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Picking the Credit Card for Travel Rewards

22 July 2009 by CreditCardsCo™

As a frequent traveler in need of a credit card either for business or personal use, going for the right travel rewards credit card will go a long way is discounting travel expenses in the long run. Finding a bunch of credit cards offering maximum benefits and possessing minimal maintenance costs suitable to your situation is best achieved with online research on review and card comparison sites. Before jumping into the wild in search of a travel rewards credit card, here are a few pointers to lead you in the right direction.

Check exchange rate for miles earned

Travel rewards do not provide a fix amount of miles per dollar spent. Some cards award a mile per $1, others 1.25miles per $1 and yet others 2 or more per $1 spent. Picking the right credit card for travel rewards should offer a suitable exchange rate. When it comes to picking travel rewards, the value of miles earned is even more important. Card programs have different entry levels for redeeming free travel. For example, a credit card awarding 2 miles per $1 spent may have a minimum entry level for free travel set at 15,000 miles but a competing card awarding miles on a 1 for 1 basis could have a much lower entry level set at 5000 miles.

An award for the most rewarding credit card, using just the number of miles earned per dollar spent will likely give the award to the first card, whereas the second is actually more rewarding given that the card member spends less to redeem the same or a similar reward.

Bottom line is to check different programs comparing their true values.

Seat Restrictions & Black out dates

A seat restriction means you don't get to sit in certain parts of the aircraft when redeeming free travel. Black out dates mean you don't get to travel for free on a number of days as dictated by the Airline and Company running the travel rewards program. Popular credit cards with a travel rewards program will usually waiver seat restrictions and black out dates, but with more than a thousand cards in the market, you probably want to be sure of that.

Ease of Redemption

A good number of credit cards will not let you redeem miles until they've accumulated over a certain period. Credit card companies place certain restrictions that could mean you don't get any rewards during certain periods like when you pay late. The ease of redeeming miles you've earned is just as important as how you easy you've been able to gather the miles. Read the applicable fine print to gain insight into your restrictions as a card member.

Balancing Interest Rates, Annual Fees and Rewards

Most credit cards offering a truly rewarding travel rewards program are specially designed for consumers having good or excellent credit and will compensate for such benevolence by charging higher interest rates or an annual fee. Before picking a credit card that's right for your travel needs, ensure to balance interest rates with rewards. In more than a few cases, the joy of rewards earned is often wiped off by high interest rates.

Obtain the Opinion of Card Members

This is usually last on the minds of a prospective card member, but hearing the words of a satisfied member or a disgruntled one could have you make up your mind in no time. In order words, think twice before believing the sweet words of the credit card company by hearing from those who are already or were on such cards. A credit cards review forum or blog should provide ample opportunity to receive user opinion from persons who might help.

Always remember that choosing the right credit card could substantially reduce travel related costs, but getting such card largely depends on credit worthiness and a bunch of other factors used by card issuers to accept and decline applications.

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