10 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Travel Reward Credit Cards

Whether you want to go on an international vacation or planning a solo travel trip within the country— saving money is one of the major concerns. Want to know what could be a better way of saving money on your next solo travel trip? Choose the right credit card before planning your vacation. This brings you an opportunity to save incredibly on the airfare, get great deals on top hotels, saving immensely on the exchange rates, and getting several other deals during your solo travel trip.


But a lot of us make several mistakes when using travel reward credit cards— and if you do not have the right information, it can take away all your credit card rewards & benefits without having you redeem your points. It is essential to keep the right information on which credit card can get you what perks at what time— this simple trick can earn you some biggest benefits. Besides, you must be aware of the various other protections & benefits of the card. To make sure you can take advantage of all the benefits on your solo travel trip— you need to learn to avoid mistakes when using travel reward credit cards.


10 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Travel Rewards Credit Cards


By researching a little & giving it some time, you can easily avoid such mistakes saving a massive part of your travel budget. We’ve rounded up here a list of mistakes you cannot make when using a travel reward credit card on your solo travel trip.


1. Not Being Aware of How to Earn the Welcome Bonus



You are losing a massive benefit you could otherwise have earned from your travel reward credit card if you are not aware of how you can earn from the welcome bonus of your travel credit card. This is going to mean a lot especially when you are on a  solo travel trip. It might look like the most basic thing, but the loss can be huge, and particularly when you are a regular air traveler. While the thousands and hundreds of welcome bonuses might attract you at once, you have to know about the right way to earn them. With the most travel credit card, the welcome bonus can be earned only if you can spend a specified sum — like $5,000 within six months or maybe $1,000 within three months. Since this article focuses on solo travel, you have to, in particular, make the choice clear. When getting a travel credit card, make sure the threshold amount for the welcome bonus— but if it’s too high, it is not a great idea to be too reckless with your finances & credit card. Before applying for your travel credit card, know that you can achieve the spending. 


RELATED: Go the Extra Mile: Expert Advice on Redeeming Air Travel Miles


2. Applying for Too Many Credit Cards



When you are applying for too many credit cards at a time, it will mean that you might not be able to hit the minimum spending threshold, which ultimately will mean the loss of welcome bonuses. Don’t get into any kind of trap, especially when going on a solo travel trip— after all, you have to take care of everything on your own, So if you rush into applying for too many credit cards, it’ll keep you away from enjoying the welcome bonus of the best credit card. With so many travel credit cards, while it can be tempting to make you apply for many credit cards, it could only bring you to the losing end. Not only can this make you make hefty payments, but there could also be a risk of huge credit card debt— and would also affect your credit score. Imagine what kind of stress that could be on a solo travel trip with all that on your little shoulders. 


3. Being Unaware of the Value of Points & Miles at Any time



For most solo travel credit card holders, points & miles have always been a prized possession— they can use these points to purchase services, goods, merchandise, book flights, hotels, and save money while traveling. The cardholders most often gain reward points based on the transaction and through many other ways including— card usage, redemption & earnings. One of the best ways to get the best value for your travel credit card is— to be aware of the real value for your Points & Miles at Any time. Make sure what value you can get from every type of points & miles — and the factors this value depends upon. The biggest mistake most solo travel cardholders make is, they redeem their hard-earned point + miles at extremely low value. Know that most hotels, airlines, and credit card companies would encourage you to redeem your points at a low value because that’s cheaper for them.


RELATED: Planning to Travel with Family? Here's How to Use Frequent Flyer Miles


4. Using a Card with High Annual Percentage Rate (APR)



It is not worth using a travel credit card with a high Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — even if the valuable points that you have high rewards earned can be transferred to airlines, hotels, and others. The high APR would require you to pay way more than what you might supposedly gain. Indeed the huge balance on your credit card might only result in a bad impact on your credit score.  So, do your research prior to using your point-earning travel credit card that you might not be able to pay later on. Solo travelers especially should own a travel credit card with a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR). 


5. Not Availing Transfer Bonuses as it Should be



Many solo travelers do not know about transfer bonuses— you can maximize your points & miles. With periodic transfer bonuses, travelers get amazing redemption opportunities. If you are transferring your points from your credit card to particular hotels and airlines at the right moment, you might get a massive increase in the value of your points. Therefore, before you start using your travel credit card, make sure you know everything about transfer bonuses and the current offerings from your credit card provider. You should note that not all bonuses are going to be for you, some are targeted. If you can keep an eye on the transfer bonuses, offers, you can maximize your points & miles for sure. 


6. Letting Points Expire



I’m a solo traveler and I keep looking for travel-related articles, stats & blogs! Recently I came across an article that stated, “52% of Americans let their credit card rewards expire” — that’s a big number. The worst thing you can do to your hard-earned points and miles would be letting them expire. While there are airlines like United, Southwest & JetBlue where points do not expire, there are still others where your miles currency can expire if not used within a specified period of time. The best thing you can do to avoid your points expiring is to keep your account active at all times. Different airlines have their own expiration policy, however, in general, your points & miles expire within 12 to 24 months from the last date when you were active. So, don’t let your points expire without putting them to use!


RELATED: Understand The Pros And Cons Of Travel Credits


7. Getting a Travel Credit Card with High Annual Fees



There are travel credit cards with almost no annual fees to others charging several dollars every year. Like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card does not charge any annual fees, on the other hand, the Amex Centurion (Black) Card requires cardholders to pay high annual fees. But even if you have a travel credit card that charges high annual fees, you can compensate for it by availing special discounts, a free anniversary night, and free checked bags— every solo traveler must know that.


8. Not Knowing about the foreign transaction fees



The pesky foreign transaction fees that are also called (FX) fees are buried deep down the credit card terms and conditions. So, if you are all excited about your solo travel trip, you might miss the hidden transaction fees. You might be charged with high FX fees if you are using your credit card outside the US. So, before using your travel credit card in a foreign land, find the answer to some important questions— what are FX fees, will this fee vary or remain the same, and are there any credit cards that won’t charge you any FX fees. We want to let you know, you can avoid these charges if you are using the right credit card. There are many other ways to avoid these unwanted fees when shopping or traveling overseas. The Capital One Venture Rewards and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® are some of the Credit Cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees. 


9. Not Being Aware of How to Keep Your Credit Card Safe 



Wherever you are traveling, whatever you are doing, know that your credit card is one of your possessions, you cannot take it for granted. You need to keep it safe and secure at all times and you need to be way more cautious when you are on a solo travel trip— never keep it unattended, and keep it in some safely concealed pocket. And, if you are using more than one credit card, you are keeping them all at separate locations so even if one is lost, you will have access to the other one. Make sure that you have covered the keypad while making payments and entering the PIN— and if you are skeptical as to someone having seen you entering the PIN, you can consider your PIN to avoid any doubt. 


10. Not Being Aware of How to Maximize Category Bonuses



Many cardholders are not aware that they can maximize their points & miles per dollar by spending across various categories. These spendings can include hotel purchases to airfares to entertainment, gas, groceries, travel, dining, and many more (as per the credit card’s policies). If you are a smart solo traveler and have the right knowledge or you know how to use them wisely— you can get the most from your everyday spending. When you shop & make purchases from these cards, you earn points, cashbacks & miles. If you are using your card regularly, over the period of time you would earn enough points to be eligible for various exciting perks. 


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