5 Habits of Savvy Travel Card Users


Many travelers use travel credit cards to pay for their travel expenses. These credit cards can provide rewards opportunities and valuable perks, many of which are travel-specific, like baggage delay insurance and complimentary airport lounge access. If you like to travel, you may benefit from one of these rewards credit cards. I’ll share a few habits savvy travel credit card users have to help you get the most from your travel credit card. 

1. They only charge what they can afford to pay off 

Carrying a balance on your credit cards is never a good idea. If you don’t pay your entire statement balance, you’ll be charged credit card interest. Savvy travel rewards credit card users don’t carry a balance on their cards. When using rewards credit cards, only charge what you can afford to pay off. Earning rewards is only worthwhile if you don’t rack up debt. 

2. They take advantage of travel transfer partners 

Some travel credit cards allow cardholders to redeem rewards by transferring their points or miles to select travel partners. Travelers can use their rewards to book hotel stays or award flights with hotel and airline partners. 

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While this redemption method requires more effort, it’s often a much better use of credit card rewards because it allows travelers to get more value from their points or miles. Before redeeming your travel rewards, consider what redemption method will provide the most value. 

3. They charge all travel expenses to their travel cards

Savvy travelers who love credit card rewards ensure they swipe the right credit card when booking travel reservations. If they have other rewards credit cards in their wallets, they choose the card that offers the most rewards. 

You can maximize your travel rewards by charging your travel purchases to your travel rewards credit cards. Here’s an example: If you have a cash back credit card that offers 1.5% flat-rate rewards and a travel credit card that offers 3% back on travel purchases, it’s wise to use your travel rewards card to pay for your travel expenses. 

4. They choose credit cards with perks they will use

There are some fantastic travel credit card options, but only some will suit your needs. When choosing which credit cards to get, savvy travelers focus on ones that offer benefits they will get value from. You should explore alternative options if a credit card offers perks you won’t use and comes with a pricey annual fee. Review each card’s benefits and features to ensure you’re choosing one that will meet your needs as a traveler.  

5. They time out when to apply for a new travel credit card 

Many travel rewards credit cards offer generous welcome offers to new cardholders. If a credit card includes a welcome offer, and you qualify and meet the minimum spending requirements within the required timeline, you can walk away with a sizable extra stash of points or miles. 

Many travelers use multiple travel credit cards. But before applying for a new card, they consider upcoming purchases they will need to make and wait to apply until they can comfortably meet the minimum spend. This way, they’re only charging purchases they intend to make to avoid credit card debt, and they don’t miss out on a valuable welcome offer. 

Take care when using travel credit cards

When using travel credit cards, be strategic to get maximum value from the perks and rewards provided. Otherwise, you may miss out on benefits or make a low-value redemption. If you want to earn rewards for your next vacation, check out our list of the best travel credit cards. 

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