Gas prices finally dipped this past week after a month of escalating, thanks to inflation. With summer starting and school letting out, people already desperate for travel are filling up their tanks, afraid the numbers will rebound soon.
Meanwhile, gas isn't the only increased travel expense. New CDC rules no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. So now airline tickets, hotels and Airbnbs, food, parking, and incidentals. It's not enough to find the best deals on flights — everything is getting pricier.
You need the best deals. Here are the cards offering the best deals and perks.
Experts Say Luxury Travels Cards Are the Way To Go
Travel blogger Sea Lau of LivingOutLau, says that as a frequent traveler, those travel cards are like best friends.
“After going through many of them, I finally settled on the new Capital One Venture X Visa Card,” Lau said. “This is one of the cheapest luxury-level travel credit cards up there, costing $395 USD annual.”
Lau says that the perks far outweigh the cost. With this particular card, you earn 75,000 miles for every $4,000 you spend within the first three months from the account opening.
Starting on your first anniversary, account holders get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year. In addition, you can receive up to a $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
With the card, you can receive up to $300 back as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get the best prices on thousands of options.
“Just on these two perks alone, you can earn back the cost of the card,” Lau said.
The Capital One Venture X card also provides complimentary access to Capital One lounges and lounges on the Priority Pass network.
“The best feature is you can have up to 4 authorized users, meaning you can have four other people that can take advantage of the lounge benefits and other benefits of the card,” Lau said.
The Venture X card is also a Visa Infinite card, which comes with many different types of insurance such as travel, theft, etc. The list of benefits for the Venture X card is long, but the main ones already cover the cost in monetary value. The annual fee for the card is $395.
“Not only does the card offer me plenty of perks when I travel, but knowing that I can be protected while traveling is priceless,” Lau said.
Score a Welcome Bonus With These Cards
- Bank Of America Travel Rewards: Earn 25,000 online bonus points, a $250 travel or dining statement credit value, after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- US Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card: Intro Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That’s a $500 value redeemable towards travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise, and more.
- Discover it Miles: Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
- Hilton Honor American Express Card: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on Card purchases in the first three months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.
Travel Guides Have Their Favorites
Jordan Morgan, Founder of On Arrival – Personalized Travel Guides, travels abroad with his wife KT Maviglia-Morgan and has been doing this for the last eight years. Their company is a travel agency and travel-tech startup specializing in personalized travel recommendations.
“My go-travel card is my American Express Platinum Card for a few reasons,” Morgan said.
The first thing that Morgan points out is that the membership rewards points are valuable at 2.0 centers per point, double the value of many travel points.
Morgan says they are flexible and can be used to book travel or transfer to a partner.
“If you book travel directly with American Express using their travel portal, you earn 5 points per dollar,” Morgan said.
Other benefits of the card include a $200 Uber credit. A $200 annual airline credit is given for the airline of your choice. There is a $200 annual hotel credit for their Fine Hotels and Resorts Program, plus on-site benefits like complimentary upgrades and $100 resort credits.
“If you’re smart, the card ends up paying for itself,” Morgan said.
Morgan adds that the point often overlooked by people with the card is that AMEX platinum cards come with travel protections like trip and rental car insurance when you use your card to book.
“I often travel abroad, and many places outside the US do not accept American Express, so my daily use card while overseas is my Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless,” Morgan said.
With this card, you can rack up points quickly at Marriott properties (up to 17 points per dollar). You can also earn 3x points for gas, groceries, and dining. In addition, you get 2 points per every other dollar you spend.
“As someone who loves a good Marriott property, these points add up real fast,” Morgan said. “We most recently used them for a night at the St. Regis Venice, and it was, in a word, amazing.”
The Bottom Line
Traveling and everything in-between has become outrageously expensive. For the average family feeling the stress of inflation, it can be difficult to justify spending what they don’t need to.
If you’re itching to get away this summer, consider signing up for one or two travel rewards credit cards, depending on much you plan on traveling. Just beware of the threshold for the welcome bonuses, so you do not lose out on any benefits. With these considerations, you could be on your way to taking that trip this season that you have been waiting to do for the last two years.
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