The Best Credit Card Perks for Frequent Travelers

When you’re shopping for a new credit card, it’s smart to choose a credit card based on your spending habits. If you travel a lot, the best credit card to have in your wallet is one that offers a ton of travel-related rewards and perks. Taking advantage of these benefits allows you to offset you travel expenses, sometimes even earning free flight and hotels stays.

Rewards on travel purchases

The number one benefit frequent travelers should look for in a credit card is the rewards paid on travel purchases. You can maximize your rewards earnings by choosing a credit card that pays higher rewards when you make travel purchases. This way you can accumulate a large number of rewards relatively fast. Many travel rewards credit cards pay a flat rate of rewards on all other purchases, giving you another opportunity to earn rewards.

No foreign transaction fees

Some credit cards charge a fee when you make purchases in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Foreign transaction fees can quickly add up for international travelers. You can save hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars over a lifetime of traveling by switching to a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. The perk even comes in handy if you shop online with retailers located other countries.

Airport lounge access

Sitting in the airport for hours can be the most uncomfortable part of traveling, especially when you have long layovers or flight delays. Many travel credit cards, particularly premium travel credit cards, give cardholders complimentary access to airport lounges. Lounges are quieter, offer free snacks and drinks, and often have a variety of food and cocktail options to choose from. Plus, you may be able to offer complimentary passes that friends and family members can use, even when they’re traveling without you.

Waived checked baggage fees

Checking your bags is more convenient than transporting your luggage through the airport but it can also get expensive, when you’re when you have multiple bags or you’re traveling with your whole family. Many airline and travel credit cards waive the checked bag fee for your first bag. Some credit cards even waive the fee for those traveling with you, as long as you booked their tickets on your credit card too.

Complimentary companion ticket

Once a year, some credit cards offer a complimentary ticket for a person traveling with you. Qualifying for the companion ticket may require you to reach a certain status in an airline’s frequent flier program. Or, it may be a regular benefit of having your credit card.

Access to faster security

Getting through airport security can be another stressful and time-consuming part of the airport experience. Depending on the flight time and the airport, you could spend hours in the security line. Airports have introduced programs to help travelers get through security lines faster, but gaining access costs over $100. To offset the cost, you can choose a credit card that reimburses fees you pay for expedited security access. Joining can cut your security wait time to under five minutes, saving you hours of waiting and frustration.

Car rental insurance

Car rental companies make much of their profits by offering insurance add-ons to renters. You can waive the insurance and instead take advantage of your credit card’s insurance perks, saving hundreds of dollars on your rental. Make sure you understand whether your credit card provides primary or secondary coverage. With second coverage, your credit card benefits don’t kick in until you’ve filed a claim with any other insurance you have. Primary insurance covers you without requiring you to file a claim with any other insurance. Either way, you have to decline the car rental insurance to take advantage of the benefits.

There are dozens of credit cards offering perks for frequent travelers. Shopping around and comparing is the best way to find the right credit card for you.

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