Exercise Caution with Travel Reward Cards

Credit cards that offer travel rewards can be great. By making purchases you would otherwise make, you can earn free flights and other travel perks. Of course, very few things in life are actually free. For many, these rewards are earned because you buy them through interest payments. And it often feels easier to hand a card over to swipe, than pay in cash (which is becoming increasingly outdated)!

Delta American Express cards can be a great deal, as long as you carry no balance, or a small balance. Delta offers varying deals on their cards. I received 80,000 bonus miles when I signed up for the Delta AMEX Platinum card earlier this year. But sometimes they only offer a 40,000 bonus. When Delta is offering a great bonus, it’s worth signing up for. And it could be worth keeping past the first year if you pay off at least most of your monthly charges and don’t carry much of a balance.

Alex drinking a spritz on the terrace of Gritti Palace

When I was younger and carried a balance on cards, the premium Delta cards were not worth keeping past the first year. The minimum interest rates are significantly higher on premium cards. If you carry a balance it is worth calling to negotiate your interest rate, but you will have less room to negotiate with the premium travel reward cards. But I was told I could transfer my balance to an American Express Blue card. My interest rate then dropped significantly to 8.5%! So keep this in mind when you sign up!

Italian man enjoying a spritz on the cana

For many years I’ve had a US Bank Flexperks Visa. They don’t offer a lower interest rate than 14% but the annual fee is just $49. You can also redeem 5,000 points to pay the annual fee after the first year. The first year the annual fee is waved. I’ve previously cashed in 20,000 points for a free $400 plane ticket on Delta from Orlando to San Diego. It was close to Thanksgiving so the tickets were pricier – a great time to redeem points. And the kicker- I earned Delta sky miles on top of my ticket being free!

Don’t fall into the enticing trap. If you rack up a lot of debt it can be difficult to pay off and you are then very much so paying for that free plane ticket. But travel reward bonuses can be a great deal – and these days we save thousands each year using them. Leave a comment below or email me at alex(at)wanderlustmarriage.com if you need help with travel hacks. And remember, sometimes it is best to just find and pay for cheap flights!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *