If you love traveling, you probably already know what you need to pack before you head to the airport: passport, toothbrush, phone charger, spare pair of pants. But there’s another item that’s absolutely essential: a rewards credit card.

Specifically, a travel rewards credit card.

If you don’t have one already, you need to know what you’re missing. Here are the benefits of having a great travel rewards credit card—or maybe a few.

Save on airline tickets and more. Frequent flyer miles are amazing, but you can save on more than just plane tickets. There are cards that will let you save on train tickets, bus tickets, cruise ships, and car rentals as well. However you prefer to see the world, you can save money when you book using a travel rewards credit card.

Get a comfier seat. You can also score seating upgrades with a co-branded credit card. Get moved up to first class, or business class. Save on in-flight drinks, movies, Wi-Fi, and more when you use your elite level membership, which is easier to qualify for with certain credit cards. Access exclusive travel lounges while you’re waiting for your flight to take off, too. It all depends which card you’re holding.

Board first and get cozy before takeoff. Priority boarding is a big perk of certain airline credit cards. Don’t hang around the gate waiting for your seating group to be called, or cross your fingers that you’ll get an aisle seat. Know that you’ll have your pick of seats, or that there will still be plenty of room for your carry on luggage in the overhead bin, because you’re getting on before anyone else.


Check a bag—or two—for free. That’s right, you can avoid the baggage check fee if you’ve got the right credit card. With an average cost of $25 a bag or more, this can easily save you $100 per trip, at least.

Have a personal assistant while you travel. Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like having a personal assistant, but access to 24/7 concierge service is super helpful when you need to change a flight, book a hotel room, or find the perfect place to have dinner with your boss. Travel credit cards with perks like Visa Signature will come with this level of customer assistance, and once you’ve had it, you won’t want to go on your next trip without it.

Breathe easy with trip insurance. If you get sick, or miss a leg of your itinerary, or your rental car breaks down, or your luggage is damaged, you’ll be glad to have travel insurance. Different cards come with different protections, but in general, travel credit cards have some type of insurance to set your mind at ease. Purchase protection is another thing that can be included, and make you feel better about anything you buy during your travels.

Reap rewards. Of course, travel credit cards also let you rack up points and cash back while you do what you love to do—travel. So if you don’t have a travel credit card, apply today.

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