Nearly half of Americans plan to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, and whether you’re flying or driving and staying in a hotel, you’ll probably have to contend with costly bills and a horde of other travelers trying to reach their own destinations.
Surviving all this requires a little extra cash and a hefty dose of patience. But the following five credit card rewards can also help.
1. Travel credits
Those flying this year should definitely take advantage of any travel credits they have available. These are statement credits the card issuer gives you toward airline tickets or other travel expenses. The size of the credit varies by card, but they can be pretty substantial.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® reimburses customers for up to $300 in annual travel expenses each year. It applies this to your credit card statement automatically, so you don’t have to notify Chase of your plans.
Apply now for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.
2. Airport lounge access
Some travel rewards credit cards give cardholders access to airport lounges. These can provide perks like free wifi and snacks as well as offering a more comfortable environment than the standard boarding area.
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It’s important to check which types of airport lounges the credit card gives you access to, though, as there can be different networks. For example, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees) gives access to Capital One Lounges as well as Priority Pass and Plaza Premium Group lounges. You can check which lounges you have access to by looking in your cardholder agreement. It may also be listed in your online account. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card charges a $395 annual fee and a 22.24% – 29.24% (Variable) APR.
Apply now for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
3. Priority boarding
Priority boarding enables you to board the plane before other people so you don’t have to wait in those long lines at the gate. This perk may not be as big of a deal to you as some of the others on this list, but it’s still nice on a long travel day.
You’ll usually only find perks like these with airline cards. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (see rates and fees), for example, offers priority boarding, but only on Delta flights. If you travel on other airlines, you’ll have to wait in line with everyone else. Terms apply; enrollment may be required.
Apply now for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.
4. Free checked bags
Free checked bags used to be standard, but nearly all airlines charge customers for these now. Those with certain airline credit cards can still receive this perk, though. But like priority boarding, this typically only applies to a specific airline.
For example, those who own the United℠ Explorer Card only get this perk when flying United. And airlines that offer this perk typically only allow one free checked bag per cardholder.
Apply now for the United℠ Explorer Card.
5. Travel insurance
Travel insurance encompasses a broad range of services — everything from trip cancellation and interruption coverage to baggage delay coverage. Some also include things like rental car coverage, which could also be useful to travelers.
You can find this perk with many credit cards, including the American Express® Gold Card (see rates and fees). But you should know that each card varies in terms of which travel insurance protections they offer and how much they will cover in the event of a claim. Terms apply; enrollment may be required.
Apply now for the American Express® Gold Card.
It’s always a good idea to review your credit card’s terms thoroughly before you try to take advantage of any of these travel benefits. And if you have any questions, reach out to your card issuer to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
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