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Signs You’re Using the Wrong Travel Credit Card

wrong travel credit card

There are a wide variety of travel credit cards with different types of interest rates, reward systems, and special perks. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate yours to determine if you are using the right card for your needs. If not, if it’s time to shop around for something better, because it’s likely you’re using the wrong travel credit card. 

Evaluating Your Travel Credit Card

Here are some red flags that should make you reevaluate whether your credit card is right for you:

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you enjoy traveling abroad but have been paying foreign transaction fees, you are adding an average of 3% in unnecessary costs to your balance. 

There are some useful cards out there that do not require any foreign transaction fees, and if you look hard enough, you can find a few that also offer a 0% annual fee as well.

Automatic Travel Protection

Purchasing travel insurance at the terminal can add up quickly. If this is a fee you find yourself paying often, it’s time for a change. Some credit cards offer basic travel insurance at no extra cost as a perk for using it. 

Several cards even offer primary insurance, which covers rental vehicles and incidents such as baggage issues, cancellations, and travel collisions or other accidents. 

Make sure you shop around for the best rates for the ultimate travel protection. 

Low Cash Back Rewards

Rewards cards can offer incredible benefits if you can handle the increased interest rates. And there are enough cards to provide competitive options for a prospective credit card user. Nowadays, if you are receiving less than 1.5% back on transactions, it’s time to consider other options.

If you’re savvy and perceptive, you may even be able to manage two or more cards in tandem. This way, you can earn perks and advantages at different percentages back for different categories of transactions. Soon, you’ll be maximizing your savings. 

You’re Not Earning Enough Perks, Especially at the Airport

Airport consumables are expensive! If you find yourself forking over the extra cash for these pricey meals and snacks while on the go and aren’t getting anything in return, it may be time for change.

Some cards offer priority passes which can bring those expensive foods to a more reasonable price. Some cards even provide as much as 25% discounts on in-flight purchases.

You can obtain these perks with a little bit of effort and research. 

No Rideshare Perks

Uber and Lyft can be convenient while traveling, but if your card doesn’t have built-in rewards or extra point bonuses, ditch it. 

Some modern cards provide hundreds of dollars in rideshare credits or point earnings based on dollars spent. This is especially useful if you’re always on the go.

TSA Precheck or Global Entry Out-of-Pocket Expenses

If you plan to use one of these programs, keep in mind that many cards offer rebates and some offer credits which can cover the preliminary fees involved in the application process. 

Not Earning Perks for Staying at Hotels

Some reward cards offer great deals which can provide you with free nights. If a lot of your time is spent in hotels, you should be earning advantages from it. Compare cards to look for those that provide the best rewards for hotel stays. Also search for options that provide free nights on card anniversary packages. Every night you can get free is an excellent reward. 

Travel Buddies

If you don’t like to travel alone, seek out a card that has offers for bringing a companion along. This will make it more likely you can bring your friends along for the adventure at an affordable price.

What’s Important?

Saving money and in order to save money, it’s time to analyze your current travel credit card and consider whether it’s right for you. There might be a card out there that will be more useful for your circumstances, and help reduce the fees you pay as you travel.

Keep in mind, even if your card works well for some of the situations on this list, you may be able to find a second card that can offer better rewards for different categories.

Manage your interest rates carefully, shop around for the best cards that suit your needs, and you may find that the extra effort makes a world of difference.

Best Credit Cards of September 2022

Milestone® Mastercard®
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee
    $99*
  • Regular APR
    24.9%
  • Recommended Credit Score
    Fair/Good
More details

Product Specs

  • Regular APR 24.9%
  • Credit Recommended Fair/Good
  • Annual Fee $35 - $99*
  • Intro Rate N/A
  • Intro Period N/A
  • Balance Transfer N/A
  • Intro (Purchases) N/A
  • Intro (Balance Transfers) N/A

Product Details

  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.


  • Annual Fee
    N/A
  • Regular APR
    N/A
  • Recommended Credit Score
    Fair/Good
More details

Product Specs

Product Details


  • Annual Fee
    N/A
  • Regular APR
    N/A
  • Recommended Credit Score
    Fair/Good
More details

Product Specs

Product Details

Cash Back Credit Card vs. Travel Credit Card

In this pandemic-stricken time, cashback credit cards can be far more valuable than travel credit cards, as travel points depreciate in value. 

Cashback cards, especially those which allow you to transfer your points to travel credit cards, can prove invaluable in helping you achieve the highest value for your rewards. 

Quality Card Options

Here are some possible card options you may want to consider when upgrading your card:

Credit One Travel Card

        • 5x points for amusement parks and recreational facilities
        • 3x points for restaurant or lodging purposes
        • 1x points on all other purchases

Tesco Credit Card Travel Insurance

This travel insurance card offers a lot of features, including a 5% direct buyer savings. It also provides coverage plans suitable for backpackers and annual multi-trip goers, access to a virtual doctor, and special Covid-19 coverage options. 

American Express Cathay Pacific Foreign Transaction Fee

This travel credit card offers better rewards for purchases made abroad and for only a $95 annual fee. They also offer a generous welcome package, no foreign transaction fees, easy redemption options, and additional travel benefits. 

This should definitely be a card to research if you’re a big traveler. 

Chase Double Cash Foreign Transaction Fee

While the Double Cash cards are great options for rewards, be careful about foreign transaction fees. Chase’s Freedom Unlimited card charges a 3% transaction fee, which can add up fast. 

While Chase cards such as the Sapphire Preferred Card meet a lot of the criteria for an improved rewards system, make sure you analyze each card carefully. Make sure that your gains in one category aren’t counterbalanced by losses in a different one. 

This is another situation where diligent maintenance of two or more cards can come into play. If you are good with money and manage to stay on top of which rewards you’re learning where you could find yourself with more benefits than you know what to do with.

Featured Image: Megapixl

About the author: I am a writer and an editor with experience in publishing, research, and SEO strategies. I have an honors BSc in Social Work from the University of Benin, Nigeria.

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