6 Ways Your Credit Card Could Save You Money for Summer Travel

Planning a big summer trip? You may be able to save money by using your credit card for some of your travel-related purchases.

There are both limited time offers from card issuers and permanent cardholder benefits that can apply to a credit card you already have in your wallet – and you may not even know it!

These benefits can range from flight discounts to insurance coverage for your rental car.

Before you book your trip, let’s look at a list of things you should check about the credit cards in your wallet.

1. Look for discounts from your credit card issuer

Did you know you can have a menu of limited time discounts (travel or otherwise) that are available to you just for being a credit card holder?

Many card issuers, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, have a portal to claim these offers at no cost to their credit card customers.

These offers are usually for a limited time, have some sort of spending cap, require you to “register” on your issuer’s app or website, and then complete the transaction with that credit card.

Amex offers

It should be noted that the offers you see vary depending on the credit card you have. Not all Amex cardholders, for example, will receive the same offers. If you have a card with a higher annual fee, you might find that your offers are better.

An example of an airline offer worth traveling this summer would be from JetBlue via Amex Offers, which was spotted by Doctor of Credit:

Some other discounts that have been spotted include 10% off purchases through Alaska Airlines or Marriott.

Remember, we can’t promise you’ll be eligible for a specific offer with your credit card, but you’ll want to check your card’s offers to see if there’s anything you could use.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out potential gas and food deals. These can also help you save money on your trip!

2. Use free car rental insurance from select credit card companies

If your next trip involves renting a car, many of you may be able to decline the sometimes exorbitantly priced policies offered under high pressure at the rental counter.

Some credit cards will give you insurance on your rental at no additional cost!

In order to be eligible for this benefit, you must use the credit card extending the offer to make the rental purchase, and most card issuers require that you decline the insurance offered by the rental company .

The Clark team has compiled a list of credit cards that offer this benefit, but you can check with your card issuer if your card is eligible even if it’s not on our list. In our article, you can also learn more about primary car rental insurance versus secondary insurance.

It could save you at least $25 a day by accepting offers from insurance companies at the rental counter, which the Clark team recommends you decline, whether or not you have a credit card to provide coverage. insurance. (You may be covered by your auto insurance policy or you can contact your insurance provider for coverage.)

Note that coverage offers from your credit card issuer may not apply to vehicle rentals outside of the United States.

3. Cover the Cost of Airport Security Passes to Save Time

If you’re the type of traveler who makes frequent trips to the airport, you know that going through the TSA security line can take a long time.

You can avoid those long lines with a subscription to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And many popular travel credit cards offer to cover your subscription fees for one of these services. All you have to do is pay with the card that provides the benefit.

Financial expert Clark Howard uses his Capital One Venture X card to cover the cost of renewing their Global Entry subscription. Note that Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck (but not the other way around).

4. Lock in travel protection using your credit card to purchase travel

Some credit cards offer different levels of trip cancellation insurance at no additional cost, provided you use the credit card to purchase your trip.

This type of insurance is intended to cover the cost of prepaid, non-refundable fares if your trip is canceled or curtailed by extreme weather conditions or illness.

There have been many examples of circumstances over the past few years, from pandemics to natural disasters, that have presented scenarios where travelers could have benefited from this type of coverage.

Check to see if any of your credit cards offer this benefit, then read the fine print to see if it applies to the type of trip you’re planning.

I have one of the Chase credit cards that offers this protection, and I pulled a sample of these fine print:

Some Chase credit cards offer trip cancellation insurance.

5. Consider booking travel through your credit card company with rewards points

An easy way to save money on a trip is to not use real money at all.

If you have a stockpile of rewards points from spending with a credit card over the years, you can check your redemption options to see if you can get a free flight or hotel stay for your trip.

Most major card issuers offer the ability to book travel directly on their websites using your rewards points. And some will give you bonus cash value for using points in this way.

Programs like Citi’s ThankYou Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards have partnerships with many of the most popular airlines and hotel brands, so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the quality of your trip if you go this route.

6. Use the card that gives you the most rewards for travel expenses

If you carry multiple rewards credit cards in your wallet, be sure to determine which card you plan to use for each purchase on your trip.

If you have a travel credit card, it may make more sense to use it for things like buying flights and booking hotels.

But is that all you will be doing on this trip?

Think of the card you’ll use to make purchases at a restaurant or to fill up on gas during a road trip.

Choosing the card that gives you the most cash back or rewards tier for every purchase is an easy way to get your credit cards to “pay” you for the summer travel purchases you had. intend to do anyway.

Of course, this only makes sense if you are disciplined and pay all those bills in full when they come due.

If you need to carry over a balance as a result of this trip, you might want to consider whether this is something you should carry over until you can budget for it. And if you have to use a card and keep a balance, you’re better off skipping the rewards and doing it with a card that has the lowest APR possible.

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