by Christy Bieber | Updated Sept. 16, 2021 - First published on Oct. 15, 2019
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Credit cards can make travel easier and more affordable -- but not every card has the same travel perks. Find out what yours offers.
Credit cards come with many great perks for cardholders -- especially when it comes to travel. The features and cardmember benefits that your card offers could make your trip more affordable or provide you with some little luxuries along the way. But not every credit card is created equal.
To find out what your card can offer, be sure to check your cardholder agreement before you head out on your trip. In particular, there are a few key features you'll want to look for.
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If you're heading outside of the United States, it's really important that you check whether your card charges foreign transaction fees. These fees could make purchases as much as 3% to 4% more expensive.
There are many cards that offer no foreign transaction fees, though, so you can use your card abroad without worrying that you'll have to pay extra when you spend non-U.S. currency. If any of your cards allow you to avoid these fees, that's the one that should be in your wallet while you're away.
It's also very common for credit cards to offer insurance against various calamities that you could experience while away. Some of these types of insurance can include:
You should not only check to see if your card company offers these benefits, but should also read the fine print to find out the terms so you understand the extent of the coverage available.
Many credit cards provide you with the chance to earn cash back, miles, or points for various types of spending. With some of these cards, you can get bonus points if you book for travel, such as double points for hotel or flight bookings.
If you have a card that offers the chance to earn extra rewards for booking your trip with them, always take advantage of this opportunity. And check to see what, if anything, you need to do to get the bonus. You may be required to book through the card company's portal or directly with the airline or hotel to get the added rewards.
Some cards also offer bonuses if you redeem points or cash back for travel with them, so you could score part of your trip for free and get the most bang for your buck if you make use of this.
With a few of the great travel credit cards out there, you get access to special lounges at the airport where you can relax while you wait for your flight. These lounges often offer cozy seating, Wi-Fi, free food, and even other perks such as private beds or showers.
If your card offers lounge access, be absolutely sure that you take advantage as it will make waiting at the airport a much more pleasant experience for you.
Travel can be a lot of fun -- but it can also be expensive and complications can occur. If your credit card can make your trip more pleasant and protect you if there are problems, it's absolutely worth taking advantage of these features. So be sure to check if your card offers them. If it doesn't, then before you go away, you may want to check out our picks for the best travel credit cards to find one that actually offers some of these great benefits.
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