Whether for business or pleasure, if you travel frequently, you can maximize your savings by using a credit card to pay for the travel. This includes plane tickets, hotel stays, rental cars, meals on the go, and any other expenses associated with your travel. Unfortunately, every credit card issuer says they have the “best” card for frequent travelers. And while they can’t all actually be the best, that term is rather subjective. One may be the best for frequent flyers, another for those who stay at many different hotels, and still, another may be the best without a fee. So what we have done is compiled the top three cards for people who travel anywhere and in any way. This makes it easier to find a good card for most travelers, who do not want to be tied down to one airline, one hotel chain, or one method of transportation.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Boasting the largest sign-up bonus of the cards, this card gives you 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Then, you earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Points are worth one cent each (like most rewards programs), however, if you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, rewards are worth an additional 25%. This card gives you the best rewards, the best sign on bonus, and the most flexibility of just about any travel rewards card you can find. And with an annual fee of only $95, it is going to pay for itself quickly.
Capital One Venture Card – This card comes with a 40,000 mile reward bonus once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. In addition, you earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on everything. Miles can be redeemed just like any other rewards points for travel, at a rate of one mile to one cent. As a flat rewards card, it offers better rewards than the Chase Sapphire for people who do not want to worry about booking travel in specific ways or keeping track of what kinds of purchases they are making on the card. It also offers no foreign transaction fees, making it a very effective card for people who travel overseas. The annual fee is $45 per year and is well worth every penny for those who travel often.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card – If annual fees bother you, this card offers generous travel rewards with no annual fee. There is a smaller sign-up bonus, at 20,000 points after the first $1,000 spent, and the rewards are lower than the other cards, at an even 1.5 points per dollar spent. But the rewards can grow, as you can earn an additional 10%-75% bonus when redeeming points based upon how big your relationship with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or Merrill Edge is. Ultimately, without a large relationship with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, this card will offer smaller rewards than the other 2 cards, however, it also boasts no annual fee.
Ultimately, finding the best card for you is about deciding what is most important and how much time you want to spend maximizing rewards. But no matter which way you go, any of the three cards above will be an improvement over whatever else you are currently using.
When most people think of cruising, they think of warm weather, sandy beaches, and frozen drinks. And while warm weather cruising is certainly the more popular option, cold weather cruising is starting to grow in popularity. You trade the bathing suit for a winter coat, and the beach for walking on a glacier, but if you’re looking for something new, exciting, and unique to do, cold weather cruising can be a lot of fun.
Alaska – Alaskan cruises are the only cruises in America on this list. So if don’t feel like getting a passport for whatever reason, this can be a great option. The sights will be similar to the other cruises, including unique wildlife, icebergs, and other cold weather staples, however, during the right seasons, cruising Alaska can be far more forgiving in temperature. Alaskan cruising is probably the most common for Americans and can be an extremely enjoyable way to spend a week (or two).
Greenland – Greenland has the world’s largest – and least visited – national park. It is home to the most active glacier in the world. Temperatures seldom pass 50 degrees, even in summer, and this allows for an incredible cold weather experience. And as a bonus, most Greenland cruises include time in Iceland, another great place to explore.
Fjords – There is a number of cruising options through the fjords of northern Europe. These can run through Norway, Sweden, and Finland and involve some of the most unique and inspired sights of any cold weather cruise. In addition, these cruises can allow you access to a number of cities in these areas, as well as some small towns which would be otherwise inaccessible.
Antarctica – Looking for true adventure? Try a cruise to Antarctica. You will often have unique ports of call, like the Falkland and South Georgia Islands, and an opportunity to see wildlife that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. There are options to cruise simply to enjoy the natural beauty of the southernmost points of our planet, or guided cruises which explore things like the effects of climate change.
No matter which you start with, don’t be surprised if cold weather cruising becomes your new go-to cruising option. The variety of wildlife, the differing locales, and the incredible natural phenomena which you find in cold-weather climates will keep you coming back for more.
For many travelers today, the idea of a travel agent seems ancient. Millennials think those were people their parents used before the internet, baby boomers see them as an expensive tool of the past, and most Americans, in general, agree they are not needed. But good travel agents can still add tremendous value in a number of ways, so here are 7 reasons why you might want to rethink using a travel agent.
They Save Time – Travel agents will make all of the arrangements for you, meaning you don’t need to spend hours coordinating planes, cars, hotels, and things to do. You simply tell them what you want to do and they set your itinerary.
They Offer Competition – Travel agents (good ones, anyway) work with every cruise line, airline, hotel chain, and so on. So no matter what you are doing, you know you are getting the right vacation for you. If you are cruising, for instance, and call a cruise line, they won’t tell you the reasons why you should use a competitor. But a travel agent will.
They Have Connections – Good travel agents can get you hotel upgrades, no-cost perks, and access to events from which you might otherwise be excluded.
They Have Been There – Whether personally or on behalf of other travelers, travel agents have been just about everywhere. So if you are traveling somewhere you have never been, a travel agent can help you find the right activities for your vacation without breaking the bank.
They Are Your Backup – If something goes wrong on your trip, you have someone to call who can fix it. If something is not up to your expectations, you have someone to call to fix it. If you need to cancel your trip at the last minute, you have someone to call to fix it. When you book a vacation online, there is no accountability. But with a travel agent, you have someone backing you up.
They Know How to Budget – This is especially important for travel out of the country with another currency, but it is always nice to have someone advising you on how much things will really cost. Over-budgeting might cause you to skip activities you could have afforded, and under-budgeting can cause excess expense you can’t afford.
You’ll have the Best Vacation of Your Life – Their job depends on it. If you don’t have an incredible experience or find true value in the agent, the agent probably won’t last very long. And it’s nice to know your vacation is important to the person helping you set it up.
Before you finalize the plans for your next major vacation, give a travel agent a call. You just might be surprised at the level of service, the added value, and the cost savings an agent can provide.
As you can see we are not quite there yet, we are still working on building you a great place to share your travel and leisure stories. We will be posting shortly so stop by tomorrow and see where we’re at.