TIPS: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAVEL CREDIT CARD
If you think doing research for a trip is time-consuming, try doing a little shopping for travel rewards credit cards. Let me save you that time!
I love to do research. Some people would say I’m compulsive about it. So when it came time to finding the perfect travel credit card for me, I threw my usual heart and soul into finding the best one.
Being ordinary folks, we weren’t looking for platinum, titanium, or any kind of uber-metal card, just a regular credit card with the usual fee. Here’s the best one I’ve found in Canada (so you can skip the legwork yourself, and just reap the rewards – pun intended!)
This is my go-to card (as a Canadian resident), for these reasons:
1) 40,000 point signup bonus worth $400 (valid as of April 2016)
2) FREE supplementary card (many companies charge $50 or more for a second user)
3) Buy first, then redeem with points later, for anything I buy with the card that is travel-related (hotels, vacation packages, B&Bs, flights, taxis, tours) INCLUDING ALL TAXES AND FUEL SURCHARGES. Which means, if I find a super deal that is time-sensitive, I can buy it right then, not lose out while waiting for transfers of points, and all that nonsense. The frugalista in me LOVES this – especially the taxes part!
4) No Redemption Tiers. I can redeem down to the penny for any purchase, without cashing in any minimum amounts of points!
5) Partial Redemption. Whether it’s half the cost of a flight, or only 30% of your hotel bill, go for it. This way, if you don’t have enough points for the total charge, you can still use the points that you do have.
6) Double the points accumulation. Earning 2 points for every dollar spent means wherever I want to go, I get there faster, pure and simple.
7) No bullshit blackouts, seat restrictions, travel agents that I have to use, etc etc. I hate those.
8) Trip Medical Insurance. I did a line-by-line comparison with a medical insurance policy from CAA, and the coverage with Capital One was virtually identical (for trips up to 3 weeks in length in both cases). So you can save that money for something else, like Trip Cancellation Insurance if you want that from another provider. It’s important to note that you do NOT have to have paid for your trip with the card in order to be covered for their medical insurance. Yay!
THE ONLY DOWNSIDE: The card comes with a relatively low limit ($15,000), which isn’t a bad thing, but with two people using it for everything, it would be nice to have a higher limit. This, however, will come with time, I’ve been told.
COST: $150/year I have to say that after 5 years, the Capital One Aspire card has earned its keep. Its annual fee is is comparable to other rewards cards, many of which charge you for a supplementary card as well.) So until someone else who is hungry for new business comes up with a better travel rewards card, I’ll be swiping my Capital One everywhere I go!
TIP: Even though you may have your fave card, always carry a second one with you when you travel, preferably from a different bank. Because no matter how many ways or times you warn the credit card company that you will be travelling, the ‘robot police’ that monitor your spending habits might shut you down. It only takes a call to fix the situation, but you don’t want that prize purchase to slip away while you’re connecting to the overseas operator.
(P.S. This post was NOT SPONSORED in any way. I just love this card!)
Still not convinced? Then check out this site which does comparisons of major rewards cards: www.ratehub.ca
MORE WAYS TO SAVE:
Travel Hacking for Canadians by Steven Zussino
This guidebook will give you everything available to help stretch your dollar, including lists of websites for booking cheap flights, strategies for bidding on ‘blind auction’ accommodation sites, and even comparison shopping for a travel rewards credit card. Written for Canadians especially, this guide can save you loads of time (and money!). Click here to view Travel Hacking for Canadians
If you’d like to read more articles on Travel Tips and Trip Planning, click here.