What's the best credit card to get travel deals?


minneapolis —The summer tourist season is in full swing. Although average flight costs are down compared to last year, there are still ways to save.

So, which credit card is best for travel deals? good question.

When your credit card offers rewards for your spending, the more you swipe, the more flights you get.

“I have a United Explorer card,” Katie Converse said as she walked through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“The card I use is the Chase Sapphire,” added traveler Luke Bonny.

“The first award I ever got was Capitol One Rewards,” said Rebecca Hermos, who was traveling with her daughter, Rosalie.

All three agreed that redeeming miles and points feels great, especially if it earns them a free ticket.

The options for choosing effective plastics are seemingly endless, so what’s the best? Is this a card that offers travel miles? What about points? It’s also tempting to get cash back.

“My weakness is that this card also has things that remove purchases,” Hermos said of her cash-back option, which removes purchases from her statement.

Tip No. 1: Know the differences between airline credit cards and travel credit cards.

Airline credit cards allow you to accumulate miles to earn free flights. The benefits also include faster boarding, free checked bags and the chance to earn “elite” status based on how often you fly with the airline. The problem is that you are tied to that specific airline.

“Sometimes they have spending limits, and if you hit them, you get extra miles,” Converse said of her United Airlines card.

Travel credit cards have more flexible rewards.

You can earn points that can be converted into purchases on multiple airlines, restaurants, and even cash back.

“You're not trapped,” Hermos said. “What if Delta doesn’t fly to the destination you want to fly to when you want it to?”

So, which one is the better choice? It depends on your travel and spending habits.

According to The Points Guy, airline credit cards are great if you fly frequently and your local airport is a hub for the airline. Converse has a United Airlines card, in part because Denver International Airport is a hub for United Airlines.

If you fly less frequently and want to keep your options open for multiple airlines and hotel stays, a travel credit card may be the best option.

“I know people who have Southwest cards, United cards and Delta cards,” Converse said.

Why is it a good idea to have just one or a few credit cards with rewards?

“I get more incentives so I'm not spread too thin,” Converse said.

She said it well. By limiting the number of benefits on a credit card, owners have the opportunity to maximize rewards. This also allows them to achieve higher status with certain airlines.

Another tip to remember is to use points quickly as they lose value over time. That's why some financial experts say cash back is still the best value option, especially when used immediately.

Finally, pay your credit card balance in full each month. If not, the interest rate on your bill may result in charges that exceed the card's benefits.

Some cards have high annual fees of $500 or more. Keep this in mind when choosing a card and whether the offers you take advantage of will offset these initial costs.



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