Illustration for article titled Is It Time To Use Your Travel Reward Cards Again?Photo: Hananeko_Studio (Shutterstock)

Given the seemingly end of the pandemic travel restrictions, you may be wondering if it is a good time to sign up for a travel rewards credit card again. Some companies are offering welcome bonuses more than ever, but safe travel may not be a realistic option until the end of 2021. Can you get by with the perks available until then, or is it worth taking a break until you feel more secure?

Reasons to Get a Travel Reward Card now

Credit cards can be a risk Debt trapThere is really no need to get a travel card. That said, if you are unsure that the balance can be paid out each month, the travel benefits are well worth it, and if you deserve them, it will depend on your expected spending habits. As a rule, card buyers look for:

  • An achievable welcome offer or a bonus with a high cash value.
  • The value of the services outweighs the cost of the annual fee, which can be hundreds of dollars.
  • Cards with transferable, easily redeemable reward points.

Travel cards are perfect for those who already travel a lot as they offer points based on travel as well as other travel-only benefits such as travel insurance, priority boarding, lounge access and free seat upgrades. Of course, most of these perks are useless without travel, which is why credit card companies were rewarding rewards for restaurants, grocery stores, and online purchases during the pandemic.

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In many cases, these perks are generous, but they can also affect the way you use your cards, especially if you already have dedicated cards for groceries and online purchases. On the other hand, travel is on the rise, and there are some really good travel rewards card deals out there right now. So it makes sense to at least consider buying a card again.

Is traveling a good idea at all?

Is it safe to travel now? The short answer is “not really” as the CDC only recommends important trips at this point (see) Lifehacker Post on the subject). However, as the pace of vaccinations has increased, it can be assumed that safe travel may be possible in the second half of 2021.

To know whether or not the time is right to get a travel rewards card, you need to be realistic about how much you are likely to travel, whether you are actually taking advantage of the card’s non-travel perks, and whether those perks are the annual fee Card worth.

Illustration for article titled Is It Time To Use Your Travel Reward Cards Again?

Which cards currently offer good travel offers?

As if credit card companies were feeling the renewed interest in travel, they were exhausting their welcome bonuses. Here are the most important current general travel card offers.

Chase Sapphire

Chase is currently offering all-time high welcome bonuses of 80,000 and 60,000 points on its Reserve and Preferred cards if you spend $ 4,000 within three months of opening the account. The point type rates the 80,000-point bonus at $ 1,650, based on the ability to maximize points with hotel and airline transfer partners.

The Prefers The card comes with an annual fee of $ 95 and includes:

  • A $ 50 credit for use in grocery stores.
  • 5x points on Lyft trips through March 2022, 2x points on trips and restaurants worldwide and 1x point on all other purchases.
  • 25% more redemption value for restaurants, grocery stores, and hardware stores.

The Reservations The card comes with an annual fee of $ 550 and includes:

  • $ 300 credit towards gas station and grocery store purchases.
  • 10x points for trips to Lyft through March 2022, 3x points for travel worldwide, 3x points for restaurants in restaurants, including eligible delivery services and takeaway, 1x for all other purchases.
  • 0 USD shipping costs when using DoorDash.
  • $ 120 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access membership through 2021.
  • Access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.

American Express Platinum

The AmEx Latin card is a premium travel card that is stingy with welcome bonuses. However, you can currently earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points provided you spend $ 5,000 in the first six months of opening your account. That works roughly Value of $ 2,000. The card has an annual fee of $ 550 and includes:

  • 10x points for eligible purchases at US gas stations and US supermarkets (up to USD 15,000 for combined purchases in the first 6 months), 5x points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5x points for prepaid Hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Amex offers a wide range of credits, including: $ 200 statement credit for airline incidental expenses such as checked baggage, free Uber Eats membership for one year, $ 100 statement credit for hotels, $ 100 statement credit for TSA or global entry costs, $ 100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit.
  • Access to over 1,300 airport lounges and free membership in premium rental car programs.

Of course, these aren’t your only options. The Points Guy has a good breakdown of other current offers of 100,000 Reward Points or more.