Travel credit cards offer multiple benefits in the form of discounts and reward points. Read the fine print before signing up for one.
Travel credit cards are the new normal in terms of plastic money. They offer users the advantage of earning air miles for every ticket purchased, which can be redeemed for cash discounts while buying next airline ticket, hotel bookings and shopping at various retail stores. If you are a frequent flyer and looking to buy a travel credit card for yourself, then you must keep certain aspects in mind while selecting the right travel credit card.
Typical benefits of airline miles credit cards: Airline miles credit cards offer a number of unique benefits to the cardholder, including conversion of reward points accumulated while purchasing or swapping card into active air miles. For all spending with one or two exclusive airlines, the travel centric credit cards offer faster air mile accumulation. This is done to build a brand value with the airline offering the credit card. Another important benefit offered by travel centric credit cards is access to various exclusive lounges at both domestic and international airports. Most travel centric credit cards also offer an easier redemption process if the user is seeking to convert air miles into ticket purchase or other travel centric purchase.
Opt for multiple airlines centric cards: Many credit card companies partner with various airlines to offer the best travel deals. While it is good to have brand loyalty towards one card and airline, make sure to check cards offering deals with two or three airlines just in case you are unable to fly the airline offering the card on some sectors.
Opt for cards with more than air miles: The card offering the maximum number of air mile benefits across multiple purchases is a better option as compared to cards offering air miles only on ticket bookings. So make sure to apply for a card that offers and benefits on other retail bookings like hotels and taxis. But opt for the card with lower foreign transaction fee before opting, as all cards charge a fee for transactions abroad.
Travel credit cards and travel cards: Many people mistake travel cards with travel credit cards. Travel credit cards work like any other credit cards. Some of them can be used for flight and hotel bookings only, while others can be used anywhere, but they provide benefits for travel bookings only. The biggest advantage of travel-centric credit cards is the discounts and convenience for travellers. A travel card, on the other hand, is a type of pre-loaded debit card which allows users to load foreign currency by paying in Indian rupees and use it to transact in any currency world over.
Read beyond the offers: Many travel-centric credit cards offering airline miles benefits have a time limit after which the accumulated miles are reset. Many people read only the attractive offers and opt for a card. But if you are not a very frequent traveler, make sure you are aware of the expiry timeline of the accumulated miles. Otherwise, the offers may not be of much use for you.
Travel insurance: Travel credit cards usually come with a host of insurance benefits. Depending on the issuing bank concerned, various plans and schemes including complimentary air accident insurance, insurance for missing of connecting international flight during transit, lost card liability insurance, counterfeit card liability insurance, loss of travel documents and hijacking insurance services are offered to the cardholders without any extra charges.
Go for cards with maximum sign-up bonus and lower annual fee: Choose a travel credit card that offers a large sign-up bonus, which can be redeemed at a lower minimum spending. So don’t just look at the bonus, but also keep an eye whether you get entitled to a sign-up bonus if you make a small purchase or meet a minimum spending requirement during a certain time period.
Travel credit cards are ideal for frequent travelers as they have been specially designed to help them get discounts on ticket pricing as well as access to domestic and international airport lounges depending on the category of the card. Make use of travel cards to ensure you are never short on cash while travelling.(The writer is CEO of Bankbazaar)