The Best Travel Cards for the Post-Pandemic Age

Pent-up vacation demand may be at an all-time high and as vaccinations roll out, many may begin planning trips. 

Credit-card ratings site CardRatings.com is sharing a new resource highlighting the best places to travel and the most travel reward-friendly credit cards to help fund upcoming trips. 

The new resource, Planning Ahead for 2021 Travel, navigates the nuances of where, when and how to best travel —and how to best leverage a credit card.

“It may not be a good time to vacation now, but it could be a great time to start planning one,” advises Jennifer Doss, site editor for CardRatings.com. “Perhaps not for a winter getaway or spring fling, but possibly for late summer or fall.”

With planning in mind, potential travelers may be in the market to sign up for a credit card that specializes in travel rewards. 

CardRatings.com points to several credit cards that are particularly attractive to travelers. Find here a smattering of options featured in our new guide:

Capital One Venture: Cardholders can earn 60,000 miles, which is equal to $600 in travel, after spending $3,000 within the first three months. This card also has no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: The welcome bonus is worth up to $750 in travel, and cardholders continue to earn two points on travel and for dining at restaurants; this includes takeout and delivery.

Discover It Miles: A general welcome offer takes a little time to earn. With each dollar spent, cardholders earn 1.5 miles, and then Discover matches all of these miles at the end of a cardholder’s first year of membership. There is no annual fee.

American Express Gold Card: Cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus membership rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months. A couple of this card’s perks are a $100 credit to spend on qualifying hotels, and rental car insurance.

Bank of America Premium Rewards: After cardholders spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, they can earn 50,000 bonus points. Perks include up to $100 in airline incidentals.

Still, booking a trip during uncertain times can be scary. The new resource breaks down coverage details and specifications on trip cancelation service, as well as the process for changing or canceling awards tickets.

Travel coach and consultant Sarah Rose De Vore shares with CardRatings’ readers the ins and outs of planning a trip when using a credit card. “There are great deals out there right now for credit cards offering a generous amount of miles for applying and meeting their criteria.”

Tips for getting the most out of travel friendly credit cards:

Think hard before applying. Is the comfort of first class flying more important than a fancy hotel? Travel perks need to be applied to what matters most to the traveler. Is it a good time to apply for a credit card?

Hang on tight to those rewards. The allure of the immediate cash back reward can be tempting. It’s often more beneficial to let points accumulate.

A credit card is but a piece of the puzzle. Everyone’s been putting puzzles together during the pandemic. Experts advise thinking of a credit card as a puzzle piece that complements another card in the house.

“There are so many ways to plan an affordable vacation using travel rewards cards,” concludes Doss. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for taking an adventure somewhere, so it’s definitely worth thinking ahead as there are currently some really great offers on the table that can be used toward future travel.”

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