How to Choose your First Travel Rewards Card

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The time has come. You have been on the sidelines long enough, and you are ready to get in the game. The travel rewards credit card game, that is.

If you are considering signing up for your first travel rewards credit card, congratulations! It’s about time. Soon, you’ll be wondering what took you so long. All it takes is a free flight or free hotel night to make you realize what you have been missing out on.

There’s just one problem. There are a lot of travel rewards cards available. So many. How do you begin to choose? It can be overwhelming, but fear not. Help is on the way! Consider these following tips as you research and choose your first travel rewards credit card.

Do you have a trip in mind?

Are you currently planning for a trip that you would love to be able to use points on? Do some research to find out the best deals from your local airport, and research airline rewards cards based on your findings.

Dreaming of a trip across the ocean to celebrate a milestone anniversary? Look for an airline rewards program with attainable business class rewards redemption. You might be surprised how far a signup bonus can go when it comes flying internationally! Don’t be afraid to dream a little when you are researching rewards cards.

Do you already have favorite travel companies?

If you have an airline, or hotel chain, you prefer to use when you travel, that is the perfect place to start. Maybe you have already even been earning rewards points for the flights you take or nights you stay. Research those companies’ rewards card options as a first step. Be sure to compare their programs to others, just to be sure your favorites are at least comparable with other rewards cards.

What’s the annual fee?

Rewards cards are most likely going to have an annual fee. Many, however, come with perks like a free hotel night or a certain number of bonus miles on your card anniversary each year. These perks should outweigh the annual fee to be worthwhile, and they should be perks you are sure you will use.

Hello, signup bonus!

Are you having a difficult time choosing between a few different cards? See if any of them offer signup bonuses, and weigh that in your decision. Signup bonuses are a great way to get a lot of points fast – usually enough for at least one flight or a night or two at a nice hotel.

Signup bonuses usually require you to spend a certain amount on the card within a certain period of time, so be sure you will be able to meet those requirements without getting in over your head. If you know you have a large purchase coming up, that’s a great time to look for a new card with a big signup bonus!

Compare category spending bonuses

If you eat out a lot, look for a card that offers you more points for dollar on restaurant spending. Travel by car for work a lot? Choose a card that rewards you more for gas station purchases.

Not all rewards cards are created equally, and you should take the time to look for a rewards card that actually rewards you more for the things you already spend your money on.

What do the experts suggest?

There are plenty of travel rewards pros on the internet, and many of them have put a lot of effort into comparing various rewards programs and cards. Before committing to a card, hop online and do some comparative research to make sure the rewards card you are leaning towards is as good as it seems.

Make your choice

Once you’ve chosen a card, have a plan to be sure you earn the signup bonus. Whether that’s making a large purchase or using the card for your daily expenses for a while, it’s imperative that you spend enough to earn that signup bonus!

Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger about your future travels once you have a travel rewards credit card in your wallet. Now that you have joined the world of travelers earning free perks, you might be surprised what luxuries it can earn you!

Happy swiping, and happy traveling!

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Amber Miller

Amber Miller

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