Should You Get a Travel Rewards Card in 2023?

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  • Both inflation and demand have made travel costs rise, and that's likely to carry into 2023.
  • Travel rewards can be redeemed for free flights and hotel stays, significantly reducing your travel expenses.
  • The perks that come with many travel cards can also make your travel experience better.

Be sure to pack your travel rewards cards next year!

Though it may be hard to believe, 2023 is now right around the corner. And given the state of the travel industry, now may be the right time to start contemplating your travel for the upcoming year.

For rewards enthusiasts, a big part of that strategy will involve credit cards. But it's not just credit card collectors who should be considering travel rewards cards in 2023. No, with travel costs increasing just as much as the cost of, well, everything else, we could all use a good way to travel for less.

Travel costs are expected to keep rising

The travel industry is currently experiencing a one-two punch to costs. First, there's inflation. Just like everywhere else, the increase in costs experienced by airlines, hotels, and other travel providers, is being passed right to the consumer.

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Then there's the second hit: demand. Since the end of most COVID-19 precautions over the last year, demand for travel has skyrocketed. This has not only led to all those headline-worthy delays we've all read about -- it's also let travel providers increase prices.

What's worse, just about every expert out there is certain that both of these problems (inflation and high travel demand) will carry on well into 2023. The bottom line? Don't expect travel costs to shrink anytime soon.

Points and miles can save your budget

One of the best ways to reduce your travel costs is through travel rewards. The points and miles you can earn with your travel cards can be turned into free flights and hotel nights, knocking out a huge portion of your travel expenses.

The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to plan ahead. If you know which airline you're most likely to fly, for instance, you can look into co-branded airline credit cards. With these cards, you earn miles directly with that airline. Similarly, if you know the hotel brands you're likely to stay at, their co-branded hotel credit cards can earn you loyalty points toward free stays.

If your upcoming travel plans are still a bit in the air, consider cards with transferable points. These cards let you earn points that can be transferred to a variety of travel partners, including airline and hotel brands. These cards offer the most flexibility in how you use your rewards.

Perks that make travel a pleasure

While saving on travel costs is a very good reason to get a travel rewards card, there's also another thing to consider: the perks. Many travel cards, especially the high-end cards, offer tons of perks that can make your travel significantly more pleasant.

For example, if the idea of sitting in a crowded airport terminal makes you wince, consider a travel card with airport lounge access. Even a busy airport lounge can be a significant improvement over the sardine-like situation that tends to occur in front of the gate.

Hotel status is another popular travel card perk. This can easily net you valuable extras like free breakfast, premium wifi, and room upgrades. Oh, and don't overlook the less-flashy perks, such as guaranteed room availability or late checkout that can make your travel life easier.

Travel can be hectic and expensive at the best of times. All indications are that 2023 will not be a "best-of-times" travel year. If your 2023 plans involve travel, consider a new travel rewards card for the new year.

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