5 Credit Card Tips for Your Winter Vacation
Fall has arrived, and that means winter can't be far behind. This is the time of year that Americans start to seriously look at their winter vacation plans. At the same time, savvy credit card users are collecting their rewards that they hope to use for award travel this winter.
Here are five credit card tips that you can use to help plan your winter vacation:
1. Get a Great Sign-up Bonus
If you don't already have enough credit card rewards for a free trip this winter, it's not too late. The top travel rewards credit cards can offer large sign-up bonuses that can help jump-start your plans. For example, the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® has offered new applicants 60,000 bonus miles, worth $600 in travel statement credits, after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. With this card, you earn double miles on all purchases while receiving 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. And since you redeem your miles to pay for any travel you can book with your credit card, there are never any blackout dates or capacity controls. There is an $89 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
2. Plan ahead
If you are using a credit card that offers traditional airline miles or hotel points, then you have to plan early in order to find the best award availability. Airlines tightly control the number of seats they offer at the lowest mileage levels, and it may already be too late to find those awards during the peak days for holiday travel this winter. Nevertheless, now is the time to start planning to use your credit card rewards for travel during the heart of winter or even spring break.
3. Take the Right Card with You
The right credit card will not only allow you to earn rewards, it will also offer you valuable benefits when you travel. For example, the United MileagePlus® Explorer card from Chase offers cardholders and one companion a free checked bag, worth up to $100 on a round-trip flight. Cardholders also receive other benefits such as priority boarding and two free United Club passes each year. New applicants can also earn a 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. There's a $95 annual fee for this card that's waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
4. Rely on Cardholder Benefits
One of the problems with winter travel is that you are more likely to face delays due to snowstorms and other winter weather. And when an airline delays or cancels your flight due to weather, you could have to pay for hotels or even a new airline ticket to get you to your destination in time. Thankfully, there are some credit cards that offer travel insurance that can cover you in these situations.
5. Look More Closely at Hotel Programs
Earning an award flight with airline miles is tricky, especially in the winter. But thankfully, there are many hotel programs that offer award nights for any unsold room. For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Card from American Express, a Credit Cards House advertiser, offers points that can be redeemed at both Marriott and Starwood hotels (such as Westin, Sheraton, and other brands) with no blackout dates or capacity controls. And when you redeem your points for four consecutive award nights, you receive a fifth night free. In addition, points can also be redeemed for airline miles with over 30 different frequent flyer programs.
Editorial Note: The information related to Starwood Preferred Guest® Card from American Express has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Your credit card can be an incredibly valuable tool for winter travel, but only if you leverage its rewards and benefits. By finding the right credit card for your needs, you can plan your next winter getaway for less money than you might have thought.
Editorial Note: The information related to United MileagePlus® Explorer Card has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.