Tips on how to make the most of your travel credit card

Credit card users are becoming more sophisticated in the way they use their credit cards, according to a survey conducted by personal finance comparison site MoneySmart. Consumers are increasingly conducting their credit card research online instead of signing up at roadshows, consolidating their spend on fewer cards to optimise their rewards and are often on the lookout for travel deals from card issuers.

But the survey also highlights some interesting findings – while 32% of the respondents spend the most on their credit cards for travel expenditure, cashback was the most preferred credit card benefit (71%) as opposed to air miles (20%). Read more about maximising your cashback through CardUp here.

Although we agree that cashback cards are great for instant gratification, using your travel credit card right can also give you great value, sometimes more than the monetary value you get from a cashback card. So here are 3 ways you can make the most of your travel credit card.

1. Make use of free travel insurance

Do you know that some travel credit cards offer cardholders and sometimes, their immediate family members, free travel insurance if you purchase your air tickets with the credit card? For instance, the UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card insures the main cardholder and his/her legally married spouse when their air tickets are purchased with the card.

The free travel insurance covers any accidental bodily injuries during the travel period of up to $1,000,000 per person, as well as travel inconvenience for the cardholder, such as missing the scheduled flight, luggage delay and loss of luggage. Taking into consideration that travel insurance can cost as much as $100 per person, you will definitely be saving some money for yourself just with this card feature.

2. Earn air miles beyond travel spending

It can be difficult to accumulate meaningful mileage to redeem for free air tickets simply by earning miles from frequent flyer programmes. A clever way to help you accumulate miles fast is to use travel credit cards that convert your everyday spending into air miles.

Depending on the travel credit card, you can maximise your card spend according to the different categories. For example, the Citi PremierMiles Visa Credit Card is a card for you to accumulate miles for your everyday spend – you earn 1.2 miles for every $1 spent locally, 2 miles per $1 on overseas spending in foreign currency and 10x miles for online travel bookings. This means your spending on petrol for your car and online shopping can help you accumulate miles beyond your air ticket bookings.

You can also make use of CardUp’s services to put your rent and insurance expenses on your travel credit card to earn miles. Simply sign up for a free CardUp account, schedule your payments and start earning miles!
Assuming that you pay a monthly rent of $3,500 and spend an additional $500 on miscellaneous items, you’ll earn about 59,000 miles per year on a card that earns you 1.2 miles per dollar. This allows you to redeem a business class flight to Hong Kong or Taiwan. Do try out our benefits calculator to see how many miles you can earn with the monthly amount you spend.

3. Check your card’s regional benefits

Some travel credit cards not only offer you discounts and benefits locally, they also give good deals when travelling. Most travel credit cards offer some form of discounts with travel merchants for hotel stays, car rentals, golf privileges and even special discounts with restaurants overseas.

Travel credit cards may also be part of a bank’s travel programme, giving cardholders access to a host of special travel packages that are exclusive to the bank. For instance, HSBC has its home&Away programme that offers global benefits, while UOB Travel has its own list of holiday packages exclusive for its card members. Remember to take advantage of these benefits when you travel to optimise your card benefits.

To start maximising your travel credit card, start by putting your rental payments, condominium maintenance fees, school fees or insurance premiums on your card using CardUp now. Click here to sign up for a free account or find out how it works here.

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