How to Get the Most Out of Your Credit Cards During Holiday Travel

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  • This holiday season, many people will be traveling to visit loved ones.
  • If you have holiday travel plans, make sure you're getting the most out of your credit card.
  • Your card perks can get you priority boarding, free checked bags, and airport lounge access, among other benefits.

Don't forget to use valuable credit card perks to improve your holiday travel experience.

If you're planning to travel for the holidays, you're not alone. The holiday months make for one of the busiest travel seasons. When booking travel, ensure you use your credit card benefits to your advantage. By using the right card to pay for your trip, you may be able to save money and have a better travel experience. Below are a few credit card perks you may want to use.

1. Take advantage of priority boarding perks

Most planes are packed during the holiday travel months. If you have an airline credit card with priority boarding perks, be sure to put those benefits to use. You can take a few extra moments to get situated in your seat when you can board the plane before the rest of the crowd. If you're feeling extra stressed, this perk may help you feel calm before your flight departs.

2. Save on checked baggage fees

Unless you're flying with Southwest Airlines or have elite status perks, you can expect to pay extra fees to check your bags. Many airlines charge $30 or more each way to check a bag. But if you have the right airline credit card, you can avoid costly extra bag fees.

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You may qualify for one free checked bag by using your credit card -- and in some cases, this benefit may extend to companions traveling on the same reservation. If you're planning on traveling with extra bags to transport holiday gifts, this is an excellent way to save some cash.

3. Put rental car insurance benefits to use

Some travel rewards credit cards include rental car insurance, and if you're planning to drive a rental during your holiday travels, you may want to use this perk. This insurance can protect you by offering reimbursement for damage caused by a covered collision or theft.

Most car rental insurance coverage requires you to put the entire cost of the car rental on your eligible credit card and decline the rental car company's coverage -- so keep that in mind. Before setting off for your travels, verify whether your coverage is primary or secondary. If it's secondary coverage, benefits kick in after you exhaust your personal car insurance benefits.

4. Relax at the airport lounge

During the holiday travel season, airports are extra busy. That means longer lines, louder noises, and packed airport restaurants and bars. But you can escape the discomfort of a busy airport if you have a travel credit card with airport lounge benefits.

Airport lounges provide a quiet escape and extra comforts. Plus, you can take advantage of free snacks and drinks, making a busy travel day more affordable. This benefit is an easy way to make a busy and stressful travel day more glamorous and enjoyable.

5. Use travel protections to better deal with changed plans

No matter how much planning you do before a big trip, sometimes things can go wrong. Your flight may be delayed or canceled altogether. Luckily, many credit cards include travel protections to help you get resolution during stressful, unexpected situations.

Benefits like trip delay, trip cancellation, and trip interruption insurance can help you recover money for nonrefundable expenses you already paid for, like hotel stays and flights, if your travel plans get changed. You work hard, so don't let your money go to waste.

Your credit card could make holiday travel better

Make sure you get the most out of your credit cards during the holiday season. If you're traveling, use your eligible credit card to book your reservations to take advantage of valuable benefits like the ones mentioned above.

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