For those who are responsible with their money, credit cards can be great financial tools. This is especially true of travel rewards cards. If you enjoy travel, the right rewards card can be just the thing to help you get the most bang for your buck – as long as you are smart about how it’s used.
Racking Up the Rewards
One of the great things about many travel rewards credit cards is that you can rack up the rewards fairly quickly. Depending on how you use your travel rewards, it’s possible to get double airline miles when you book a flight, or get extra rewards points when you stay at certain hotels.
If you belong to a travel loyalty program, it’s usually possible to get a credit card associated with that brand, helping you earn rewards faster. Pay attention to ways that you can double, or even triple, your points or miles so that you can accumulate rewards that much faster.
You can also use your travel rewards credit card for every day purchases as well. With the right approach, every grocery purchases, utility payment, and fill up at the gas station can translate into travel rewards that you can use on your next vacation. And, while you are vacationing, be sure to use your credit card to earn even more rewards.
Planning Your Spending
Of course, this only works if you incorporate your credit card usage into your regular budget. You need to plan your spending so that you don’t end up offsetting your rewards with interest charges. When you use a travel rewards credit card (or any rewards card), you need to make sure you pay off the balance for maximum effect. Interest charges on these cards can be quite high, and you will essentially destroy the value of your rewards if you carry a balance.
If you make your budget, and then follow it, even as you pay for your purchases with your travel rewards card, your every day spending can add up to free airfare, no-cost hotel stays, and even rental car rewards.
This is true when you take your rewards card on vacation with you as well. If you are planning a vacation, save up ahead of time. Put that money in a high yield account, and then, when you have enough to pay for your vacation, hit the road. Use your travel rewards credit card as much as you can, and when you get back, pay off the balance with the money you saved up previously.
When you follow this plan, you can use this year’s vacation to help you pay for next year’s vacation. It’s a great way to get more for your money, and ensure that you enjoy travel – and maybe even do more of it.
Credit cards aren’t evil. In fact, with the right approach, they can be helpful. The best travel rewards credit cards can help you super-charge your rewards earnings, and then allow you to redeem your rewards to enhance your next family vacation. Just make sure you pay off the balance every month.