World travelers know that every dollar counts. Whether you’re backpacking through Europe, traversing the deserts of Morocco or riding a bike through the highways of the United States, a bit of planning is essential to make sure that you budget properly. However, one of the most essential tools in any traveler’s pocket is having the right credit card.
While everyone knows that credit cards are great for getting you out of an emergency, credit card companies often pack these cards with great rewards as an incentive. In order to win the loyalty of travelers around the world, an increasing number of credit card companies have started putting out cards directly targeted at travelers, with rewards earned on such traveling expenses as eating out, going to hotels, or buying plane tickets.
The Ridge's metal-plated exterior and RFID-blocking technology have always aimed to keep those credit cards safe and protected, but what about making sure you have the best credit cards to protect? We break down the different benefits to make sure you're keeping the right credit cards tucked away in your wallet.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you ever wanted a shiny, stylish card that seemed perfectly suited to fit in your Ridge, this would be the one. Made of metal, shimmering like the sapphire it’s named after, Chase’s traveler credit card is one for the books. It’s also packed full of some terrific rewards: if you can put $4,000 on the card within the first three months of owning it, you’ll then get 50,000 bonus points. But here’s the real catch: if you then purchase through the Chase website, you’ll get $625 of free airplane tickets. You can earn 2 points to the dollar on all travel related purchases, and an additional 5,000 points if you add a second authorized user.
What’s the catch? Well, a steep annual fee: $95 a year, however, as we’ll see, that’s on the lower end for high reward travel cards. Besides, if you travel a lot, the card’s rewards make it more than worth it.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card
If you already have a Bank of America account, this one might be an easy catch. 50,000 bonus points will come to your account if you can spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account. The best rewards come from travel expenses, with two points to the dollar on travel and dining purchases and a dollar fifty on anything else. In additional, you’ll get an annual $100 airline incidental credit, which can give you seat upgrades and other benefits. Though the $505 reward is lower than the other cards on this list, you’re able to use the credits as a deposit into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account.
The annual fee matches Chase at $95.
American Express Platinum
Here’s another one targeted right at the traveler’s sweet spot. If you can manage to spend $5000 in the first three months of owning your new American Express Platinum, you can cash it in for 60,000 points. In addition, owning the card also gives you a $200 annual airfare fee credit, and $200 in Uber rewards. So each year, you’ll be cashing in some decent loot. In addition, you earn 5x points on airfare that’s booked directly with the airline or American Express travel.
Once again, the only downside is the high annual fee, which in this case is even higher: $550 a year.
Marriott Rewards Premier Card
This card follows the same general system as the others: if you spend $3,000 in your first three months, you’ll make out with 80,000 points. Add another authorized user, and you’ll get an additional 7,500 points. Since it’s Marriott, you’ll earn five points to the dollar on money spent at Marriott or SPG hotels. You also earn two points per dollar on airline tickets.
The annual fee for this card is $85, and after your first anniversary, you get a free night at any Category 1-5 property.
There are a lot of fantastic credit cards out there for travelers to peruse through, each one with their own benefits. Choosing the one for you is about weighing the pros and cons according to your personal values: generally, a higher annual fee will also mean a bigger bonus. Also, it’s important to factor in where you want to pocket the rewards: cash, airplane tickets, hotels? When selecting your card, these are the factors to consider.