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Are travel perks becoming more important to consumers?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 8:39:43 PM

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These days, millions of people across the country are now trying to find new credit cards that will give them more benefits for certain types of spending, and which will help them reduce the costs they face for booking various travel arrangements.

Consumers are now flocking to new credit card offers that allow them to earn a significant amount of rewards for travel-related items such as booking flights or hotel stays, and lenders are consequently trying to increase the value of these offers, according to a report from the luxury travel company Alpha Flights Guru. Currently, major hotel chains and airlines are

extending borrowers as much as $50 billion per year in rewards

for their spending.

So how can you differentiate between the offers that make the most sense for you and those that merely look good?

Perks beyond the rewards

You should always be on the lookout for cards that reward you for the type of spending you already do - for example, if you use your credit card to book flights with a certain airline, find a card that grants you more points for doing so - but there are other considerations as well.

Many of these travel rewards cards will now allow you to find other benefits as well. Most now allow you to avoid the baggage fees most travelers pay for checking their luggage, and some also give you the opportunity to bypass the long lines at airport security by going through cardmember-only checkpoints instead.

What else to look out for

Of course, when reviewing a number of credit card offers, you should always take the time to carefully consider how such an account fits in with your previous spending habits.

Rewards credit cards typically carry higher annual fees and interest rates than you might be used to on accounts you had before that did not grant you points, miles or cash back. As a consequence, the added costs of dealing with your new card might be burdensome for you, especially if you aren't prepared to deal with them.

Taking the time to carefully review all aspects of any offers you receive will help you to figure out exactly which account will be the best credit card for you and your unique financial situation.

Recognizing your best credit card application

The card with the most features is not necessarily the card for which you should apply. You should only apply for a credit card if the perks you receive outweigh the cost of having the card (such as annual fees and interest) and you qualify for that card. Sometimes the cards with low fees and high perks are only available to those with better credit. Keep your credit rating vis-a-vis the credit required for that credit card offer in mind when you choose.

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