Travel Reward Cards 101
First you need to understand how these cards work. The details vary from one program to the next, but all have some conversion system for the money you spend. A dollar of spending equals a certain number of miles or points, often on a one to one basis. This means you could be building up airline miles while buying the weekly gas and groceries. You often get extra miles or bonus points when you use the card to pay for travel, perhaps a thousand bonus miles when you pay for a flight.
Next you have to research the different types of programs and their redemption policies. General travel rewards cards usually give you a credit on your monthly statement for travel expenses. Airline and hotel rewards cards typically reward you in travel vouchers, i.e. accrue 25,000 miles and get one free round trip ticket on that airline. Another thing to look for – do they have blackout dates? These are common around the times you most want to travel! But the most important information to find out: how many points or miles are needed to claim a reward? How many miles do you need for a free round trip domestic ticket? How many points are needed for that free hotel night? Some reward levels are set so high it’s not likely you will reach them. What rewards can you realistically expect to receive in the course of a year?
Finally, searching for the right rewards cards requires asking yourself some important questions:
-Where do you plan to go? -What is your spending style? -How often do you travel? -What style of travel do you prefer?
With the wide array of available rewards cards, these questions will help you focus in on the right card for you. Some cards are specific to one airline or hotel chain while others can be used towards any type of travel. Look for the one that suits you best.
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