The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best Travel Credit Card in 2018

Aug 2018 | Team Rubique

For somebody who swears by Credit Cards, the following is a comprehensive guide to find the best Travel credit cards of 2018. Be it the flexibility of cash-backs, attractive travel points, taking care of outstanding dues, or to build healthy creditworthiness, there’s a credit card to suit every purpose and beyond. However, there is isn’t one best credit card which fits all purposes. One has to carefully select a card which best suits his requirement from the various promotional programs going around.

It is highly recommended that before enrolling for travel Credit cards, the following aspects are thoroughly researched:

Hefty sign-up bonus

To kick-start the traveller’s account, it is recommended that the customer make sure that a hefty sign-up bonus is credited. This could potentially help in bagging a free flight ticket or hotel stay. If luck would have it, these points could be redeemed against more than one free flight also. Therefore, to enroll for a card which offers a hefty sign-up bonus one would need to follow certain pre-requisite conditions like making a single purchase above a particular amount or meet a minimum spending threshold within a specified time span. Usually travel credit card bonuses range between 25,000 to 50,000 points, though sometimes they can be as high as 100,000 points. That’s why several people although short on cash; may have thousands of reward points at their disposal.

Attractive extra bonus points

Generally, most travel credit cards offer good reward points in equivalence to every double-digit rupee spent using them. However, there are some niche travel cards which dole out extra loyalty points when used to shop at their partner brands. This helps to earn points much faster. For instance, American Express Platinum Travel Card is the perfect card for a premium traveller. Along with travel offers and discounts, it gives the customer a chance to earn extra points for all his travel requirements. It provides a joining bonus of 5000 Membership Rewards points or Travel Vouchers worth ₹4000 and offers one reward points for every ₹50 spent. It also offers Milestone rewards of up to 10,000 Bonus membership reward points, or travel voucher worth up to ₹10,000. Other benefits include Complimentary airport lounge access.

Minimum purchase requirement

It has been observed that in order to get the loyalty reward points these cards offer, a minimum purchase value is required initially. While one can easily falsify expenditures, it is best to be able to get the bonus through everyday shopping. Needless to mention here, it is better to enroll for a maximum of two credit cards to avoid unnecessary expenditures in the long run. Furthermore, it is most important to never leave an unpaid outstanding at the end of the month. It will not only carry a hefty interest rate and hamper the customer’s creditworthiness; also, the reward points may expire due to lack of knowledge. There are some travel cards like Citi PremierMiles Card which not only allows the traveller to redeem the points at any Airline brand and provides Air accident insurance up to ₹1 crore; its reward points also never expire. Citi PremierMiles Card gives out a welcome bonus of 10,000 Bonus Miles redeemable at any partner merchants.

Eye-catchy perks

Every travel credit card to lure potential customers offer unique perks like special privileged loyalty status, free baggage check-ins, priority boarding, free hotel stay and many more. These may be in addition to the air miles which they provide anyway. For instance, ICICI Jet Sapphire Card in association with Jet Airways offers highest benefits to Jet Airways frequent fliers. Its elite members enjoy dedicated check-ins and an additional baggage allowance of 10kgs on domestic flights along with golf events, movie tickets, discounts on fine-dining, etc. Also, every international spend earns up to 2X rewards. Thus, these points can be used for further travel needs.

Yearly fees

Saving on money can be a daunting task for many. To add to it, if luxury items like credit cards come with a recurring hefty annual fee, who would want to enroll for it! The idea is to save more money on travel through the various reward schemes, accumulated bonus points and cash backs, and better travel protection. Therefore, finding a travel card with minimum annual fee and maximum return is worthwhile. SBI IRCTC Platinum Card not only provides a great profit on flight ticket bookings and hotel bookings, but this card is also meant for those who travel by train within India in the form of 10% cash back. The joining fee is ₹500, and the annual fee is ₹300 from second year onwards. This travel card is packed with other features like offers on travel, golf, dining, and leisure. So the fun doesn’t stop at just travelling.

Nominal Overseas transaction fees

Most credits cards are best suited for international travel because of the competitive exchange rates they offer. On the other hand, it can turn into a nightmare if the customer doesn’t check the fine print before signing up for it. Credit cards are known to levy upwards of 3% of the purchased value as overseas transaction fees and foreign currency markup fee. Therefore, it is of prime importance to enroll for a travel card offering low overseas transaction fees.

The major factor that one must keep in mind before applying for any credit card is his credit score worthiness. The customer’s spending habits and personal preferences also play a vital role. Every individual has a diverse lifestyle therefore what works best for one may not necessarily suit another. For that reason, comparing a number of travel credit cards available in the market may omit any untoward incidents in the long run.