Cut Vacation Costs with Travel Rewards Credit Card

Getting away doesn’t always come cheap. On average, a four-night domestic stay will cost you just shy of $600; an international vacation can run more than $3,200 on average, according to ValuePenguin. 

If your vacation budget is on the smaller side, there’s a simple way to bring the costs down without delaying your travel plans. Using a travel rewards credit card can help you earn points or miles you can redeem against your vacation costs. As you compare travel rewards cards, keep these tips in mind. 

Tailor the rewards to your travel style

Travel rewards cards aren’t all alike; some offer miles, others reward points. Some allow you to earn the same amount of rewards on every purchase, while others offer more rewards for travel-related spending. The card you choose should reflect how you spend, and how often you travel. 

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card for example, offers unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase. That keeps things simple for travelers, since there are no bonus categories or rewards tiers to keep up with. The card also takes the hassle out of redeeming rewards. To use them for travel, you simply redeem them as a statement credit after booking flights, hotels or other vacation expenses. There are no blackout dates to worry about and your miles don’t expire. 

On the other hand, if you prefer one airline or hotel chain over another, you may want to look for a card that allows you to transfer your rewards to your favorite travel loyalty programs. Just remember to check the transfer ratio to make sure you’re not losing any rewards value by doing so.

Stick with a low-fee card for added savings

If you’re trying to vacation on the cheap, it doesn’t make sense to pay high fees for a travel rewards card. When you’re comparing cards, look for ones that have no annual fee. Also, check for cards that have no foreign transaction fee, if you plan to take international trips. This fee, which is usually around 3%, kicks in when you make purchases outside the U.S. and it can make everything you spend on your vacation more expensive. 

While you’re checking fees, remember also to check the annual percentage rate for purchases. If you’re not planning to pay your vacation charges off right away, or you don’t have enough rewards to cover the entire balance, a high interest rate could add to the cost. To find cards with the best APR range, first quickly get your free credit score from Credit Sesame in 3 steps. Then, see which cards a good match, based on your credit profile. 

Remember to scope out the bonus

One last tip for using a travel rewards card to vacation on the cheap: check for an introductory rewards bonus. Some cards may offer several thousand miles or points upfront when you meet a minimum spending requirement. Qualifying for the bonus could put you on the way to cheap travel in no time. 


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