A travel credit card can actually benefit you in the long term despite the current troubles caused by COVID-19.
With the dangers of COVID-19 effectively shutting down the travel industry, the public will need to wait at least several weeks before a return to “normal”. And the effects are not just limited to tourists and businessmen having to cancel vacations and bookings for work. Every major player in the travel industry – from airlines to hotels to cruise companies – may see lasting damage done due to the lack of activity during this period.
As such, it may not immediately make sense to consider applying for a travel credit card at this time. After all, many of its perks will not be immediately usable. Cardholders will not be able to enjoy the advantages of free checked baggage, travel credits, or airport lounge access. And since most of these cards earn the highest amount of rewards on travel purchases, it won’t be practical to try and amass points or miles via these types of transactions.
Given these limitations, however, there are several reasons why it actually makes sense to consider a travel credit card at this time. Though they maximize their potential when used to journey around the globe, these products still make themselves very useful during the hardships brought on by the coronavirus.
Here are the major motives for why it’s the right time to apply for a travel credit card:
Take Advantage of the Signup Bonus
Most travel cards offer a signup bonus, though it requires plenty of spending on the cardholder’s part. However, if you can make it your daily, go-to payment form, you should meet the card’s introductory offer within the allotted timeframe.
Several of these bonuses are equal in value to a free roundtrip flight. Plus, you’ll amass additional miles/points from the purchases you’ve made to meet the threshold. Combine that with additional purchases made during the current circumstances and you’ll eventually have a significant stockpile of rewards ready for redemption.
Earn More Rewards on Timely Purchase Categories
Travel cards will often grant you extra rewards on purchases outside the travel category. The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card, for example, earns 2X LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores – two frequent and spending-heavy categories that make particular sense right now. Using this card to secure food for the family or to keep your vehicle fueled will include the added benefit of increasing your supply of LifeMiles for later use.
Use a Balance Transfer to Save on Interest Charges
Many Americans will undoubtedly struggle with existing debt in the age of coronavirus. However, it’s possible to lessen the blow of interest charges with a balance transfer. What’s more, some travel cards, like the Avianca Vida Visa® Card, offer 0% APR on balance transfers as a welcome promotion. In the Vida Visa Card’s case, that promotional rate is good for the first 12 months from opening an account. So, while the card can earn you points while you make necessary purchases, it also saves you money on interest charges and helps you pay down your existing balances.
Low Interest Rates on Travel Credit Cards
The Federal Reserve has made unprecedented interest rate cuts in response to COVID-19’s economic impact. Though the cause is unfortunate, there is undoubtedly a benefit in having lower interest rates all-around on credit cards. Travel cards generally have higher rates due to the amount of benefits they tend to include, so now is actually an excellent time to consider a new travel credit card.
Build a Higher Credit Line
Although you should not accumulate debt during these uncertain economic times, it does help to have added purchasing power. Adding a new credit card to your rotation ultimately increases your total available credit and lowers your credit utilization ratio.
Though it’s not advisable to travel while the novel coronavirus continues to impact the globe, there are nevertheless multiple benefits from applying for a travel credit card at this time. However, you should still weigh your decision carefully and ensure that a new credit card makes sense given your current and long-term lifestyle and financial needs.