Why You Should Apply for a Travel Card This Year

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on June 11, 2021

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Are you ready to hit the road? A new travel card could be the answer.

Thanks to the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines, the summer of 2021 may be a much better time for most Americans than the summer of 2020.

There are encouraging signs that after months of lockdown, many people are eager to start enjoying life in ways they did before 2020. If you're one of them, now may be an ideal time to sign up for a new travel rewards card. Here are four big reasons why.

1. Vaccines mean travel is possible again

For many people, travel credit cards haven't been much use since coronavirus made it virtually impossible to safely go anywhere. If you hunkered down at home, you may have even canceled travel cards you already had to avoid paying fees when you weren't using the card's perks.

But things are changing. Vaccines have become more available, and people will soon be able to safely travel domestically and abroad. In fact, France will soon open its borders to U.S. citizens, and a number of other countries are following suit.

With these changes on the horizon, there's a good chance you'll book airline tickets and hotels this year. Why not get a new travel card and earn the maximum number of points for doing so?

2. Many travel cards are offering great incentives

Travel cards offered generous sign-up bonuses and other special perks to attract customers during the pandemic. Some card issuers are still offering these incentives to encourage people to sign up as they begin traveling again.

Card companies may also introduce new travel cards to capitalize on growing interest in vacations after a year of being stuck at home.

If you can score a generous new cardmember bonus, you may get free airline tickets or hotel stays that help defray vacation costs. It's well worth it to take advantage of these types of bonuses.

3. Prices are climbing

Concerns about rising inflation may have you worried about funding your vacation.

With a good travel card, you can at least earn more points or miles if you have to spend extra cash on gas, food, or other components of your trip. These generous rewards can help to defray some of the financial damage resulting from higher costs.

4. Cardholder perks may be more valuable than ever

Many travel cards offer perks such as airline lounge access or travel insurance for when your trip can't go forward as planned.

Given that the world is still in a somewhat uncertain state, these perks could be more important than ever. Airline lounge access, for example, can help you stay more removed from crowds in airports -- which can potentially further reduce any lingering risk associated with traveling while COVID-19 variants are circulating. And if parts of your trip are affected by coronavirus outbreaks or other issues, your insurance could potentially come in handy.

With all of these great reasons to get a travel credit card, think seriously about exploring card options. If you find one offering a good sign-up bonus and rewards well-matched to your spending, sign up for a card sooner rather than later. That way, you can start earning points towards free travel now, and you will be ready to use your card to book your summer trips.

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