Travel credit cards are worth it if they save you more than they cost you and if they provide better value than your other credit card options. In other words, the card’s rewards and benefits should outweigh the fees. And its net value – rewards and benefits, minus fees – should be higher than what other comparable cards offer. A credit card is not truly worth it if getting that card means bypassing a better deal.
Nearly all of the best travel credit cards charge an annual fee. But there are plenty of benefits that reduce the impact of such a fee. For example, an initial bonus is one factor that can easily make a travel credit card worth getting. The best travel rewards cards offer sizeable bonuses when you meet minimum spending requirements in the first year. Top initial bonus offers cover the cost of their card’s annual fee for several years.
Typically, you can redeem a travel card’s rewards for travel-focused purchases such as airfare or hotel stays, as well as other options like gift cards, merchandise or cash. The value of those rewards varies by card. But in many cases, you’ll get the most value when you redeem for travel.
If you’re not sure what travel card would be right for you, WalletHub has picked out a few popular options for you to compare.
Travel credit cards that may be worth it:
People who frequent a specific hotel or airline may get the most value from co-branded travel cards that offer enhanced rewards for loyal customers. Common perks on such cards include free checked bags, seat or room upgrades and lounge access. However, you’ll lose the flexibility for earning and redeeming rewards that you would get with a general travel card. Co-branded travel cards tend to give the best rewards at their affiliated airline or hotel, and your rewards are usually tied to that company’s rewards program.
The travel credit cards that are most worth it for international travel are ones that come with no foreign transaction fee. Foreign transaction fees can be as costly as 3% of each purchase made with a foreign merchant. But luckily, most travel cards don’t have this fee.