I’d Like to Travel Everywhere Man
June 23, 2015
Last weekend I was working on an upcoming article that highlights the fun and affordability of some of the best regional summer events like festivals and events around the country.
I found myself wishing I had a solid month of vacation saved up so I could visit all of these festivals when the Johnny Cash song “I’ve Been Everywhere” came up on Spotify – followed by an appropriately timed ad for a travel credit card. With travel on my brain I was enticed to click on the picture of the Discover it ®Miles card superimposed on the wing of an airplane flying into the sunset.
With a trip to my sister’s wedding coming up and a family summer road trip to plan I thought maybe I should re-visit a travel rewards card. We don’t currently use one card because with little kids we don’t really travel that much.
Ever since we started a family I’ve stuck with a cash back rewards card but now that the kids are getting older and a little more “travel friendly” our chances for venturing out are increasing. I do feel a little guilty because we’re leaving our youngest at home with the grandparents when we travel out East.
We took her on a “trial” trip a few weekends back when we traveled to a tournament for my son’s soccer team. Her first experience staying in a hotel without a pack and play was a blast for her but pretty exhausting for us. Perhaps a travel card could be a way to relieve some of the guilt, we’ll earn rewards travelling without her that we can use when she’s a little older and travel ready : )
I haven’t done a lot of research lately on all that’s available in terms of travel rewards but what I learned about the Discover it ® Miles card was interesting.
You earn 1.5x Miles for every dollar you spend on the card. It would be good to use it a lot when you first get it because you earn double the Miles in your first year – with no spending cap. Looks like you don’t earn double as you go, they award them to you at the end of your first year. I know other rewards cards offer you a bonus when you spend a certain amount in the first 3 or 6 months. This approach isn’t tied to an amount, just a period of time.
One of the things I like about the card is that there’s no annual fee. This would be good for us since we don’t travel a ton. We do have a lot of things planned for this year but who knows what next year will bring. I would hate to pay an annual fee for a travel card in years where we never leave the state.
Along the same lines, the Miles don’t expire over time. If you don’t use the card for a year and a half or if you close it then they just credit your account with the current rewards balance. Although I don’t travel much internationally I did take a trip to Lithuania for a week last year and seeing the foreign transaction fees on my statement when I got back was rather unpleasant. One benefit of this card is that it doesn’t charge that pesky fee.
Since it’s a travel card it makes sense that you can redeem your miles as a statement credit towards travel costs you’ve charged on the card. So for example if you put a $450 plane ticket on your card you’d earn 675 Miles that you can apply towards the ticket charge.
Obviously, planning & saving for a trip is what makes it financially feasible. The travel rewards we earn on any credit card aren’t going to fund our travels. But if we’re going to be spending the money anyways I’ve always been a fan of earning rewards while we spend. I don’t know if we’re ready to make the jump from a cash back card to travel rewards but it’s something we’ll consider as we feel the bite of the travel bug this summer.
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