max $20,000 per year for non-refundable travel expenses including flight tickets, hotels, and more.
Auto Rental Collision Insurance Secondary worldwide coverage on rentals up to 30 days (excluding Australia, Italy, and New Zealand). Max $75,000. You can purchase an Amex premium plan that will offer primary coverage up to 42 days. Max $100,000.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement Get up to $2,000 per person for lost or damaged luggage. Max $10,000 per trip for NY residents.
Trip Delay Reimbursement If your flight is delayed for 6+ hours, you can claim up to $500 per trip to cover expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items. Max 2 claims per year.
Global Entry and TSA pre-check Get a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check every 4-4.5 years.

For more information on the benefits, refer to the Amex Platinum benefit guide.

 

Capital One Venture X Card

Another great luxury travel card is a newly released Capital One card, the Venture X

Annual fee

The annual fee on the Venture X card is $395, which is reasonable in comparison to the amazing travel benefits it has.

$300 travel credit

Who would say no to a $300 travel credit each year? With the Venture X card, you get a $300 credit each card membership year when you book any travel; flight, hotels, and cars, using the new online Capital One travel portal.

This amount of travel credit comes in handy when you’re constantly booking flights, rental cars, and hotel stays.

Super upgraded Hertz status

The highlight of the Venture X card is the complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status upgrade. This upgrade opens up a whole new level of Hertz rental cars that can be available to you, including free rental upgrades, plus premium service. 

The cherry on top is that the authorized users on your card also get complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status. Authorized users on your card are free, so they get this complimentary upgrade for free!

Can you see how a luxury travel card gives you perks and bonuses in every aspect of a trip? Let’s check out some more of this goodness.

Wait in style for your flight to take off

With the Venture X card you get access to over 1,200 airport lounges, gratis. Plus, complimentary access to the new Capital One lounges which are coming shortly to Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, and Washington Dulles airports. 

All authorized users on your card receive their own Priority Pass and Capital One lounge access which is exciting.

Earn rewards on top of all that

Besides the travel benefits, you can earn rewards on every dollar you spend on travel with the Venture X card.

You earn 10 points on every dollar you spend on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal, and 5 points on every dollar you spend on flights booked through the Capital One travel portal. Plus, you earn 2 points on every dollar you spend on all other purchases!

Simply swiping your card will pile on those travel points.

Enjoy some more travel benefits

That’s not it! Here are some more travel benefits.

Foreign Transaction Fee No foreign transaction fee.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Coverage for canceled or interrupted travel due to an unforeseen medical emergency etc. Max $2,000 per person for non-refundable airfare.
Auto Rental Collision Insurance Primary coverage for on rentals for collision damage and theft (excluding Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland). Coverage is for rentals for up to 31 days.
Travel Accident Insurance Get coverage if you, G-d forbid, die in an accident while traveling or lose a limb, sight, speech, or hearing (on common carriers). Receive up to $1,000,000 in compensation.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement Get up to $3,000 per trip for lost or damaged luggage. Max is $2,000 for NY residents.
Trip Delay Reimbursement If your flight is delayed for 6+ hours, you can claim up to $500 per person to cover expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items.
Global Entry and TSA pre-check Get a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
Anniversary Bonus Points Get 10,000 anniversary bonus points each year.

For more information on the benefits, refer to the Capital One Venture X benefit guide.

Let’s check out another luxury travel card.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has some similar benefits to the Venture X card we reviewed just before.

Rewards points

With the Sapphire Reserve card you earn 10 points at restaurants, hotels, and car rentals that you book through the Chase travel portal. You also earn 5 points on airline tickets booked through the Chase travel portal. Plus, you earn 3 points on all other dining and travel purchases, and 1 point on all other purchases.

Points are worth 50% more

With the Sapphire Reserve card, you effectively higher the rewards value of your Ultimate Rewards points to 1.5 cents per points when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can use your points to book free flights, hotel stays, car rental, activities, and more.

Travelers insurance

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the select few credit cards that offer travel medical insurance. The Sapphire Reserve card gives you $2,500, with a $50 deductible for any medical expense while traveling over 100 miles from your home (trip must include travel on a common carrier). 

Travel medical insurance is always important, and now with the pandemic, we all want to ensure we’re insured. This is a winner. 

$300 travel credit

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve you get to be a lucky recipient of $300 in travel credit every card member year. You can use your credit toward anything travel, think flights, hotels, cars, tolls, etc.

Free food delivery

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’re entitled to free deliveries from DoorDash for your first membership year. Though DoorDash helps you get your food, and is not specifically a travel benefit, (though who doesn’t need food on vacation?), the free deliveries can help you cover the $550 annual fee on the card. Every credit a card gives you can ultimately go towards the annual fee on the card, which makes the credit card worth it for you. As we said before, you pay for what you get but you get what you pay for. In this case, you get a lot for the $550 annual fee.

In order to qualify for the free DoorDash deliveries, you must activate your membership by March 31, 2022.

Lyft rides

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, enjoy 15% off all Lyft rides. You can also get airport pickups and have an easier time canceling rides. 

You will get complimentary Lyft Pink for the duration of a year, which has a value of $199, if you activate the Sapphire Reserve card by March 3, 2022.

Credit score needed for the card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card may seem exciting but in this credit card database, where many consumers submit their card approvals, the average credit score you need to get approved for the card is 758. Not everyone has such high credit, so before you go ahead and apply for the card, make sure your credit is good enough.

More travel benefits

Foreign Transaction Fee No foreign transaction fee.
Upgraded Status Emerald Club Executive status

Avis Preferred status

Special Silvercar privileges

Lounge Access Access to 1,200+ airport lounges, with a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Coverage for canceled or interrupted travel due to an unforeseen medical emergency etc. Max $10,000 per trip for non-refundable travel expenses including flight tickets, hotels, and more.
Auto Rental Collision Insurance Worldwide primary coverage on rentals. Coverage is for rentals up to 31 days, Max $75,000 per rental.
Travel Accident Insurance Get coverage if you, G-d forbid, die in an accident while traveling or lose a limb, sight, speech, or hearing (on common carriers). Receive up to $1,000,000 in compensation.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement Get up to $3,000 per person for lost or damaged luggage.
Trip Delay Reimbursement If your flight is delayed for 6+ hours, you can claim up to $500 per trip to cover expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items.
Global Entry and TSA pre-check Get a statement credit for Global Entry, TSA Precheck, or NEXUS every 4 years.
Anniversary Bonus Points Get 10,000 anniversary bonus points each year.
Luggage delay insurance If your baggage is delayed for 6+ hours, you can claim up to $100 per day to cover expenses like toiletries & clothing, for up to 5 days.
Roadside Assistance Get 4 free roadside service calls valued up to $50 each per year.

For more information on the benefits, refer to the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefit guide.

Having explored 3 luxury travel cards, let’s check out a couple of basic travel cards. After all, not all of us are luxury travelers, and basic travel cards are for the everyday consumer. 

 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a basic travel card. Here are the details. 

Low annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a low annual fee of $95. That is a much lower fee than the luxury travel cards we wrote about above. 

For basic travelers

Since the annual fee is low, the card offers basic travel benefits, rather than luxurious travel benefits. However, that’s not to say that a frequent flyer has nothing to do with this card. There are plenty of perks to be found and the typical traveler can definitely make use of the good the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has to offer.

Hotel credit

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you are entitled to a $50 hotel credit each cardmember year. In order to get the $50 credit the hotel booking must be made through the online Chase travel portal. 

Extra redemption value

Before we check out the reward points on the card, it is worth mentioning that the points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Rewards points

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you earn 5 points on every dollar you spend on travel booked through the Chase travel portal. Plus, earn 3 points on dining, streaming services, and online groceries. Online groceries have almost taken over the shopping cart-aisle grocery experience since Covid first hit, which makes getting 3 points per dollar spent on online groceries amazing. This excludes Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs.

You will also get 2 points on all travel purchases you make. That’s like a 2% cashback card for travel, but better.

And to end off, 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.

Average credit limit

According to this credit card database, the average credit limit approved for on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is $11,264. With spending power like that, you can make good use out of the card and cash in on those points for every dollar you spend.

More great travel benefits

Like most other travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes along with trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, auto rental insurance, and more. Following are the details.

Foreign Transaction Fee No foreign transaction fee.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Coverage for canceled or interrupted travel due to an unforeseen medical emergency etc. Max $10,000 per person for non-refundable travel expenses including flight tickets, hotels, and more.
Auto Rental Collision Insurance Worldwide primary coverage on rentals. Coverage is for rentals up to 31 days.
Travel Accident Insurance Get coverage if you, G-d forbid, die in an accident while traveling or lose a limb, sight, speech, or hearing (on common carriers). Receive up to $500,000 in compensation.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement Get up to $3,000 per person for lost or damaged luggage.
Trip Delay Reimbursement If your flight is delayed for 12+ hours, you can claim up to $500 per trip to cover expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items.
Anniversary Bonus Points New! Get 10% anniversary bonus points when you renew your card. Chase will give you an extra 10% in points of what you spend; for spending $25,000 you’d get 2,500 in bonus points.
Luggage delay insurance If your baggage is delayed for 6+ hours, you can claim up to $100 per day to cover expenses like toiletries & clothing, for up to 5 days.
Roadside Assistance Get roadside service assistance for $59.95 per call.

For more information on the benefits, refer to the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit guide.

 

The Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier card is another basic travel card. It has an annual fee of $95, just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred above.

The list of travel benefits on the Citi Premier card is a lot shorter than any of the cards we’ve visited in this post, but nevertheless, it has the following travel benefits which work for the everyday consumer who travels.

No foreign transaction fees

The Citi Premier card has no foreign transaction fees. That means you can use the Citi Premier card in a foreign country and not be charged for the transaction. What you may be charged for is the currency conversion fee.You will have to check the terms for that on each card.

Relax in comfort 

With the Citi Premier card you can get a $100 credit per calendar year when you book a single stay at a hotel of $500 or more. The $500 must exclude fees and taxes and the booking must be made through thankyou.com. Restrictive but if you are eligible, you get your $100 and who complains when that happens?

For more reference on the Citi Premier card, check out the benefit guide.

Conclusion

We’ve successfully compared some top travel cards. Whether you consider yourself a frequent flyer who travels for business, or a humdrum kinda guy who travels every so often, I’m sure you can find a suitable travel card. 

The main thing is that if you’re traveling anyway, why not use the credit cards that give you the benefits you deserve? 

The post How to Select The Best Travel Credit Cards appeared first on Due.

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