Choosing the Best Credit Card (For Travelers) NYTimes

Are you tired of finding too many "extra charges" in your credit card bills for charges made while abroad? Here's a fantastic new list of suggestions for some of the "best credit cards for travelers", published by the New York Times today, April 24, 2011.

Word for word, these are the cards they recommend:

"For the Occasional Flier

THE CARD Capital One Venture Rewards

THE PERKS No foreign transaction fees and double miles on every purchase (not just hotel stays or airfare), which can be redeemed for monetary credit toward any travel purchase, including plane tickets on any airline, hotel rooms, rental cars and cruises. Just add two zeros to the cost of your travel expense and trade in that number of miles to pay for it. In other words, spending $12,500 earns 25,000 miles, good for a $250 travel credit.

ANNUAL FEE/APR $59; 11.9 to 19.9 percent.

BOTTOM LINE You don’t need to travel to earn miles with this card. And you won’t be tied down to one airline or run into blackout dates when using those miles.

For the Mileage Hound

THE CARD American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card

THE PERKS Points can be used for Starwood hotel stays or be exchanged for miles on many airlines including American, British Airways, Delta, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Plus, you get a 5,000-point bonus when you trade in 20,000 points for miles. There is also a sign-on bonus of up to 25,000 points (10,000 points for your first purchase and 15,000 points if you spend $15,000 in six months).

ANNUAL FEE/APR $65; 2.90 percent for the first six months, then 11.99 percent.

BOTTOM LINE You’ll get the equivalent of a domestic ticket for roughly every $20,000 you spend or about 1.25 miles per dollar. That’s “a better earning rate than offered by most airline branded credit cards,” said Tim Winship, an editor for SmarterTravel.com and the publisher of FrequentFlier.com. And unlike those cards, you’re not tied to just one airline. It’s that combination of value and flexibility, added Mr. Winship, “that has long endeared it to frequent travelers.”

For the Worrier

THE CARD Escape by Discover

THE PERKS In addition to the usual secondary collision damage waiver insurance provided by many credit cards, which require travelers to first file a claim under their personal auto policy, this card offers $50,000 in primary collision damage waiver coverage — that means claims do not need to be filed under the traveler’s policy. The card also includes roadside assistance, lost or damaged luggage insurance in case the airlines lose your bags and trip cancellation insurance. It even comes with up to $500,000 in flight accident insurance. Cardholders earn double miles for every $1 spent on purchases, which can be used toward the cost of any trip.

ANNUAL FEE/APR $60; 10.99 to 15.99 percent.

BOTTOM LINE You’ll avoid paying for separate travel insurance for most trips.

For the Penny-Pincher

THE CARD The Chase Freedom Visa

THE PERKS 1 percent cash back on all purchases, plus the opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 worth of certain purchases each quarter. For example, April through June of this year is home improvement. There is also a $100 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months.

ANNUAL FEE/APR None; zero percent for the first six months, then 11.99 to 22.99 percent.

BOTTOM LINE “Miles can be confusing and hard to redeem, but cash has no blackout dates, and everyone understands that value of a dollar,” said John Ulzheimer, president of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com. “If you’re getting reimbursed for your travel expenses and your company pays you back before your due date, this is a no-brainer.”

More on this article in the blue link below. Hope this helps!

Choosing the Best Credit Card - Practical Traveler - NYTimes.com

Photos, courtesy of American Express.


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