Credit cards that offer travel based rewards are ideal for people who travel frequently. Even the occasional traveler can benefit from the rewards offered by a travel credit card. Basically, each of the cards offers different types of features that accumulate based on how much you spend using the card – but the exact calculation of points or benefits will be different from one card to the next and you will need to read the terms of agreement for your card to make sure you understand how it works.

The majority of travel based rewards cards offer free or discounted stays in well-known hotel chains, discounted airfare or sometimes even a free flight or free companion airfare which is the same as a buy-one, get-one free offer. Some rewards programs let you exchange your points or “miles” for a seat upgrade from economy class to business or first class seating on airplanes. In addition, most rewards credit cards make it possible to rent a car for free or at a discount – and at the very least, include the car rental insurance coverage as one of the benefits for paying with your card.

While every major credit card issuer (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express) offers their own travel rewards based credit cards – if you are partial to using a particular hotel chain or flying on a certain airline, you may want to seek a credit card offered through that hotel chain or airline as most have their own branded cards and rewards programs.

In order to accumulate your rewards as quickly as possible, you can start using your rewards card as your primary method for paying your monthly expenses and purchases. You really must have discipline to do this, though! If you begin using the credit card for everything, you must allow your income to remain in your bank account so it’s available to pay off your credit card statement in full when it arrives. You do not want to carry a balance from one month to the next and spend more simply because you are using a credit card. The idea is to put your normal expenses and purchases on the credit card, then use the cash you would normally have used to pay for those expenses to pay off the card. You don’t pay interest on the credit card, and you earn the rewards for traveling which really leverages your money and helps you stretch it a bit further. This method can backfire if you aren’t diligent about paying your bill in full and on time, though – so be prepared to be disciplined in your approach.

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