What is a Travel Credit Card? (2023)

Key points about: how travel credit cards work

  1. General travel credit cards let you earn rewards on eligible purchases that you can redeem for future travel and often non-travel-related expenses.

  2. While fewer redemption options exist, airline or hotel travel cards offer extra benefits like priority boarding and hotel room upgrades.

  3. You can use a travel credit card with an airline or hotel card to maximize your earning potential.

If you travel regularly, you might benefit from a travel credit card. Many travel credit cards offer rewards on qualifying purchases, which you can redeem toward travel and sometimes non-travel-related expenses. Other travel credit cards offer rewards that are specific to airline or hotel brands. Because of that, people often apply for more than one travel credit card and use the combined rewards to increase their benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how travel cards work.

How do different types of travel credit cards work?

Travel cards give cardmembers the opportunity to earn rewards on qualifying purchases. Depending on the card, these rewards can be redeemed for statement credits, travel bookings, and more.

(Video) How To Travel The World For Free: Credit Cards 101

Here’s a quick overview of the four most common types of travel rewards credit cards:

General travel rewards credit cards

Many of today’s top travel credit cards aren’t tied to a specific travel provider. Instead, these travel cards allow cardmembers to earn miles on eligible purchases with flexible redemption options, such as redeeming miles for statement credits, using miles to book travel through the card issuer’s website, or transferring miles to different airline or hotel loyalty programs. TheDiscover it® MilesCard lets you earn unlimited 1.5x Miles automatically on travel purchases and all your everyday purchases.

Did you know?

While some travel miles credit cards only allow you to redeem your rewards for travel expenses, the Discover it® Miles Card lets you turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants, and more1

Learn More

A general travel rewards credit card can provide a flexible way to earn and redeem rewards. But some may prefer a more specialized travel credit card, such as an airline or a hotel credit card.

(Video) The Best Travel Credit Cards 2023 (Full Guide)

Airline rewards credit cards

Airline rewards credit cards, which are tied to a specific airline,allow you to earn miles that you can redeem for flights with that airline. Some people like airline credit cards because they can combine the miles they earn while flying with the miles they earn by using their airline credit card to book flights. Some airline credit cards allow cardmembers access to elite airline status levels more quickly, and nearly all airline cards offer benefits like free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases.

Hotel rewards credit cards

Like airline credit cards, hotel rewards credit cards allow you to earn rewards that can be redeemed with a specific hotel brand for things such as a free hotel stay. And hotel credit cards usually offer extra rewards when you use your hotel card to book stays with one of the brand’s properties. You can typically combine these rewards with the perks you earn as a brand loyalty member, such as complimentary room upgrades and extended checkout times.

Train rewards credit cards

Frequent train travelers can apply for co-branded cards that allow cardmembers to earn rewards they can put toward train travel.

Is a travel credit card with no annual fee best for you?

Whiletravel credit cards with no annual fee generally earn fewer miles per purchase than travel cards with an annual fee, you can still gain a lot of value from a travel card with no annual fee. Travel cards with no annual fee give cardmembers the benefit of earning rewards without the costs of an annual fee.

General travel rewards cards with no annual fee

For occasional travelers, travel rewards credit cards that offer flexible earning and redemption options with no annual fee may be a good choice. These cards let you enjoy the benefits of a travel credit card without paying an annual fee.

Co-branded travel rewards credit cards with no annual fee

Many airlines and hotels offer cardmembers a choice between credit cards with no annual fee or an upgraded card with an annual fee. Before choosing, check each card’s rewards structure against your current spending habits. If you regularly travel with a preferred airline or hotel, a co-branded annual fee card could offer extra rewards and benefits that might save you money in the long run.

Choosing the best travel credit card for you

Now that you know what a travel credit card is and howtravel rewardscredit cards work, it’s time to look at how to choose the best travel credit card for you.

(Video) Travel Credit Card Guide for Beginners

If you want to know which travel credit card will likely give you the best value, consider how much you spend on travel. For example, suppose you only take one or two trips a year; in that case, you might benefit from a general travel credit card—primarily if the credit card provides flexible redemption options. But if you’re a frequent flyer, you might want an airline or hotel credit card that lets you earn rewards and perks with a specific brand.

Here are a few other factors to consider when you’re deciding which travel credit card is best for you:

New cardmember bonus

Many travel credit cards allow new cardmembers to earn bonus rewards within a set period, like throughout the first year of having the card. In some cases, you may need to meet a spending requirement before earning your bonus—which is why it’s a good idea to ensure the spending requirement fits your budget before applying for the card. With the Discover Match®, we’ll automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. There’s no limit to how much we’ll match.2

Foreign transaction fee

Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees whenever you make a purchase outside of the United States or with an online retailer in a foreign currency. If you plan on traveling internationally, consider a travel credit card without foreign transaction fees.

Trip cancellation or delay insurance

Some travel credit cards offer trip cancellation or delay insurance. To evaluate a travel credit card’s insurance package, compare the costs and benefits against other types of travel insurance available to you from an airline or an independent insurance provider. Be sure to read the travel credit card’s terms to determine if the card provides this type of insurance.

Airport security screening benefits

Several travel credit cards offer statement credits towards the cost of applying for airport screening benefits, which offer members expedited security screening options at many major airports. Again, you should reference the travel credit card terms to confirm that the card provides these benefits.

Extra travel benefits

Many airline and hotel credit cards offer cardmembers extra benefits and perks like early boarding, late checkout, and complimentary upgrades. Make sure you consider all the available benefits before choosing thebest travel credit card for you.

(Video) Travel Credit Cards for Beginners | How to travel for FREE in 2021.

Using more than one travel credit card

Many people use more than onetravel credit card. By carrying both a general travel credit card and a co-branded hotel or airline credit card, you can get the perks that come with your favorite hotel or airline credit card—such as free checked bags or fast-track elite status—while having the option of using a general travel card to earn rewards you can redeem toward travel and non-travel-related expenses.

Are travel credit cards worth it?

Travel credit cards are a good choice if the rewards you earn can be redeemed for travel that’s worth more than what you could have earned from other credit cards. Before deciding whether a travel credit card is right for you, do the math on where your money is currently going, and ask yourself whether you could benefit from earning rewards for future travel expenses.

Once you understand how travel credit cards work, you can enjoy the benefits of adding a travel credit card to your wallet. Keep that in mind as you book your next trip.

Important information


What is a Travel Credit Card? ›

A travel credit card is one that gives rewards to a consumer in the form of points or miles that can be used for travel-related purchases, most commonly plane flights and hotel rooms.

What is a travel credit card? ›

A travel credit card is one that gives rewards to a consumer in the form of points or miles that can be used for travel-related purchases, most commonly plane flights and hotel rooms.

What is a credit card question answer? ›

What Is the Definition of a Credit Card? A credit card allows you to borrow money from a credit card company. In exchange, you pay interest on any outstanding debt at the end of each billing cycle. Most credit card issuers will report your credit history to credit bureaus, unlike debit cards or prepaid cards.

What is the difference between a travel credit card and a regular credit card? ›

A travel card is a type of credit card that is specifically designed keeping in mind the needs of a traveller. A normal credit card gives you rewards in form of cashback or points which can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise and discounts. A travel credit card offers travel-specific benefits.

Can I buy anything with a travel credit card? ›

You can use them like you would any other credit card. And you can also earn rewards, usually in the form of points or miles. Generally, you can earn rewards by making everyday purchases—think clothes, gas and electronics. Once they add up, you can redeem them for travel-related purchases.

What is travel card and how does it work? ›

Travel cards are an easy, convenient and say way of buying foreign currency and taking it with you when you travel internationally. The traveling cards are in prepaid format and you will have to preload a card with one currency or multiple currencies depending on your travel.

What are the benefits of a travel card? ›

5 benefits of a travel money card
  • Lock in your exchange rate before travelling.
  • Load multiple currencies onto the card.
  • Avoid multiple currency conversion fees.
  • Be in control of your spending.
  • Get the benefits of a debit card without linking it to your account.
  • How to buy a travel money card.
Feb 18, 2022

What should I answer in a credit card application? ›

The exact information can differ among credit card issuers, but generally, here's what you'll have to supply:
  • Social Security number.
  • Income.
  • Date of birth.
  • Security questions.
  • Contact information.
  • A promise to tell the truth.
  • Agreement to terms and conditions.
  • Authorized users.
Mar 28, 2022

What is a simple way to explain a credit card? ›

A credit card allows you to spend money up to a pre-set limit. You'll get a bill for what you've spent each month. It's important to try to pay off the balance in full every month. But you'll need to pay off at least the minimum amount.

What are the two types of credit cards? ›

There are essentially two types of credit cards: general credit cards and retailer credit cards.

What is the disadvantage of a travel money card? ›

They can be pricier. Travel card fees tend to be higher than the typical credit/debit card. There can be fees for: Loading and reloading pre-paid cards.

Is a travel money card better than cash? ›

Using a prepaid travel card is generally safer than carrying the equivalent amount in cash as, if it's stolen, you can cancel the card and stand a better chance of being able to get back the remaining balance on the card. You will often also be issued with a replacement card.

Is Travelcard necessary? ›

The Travel Card is required to be carried by the tourist at all times, and they may be asked to produce it for verification and checking by designated Enforcement officers deputed for such purpose.

Can I withdraw money from travel card? ›

Yes you can. You can use any ATM that's accepts Mastercard. Fees will apply for every cash withdrawal.

Do travel cards work everywhere? ›

Not all Destinations and Experiences Accept Card: Depending on where you travel to, not all destinations or vendors will accept a travel card as a form of payment. Because of this, it may be a good idea to take some cash with you on holiday to avoid tricky situations where your card may not be accepted.

Is travel card accepted everywhere? ›

Prepaid travel cards work just like all Mastercard Prepaid Cards, which means you can spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.

Do you get charged for using a Travelcard? ›

*No charges when you spend abroad using an available balance of a local currency supported by the card.

How do I pay with my Travelcard? ›

One of the easiest ways to carry and spend money on your travels abroad is a Forex Card.
Here's how to use your Forex Card effectively:
  1. Load it like a Prepaid Card. ...
  2. Swipe and pay or tap and pay. ...
  3. Pay for online transactions. ...
  4. Draw cash from ATMs. ...
  5. Shuffle funds between currency wallets. ...
  6. Pay across the world in a single currency.

Which bank is best for Travelcard? ›

Best travel credit cards to make your trips affordable:
  • Axis Bank Vistara Signature credit card. ...
  • SBI IRCTC Credit Card: ...
  • Axis Reserve Credit Card: ...
  • Air India SBI Signature credit card: ...
  • Indigo Kaching credit card: ...
  • Standard Chartered Emirates World credit card: ...
  • Yes Preferred credit card: ...
  • HDFC Infinia credit card:
Dec 9, 2022

What is the best Travelcard for USA? ›

Best Travel Money Cards for the USA:
  • Wise Multi Currency Card. Best exchange rates.
  • Travelex Money Card. Best all rounder.
  • HSBC Global Everyday Debit Card. Best for use in Australia too.
  • Bankwest Breeze Platinum Credit Card. Lowest interest rate.
  • ING One Low Rate Credit Card. No annual fee.
Jan 8, 2022

What is the easiest card to get approved? ›

Secured credit cards will likely be the easiest cards to get for those with either poor credit or no credit. That's because they require collateral upfront in the form of a security deposit, which is typically equal to the amount of your credit line and reduces the risk to the card issuer if you fail to pay your bill.

How much should I say I make to get approved for a credit card? ›

If you're applying for an unsecured credit card from a major issuer, you'll likely have to meet a minimum income requirement — usually $10,000 or $12,000 per year. If your income is too low, or you're carrying too much debt, your application might be rejected.

What are 3 things that you would be asked on a credit application? ›

Three things a credit card application will need are your full name, your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and information about your income. This information will help card issuers verify whether you are a real person and if you can afford making payments on a new credit card.

What are the 3 basic credit cards? ›

There are three types of credit card accounts: bank-issued credit cards (such as Visa and MasterCard), store/priority cards (such as the Bay and Sears) and travel/entertainment cards, also called charge cards (such as American Express or Diner's Club).

What is the minimum payment on a credit card? ›

The minimum payment is the smallest amount of money that you have to pay each month to keep your account in good standing. The statement balance is the total balance on your account for that billing cycle. The current balance is the total amount of your most recent bill plus any recent charges.

What are the benefits of credit card in simple words? ›

Benefits of Credit Cards
  • Easy access to credit. The biggest advantage of a credit card is its easy access to credit. ...
  • Building a line of credit. Credit cards offer you the chance to build up a line of credit. ...
  • EMI facility. ...
  • Incentives and offers. ...
  • Flexible credit. ...
  • Record of expenses. ...
  • Purchase protection. ...
  • Minimum due trap.

What are 3 advantages of using a credit card? ›

Benefits of using a credit card
  • Earning rewards. Earning rewards can be a great advantage of having a credit card. ...
  • Help building credit. A good credit score can help you get better interest rates for things like car loans, personal loans and mortgages. ...
  • Digital tools and account management. ...
  • Unauthorized charges protection.
Nov 8, 2022

What is the most used type of credit card? ›

Of the four main types of credit cards—Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover—Visa is by far the most common, making up 52.8% of cards in circulation.

What are the 5 C's of credit? ›

Each lender has its own method for analyzing a borrower's creditworthiness. Most lenders use the five Cs—character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions—when analyzing individual or business credit applications.

What is the difference between travel card and prepaid card? ›

The main difference between the two is that a travel credit card uses borrowed money, paid off in monthly instalments. This could be a great option if you need some more flexibility with your money. Meanwhile, a prepaid travel card is preloaded with your money, converted into the required currency.

What is the best form of travel money? ›

The best travel money options
  • Travel credit cards – near-perfect exchange rates and purchase protection.
  • Travel debit cards – near-perfect exchange rates and no 'hard' credit check.
  • Prepaid travel cards – lock in a rate before you go.
  • Cash – good as a backup where card is not accepted.
Jan 11, 2023

Can you transfer money from travel card to bank account? ›

Bank Account: By logging on to the Bank app or Net Banking service, you can transfer funds preloaded on your card to a Bank transaction account. If you want to, you can go straight to your bank.

How often do you need to travel to make a Travelcard worth it? ›

Travel cards are best for travelers who would like to earn rewards toward future free trips and who are able to take advantage of the included benefits. If you travel at least once or twice a year and would like to reduce your costs on the next trip, a travel credit card might be a good fit.

Why is my Travelcard declined? ›

The most common reason for a travel charge card being declined is due to a temporary suspension placed on the account. Temporary suspensions typically occur whenever activity on the account indicates that fraud may have occurred.

Can I use my Travelcard at an ATM? ›

You can use your Travel Money Card in stores, online, at ATMs, in bank branches, over the phone and by mail wherever Visa is accepted.

Is Travelcard cheaper than debit card? ›

As a general rule a Travelcard is more expensive than an Oyster card or Contactless payment card. The exception is if you make 3 or more journeys for 6 days or more within a 7 day period. In this case a 7 day Travelcard works out cheaper than an Oyster or Contactless payment card.

Can I use my government Travelcard for groceries? ›

The GTCC should be used to pay for all of the cardholder's official travel expenses, including but not limited to meals, lodging, rental vehicles, and airfare.

Is it worth it to take a travel credit? ›

Simply put, travel credit cards aren't worth it if you don't travel much. You won't be able to take advantage of many of the perks and benefits — like statement credits for hotel stays, airline fees and other travel-related purchases — or earn bonus points or miles for travel purchases.

Is it better to get a travel card? ›

If it's your main card on holiday, then you can potentially save a fortune in fees. Specialist travel cards do not charge fees for foreign spending, unlike most everyday credit cards. Over the course of a long holiday, or even a short city break, these fees can make all the difference to your budget.

Is a travel credit a refund? ›

General rules. Trip Credit is non-refundable, non-transferable, non-returnable, may not be redeemed for cash, check or credit (except where required by law) and has no implied warranties, including warranties of merchantability or fitness.

Does travel credit count as a refund? ›

If you are filing a Trip Cancellation claim, and have been offered a credit or voucher by your airline, you must decline that offer in order to receive a cash reimbursement by your travel insurance provider. The acceptance of credits or vouchers is considered a refund by most travel insurance providers.

Does a travel money card affect your credit score? ›

Prepaid Credit Cards Will Not Affect Your Credit Score

If you carry a balance, you'll accrue added costs in the form of interest charges.

Which bank is best for travel card? ›

Best travel credit cards to make your trips affordable:
  • Axis Bank Vistara Signature credit card. ...
  • SBI IRCTC Credit Card: ...
  • Axis Reserve Credit Card: ...
  • Air India SBI Signature credit card: ...
  • Indigo Kaching credit card: ...
  • Standard Chartered Emirates World credit card: ...
  • Yes Preferred credit card: ...
  • HDFC Infinia credit card:
Dec 9, 2022

What is the best travel card to take to the US? ›

Which prepaid travel money card is best for USA? The Travelex Money Card is the best prepaid travel card to use in the US. The card is easy to manage and load. Simply exchange and transfer money online from your bank account to your travel money card account via the Travelex Money App.

Which is better travel card or cash? ›

While credit cards are easy to carry and more secure than cash, you should always have some local cash on you when traveling. It's just good sense. Besides the fact that some local shops and vendors won't accept credit cards, having some cash provides a safety net in case your bank shuts off your card for any reason.

Can you withdraw cash from travel card? ›

Yes you can. You can use any ATM that's accepts Mastercard. Fees will apply for every cash withdrawal.

Why use a travel card instead of a debit card? ›

Potential to avoid currency conversion fees: If you use a credit or debit card while travelling, your institution may charge you currency conversion fees for each transaction. With a travel card, your funds will already be in the currency of the country in which you are travelling, so this may therefore be avoided.


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