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6 Credit Card Tips to Make Travel More Enjoyable

March 11, 2022

Traveling cross-country or abroad may expose your credit card to more risky situations than when you use it at home.

Thus, it’s vital to protect yourself from any possible threats while reaping the rewards of using your credit cards for purchases on your trip.

The tips in this article will help you protect yourself and enjoy all the travel perks credit cards have to offer to make your trip – whether business or pleasure – as enjoyable as possible.

  1. Make card issuers aware you’re traveling

Although many credit card issuers no longer require travel alerts, it is still a good idea to get in touch with them, especially when traveling outside of the country.

The toll-free number for the issuer usually only works in the U.S. and Canada, so you should request alternative contact information, just in case.

Also, it’s safer to notify them of your travels to avoid your credit card getting declined when attempting to make a purchase during your trip.

  1. Take full advantage of travel perks

Many credit cards come packed with rewards, especially for those who travel.

Credit card issuers offer an array of perks, some of which may include:

  • Concierge services
  • Rental car discounts/insurance
  • Late hotel checkout
  • Priority airline boarding
  • Airline lounge access

Each card will have different perks for its users, but cards with an annual fee may offer more rewarding benefits for regular travelers.

Nonetheless, plenty of credit cards without annual fees carry many travel perks as well.

Taking full advantage of the perks your credit card offers can more than pay for an annual fee if there is one and save you money during your trip.

Some beneficial travel rewards credit cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Hilton Honors American Express card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges an annual fee of $95 but offers cardholders many benefits, including:

  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of the card being opened, which when redeemed through Chase’s rewards system, equates to $750 in rewards.
  • $50 annual hotel credit.
  • 5X rewards points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • Trip cancellation and insurance

The Hilton Honors Express card is named one of the best options for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee, and offers cardholders the following travel perks:

  • Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.

Either of these options will earn frequent travelers a substantial number of redeemable rewards points, saving them money.

  1. Don’t rely on public Wi-Fi or computers

 When traveling, be wary of using public Wi-Fi or public-use computers for any use that contains your personal information, including social media, online banking, email, etc.

These public-use forums are not secure, and a hacker could gain access to your accounts. Instead, use your smartphone to check account balances, call a credit card issuer, or for any other purpose that requires your personal information.

Additionally, you shouldn’t input your credit card information into any website that lacks a secure connection, as it could become compromised.

  1. Bring more than one widely accepted credit card

Whether traveling to another state or another country, not every merchant accepts every credit card, so you should bring one that is widely accepted.

Nearly all merchants who accept credit cards will accept Visa and MasterCard, so bringing one with you is advisable since it is more widely accepted than American Express and Discover.

Also, you should bring multiple credit cards with you in case one gets declined or stolen, so that you will have backups.

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees

Several credit card companies offer no foreign transaction fees for cards with or without an annual fee.

Having one of these cards is advisable when traveling abroad. Some card options without an annual fee include Capital One, Discover, and USAA. Also, many travel-specific rewards cards offer this benefit.

When traveling, merchants may offer to charge you in your home currency, but allowing them to do so is not recommended since it’s typically cheaper to pay in the foreign currency and pay the conversion rate.

If you travel without a card that offers no transaction fees, it is still not advisable to be charged by merchants in your home currency since you will be charged the hefty conversion rate in addition to the 3% foreign transaction fee.

  1. Leave your debit card at home

Many debit cards offer some form of fraud protection, but it does not compare to the security offered by credit card issuers.

If your card information gets stolen, your money is being stolen rather than the card issuer’s money, which is why many travelers prefer to use credit cards.

Also, any funds stolen from your debit card would have to be reimbursed, which can cause issues if your bills are due, and you’re left waiting for the reimbursement.

Because of this, it is safer to leave your debit card at home.

Bringing widely accepted credit cards with plentiful rewards opportunities can make for a more enjoyable trip and save you money.

However, all your accumulated rewards points won’t matter if you fail to take the proper precautions to secure your personal information.

Following these tips will help ensure you reap maximum rewards benefits while maintaining your security so you can enjoy every moment of your travels.

 

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