Benefits of Travel Reward Credit Cards

by Susanna Hamilton, Contributing Editor on May 19, 2014

Travel Reward Credit Cards
It’s that time of year.. the weather is warming up and school will be out soon for the summer.. which means that many of you are getting ready to head out on vacation with your families.

However, like everything else in life, those summer vacations are not as inexpensive as they used to be.. which is why credit cards offering travel rewards have become some of the most popular credit card offers available.

There are many different issuers who offer travel rewards credit cards.. including American Express, Discover Card, Chase Bank and Citibank.

Here are just a few benefits you can enjoy with some of the travel reward credit cards being offered by the various credit card issuers:

  • Points Towards Hotel Discounts or Free Hotel Stays
  • Frequent Flyer Miles and Seat Upgrades when Flying
  • Cash Replacement of Essential Items Should the Airline Misplace Your Luggage
  • Automatic Air Travel Insurance Every Time You Fly
  • Discounts on Gas Purchases for those who Drive
  • Rental Car Insurance
  • Discounts on Dining
  • Cabin Upgrades on Cruises
  • Points Towards Purchases at Various Shops

While some travel rewards credit cards may provide only one of the above travel benefits others offer several of these benefits.  Some credit cards which offer frequent flyer mile points allow you not only to use those points to book a free flight, but also to get discounts on flights, upgrade your seats, or use those points for car rentals and hotel rooms with participating partners. This allows a little more flexibility for those who travel by air frequently.

Many hotel rewards credit cards give you points that you can use for a free night’s stay, discounts at their on-site restaurants or discounts in their gift shops. In some cases, many of these hotels offer a free continental breakfast as well as have policies where kids eat at reduced rates in the restaurants. Using one of these credit cards can save your family more money than you might imagine.

Some of the gas credit cards also offer great deals for those families traveling by car.  Not only do some cards offer money back on gas purchases, but also give you money back when you stay at selected motels, visit specific entertainment venues or dine out when traveling.

When choosing a travel reward credit card, you are going to want to consider how you and your family travel the most.  For example, if road trips are your families way of traveling then a gas travel card offering money back on gas purchases as well as hotel stays may be the right card for you.  However, if flying across country or to different parts of the world is your vacation of choice then a card which offers frequent flier miles is going to be more suited to you, although that gas card just may come in handy once you have landed and need to rent a car.

Make sure when choosing a travel credit card that you understand the benefits the card offers as well as any limitations on where you can use those benefits. A credit card that offers you a free motel room after you earn so many points isn’t going to help pay for your summer vacation if the rooms can only be booked during slow times of the year in late fall or early spring.

With so many travel credit cards to choose from you can find the right card to help you save on that family vacation wherever you would like to go.

 

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Millions in Unclaimed Tax Refunds

by Susanna Hamilton, Contributing Editor on March 10, 2014

Unclaimed Tax Refunds
How would you like to have a few hundred extra dollars in your wallet?

The IRS has recently announced they have millions of dollars in unclaimed tax refunds.. and some of that money just might belong to you.

I don’t know of anyone in these difficult financial times who couldn’t use some extra cash.

Many people don’t file a Federal income tax return, because they may not have made enough money in a given year.

However, in most cases taxes were withheld from these people’s wages. In other cases some people actually made quarterly estimated payments to the IRS.

More than 1 million of these taxpayers have not filed their income taxes.

The IRS has announced that at least half of those who have not filed their returns are owed refunds of nearly $640.. and many are owed even more!

Taxpayers only have a three year window to claim a refund. After that it is lost and gone forever.. and Uncle Sam gets to keep your hard earned money.

Since 2010 taxes were due to be filed by April 15th 2011.. your three years will be up in April 2014.

If you have not yet filed for 2010, 2011 or 2012.. now is the time to get going.

You just might get enough money back to buy yourself something nice  🙂

Think you might owe some money this year instead of getting a refund? Pay your taxes with a credit card and earn rewards on that payment.

 

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Save Hundreds on Credit Card Interest

by Susanna Hamilton, Contributing Editor on February 12, 2014

Save on Credit Card Interest

If you have a history of keeping your credit card balances under control and paying your bills on time.. you will be considered one of your credit card company’s most valued customers.. and they do not want to lose you!

This gives you some bargaining power when it comes to having annual fees reversed and/or negotiating a better interest rate.

The average American household has more than $8,000 in credit card debt, with an average interest rate on their credit cards of 16%.

$8,000 x 16% = $1280 annually paid in interest charges. That’s more than $100 each month of money being completely wasted.

If you are paying more than 15% interest on your credit card.. you should definitely call your credit card issuer to see whether you can negotiate a lower interest rate. You may meet with some resistance at first, as the customer service representatives are not always accustomed to customers asking for special privileges.

Some people are embarrassed to call and try to negotiate. They assume the same interest rates apply to everyone and therefore just accept the finance charges and pay the bill.

However.. you have nothing to lose by asking.  If you remind them how long you have been a cardholder and what a reliable customer you have been you may be able to get a reduced interest rate.

Credit card companies are pulling out all the stops to get new customers to apply for their credit cards. The competition is fierce.. the banks are all competing for your business. This means they are also doing whatever they can to keep the customers they already have.  You can definitely use this to your advantage.

Take a look and compare some of the more popular credit card offers at our site. Find out what the average interest rate is on these credit cards. This will give you a good idea what your credit card company should be able to do for you.

If your credit card company is not willing to negotiate.. you can always apply for a new credit card and transfer the balance from the old card to the new one.

Don’t close the old credit card, however, as this can lower your overall credit score.

In fact, many times when your credit card has had a zero balance for several months you will receive balance transfer offers from your credit card issuer. If you don’t have a balance on your credit card.. they are not making any money.  And, after all they are in business to make money.. so they would prefer that you have a balance on your card and are paying them some interest each month.

You don’t want to be transferring money back and forth too often, as the banks are not impressed with consumers who play these kind of juggling games. However, it is definitely in your best interest to take advantage of long term, low interest balance transfer offers whenever you can to help keep your interest costs down.

 

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Paying Off Holiday Credit Card Debt

by Susanna Hamilton, Contributing Editor on January 8, 2014

Paying Off Debt
Now that the rush of the Holidays is over it is time to get down to business and evaluate how much new credit card debt you incurred doing your Holiday shopping.

For most of us, this turned out to be more than we originally intended. Each of us, therefore, must try to find the best ways to reduce our credit card debt and make sure we do not spend the entire year paying off our Holiday purchases. Paying off Holiday debt faster can mean saving hundreds of dollars in credit card interest.  Here are some suggestions:

Determine Which Card is Costing the Most:

The first thing you should do is determine which of your credit cards is costing you the most. This is not necessarily the card with the highest outstanding balance. In many cases, a credit card with a lower balance which has a higher interest rate can be more damaging than a card with a lower rate and higher balance.

Transfer Balances Whenever Possible:

Since the new year is a good time to evaluate all debt, it is a good time to reevaluate the credit cards that you have. In some cases, there may be cards which will allow for balance transfers with no interest payments for six to 12 months or more. Those who are eligible for these cards may want to consider doing this as this may allow them to pay off other credit cards before these balances begin accruing interest.

Make More Than the Minimum Payment:

Whenever possible, it is a good idea to make more than the minimum monthly payments. This can be done in a number of ways including turning unwanted household items into cash (selling them on eBay or Craigslist), returning unwanted holiday gifts or applying holiday bonuses received to outstanding balances. This will help you avoid paying for holiday gifts for the next 12 months and considerably reduce the amount of money wasted on interest.

If You Need to Use a Credit Card:

During the next several months.. while you are in pay-off mode, if you should need to use a credit card think carefully before you decide which one to use. Those who have a cash-back credit card should consider using this card and using the cash-back rewards to pay down balances.

Do Not Cancel Any Cards:

Many people think the best way to stop using a credit card is to cancel it. Be careful when doing this as it may wind up damaging your credit report. If necessary, put the cards in a file cabinet or in a desk or dresser drawer and simply do not use them. It is never a good idea to cancel a credit card, unless you have just received a new card with an equal amount of available credit to take the place of the one you are cancelling.

Paying off Holiday debt is a challenge that nearly all of us face. Most consumers do not spend more than they can afford, but the amount of credit card debt can mean paying a lot of extra interest making the cost of gifts much higher. Evaluate all of your outstanding debts, determine where you might have extra cash to pay them down and create a short-term plan to get your credit cards paid off as quickly as possible.

 

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Booking Your Holiday Travel

November 4, 2013

The holidays are rapidly approaching, which means your window for finding affordable airfare for holiday travel is rapidly closing. Nevertheless, there are still a few tricks to saving money on your holiday travel. Book Now or Plan on Paying Exorbitant Prices: Unfortunately.. the best time for finding the most affordable fares for your holiday travel […]

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Labor Day Weekend

August 30, 2013

Labor Day weekend is thought of as the beginning of some things and the end of others.  It marks the end of summer with a three-day Holiday, it marks the start of a new school year, the climax of baseball season and the start of football season. For retailers, Labor Day weekend is another great […]

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Student Credit Cards – Find the Best Student Credit Card

August 5, 2013

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Six Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

July 10, 2013

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AAdvantage Members Rewarded For Generosity to Tornado Victims

May 23, 2013

American Airlines frequent flyers are being rewarded for contributing to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund to aid victims of recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. These devastating storms destroyed thousands of homes, leveled businesses, displaced families and killed 24 people at last report.  To aid in area recovery efforts, the American Red Cross fund will […]

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How Restaurants Get You to Spend More Money

March 1, 2013

The average check for dining out has increased just 1.7% per year over the past five years, according to current market research. Restaurant industry analysts indicate this is due in large part to the fact that diners seem to be more carefully watching how much they spend at restaurants by doing without some of the […]

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Post Holiday Belt Tightening

January 18, 2013

More than six percent of consumers are still paying off debt they incurred during the 2010 Holiday season according to Consumer Reports. In spite of this, the 2011 Holiday season saw consumers once again reaching for their credit cards and piling on mountains of new credit card debt. Now that the Holiday season has passed, […]

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