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Use Credit Cards to Save Money While Traveling

Using credit cards while traveling is a pocket-friendly as well as a convenient technique. You can earn points, miles and cash back rewards. However, these are the basic benefits of using a credit card overseas. If you wish to take the utmost advantage of all the travel benefits that a credit card can offer, you must know which doors to knock on. Here are a few unbelievably amazing benefits that could help you save a lot more on your vacation.

Use Credit Cards to Save Money While Traveling

Finding the Perfect Card

Credit cards are the best pocket-companions during travel. Traveling with cash can be quite risky, and the advent of credit cards has made it safer for people on a trip. Whether you choose to shop or dine or buy flight tickets - credit cards are the best mode of payment. Certain credit cards also offer excellent travel offers and services. However, the biggest bitterness sets in when the credit cards levy exorbitant charges for foreign transactions. What should you do when you have to fund an overseas trip - should you pay such high charges or should you look for alternatives?

Well, cheaper travel options are abundant. You just need to browse your options and find the right credit card to suit your purpose, which can be a tedious task. However, you ought to be aware that you can save a considerable amount of reserves if you just research enough to find the suitable card. Most credit cards in the US and UK charge low foreign transaction fees, sometimes even as low as 0%. Unfortunately, we Indians are not that lucky. All Indian credit cards charge at least 2% foreign transaction charges, and these are the premium travel cards that are difficult to get. Ordinary credit cards that most Indians easily qualify for might charge an insanely high fee. Do not be myopic while sorting through available credit cards; devote some quality time and search extensively for the best credit card deal.

These are the criteria that you must check before deciding on selecting a credit card for travel:

  1. If you are a frequent overseas traveler, the first prerequisite for your apt credit card should be a decently low currency conversion charge and foreign exchange rate.
  2. Look for cards offering reward points that can be converted for Air-miles or direct Air-miles that can be redeemed while purchasing flight tickets.
  3. Check for cards that give you free access to Airport Lounges.
  4. Credit cards levy a markup fee of 3% to 5% on foreign transactions. This essentially means that if you spend Rs.1 lakh on your foreign trip using a credit card with a 5% markup fee, you will end up paying an extra Rs.5000 to the issuer. Hence, you should look for a card that has low markup charges.
  5. A few credit cards levy a fee on swiping the card for purchases. Avoid those. You will find many cards that do not charge this absurd fee.
  6. Most credit cards charge varying rates for cash withdrawals through ATMs. Find the card that charges the least.

Benefits of Travel Credit Cards

  1. Travel Rewards

    Vacations are expensive. A chance to cut down some travel costs here and there could be a huge relief. You could get that relief if you have had enough reward points saved up on your travel credit card that can be cashed in. Airfare and hotel costs are usually the biggest expenses on your travel budget. Your credit card could get you amazing deals on airlines and hotel bookings. Avail these facilities and redeem the points against these charges later.

  2. Airline Credits

    Credit cards often have tie-ups with airlines. These cards offer airline fee credits which waive the charges for checked-in baggage, airport lounge access, in-flight meals and seat upgrades. There’s no point in hoarding these credits as they mostly expire by the end of the year. Redeem these credits on your trip and travel in style for cheap.

  3. Baggage Allowances

    You can’t possibly return from a vacation without souvenirs. You might pack light when you depart, but you are sure to return with a bulging and heavy bag. Co-branded credit cards are apt for such circumstances. They can help save a lot of money by giving you free excess baggage allowance. You might have to book your flight with the card concerned or simply enter your frequent flyer number while booking your ticket in order to be able to avail the facility.

  4. Foreign Transaction Fees

    Most credit cards charge annoying foreign transaction fees. It might become a financial burden since the fee is applied to every single transaction. You might have to spend a lot more than you intend to. These are a few travel credit cards that don’t charge this pesky fee. You need to find the right card and save a considerable amount.

  5. Trip Cancellation Insurance

    Flight cancellations are always heavy on our pockets. Several norms and clauses decide the amount of refund. Even refundable flights hardly return much of your money when you cancel a ticket. You could avoid this unreasonable wastage of money by getting a travel credit card that offers trip cancellation insurance. If your reason for cancellation is severe and proven, you could get a refund even on your nonrefundable airfare booked through the concerned card.

  6. Fuel Surcharge Waivers

    India has beautiful destinations that are cut off from airports and railway stations; you would have to drive down to these lovely and exotic places. Road trips are enjoyable, especially with your loved ones. Road trips also mean a lot of fuel consumption. Typically, if you use a credit card at fuel stations, you might have to pay a fuel surcharge which would be around 2% to 2.5% of the transaction amount. This amount is waived by most Indian travel credit cards. However, these transactions do not earn you any reward point.

  7. Freebies

    A handful of travel credit cards offer a lot of reward points as a sign-up bonus or welcome gift. Mostly, these points can be redeemed for air miles and hotel bookings. Some cards have tie-ups with airlines and offer free tickets as well. A few travel credit cards offer discounts for your plus-ones: you could add someone to your flight reservation or hotel booking at no extra cost, you could take along your friends and family to airport lounges for free or at a discount. However, these offers are mostly for long-term customers who are loyal to the company and responsible in their spending habits.

Trending Credit Cards in India

Listed below are a few travel credit cards that are trending in 2018.

  1. Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card

    The Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card is currently the most popular one in India. It has attractive joining rewards. It also has tie-ups with Indigo Airlines and Taj group of Hotels and offers lucrative deals. It has around 8% reward rate. It is best for Indians who frequently fly on Indigo.

  2. HDFC Diners Black Credit Card

    The HDFC Diners Black Credit Card has unbeatable savings scheme and rewards plan. The credit limit is exceptionally high for this card. It has a tie-up with Jet Airways and offers a lot of JetPrivilege points on your transactions, so much so that you can redeem the points for free tickets on Jet Airways. Airline travelers also get free airport lounge access, concierge services, additional baggage allowance of 10kg and premiere check-in facilities during domestic travel.

    Golfers would love this card as it gives you a Green Fee waiver on golf games at designated golf courses in India and abroad. This card is great for foodies too, as you can avail a whopping 15% discount on your restaurant bills across the country.

  3. Axis Bank Privilege Credit Card

    The Axis Bank Privilege Credit Card offers a tempting joining bonus to all its customers. It is extremely travel-friendly as it has a tie-up with Yatra and offers many discounts on flight and hotel bookings through Yatra. Apart from its fuel surcharge waiver, this card lets you earn double reward points on your birthday month. Isn’t it an interesting birthday gift?

  4. Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card

    The Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card gives you a welcome gift of 10,000 Bonus JPMiles apart from a complimentary Jet Airways domestic ticket with its base fare waived. It is ideal for frequent flyers of Jet Airways as you can earn the JPMiles with this card. As a special benefit, it gives you access to Amex Proprietary Lounges at a few airports including Delhi and Mumbai.

  5. Citi Premier Miles Credit Card

    The Citi Premier Miles Credit Card is one of the premium credit cards issued by Citibank. The card offers great opening and renewal bonus points and around eight free airport lounge accesses. Citi, being a multinational company, has a good network of partnership with international hotel chains and airlines. If you frequently travel abroad, this card could largely benefit you.

  6. SBI Air India Signature Card

    The SBI Air India Signature Card has amazing joining and renewal bonus. It offers the Milestone Reward program that lets you earn cashback on your purchases. Its tie-up with Air India lets you redeem points for tickets in Air India as well as Star Alliance Partner Airlines. Apart from these facilities, this card lets you enjoy 0% surcharge on minimum transaction of INR 500 on fuel.

  7. Yes First Preferred Credit Card

    The Yes First Preferred Credit Card welcomes you with 15000 reward points on your first transaction. Just like the Yes First Exclusive Card, this one too lets you access the bank’s dedicated website to redeem the reward points on exciting deals. Its overseas medical insurance has coverage of Rs.25 lakhs. This card gives free access to four airport lounges in a year. The best feature of this card is a low markup fee of 1.75%. This is also a great travel credit card as it is quite affordable. Those who earn more than 18 lakhs a year are eligible for this card and need to pay a reasonable membership charge of around Rs.2500 each year.

  8. HDFC Regalia Credit Card

    HDFC Regalia Credit Card offers maximum travel and other benefits with high membership rewards. It is extremely secure for all types of overseas transactions as it contains an EMV chip. It has a low markup fee of 2% per month and also offers an interest-free grace period for paying off the balance in 50 days. It charges an annual fee of Rs.2500 but welcomes you with a bonus of 2500 reward points. This card gives you complimentary access to 600 international airport lounges. You can avail medical insurance of Rs.12 lakh for emergencies during overseas travel and receive a compensation of Rs.1 crore for air accidents. However, this card might not suit everyone as you should have a minimum monthly income of Rs.1.2 lakh to qualify for this card.

To Sum Up

These credit cards and their wonderful perks can amount to thousands of rupees in savings if you are able to find the perfect card to suit your purpose. Who wouldn't like to enjoy the benefits like waived baggage fees, free airport lounge access and trip cancellation insurance, free flight tickets, discounted hotel bookings and cash back? So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and apply for your travel credit card before you fly off to your dream destination.

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