Gasoline prices finally fell last week after a month of climbing, helped by inflation. With the onset of summer and the end of school, those already desperate to travel are stocking up, fearing the numbers will soon rebound.
Meanwhile, gas isn’t the only increased travel expense. The new CDC rules no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to present a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of COVID-19 recovery before boarding their flight. So now airfare, hotels and Airbnbs, food, parking and incidentals. It’s not enough to find the best deals on flights – everything gets more expensive.
You need the best deals. Here are the cards with the best deals and benefits.
Experts say luxury travel cards are the way to go
Travel blogger Sea Lau of LivingOutLau, says that as a frequent traveler, these travel maps are like best friends.
“After going through several of them, I finally settled on the new Visa Capital One Venture X card,” Lau said. “It’s one of the cheapest luxury travel credit cards, costing $395 per year.”
Lau says the benefits far outweigh the cost. With this particular card, you earn 75,000 miles for every $4,000 spent in the first three months after opening the account.
Starting on your first birthday, account holders get 10,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $100 for travel) each year. Plus, you can receive up to $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
With the card, you can receive up to $300 in statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get the best prices on thousands of options.
“Only on these two benefits, you can recover the cost of the card,” Lau said.
The Capital One Venture X card also provides complimentary access to Capital One lounges and lounges in the Priority Pass network.
“The best feature is that you can have up to 4 authorized users, which means you can have four other people who can enjoy lounge benefits and other card benefits,” Lau said.
The Venture X card is also a Visa Infinite card, which comes with many different types of insurance such as travel, theft, etc. The list of benefits of the Venture X card is long, but the main ones already cover the cost in monetary value. The annual card fee is $395.
“Not only does the card give me many benefits when I travel, but knowing that I can be protected while traveling is priceless,” Lau said.
Earn a welcome bonus with these cards
Bank Of America Travel Rewards: Earn 25,000 online bonus points, $250 credit value for travel or dining, after making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening Account.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. It’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
US Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card: Introductory Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. It’s a $500 value redeemable for travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and more.
Discover it Miles: Discover will match any Miles you have earned at the end of your first year.
Hilton Honor American Express Card: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on card purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made with the card at any of the Hilton family hotels during the first 12 months of membership.
Travel guides have their favorites
Jordan Morgan, founder of On Arrival – Personalized Travel Guides, has been traveling overseas with his wife KT Maviglia-Morgan for eight years. Their company is a travel agency and start-up specializing in personalized travel recommendations.
“My travel card is my American Express Platinum card for several reasons,” Morgan said.
The first thing Morgan points out is that Member Reward Points are worth 2.0 Centers per point, which is twice the value of many Travel Points.
Morgan says they are flexible and can be used to book travel or transfer to a partner.
“If you book travel directly with American Express using their travel portal, you earn 5 points per dollar,” Morgan said.
Other card benefits include a $200 Uber credit. An annual airline credit of $200 is granted for the airline of your choice. There’s a $200 annual resort credit for their Fine Hotels and Resorts program, as well as on-site perks like complimentary upgrades and $100 resort credits.
“If you’re smart, the card eventually pays for itself,” Morgan said.
Morgan adds that the point often overlooked by cardholders is that AMEX Platinum cards come with travel protections such as travel and rental car insurance when you use your card to book.
“I travel internationally often, and many places outside the United States don’t accept American Express, so my daily use card abroad is my Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless,” Morgan said.
With this card, you can earn points quickly at Marriott properties (up to 17 points per dollar). You can also earn 3x points for gas, groceries, and meals. Plus, you get 2 points for every other dollar spent.
“As someone who loves a good Marriott property, those points add up really quickly,” Morgan said. “We recently used them for one night at the St. Regis Venice, and it was, in a word, amazing.”
Travel and everything else has become outrageously expensive. For the average family feeling the stress of inflation, it can be hard to justify spending what they don’t need.
If you feel like getting away from it all this summer, consider getting one or two travel rewards credit cards, depending on how many trips you plan to take. Just beware of the welcome bonus threshold, so you don’t lose any advantage. With these considerations, you might be about to take that trip this season that you’ve been waiting two years to take.
Check your credit score before applying for a new credit card, so you know where you stand and be sure to check your budget as well as your luggage before any trip.