Planning a trip is accompanied with excitement and joy, but also brings along big spends on flight and hotel bookings, shopping and other travel-related expenses. These spends can put a dent in your budget, if not managed wisely. For this, travel credit cards come as a way to reduce your trip budget while still making your travel comfortable. However, there are several travel credit cards available to choose from with varied benefits, offers and rewards, which makes it important to find the right credit card, which aligns with your travel plans, if you want to maximise your savings.
For an international trip, you need to plan your itinerary beforehand so that you can make the flight and hotel bookings accordingly while using the most beneficial credit card to do so. It is advisable to consider card features like complimentary travel memberships, joining or milestone bonus, rewards program with rewards redemption options, and other flights and hotel offers or discounts before using any credit card to make any travel-related purchases.
Given below are some of the travel credit card features in detail, which you can explore and utilise while planning your next trip:
Welcome and Milestone Benefits
Joining benefits on travel credit cards may come in various forms. Some cards offer complimentary membership to airline or hotel loyalty programs such as Club Vistara, Marriott Bonvoy or Air India Flying Returns. For instance, IndusInd Bank Avios Visa Infinite credit card comes with bonus Avios and membership to British as well as Qatar Airways loyalty programs, which you can choose from based on your preferred travel destinations to avail airline discounts and rewards.
On the other hand, some cards may offer flight ticket vouchers or hotel stay vouchers, direct discount at select booking platforms, etc. Using these, you can save significantly on your travel cost as booking vouchers allow you to cut back on most of your flight ticket charges, while travel memberships often provide you with airport assistance and considerable discounts on your flight bookings and hotel stays. Similar benefits can also be availed on reaching quarterly or yearly spend milestones.
There are many credit cards that are co-branded with specific airlines like IndusInd Avios Visa Infinite credit card with British and Qatar Airways or co-branded with travel portals like Standard Charetred EaseMyTrip Credit Card. Such partnerships prove to be quite beneficial for the cardholders, especially for those who would like to avail benefit with a particular brand, since they can avail complimentary vouchers, exclusive discount deals and other offers for their travel through these. For instance, with credit cards like IndusInd Avios, you can get perks including extra baggage allowance, complimentary seat selection, bonus reward points, discount on duty-free shopping, free airline ticket using the earned rewards, lounge access, etc.
Travel credit cards come with accelerated reward points on travel spends or even airline or other travel loyalty points, like Club Vistara points, Scapia coins or Avios which can later either be converted to airmiles or redeemed for other travel bookings. Such a rewards program helps you to earn incremental rewards on your travels and later use these accrued reward points for redemption against flight tickets, hotel stays and even car rentals. Remember that travel credit cards that are co-branded with airlines may provide direct loyalty points instead of general reward points. These loyalty points can be used to book tickets at the associated airline only. Hence, if you are not a frequent flyer with a particular airline, instead of limiting yourself to a brand, you could consider cards that offer points that can be transferred to multiple loyalty programs.
You can avail complimentary lounge access to domestic as well as international airport lounges using your credit card. Some premium credit cards also allow free access to these lounges to add-on cardholders and to the cardholder’s guests as well. This can help make your time spent at the airport comfortable and stress-free while helping you save money on dining at the airport.
Forex Mark-up Fee
If you are planning to use your credit card in a foreign country, this transaction will attract a certain foreign exchange mark-up fee, which is charged as a percentage of the amount exchanged. Most cards come with this forex mark-up fee which generally goes up to 3% or 3.5% of the total amount which adds to your total travel budget. However, you can avoid such additional charges by choosing a card with low or no forex mark-up fee. Many travel credit cards come with a lower fee using which you can avoid paying such a high fee on your international shopping and other spends.
Travel comes with its own set of risks and chances of accident for which credit cards offer extensive insurance cover. For instance, if you choose to use IndusInd Avios for your travel plans, you will also get Rs. 1 lakh cover for lost baggage and a cover worth Rs. 25,000 each for delayed baggage, loss of ticket, and missed flight connection, along with Rs. 50,000 insurance for loss of passport.
To conclude, credit cards can help you elevate your overall travel experience while helping you save on your travel spends with their rewards and travel-related offers. However, there is no single ideal credit card option that would suit all since everyone’s travel plans and needs are different. You can choose which credit card would be the most beneficial for you based on your destination, budget, travelling style, spending habits and travel platform or airline preferences.