The holiday season is upon us and holiday travel is ramping up to its all too familiar zone of complete and utter chaos. You have family to see, good food to eat, presents to open, parties to party, and air miles to collect. Holidays throughout the year generally see increases in travel when compared to non-holiday travel. Christmas and New Year are debatably the busiest times to travel, hence most likely being the worst times to travel. Travel tips on USAtoday.com1 call out Christmas and New Year as the busiest travel time of year.
Analyzing a report from AAA concluded there’d be a projected 93 million travelers during this time. Airlines and Hospitality agencies see a 23% spike during the holiday season. Holiday travel can be extremely frustrating and stressful. Lines tend to be far longer than any other time of the year. When catching a flight, you have to make sure to be there extra early to account for the extra traffic you undoubtedly will encounter. TSA is a lot slower and you can expect an increase in prices across the board.
Unfortunately, not going to see Grandma and Grand Pa and partaking in your aunt’s favorite rum fruit cake isn’t an option, so it’s time to start looking for tickets and buying some presents. Funds tend to get tight during the holidays and consumers can use as many money saving tips and cash back rewards as possible. Credit Cards with rewards programs will be your life saver during the holidays. According to Creditcards.com2, cash back, points and travel rewards cards are on the rise. Since 2012, rewards cards have made up over half of the new accounts opened by Americans.3 The credit card scene is rapidly changing and being shaped by the demand to get more for your hard earned money. In the first quarter of 2007, rewards cards saw transactions upward to $580 billion.
By the first quarter of 2014, the number of transactions has increased to $1.15 trillion, while spending on non-rewards cards decreased by 32%. The logic makes perfect sense, no pun intended. As consumers, we are going to spend money and a large amount of it over the holidays. Why not get something back for spending that money? Using the cards early on in the year will help you accumulate points by the end of the year, so you can use those rewards to help with funding your holiday travel. Some cards have fees associated with being a member, but the reward savings generally more than make up what you’d pay in fees.
Here are a few great travel rewards credit cards you need this holiday season.
American Express Platinum Card
If you don’t already have the American Express Platinum Card, you are missing out on a number of benefits this holiday season. According to a review of the card on Thepointsguy.com4, the Platinum card offers $200 in annual airline rebates. When we arrive to our destinations, getting around is obviously high on our priority list. American Express offers up to $200 in Uber credit, which if you’ve traveled recently and had to use shared ride services, you are very familiar with the cost that could derive from it. If you’re looking for something nice for a loved one this holiday season, the platinum card also offers a $100 credit to Saks Fifth Ave. An incentive we don’t see very often is the ability to use your membership points with any of the twenty eligible airline and hotel partners. Very importantly, for you international travelers, there are no foreign transaction fees. This is a hard card to beat when it comes to comparing the benefits.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
According to Usnews.com5 review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, there are a number of great benefits to consider. They have a one to one point transfers system to up to twelve different travel partners, giving the consumer options. For those unforeseen circumstances that could derail a well-planned trip and end up causing the traveler more money than they’d like to part with, they offer trip cancellation coverage. If you don’t want to get around in an Uber or Lyft anytime you need to go somewhere, you’re going to need to get a rental car. You may not want to use your own insurance on the car or you may not want to pay for the rental agency provided insurance. Great news for Chase Sapphire members is the members are offered Car Rental insurance as well. Traveling internationally and utilizing your card will not carry any foreign transaction fees. Best of all, there are no annual fees in the first year.
Capital One Venture Card
There are many great reasons to own the Capital One Venture Card according to thepointsguy.com6, who’s reviewed many travel cards to keep you well informed when making final decisions. A few of those amazing benefits include the ability to fly on any airline without being handcuffed by blackout dates. There is no limit to the amount of miles you are able to earn as a member. Better yet, the miles you do earn over time will never expire. And once again, you can travel internationally comfortably knowing you will not be charged a foreign transaction fee.
Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express
According to Valuepenguin.com7, the Hilton Honors Ascend card will give members up to $250 in airline credits for incidental fees. You are also provided with a priority pass at certain airports, which means you’ll get to board the plane first and get situated prior to the remaining passengers boarding the plane. You will also get the benefits of traveling internationally and not being dinged for foreign transaction fees. Though this card has an annual fee, the benefits will outweigh the annual fee for the card.
Don’t wait till the holiday and travel seasons are over to take advantage of being a member of one of these amazing travel rewards cards.