Credit cards come in all sorts of flavors with various benefits. While some are suited for specific uses, like store specific cards, or up to 5% cash back (with restrictions), and there may be a reason to carry a portfolio of credit cards for different purposes, the best overall cards possess travel benefits. Here are some of the best perks.
Some cards are connected to airlines or hotels, which allows the points to be used or converted for other travel expenses. Sometimes, it’s possible to get a greater value than the face value of the rewards points. Since travel cards match the rewards points of other cards, their additional benefits make them superior.
Insurance for cars and flights are great. When renting a car, you get the same or better protection as the insurance offered by the rental company by simply using the card for payment. For flights, instead of fighting with the airline to get credits when they lose your luggage, you can get reimbursement from the credit card company for replacement clothes. Medical evacuation, including helicopter rescue, to western quality medical care is included in flights purchased with the card. If you’re planning to go hiking or if you get sick unexpectedly, these cards offer some peace of mind.
Bank fees like foreign current conversion are handled more efficiently so that you pay a fair price for purchases. Instead of paying a fee to have your money converted to the local currency rate, then paying in local currency, the travel cards pay in local currency, then calculates that amount using the daily exchange rate. Whereas the conversion uses an unfavorable rate, the calculation is a fair rate. You don’t even need to travel to benefit from this. I’ve made online purchases using foreign currency just to save money because the transaction saved the vendor a conversion fee.
These benefits aren’t completely free. Most travel cards come with annual fees, but not all. Depending on how frequently you travel or how often you use foreign currency, it may not be worth it, but if you do travel, there’s little reason to carry something other than a travel credit card.