Americans are spending more on leisure travel this year than they ever had before, according to multinational financial firm Allianz.
Per their indications, Allianz expects that America’s total spending on summer holidays will earmark a record $214 billion, surpassing the $200 billion threshold for the very first time.
Since the pandemic, and most of the pandemic-related restrictions have ended at the start of summer last year, leisure travel demand soared back. Already this year, 63% of surveyed Americans said that they have summer travel plans, or are thinking of taking a trip this year.
That figure is an increase from the same time last year, when only 58% of American adults had leisure travel plans or had already traveled by June 2022.
As demand begins to subside and sticky inflation cools, new reports suggest that the cost of traveling is also now on a downward trajectory. Consumer inflation data from June showed that airfares were down by 19%, while car rental prices dropped 12%, marking the fifth consecutive month of declines.
With more consumers now eager to take back to the skies, roads, and seas, paying for these trips with a travel credit card has become increasingly popular, as financial providers and institutions now offer them an array of travel credit cards, with highly attractive perks.
Best Travel Credit Cards To Fund Your Holiday
Newer, and better travel credit cards provide consumers with not just the basic benefits such as free airport lounge visits or zero foreign transaction fees.
Instead, some of these accounts go above and beyond, giving travelers access to a range of benefits. From no annual spending caps to triple, and even four-times reward points on their spending.
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Here’s a breakdown of the best travel credit cards that can help fund your next getaway.
American Express® Gold Card
American Express has a longstanding history of providing travelers with some of the best, and most attractive travel benefits credit cards can offer them.
The American Express® Gold Card is slightly more on the pricier side, compared to other options – $250 in annual maintenance fees – but for those that enjoy traveling, and making the most of it at the same time can load up on their card-related benefits.
Lucrative awards include up to $120 in annual dining credit, which can be used for online food ordering such as Grubhub or Goldbelly. Users can also take advantage of up to $120 in Uber Cash, which is valid only for U.S. Uber Rides and Uber Eats.
Travelers can also gain up to 4x points at restaurants, and 3x points on flights booked directly with airline websites or their in-house Amextravel.
Finally, travelers will have baggage insurance plans included in their credit cards, and cover lost, stolen, or damaged baggage for up to $1,250 for a carry-on bag, and $500 for checked luggage.
There are however some downsides. The credit card is slightly more expensive, annually, compared to other travel credit cards, and it can take as long as five years before cardholders have built up enough rewards.
New Gold Card members will have no introductory APR period, which makes the near-term use of the credit card more expensive for newly signed members.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Another, and yet seemingly more affordable alternative for travelers is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which allows travelers to maximize their rewards but also leverages several card benefits including primary rental car insurance, and bonus points on account anniversary.
The credit card comes with a range of other perks, including triple earnings per $1 spent on dining, and edible takeout meals. This benefit also includes streaming services and grocery purchases.
Compared with the American Express® Gold Card, annual account fees are roughly $95 per annum, and travelers can earn roughly 60,000 bonus points after spending more than $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening their account.
Frequent travelers will be covered for trip cancellations, delays, travel accidents, and luggage. While the account comes with all the bells and whistles, the variable APR is between 21.24% – 28.24%, and the account is often only available to travelers that already have a good credit score.
This would mean that if you’re relatively new to the game of travel credit cards, this account might not be the best suitable option.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
A less complicated travel credit card that provides users with ample benefits and rewards. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has an annual cost of $95, and the rewards offered by the account provide users with a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles, for the first $4,000 spent within the first three months of opening the account.
Other benefits that make the account seemingly more attractive, are the 2x miles earned on every purchase, every day, and there’s no expiration date on any accumulated miles or the limit on how many miles a person earns over the lifespan of the account.
Additionally, account holders are rewarded with 5x miles on hotel reservations and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
One of the downsides account holders need to consider is the 20.99% – 28.99% variable APR, which is often considered to be higher than other traditional travel credit cards. Additionally, there are limited reward categories, for accounts at similar cost, and there are no rewards for any flights booked using the travel credit card.
Then, finally, another drawback is that car rental insurance is an added extra, which would require account holders to take out additional rental insurance. While there are slight downsides to this account, travelers can transfer their miles to one of 15 different travel loyalty programs that are directly linked to the credit card.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Travelers that are looking for a more affordable, and reliable alternative can opt for a Chase Freedom Flex travel credit card, another product offered by Chase Banks that provides travelers with several attractive benefits and simple cash-back rewards.
One of the key attributes of the account is that it provides holders with up to 5% cash back in bonus categories. This however is subject to change over the course of every three months. Travelers will also get a 5% bonus for trips booked through the Chase platform.
Other more standard features include rewards for restaurant spending and pharmacies. However, unlike other credit cards that only reward holders with once-off sign-up bonuses after spending more than $4,000 – the Chase Freedom Flex rewards new cardholders with a $200 bonus after spending only $500 in the first three months.
Users can also transfer their rewards and points to a Chase Sapphire card, which would give them a better opportunity to spend their rewards more freely.
There are however some drawbacks, including the 3% foreign transaction fees, and some account holders have shared that tracking rewards and bonus miles are often too complicated to understand.
It doesn’t necessarily have any travel-specific benefits, as it’s often more categorized as a cash-back credit card. However, this is a suitable alternative for those travelers that want a simple, reliable, and straightforward credit card that can help them build up their miles and rewards over time.
Choice Rewards World Mastercard®
While there are several rewarding options to choose from, for more frugal travelers and spenders, who want to have all the benefits of a travel credit card, but still take advantage of low-interest rates, then the Choice Rewards World Mastercard® is their best alternative option.
Throughout the first 12 billing cycles, there is no initial APR, however, these balances need to be made within the first 90 days of opening the account, which is often considered one of the major drawbacks of the account.
The adjusted variable APR is between 13.25% and 18.00%, there are also no transfer fees, and new account holders do not need to have a credit score to open a new account.
These and other benefits, such as double points on gas, groceries, household goods, and even electronics, and 1x rewards of all other purchases, make this account more like an ordinary credit card, with travel-like benefits included.
Unfortunately, while the account has zero annual fees, estimated rewards earned on this account are seemingly lower, and less attractive than other paid options.
Estimated rewards accumulated, even after five years, is less than $2,000, making it harder for travelers to pick this option if they can benefit more from other attractive options that provide them with both near-term and long-term travel rewards.
While there are nearly dozens of travel credit cards to choose from, consumers must decide on a credit card that suits their budgets, but also their travel-related needs.
Some banks may offer first-time account holders a more straightforward credit card option, which might be more adjusted to their financial position. The different types of options available mean that travelers can pick and choose a travel credit card that gives them what they want, and even more.
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