The wanderlust bug has bitten anybody and everybody. With flights to almost everywhere and other modes of transport being available a lot more easily today, everyone is on their way to explore a new destination. Additionally, with a number of companies having their branches in cities across the world, a lot of officer goers are moving to new locations as well.
Regardless of whether one is a student, employee or just a tourist, travelling has reached new heights today. Added to this frenzy are social media and blog posts describing the beauty of a new place in exquisite, envy-inducing detail, resulting in more individuals who wish to travel the world and explore the unknown perhaps. However, this takes the money and travelling although quite popular is not exactly easy on the pocket. Entering the fray, credit cards and Voila! A new means of funding travel expenses.
Ever since their introduction, credit cards have revolutionised the way individuals spend their money, or in this case the money available on credit through their credit card. Essentially credit card holders can avail money on credit whenever they swipe their credit card. Almost all banks provide customers with a plethora of credit card options today. Each of these credit cards come with different benefits and features along with additional perks such as AirMiles, rewards points in addition to dining and shopping discounts. These unassuming pieces of plastic have completely changed the way individuals manage their finances.
What are Travel credit cards?
Credit cards that provide benefits and features that largely cater to travel related benefits and perks such as AirMiles along with hotel discounts are generally categorised as travel credit cards. Credit cards that provide travel related benefits allow individuals to rack up points that can be used for their travel related expenses. Additionally, some of these cards might also provide lounge access, priority check-in and other perks which work to ensure that individuals have a comfortable journey. There are a number of individuals who use their credit cards judiciously, rack up points that are redeemed for miles or other benefits.
In other words, the promise of a discounted air ticket or fuel related rewards makes a credit card with travel related benefits very appealing.
Travel credit cards in India
A number of companies have eagerly jumped onto the bandwagon and have released credit cards that provide customers with benefits that will aid them with their travel. Most major banks and credit card providers have cards that provide specific travel related perks as well. Other cards have also tied up with Airline companies to provide customers with the best possible offers and discounts. Travel credit cards are some of the most popular cards that are procured by customers today, across the country.
There are different types of travel credit cards such as a co-branded travel credit card which usually provide discounts, miles and other benefits that are affiliated with the partner company. Others include general travel related credit cards that provide benefits and that can be utilised at a number of partner outlets.
A few of the most popular travel related credit cards in India include –
Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card
The American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card is one of the most procured cards by those who are always on the go. This card comes with a plethora of benefits and features aimed at making travel convenient and affordable. Some of the benefits include a welcome gift of 5,000 Milestone Bonus Membership Rewards Points that can be redeemed for travel vouchers that are worth Rs.4,000 and discounts and benefits on travel bookings with MakeMyTrip.com. Additionally, complimentary visits to 29 airport lounges in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru among other cities can be availed along with travel vouchers worth Rs.11,800 when Rs.1.9 lakh is spent in a year through the card, Know more about Amex credit cards.
JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card
Another credit card that comes loaded with travel related benefits is the JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card. A welcome benefit of up to 30,000 Bonus JPMiles along with 15 JetPrivilege Tier Points within the first 90 days along, 8 JPMiles for every Rs.150 that is spent and unlimited airport lounge access to more than 600 lounges across the world are just some of the benefits that can be procured through this unique travel credit card. Other benefits include concierge services at all times and exclusive dining privileges to customers.
Yatra SBI Credit Card
Another co-branded credit card that is perfect for travellers is the Yatra SBI credit card. Apart from being affordable, this travel credit card boasts of a number of other perks and features such as vouchers from Yatra.com worth Rs.8,250 upon paying the joining fee, 6X Rewards Points when customers use their card at Yatra.com, additional 6X bonus points on base tariffs or base fare at Yatra.com. Other benefits include 0% fuel surcharge on transactions between Rs.300 and Rs.3,000 and complimentary lounge access to premium MasterCard airport lounges in the country.
A number of other credit cards come with travel related benefits such as Axis Bank Privilege Credit Card and Citi PremierMiles Credit Card. Based on their requirements, individuals can also check for other credit cards with similar benefits.
Tips to choose the best Travel credit card
Considering the sheer number of travel related credit cards that are on offer, individuals may have a tough time in choosing the card that is necessary for them or will help them in their journeys and travels. Given below are some of the points that can help applicants narrow down their choices and apply for the right kind of travel credit card from the plethora of options that are available.
Some of these tips include –
This is a relatively generic but different credit cards come with different rates of interest. Although the said credit card may provide a number of benefits, if the cardholder is unable to pay off his/her bill in one go and accumulates interest thereafter, it may harm his/her repayment ability leading into debt. Therefore individuals must always look for a credit card that not just comes with benefits but is affordable.
This is also applicable in the case of fees and charges. Certain cards come with only joining fee and no fee after, especially if the cardholder has charged a certain amount to his/her card the previous year. Individuals must remember that unless they pay the bill on time, interest rates and other charges may rack up over time.
Benefits and Features
Considering the fact that there are a plethora of credit cards available in the market today that provide numerous travel related perks which can overwhelm a potential applicant. Therefore, all applicants are advised to go through the benefits and features carefully and pick a card that has benefits that can be used by them specifically. For example, if an individual travels frequently abroad but the said card only provides access to lounges within India or Airmiles that can only be redeemed for domestic flights, the benefits would be pointless. Also if the applicant travels by road frequently and the perks provided by the card is AirMiles related, it would be a loss. Therefore it is recommended that individuals look around and do their research prior to availing a certain credit card.
Foreign Transaction Fee
There is a certain surcharge imposed on credit cards when they are used abroad. Not all travel related credit cards have this fee as part of their charges although some might. Although the surcharge may not be that small an amount, it can add up quickly. Therefore customers will have to check if this fee is a part of the card that they wish to procure before doing so.
Revisions of Reward Points
Credit card offers along with Reward Points are continuously being revised and updated. Sometimes notifications would not be sent regarding the same. Certain benefits are time-specific and will only last for a few months. Additionally, the benefits offered by Reward Points are also subject to change from time to time. Therefore individuals will have to check the frequency of revisions and also the validity of these benefits prior to availing a travel credit card.
Keeping the above points in mind while help individuals procure a travel credit card that is right for them and their lifestyle. Considering the sheer number of credit cards that are available in the market today it is essential that applicants do their research prior to availing one. Procuring the wrong card might do more harm than good as credit card bills can pile up over time and result in debt. Being cautious and diligent in their credit card usage will greatly benefit customers. Travelling can be a great experience and be using the right credit card will only enhance this experience even further and help in smooth journeys.