Home > Credit Cards > 4 Ways to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards for Summer Travel

Comments 0 Comments

Now that winter is finally over, many Americans are looking forward to the summer travel season with an eye toward using their credit card rewards. But in most cases, award travel is not as easy as it sounds. So this spring, consider these four ways to get the most from your points and miles.

1. Decide what you want to do with your rewards now.

Just as you want to select the right tools for a job, you will also need to use the right credit card rewards for the trip you want to take. So first, plan out where you want to go and which parts of the trip you’d like to cover using rewards. For example, if you want to use credit card rewards for a flight, you will want to make sure that the airline offers good service to your destination, and find out how many miles it will likely take to book that award. When it comes to hotels, you can look at specific properties and learn how many points are needed.

2. Consider sign-up bonuses. 

While it might be too late for most people to earn enough reward points through spending for travel this summer, there is plenty of time to quickly earn a sign-up bonus or two. Thankfully, some new credit cards can offer enough points or miles for two free domestic round-trip tickets, or several hotel award nights. For example, the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select MasterCard offers 50,000 miles, good for two domestic tickets, after new applicants use the card to spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. there is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. Also, the Hyatt card from Chase offers new applicants two free nights at any property after spending just $1,000 within three months. There is a $75 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. And finally, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is offering 40,000 miles, worth $400 in statement credits toward any travel expense, after new cardholders spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.

3. Triple- or quadruple-dip for rewards. 

When you can’t pay for your entire trip with reward points, you will still want to earn the most possible rewards when you pay in dollars. Fortunately, there are opportunities to earn rewards from several different sources at the same time (here’s a great guide to triple-dipping). For example, you could use your credit card’s rewards portal, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Discover Deals, to receive points on your purchase from an online travel agent such as Orbitz or Expedia. Then, the online travel agency itself might offer you rewards for your purchase, as well as your credit card. Finally, you can still use your frequent flier number to receive airline miles, although most hotels won’t credit you for reservations booked through a third party.

4. Use the right credit card for your travels. 

Which credit card you use to pay for your travels will make a big difference in the rewards you earn. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee that is waived the first year) offers double points on all travel purchases, while the American Express Premier Rewards Gold ($175 annual fee, waived the first year) offers triple points for all flights booked directly with the airlines. (The latter is actually a charge card, which must be paid in full each month.)

Another factor to consider is foreign transaction fees, which are 3% on most credit cards. There are now many cards offered that do not charge this fee. For example, Chase has eliminated this fee on most of its cards that offer travel rewards and both Capital One and Discover never impose this fee.

Finally, travelers might consider the travel insurance benefits offered by their cards. Many cards now come with lost and delayed baggage insurance, trip delay and trip cancellation coverage, and travel accident insurance.

As with any credit card offer, it’s important to know where your credit stands, since the interest rates you’ll receive and your approval for the card are dependent on it. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com every month.

At publishing time, the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select MasterCardAmerican Express Premier Rewards GoldChase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture Rewards card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

More on Credit Cards:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team