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LETS YOU SEE THE WORLD WITH A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD

LETS YOU SEE THE WORLD WITH A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD
December 01
11:12 2017

Want to see the world but don’t have the cash? Seeing the world is pricey, and while those memories are priceless, airline tickets are not.

But you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy international travel. There are a few hacks that let even the most average of joes explore this amazing world.

Enter the travel credit card. These cards reward you for spending in the form of travel points. These points can be redeemed for free flights, hotel stays, and rental cars all around the world. And nothing beats free, especially when it comes to international travel.

There are dozens of travel credit cards, with different terms, fees, and stipulations.

So how do you know which one to go with? Let’s take you through it.

Bump Your Credit Score

The hard truth is that, if your credit score is less than about 650, you probably aren’t getting a travel credit card. Most cards with decent rewards programs are only available to people with decent credit, so if you want to travel the world, but your credit is shot, you need to fix it, fast. Here are a few ways to do that:

Pay Your Bills on Time

Seriously. Pay every bill on or before the day it is due. People don’t often think about the fact that utilities and landlords report to credit agencies, too.

Get a Credit Card for Rebuilding

Capital One and other companies make special credit cards specifically for people trying to rebuild their credit. So get one of these low-balance cards, and get started. Use it to buy gas or groceries and pay it off every month.

Freeze Your Credit

Freeze your credit with all three of the big credit agencies. This will prevent any fraudulent activity on your account, so your score can’t be hurt by criminals while you’re trying to rebuild. You’ll need to unfreeze it if you ever need to open a new credit account, but it’s pretty easy to freeze and unfreeze your score as needed.

Look for Signup Bonuses

Ok, now into the actual tips for getting an awesome travel credit card.

Step One, look for signup bonuses. Most travel cards will do these bonuses occasionally, and if you take advantage of them, you’ll be able to get a free flight or two right off the bat.

Now, these signup bonuses usually have a catch. You don’t get to just sign on the dotted line and then bask in all your free airline miles. Usually, these bonuses require some kind of minimum purchase in the first three months in order for the bonus to take effect.

The purchase amount is usually reasonable though, and if you use the card to pay for things you would be paying for anyway, like bills, groceries, or gas, you’ll find you’re able to hit the purchase minimum fairly quickly.

These signup bonuses are especially handy if you prefer to fly a specific airline since they often add even more perks for frequent flyers.

Watch Spending Minimums

Because travel cards tend to be premium cards, they come with more requirements and stipulations than basic or beginner cards.

One of those is the minimum spending requirement. Now, we just talked about the initial spending requirement for the signup bonus, but most cards will also have an ongoing spending requirement to make sure you continue to use the card.

Try and look for a card with a fairly low spending limit. The goal here is to use a travel credit card to do your normal spending, not to go into debt so that you can travel for free. You don’t want to get to the end of the spending period, scrambling for ways to make your minimum.

Take a good look at your normal spending budget, with bills and normal expenses, and try to find a card that falls within that range.

Low Annual Fees

Again, this is one of the necessary evils that come with a travel credit card. Annual fees are just a thing if you want to travel on the credit cards company’s dime.

The good news is that you can shop around to find an annual fee that fits your budget and is worth it to you in terms of cost vs reward.

Annual fees are annoying but consider this. If you are paying between $50-90 in annual fees, spending only what you normally would day to day, and you can get a few free international flights out of the deal, is it really a huge expense?

Spending Bonuses and Perks

If you’re going to be racking up points for an awesome trip to Italy, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. All travel cards offer points, but some cards take it a little further.

A few cards offer double or even triple points at specific retailers. Some will offer double points at grocery stores or gas stations. If the card is airline specific, they may offer multiplied points at affiliates or if you have to book a flight before your points have accrued. This is a great way to get double or triple points on that flight home to Milwaukee this Christmas.

Also, keep an eye on the perks your card offers. While they aren’t dollar amount specific, most cards offer free bag check or special lounge access as part of their airline affiliations.

And if you want to get really fancy, you can always do a little shopping in the air with your card. Occasionally, airline-specific cards will give you extra points to shop out of their version of Skymall. If nothing else, it’s a good place to stock up on fancy travel gear.

Using the Points

So once you have the points, how do you use them? It’s important to stay on top of your card company’s policy on point usage.

How you use airline specific card points may not be the same as how to use Chase points, for instance. Stay on top of the policies of your card so you don’t plan an entire trip just to find that you can’t use your points on a certain day or a certain flight.

A Travel Credit Card: See the World for the Price of Gas

Using a travel credit is as simple as changing the way you pay for everyday life. And that simple change can bring some huge rewards.

So if you’re ready to start seeing the world for free, get yourself a new travel credit card and get started today! Soon you’ll be traveling the world, sampling the cuisine, and basking in the once in a lifetime experience offered by international travel.

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