Travel is something that many people would like to do, but many people don’t because it’s just so darn expensive! If you’re a frequent reader of this site, one of your main goals may be FIRE, so you may think that something as expensive as travel would derail this goal.
The truth is that there are some tricks that you could use to greatly minimize travel costs. Some tricks are more involved than others, but just about anyone could save money on travel.
Credit cards may seem like a dirty phrase to say when you’re trying to stay within your budget, but they could be extremely lucrative if you use them wisely. Many of the travel credit cards available offer a slew of benefits that could save you money on your future trip. As mentioned, some card benefits are pretty straightforward to use, while others provide immense value with a little bit of work.
Let’s review some credit cards that could help you have your cake and eat it too! Here is our list of the best credit cards to maximize travel rewards so you can take that vacation you've always wanted.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a favorite among travel enthusiasts for several reasons, one of them being how easy it is to use its rewards. Currently you could earn a signup bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days after being approved. You earn 2 miles per dollar spent and the card has an annual fee of $89 that is waived the first year of card ownership. Plus, the card has no foreign transaction fees and you get 5% of your redeemed miles back!
After you meet the minimum spending requirement, you’d have at least 46,000 miles to use on travel. Those 46,000 miles are worth $460 in travel and if you redeem 46,000 miles, you’d get 2,300 miles back. You can use your miles for anything that is coded as travel on your credit card statement. You could cover charges such as Airbnb, train tickets, tours, car rentals, plane tickets etc. You do, however have to redeem a minimum of $100. Redeeming your miles is extremely easy and can be done online to wipe out travel charges. This card is extremely easy to use and with no foreign transaction fees, this is the perfect card to use if you travel outside of the country.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus®
- Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
One card that I particularly like is the American Express EveryDay Credit Card from American Express. The current welcome offer of 10,000 Membership Rewards points is earned after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after being approved. The card has no annual fee and earns 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. The real earning potential comes when you make at least 20 transactions in a month. After doing so, you earn a 20% bonus on the points you earned for that month.
This card is a true workhorse for accumulating points quickly on everyday spending. Membership Rewards points are extremely valuable as they can be used in a variety of ways, such as for gift cards, merchandise or entertainment, but the real value comes when you transfer them to airline partners.
For example, if you transfer 15,000 Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios, you could fly from Miami to Aruba round trip! Every now and then, Amex will offer some transfer bonuses where you could transfer even less Membership Rewards points for the same amount of airline miles as before. Let’s say for example Amex is offering a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios. That means you could transfer 11,000 Membership Rewards points into 15,400 British Airways Avios. That’s some pretty exciting stuff!
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate APR
- No annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
A true gem of a credit card in the travel world is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Don’t let the $495 annual fee scare you. The benefits it offers more than offset the annual fee if used right. The card offers a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card ownership and does not have any foreign transaction fees. It offers a $300 annual statement credit that automatically kicks in to cover charges coded as travel, such as hotels and airfare.
The card earns 3 points per dollar on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. It also offers a $100 statement credit every four years towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. On top of that, for being a cardholder you could enjoy Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and your travel companions.
This card is the best of both worlds! You could enjoy the $300 travel credit, similar to what the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card, but you get the credit annually as opposed to just a one time bonus. The Ultimate Rewards points earned can also be transferred to travel partners for some amazing value!
After meeting the minimum spending requirements for this card you’d have at least 54,000 Ultimate Rewards points. With the signup bonus alone, you could transfer the points to Korean Airlines and fly TWO people roundtrip from the US to Hawaii on Delta Airlines! Now we’re talking! If you’d rather use your points for hotels, you could transfer 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and spend 3 nights at the Andaz Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica. You have several possibilities with this card which is great. The more options the better.
Once again, check out this card here.
While many absolutely abhor credit cards due to the trouble one may get into with them, if you use them like your debit card you won’t have any problems with taking on debt.
There are many perks and benefits to using travel credit cards that can drastically reduce your overall costs on your trip. Working towards being financially independent and retiring early doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the journey while getting there. You can travel while working towards your goal without getting off course. So pack your bags because you’re closer to your next trip than you think!
What's your favorite travel rewards credit card?