credit cards

Traveling with a rewards credit card

 

Instead of sitting through a time-share presentation the next time you're on vacation, there's an easier way to claim free money and perks while on the go. Just bring along a rewards credit card. A rewards card can earn you miles or points for every dollar spent on your next trip and will often include some money saving benefits. If you're travelling abroad, there's one perk you shouldn't go without...

Sound bite, Brian Kelly, Founder, ThePointsGuy.com

"First and foremost, for your wallet's sake, is you need a card that has no foreign transaction fees. So many credit card companies will charge you 2.7 to 3 percent of every single dollar you spend abroad. So if you're thinking of taking that trip to Asia or Europe, absolutely make sure you have a card that has no foreign transaction fees. Capital One is very good with that. None of their cards have the fees. American Express, Chase, Citi, they all have certain products that don't have those foreign transaction fees. But most have annual fees, so once again, if you're going to travel a lot internationally, calculate how much you spend abroad and put a value to having that no foreign transaction fee."

Some other benefits you might enjoy include access to airline lounges, better customer service, and upgraded rooms during your hotel stay. These bonuses come at a cost however, in the form of higher interest rates and annual fees. Because of the high APRs, carrying a balance will almost certainly wipe out any value that you would've gained in points or perks, so pay the bill in full at the end of each month.

Getting the most out of your card can require time and flexibility. Pay close attention to your travelling habits and find a card that matches your style of travel.

Sound bite, Brian Kelly, Founder, ThePointsGuy.com

"For families who can only go on vacation one time a year that everyone else wants to go on vacation, you know, getting airline miles may not make the most sense because if you're redeeming for the double standard level rewards and you're really not flexible, you actually may get more back in value by having a cash-back card that gives 1 to 2 percent."

Whether it's the low-maintenance cash-back card for your next family vacation or a card loaded with perks for the grizzled road warrior, you can find the card that suits you best using the free search engine at Bankrate.com. I'm Lucas Wysocki.

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