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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Travel Credit Card

Travel Credit Card Cost


How Much Does a Travel Credit Card Cost?

 
low costTypical Interest: 11%-22%average costAnnual Fees: $0-$175

Travel reward credit cards offer points on eligible purchases that may be redeemed for travel, air, hotels or shopping.

Typical costs:

  • The costs and rewards vary by company and whether an annual fee is charged. Typically, the cards that charge annual fees offer greater rewards.
  • Travel credit cards that do not charge an annual fee typically earn 1-2 miles for each eligible dollar spent and charge 11%-22% annual percentage rate on balances. For example, Capital One Venture One rewards credit card offers 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase and 11.9%-19.9% in APR without annual fee, depending on credit history, while Miles by Discover[1] offers two miles for every dollar spent for travel, restaurants and selected merchants with one mile matching to every other dollar spent with an annual percentage rate of 10.99%-15.99%, depending on credit history.
  • Annual fees for travel cards cost about $59-$175 and earn one to three times the purchase amount in miles. Annual percentage rates vary from 13% to 20%. For example, the Southwest Airlines card's annual fee is $69 with an annual percentage rate of 15.24% on purchases and balance transfers. Members also earn 25,000 bonus points after first purchase to be used on future Southwest flights, 3,000 bonus points every year on card member anniversary and up to 10,000 bonus points with eligible balance transfers with transaction fees of $5 or 3% on each transfer, whichever is greater. The Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa[2] earns points toward American Airlines flights with an annual fee of $95, waived the first year while earning two miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Bonus miles totaling 30,000 may be earned for charging $1,000 or more in the first three months of card membership. Benefits include a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted in-flight food and beverage purchases. The APR starts at 15.24% and varies based on the prime rate.
  • American Express Gold Card[3] charges an annual fee of $175 after the first year, and because the card bill is required to be paid in full each month, no interest rate applies. Those able to pay in this manner receive triple points spent on airfare, double points on gas or groceries and one point for every dollar spent on other items. These credits may be used through a variety of airlines, hotels and shopping locations.
Related articles: Credit Card, Prepaid Travel Card, Travelers' Checks, Money Belt, Passport

What should be included:
  • Travel rewards are issued based on company and spending history.
Additional costs:
  • Late payment or return fees cost about $35, each occurrence.
  • Use fees, including Sept. 11 security fees and airport taxes, on airline tickets purchased through reward programs are typically paid separately by the consumer and vary by amount of reward, company and when applicable airport. For domestic flights expect to pay about an extra $10-$15 per ticket.
  • When a paper airline ticket versus an electronic ticket is issued, a shipping and convenience fee will be assessed of about $15-$50, per transaction, depending on card company and whether an electronic ticket was available.
Discounts:
  • Check for introductory specials including bonus miles for initial purchases or waiver of the first year annual fee.
Shopping for a travel credit card:
  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked the best travel rewards credit cards[4] .
  • Credit Card Advisor lists factors to consider when choosing a credit card[5] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.google.com/advisor/uscredit?bsp=1&s=1&kw=travel%20rewards%20credit%20cards&utm...
  2.  creditcards.citicards.com/usc/Travel/AA/April/2012/Plat/signature/30k/aggregators/...
  3.  /www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/gold/
  4.  money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2011/10/20/the-best-travel-reward...
  5.  www.creditcardadvisor.net/factorsarticle.htm
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