Travel is the buzz word in the current times, be it personal travel or business travel. Traveling and exploring places seem to be on the top of everyone's list off late.
The benefits of having a credit card are known to everyone. In addition to being convenient for payments for online and offline transactions, they also help you tide over short-term credit needs. And not to mention another added advantage of getting benefitted with reward points, partnership deals, and co-branding arrangements.
As the needs of individuals are numerous, so are various kinds of credit cards. There are some for those who are compulsive online shoppers, some for those who prefer cashback, some for those who spend a lot on fuel, some for moviegoers and lifestyle buffs, and then there are travel credit cards.
Travel credit cards are specially designed credit cards that bring in maximum benefit to the card user who travels a lot due to these cards’ partnership and co-branding arrangements.
As your credit coach, CreditMantri always looks at the ways you could benefit from your credit products. In line with that objective, we bring to you some advantages of possessing a travel credit card.
Reward Points are one of the mainstays of travel credit cards. While using a travel credit card, you are eligible for rewards points while using the card on travel spends as well as on normal spends. Generally, travel-related spends earn you accelerated rewards points like 2X or 3X times more than a normal spend.
For Ex: Air India SBI Platinum Credit Card allows you 15 Reward points when you spend Rs 100 on booking Air India tickets on their website or app, while other spends earn only 1 point for spend of Rs 100.
Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card offers 4x rewards whenever you spend at Yatra dot com
In addition, if you are using a co-branded credit card, all reward points (whether spent on travel or other bookings) can be converted into Air Miles or even Train tickets (when using IRCTC SBI Platinum Card).
You could use your reward points to book free train tickets (1 reward point = 1 rupee on IRCTC SBI Platinum Card).
Air India SBI Signature Credit Card allows you to use its reward points as Air Miles with 1 reward point being equivalent to 1 Air Mile.
However, we would advise to choose your travel card very carefully. Most of the travel credit cards come with a joining fee and renewal fee or a minimum spend criteria. Weigh in these charges before going in for a card.
Smart Utilization of Reward Points
You are eligible for reward points, but it is the smart utilization of these reward points that bring value to your travel credit card.
Rewards for Air Miles: You might find it confusing to calculate the number of reward points in your account and their conversion to air miles and further into payment for air tickets. To solve this issue, each airline has an online mileage calculator on their website. The calculator gives you the destinations that you could fly to with your miles.
If you are planning for a destination far away, you should be able to make it with a small payment from your end. Also, if you have been a frequent user of the co-branded credit card, you may also be in for some free upgrades while traveling with the airline.
Reward Points for Other Travel Bookings: Often, we see credit card issuers get into partnership with online travel agencies to allow you to pay at their sites with credit card reward points.
If you can keep yourself informed of such deals, it can save up a tidy sum on your holiday bookings. Also, some cards have tie-ups with hotels, so make sure you check if hotels for your destination is available under these tie-ups.
Additional Reading: Best Credit Cards for Business Travel
As a user of a travel credit card, you can benefit from travel and stay vouchers or club memberships that come along with the card as a fringe benefit.
American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card allows you benefits like travel vouchers worth more than Rs. 7,700 after spending Rs. 1.9 Lakhs in a year and travel vouchers up to Rs. 11,800 on a spend of Rs. 4 Lakhs. A voucher from the Taj Resorts and palaces is also on the cards for a certain amount of spending.
Reward Points for Other Spends: You might have a travel credit card, but what if you are not able to utilize your points for travel-related bookings? You also have the convenience of using these points for any other spends as well.
We understand that frequent flyers spend a lot of time transiting in and out of various airports spread over various time zones. In such cases, relaxation assumes importance. Travel Credit Card can bail you out in these kinds of situations.
Generally, many premium credit cards also come with these facilities, but the number of visits is often limited, whereas travel credit cards come with a greater number of visits.
YES First Preferred Credit Card comes with Complimentary Lounge Access with Priority Pass Membership & Domestic Lounge Access
Citi PremierMiles Credit Card also comes with complimentary access at key airport lounges across India
Individuals lead quite a busy life these days and any service that can contribute towards making their lives relaxed and easier is always welcome. Many of the travel credit cards do come with concierge services that can take care of everything from their travel bookings, hotel bookings, transfers and more.
However, please do note that these services come with premium cards and may not be useful for everyone, considering the fee that you pay to the card issuer.
Foreign Currency Payments
As business involves a lot of travel to other countries, payments in foreign currency is quite common. In these cases, many travel cards come with special mark up rates on international currency spends.
It is also useful to know that due to a recent deal between the major credit card companies like Mastercard and Visa and the European Union, the interchange fee on physical usage of Indian issued Credit cards in Europe is being brought down from 1.9% to 0.3%.
You could enjoy the lowest foreign currency markup of 2% on all your foreign currency spends with HDFC Bank Regalia First Credit Card
Were you aware that many credit cards come with travel insurance and insurance for credit liability in case of loss of credit cards? While certain cards also offer accident insurance and/ or life insurance. However, these have clauses regarding certain amount of spends, usage, etc. for you to be eligible for claiming insurance in case of eventualities. Make sure you take note of the conditions as specified.
Standard Chartered Emirates World Credit Card comes with Complimentary air accident insurance up to Rs. 1 crore.
While there are many benefits on the usage of a travel credit card, you must always keep yourself credit healthy to be able to utilize these benefits.