Started Traveling Again Post-COVID? Be Sure You're Using the Right Credit Card
- Travel is picking up again this summer as COVID restrictions wane.
- Having the right travel card is important when going on trips.
- You should check for foreign transaction fees and see what cardholder perks are available.
Don't leave home with the wrong credit card in your wallet.
As summer approaches, a growing number of people believe the serious threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is waning and that travel is safe again. This is especially true now that the airline mask mandate has ended and as boosters have been made widely available.
If you're one of the many Americans who are going to be taking some trips again this year after taking a break due to the coronavirus, it's important you make one financial move. Specifically, you'll want to make absolutely sure you have the right credit card to pay for your vacations.
How can you do that? You'll want to ask yourself these key questions about your current card to help you decide if it's worth using or if you should make a switch.
What travel-related perks does your card offer?
Many travel credit cards offer significant benefits that can make your trip much more enjoyable -- and perhaps even reduce the costs of it.
For example, travel rewards cards may provide airline lounge access, free checked bags, and early check-in or check-out at hotels. Some cards also provide rental car insurance, trip interruption insurance, or lost luggage insurance.
If your credit card offers none of these benefits, you may want to switch to one that does. Otherwise, you could end up paying more to bring luggage on board or buy insurance to protect your trip.
Can you earn extra rewards for travel-related spending?
Different kinds of credit cards offer bonus rewards for different kinds of spending. If you'll be charging a lot of vacation-related purchases, it just makes sense to use a card that will reward that type of expenditure.
There are airline and hotel branded cards you can use if you plan to be loyal to particular brands while traveling. You can also opt for a general-purpose credit card that offers extra cash back, points, or miles for all travel-related purchases. Research your options to see which bonus rewards program makes the most sense depending on your vacation plans.
Does your card charge fees for foreign transactions?
Finally, if you will be traveling outside of the United States now that many foreign countries have relaxed their entry requirements, you'll want to be sure the credit card you are taking with you does not charge foreign transaction fees. These fees could be as high as 1% to 3%, and there's little reason to accept paying these added costs and make every purchase more expensive when there are cards that won't impose this additional expense on you.
If you've gotten into the habit of using a card that rewards different kinds of purchases during the pandemic when you weren't traveling -- such as a card with extra bonuses for gas or groceries -- then it's especially important you consider the answers to these three questions before heading out to your summer destinations. Not using the right card could cost you, so it could be time to make a switch before setting off.
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