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What is the Best Credit Card for Travelers on a Budget?

Sure, you know that airline credit cards offer bonus miles. Beyond that, what are the perks? The card options seem endless. Is it really worth it? Which do you choose? TravelingChicha weighs in:

Best Bang for your Buck: American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
-No money? No problem. Card is FREE for first year ($95 annual fee starting the second year).
-Pay your bills, take a trip. 30,000 Bonus Miles (enough for 1 flight) after spending $500 on the card in the first three months.
-Make friends.  One complimentary companion tickets with annual renewal, redeemable for up to $99 each!
-Earn the extra mile. Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on Delta, earn 1 mile for every other $1 you spend.
-Still working on packing light? First checked bag is free for you and up to 9 of your friends/family on every Delta flight.
-Got the munchies? Receive 20% off on in-flight food and entertainment.
-Feel special. Find your seat faster with Zone 2 priority seating on every flight.
-No expiration date. Your skymiles never expire and are yours forever!
-Debbie Downer: Card is not eligible to receive Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) for elite status.
Sign up here

American Express Alternative: USAirways Premier World Mastercard
-Manageable Annual Fee: $89 annual fee
-Make friends.  Two complimentary companion tickets every year, redeemable for up to $99 each!
-Pay your bills, take a trip. 30,000 Bonus Miles (enough for 1 flight) with first use.
-Earn the extra mile. Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on USAirways, earn 1 mile for every other $1 you spend.
-Feel special. Enjoy first class check-in privileges.  Find your seat faster with Zone 2 priority seating on every flight.
Love discounts? Enjoy a 5,000 mile rebate when booking USAirways flights with this card (i.e. redeem 20,000 miles instead of 25,000)

Best Value with Highest Flexibility: Miles by Discover
-No money? No problem. No annual fee, ever.
-Monthly bonus:  Receive 1,000 bonus miles each month by making one monthly purchase with the card, for up to 12,000 miles in the first year.
-0% APR on balance transfers/all purchases for first 6 months, as low as 10.99% after that.
-Earn the extra mile. Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on travel/restaurants, earn 1 mile for every other $1 you spend on other purchases
-Ultimate freedom and flexibility.  Redeem miles for cash, merchandise, gift cards, or travel.  No obligations to book with a particular airline. No blackout dates exist.
-Peace of mind. $500,000 travel accident insurance with all travel transportation.
-No expiration date. Your skymiles never expire!
-Debbie Downer: none!
Sign up here
 
Related Articles:
http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/compare-cards/air-travel-reward-cards
http://www.dailymarkets.com/best-credit-cards/
http://www.dailymarkets.com/creditcards/american-express-delta-skymiles-card/
http://www.dailymarkets.com/creditcards/miles-by-discover-card/
http://travelingchicha.com/2012/01/10/how-to-cross-off-your-travel-bucket-list-on-a-budget/
 
Which card do you use? What perks influence your credit card choice? Comment below!

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2 responses

  1. Adam

    Can you say something to which card is the best to actually travel with? I know a lot tack on 1-3% for foreign currency transactions, which can add up to quite a bit if you like to put most purchases on a CC (like me). I use a capital one card, I am not sure if it still offers 0% foreign currency transaction fee for new users, but I think it is the only one of my cards that I have that does.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:38 PM

  2. Adam- Thanks for reading and for giving the inspiration for this post! You bring up a very valid point.The CCs of this post are best for domestic travel and for scoring the most miles. The Delta Gold card charges 2.7% and the USAir Mastercard charges 3% for foreign transactions.

    For international travel, the Discover Miles is best as it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. A listing of where the Discover card is accepted can be found here: https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/help-center/account/international-use.html?ICMPGN=FTR_HELP_INTACCP

    Oher cards without foreign transaction fees, are reviewed in further detail here: http://www.dailymarkets.com/creditcards/credit-cards-with-no-foreign-transaction-fee/

    Hope this helps!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:10 PM

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