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Travel Credit Cards: Are They Right for You?

Let’s face it, travel credit cards are tempting. However, just because you might be lured in with the potential for earning “free” miles, you should evaluate your individual credit needs as well as your travel habits before you jump aboard the travel credit card train. For some, saving money for a vacation may be more beneficial than getting a travel credit card.

How Do You Use Credit Cards?

Blog Travel Credit Cards: Are They Right for You?

If you’re one of the thousands of people who pay cash for most items but prefer to book your travel using a credit card, you may want to think about a travel credit card. This is particularly true if you can get a great “package” deal which includes your airline travel, hotel stay and rental car. Many airlines offer travel credit cards and using them regularly means you get the “perks” associated with loyalty. Typically, these perks can be used for future travel, free bags, seat upgrades and even companion fare specials.

Make Sure You Know the Limits

It’s important to make sure you know what the “perks” are and how they’re calculated. Additionally, find out what types of restrictions the credit card issuer places on those perks. Just because you’ve earned sufficient perks to qualify for a free flight doesn’t mean you can travel anytime or anyplace. Most travel credit cards are subject to blackout dates, restrictions on location and even time restrictions. Always review the terms offered by the credit card issuer. It’s also important to keep abreast of changes to the program and how they can impact the miles or points you’ve accumulated; you could lose benefits after a specific period of time.

Determine if Perks Are Worth the Cost

One of the most important things to evaluate is what the travel credit card is costing you overall. Many cards offer low introductory rates that spike after the first year. These cards may also offer a “no-fee” option for one or more years but after that you could be paying an annual fee to get these “perks”. Make sure you look at the entire picture including cost per mile and cost per point; remember, you are not going to get “mile for mile” points on every authorized purchase.

What Other Options Are Available?

Some consumers may do better paying cash, using their Rewards Checking Account or using a cash-back credit card for travel purchases. Those who travel frequently for both business and pleasure and tend to take the same airline could find a travel credit card beneficial. Those who travel infrequently or are not loyal to only one airline may find there are fewer benefits.

Consumers have many choices of credit cards and making a decision is often complicated. If you’re uncertain about what credit cards best meet your needs, consider contacting your Member Financial Representative at Oklahoma Central Credit Union. We’ll be happy to help you evaluate the various credit card options that are available and find one that will meet your specific needs.

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