5 ways to save on holiday travel using a credit card



A busy travel season is underway, and almost half of all consumers (47%) are planning to travel soon, according to a recent report by Deloitte. With travel rising, it’s more important than ever to look for ways to trim those costs and keep your overall vacation budget in check.

5 ways to trim your travel costs 

One easy way to save is to use your credit card rewards and benefits. 

Book your flights and hotels using points, miles, and cash back

If you have a travel card that earns flexible points, you can redeem them for hotel stays, airline tickets, cabin upgrades, and more. Many credit card companies like American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Bank of America all have their own travel portals where you can redeem your rewards for travel-related purchases. 

For example, some credit cards offer points on flights booked directly with a particular airline or through the companies travel portal.

“Credit card perks such as rewards, miles, or cash back can come in handy for travel. If you regularly travel for work or have branded credit cards, make sure to maximize those benefits,” says Brian Walsh, certified financial planner and senior manager of financial planning at SoFi. “However, be wary of swiping your credit card too much. With interest rates rising, you don’t want to carry credit card balances so pay for what you plan to immediately pay off.”

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Intro Bonus


Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening





Annual fee $95
Regular APR 19.99%–29.99% variable


Get TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry membership fees refunded

Waiting in line at the security gate can make any traveler lose patience, especially during a busy travel season. The good news: Many travel cards such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offer credit for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry membership fees—saving you time and money. Some credit cards offer cardholders up to a certain dollar amount in the form of a statement credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. There are also credit cards that let cardholders take advantage of an application fee credit of $100 for Global Entry or $85 for TSA PreCheck every few years. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

See Rates and Fees

Intro bonus

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee $695
Purchase APR See Pay Over Time APR
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Don’t skip the airport lounge 

Grabbing a seat at the gate while you wait to board your flight isn’t always a guarantee; however, certain credit cards like The Platinum Card from American Express give cardholders access to exclusive airport lounges in airports across the globe. Even grab-and-go snacks at the airport tend to have a premium price tag, but airport lounges offer a number of money-saving amenities like free drinks, snacks, Wi-Fi, and even showers and nap pods if you have a long layover between flights and don’t want to book a hotel for the day. 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

See Rates and Fees

Intro Bonus


earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months





Annual fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
Regular APR 20.99%–29.99% variable


Take advantage of free checked bags 

Checking a bag at the airport can be costly, especially if you’re traveling with a large family. Some airline credit cards cover the cost of a free checked bag or multiple if you’re traveling with a group. Delta typically charges $30 each way for your first checked bag and $40 for your second bag on domestic flights. However, most of Delta’s credit cards give cardholders one free checked bag for the cardholder and nine others traveling on the same reservation. 

Trim your insurance costs 

Car insurance costs for rental cars can cost upwards of $20 per day, which, depending on the length of your trip, can add up quickly. And the insurance charges don’t stop there. If you spring for travel insurance, the average policy can run you 4% to 8% of your total trip cost, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.

Certain credit cards offer rental car insurance and some form of trip coverage. “While insuring your trip costs a bit upfront, it can save you big-time if something happens to your trip,” says Walsh.

The takeaway 

Travel costs can add up quickly and put a strain on your budget during one of the busiest spending seasons. Consider taking a closer look at your credit card perks to help you cut costs without changing your plans or skipping out on important coverage.



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