SOURCE: CreditCardChaser


June 24, 2014 08:00 ET

How Credit Cards Can Improve Summer Travel, Announced by

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 24, 2014) - Aside from hotel discounts and airline miles, there are many other perks and rewards that savvy cardholders can take advantage of by reading their card's rewards program thoroughly. The benefit of doing so means significant savings on travel expenses. The following tips are designed by expert credit authority to help anyone who loves to travel save money when they go on their next vacation:

Booking Flights

It's very frustrating confirming a flight and then learning later on that the same flight could have been booked at a better deal. However, technology is providing more options to travelers with purchase regrets. For example, the MasterCard PriceAssure program lets cardholders keep abreast of their itinerary and receive notification of a price revision that can translate into an airline credit. Consumers using a Mastercard can enroll in this free program, which works with any domestic or overseas flight on United, American, Delta, Continental and seven other airline carriers.

For cardholders who are entitled to a flight credit, they can file a claim on their own or have MasterCard file the claim for them for a $19.95 fee. According to the vice president of new product development at MasterCard Worldwide, Chris Aguas, the fee covers all the tickets on the itinerary. In the scenario that MasterCard is unable to collect the airline credit, the cardholder will not be charged the fee.

Airline Fees

Unfortunately, most airlines charge an extra fee for baggage. Depending on the credit card and the cardholder's selected airline, a traveler may be able to check their luggage without this fee. CEO Adam Goldstein of Hipmunk (search engine for flights and hotels), commented that card members of Continental Presidential can book flights with their credit cards, and can check in their first bag and often their second bag free of charge depending on their card type. In addition, credit card members of Delta SkyMiles can check their first bag for free regardless of whether they use their credit card to book their flight. Delta SkyMiles card members only have to provide their SkyMiles number when booking their flight or when checking in at the airport. Other travel rewards credit cards may give travelers a rebate for their luggage or other incidental charges, so it's important for anyone not flying with Delta or Continental to check with their credit card company will offer reimbursement for certain charges before they book their flight.

Airline Websites

Usually traveler's will not choose to book their air, travel or hotel services through their credit card's website; nevertheless, doing so can prove quite advantageous for travelers, says Goldstein, since these are exclusive deals that are only offered to cardholders. Further, cardholders can get even better deals offered through the airline's website. According to Goldstein, booking with an airline credit card directly from the airline's website frequently reaps double miles.

Savvy travelers know that gaining mileage should not hurt them financially. Therefore, it is essential to research travel aggregators thoroughly, Goldstein says. Once travelers view a flight's price on a travel aggregator, it will inform them of whether the airline's listed price is the best deal. However, they can only receive the double miles if they return to the airline's site to book the ticket.

Insurance Coverage

Certain cards may provide insurance such as travel accident, foreign medical emergency coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty built; however, these types of insurance coverage services are typically only available for platinum card holders or with an extra fee for regular card holders. Instead of cardholders viewing their credit card as a replacement to their regular insurance coverage, they should see it as supplemental coverage which could cover reimbursement for lost luggage, for instance.

Car Rentals

The majority of credit card companies offer cover with little or no deductible, so it's important that cardholders learn their credit card policy's limitations and rules and avoid buying separate rental car insurance to keep their card's policy from becoming null and void. Moreover, overseas travelers make purchases abroad need to be aware of possible foreign transactions fees that could be applied to their credit cards as well, says the author of "Travel Happy, Budget Low: Over 200 Money Saving Tips to See the World," Susanna Zaraysky, which can become very expensive cardholders making multiple purchases abroad. Although some credit issuers completely waive their foreign transaction fees or waive them on specific cards, it is still wise for travelers to check with their credit card company to find out which card will give you the best deal when making purchases in a foreign currency.

Keeping a Balanced View of Rewards Offers

Rewards offers can be very appealing to a traveler, especially if the issuer waives the first year's fee. When done strategically, frequent travelers can accrue many air miles (15,000 or 21,000-miles) just by following their airline's guidelines and can even receive one mile for every dollar spent with specific cards. To prevent a lower credit score, travelers will need to pay their monthly bills on time to get the most benefit from their credit card when taking a vacation during the summer months.

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