How do Travel Credit Cards Work?

Those who travel by air—plus anyone who would like to receive discounted airfares simply by using their credit cards—are perfect candidates for airline credit cards.

Travel rewards credit cards offer cardholders travel benefits such as frequent flyer miles, as well as discounts on hotels or redeemable rewards points. Often, they also come with hefty bonus offers so you can get on the road, or in the air, even sooner. Take a look at the details below and start planning your next getaway.

How Travel Credit Cards Work

A travel credit card gives rewards to a consumer in the form of points or miles that can be used for travel-related purchases, most commonly plane flights and hotel rooms.

Although they come in many shapes and sizes, some of the best airline credit cards will often provide special features and amenities in addition to the miles that are specifically tailored to the needs and preferences of air travelers. Other travel rewards include tickets for a fellow passenger, preferential rates on hotels and rental cars, double rewards points for dining, entertaining, and coupons that provide access to airline VIP lounges inside airports.

What to Consider

Most airline credit cards have interest rates comparable to other credit cards, but many also charge an annual fee that might range anywhere from $0 – $550. You should examine the pros and cons of each card, comparing their benefits and features against their fees to calculate which one is the best fit and offers the most flexibility.

Be sure to keep in mind that while some of these cards let you transfer your points or accumulated rewards to any airline, others restrict you to one or two specific air carriers. Your free miles might have a “catch” to them. Choose a flexible card that lets you apply your awards to any air carrier or one that will help you earn airline miles and perks.

Are Travel Credit Cards Worth It?

Travel rewards credit cards may be worth it, depending on how frequently you travel, whether you earn enough rewards value to justify any annual fees, and whether you can pay off the card balance monthly.

Travel rewards cards typically benefit people who travel often for work or leisure and can afford to charge enough on the credit card required to earn significant points or miles from one-time bonuses and ongoing rewards. You can also compare bonus incentives from different issuers to determine whether travel rewards credit cards are worth it, with consideration of your spending patterns.

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