Connect with us

Travel

Travel Credits Can Help Offset Annual Fees On Your Rewards Cards. Here’s How To Use Them

Published

on

Travel Credits Can Help Offset Annual Fees On Your Rewards Cards. Here’s How To Use Them

NextAdvisor Credit Cards Travel Credits Can Help Offset Annual Fees on Your Rewards Cards. Here’s How to Use Them

Advertiser Disclosure

Advertisement

Dashia Milden

Dashia Milden

Staff Writer

Advertisement

Dashia Milden is a staff reporter for NextAdvisor based in North Carolina. She has previously written for…

May 13, 2022 | 9 Min Read

Advertisement

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.

It’s no secret that some travel cards come with hefty annual fees. And if you don’t use the card enough, it can easily become another expense that’s not worth it. 

But these credit cards often include credits that you can use toward travel and everyday expenses to offset the annual fee. You can use this “free cash” on in-flight beverages, seat upgrades, baggage fees, and more. But it depends on the credits and making sure you use them before they expire.

“Use them. Don’t save them for later,” says Brian Sumers, Editor at Large for Skift, a travel website. “If you save them for later, you may forget or you may not travel.”

Advertisement

With rising costs and fewer discounts, your credits can be the golden ticket to upgrading your seat on your next flight or having lounge access for the first time. Here are our favorite travel credit cards that offer credits to help you save money despite the annual fee: 

Travel Cards That Offer Travel Credits 

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

American Express Platinum Card 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Intro offer:

    Earn 100,000 points

  • Annual fee:

    $695

  • Regular APR:

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Advertisement

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Valuable welcome offer
  • Tiered rewards structure
  • No foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees)
  • Travel perks including lounge access and airline fee credits

Cons

  • Very high annual fee
  • Relatively high APR
  • Not great for rewards outside travel categories

The Bottom Line

From high-earning travel rewards categories to cash credits that can offset the cost of your next vacation, the Platinum Card from American Express has a long list of benefits. Just make sure you can take advantage of them to make the high $695 annual fee worth your while.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month) on eligible purchases and subscriptions with: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ membership credit
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card
  • $179 annual statement credit for a Clear membership
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash to use on rides or Uber Eats in the U.S. annually ($15 per month and a bonus $20 in December), plus Uber VIP access
  • $300 in annual statement credits (up to $25 per month) on eligible Equinox memberships or a digital subscriptions to Equinox+, an on-demand fitness app
  • Up to $100 in annual statement credits toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com (up to $50 every 6 months, per calendar year)
  • Access to American Express Global Lounge Collection including Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs (when flying same-day Delta Air Lines flights)
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts program, plus credits and benefits during your stay, including $100 credit towards eligible onsite activities
  • Hilton Honors Gold elite status enrollment
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status enrollment
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • American Express preferred seating and presale access

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of our top travel card picks. It has a steep $695 annual fee, but it can be worthwhile for frequent travelers, who can gain access to luxury perks and everyday savings. The card offers nearly $1,400 in credits. 

You’ll get a $200 annual airline fee credit to use toward baggage fees, seat upgrades, and other flight expenses. The Platinum card also comes with $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, but it requires a minimum two-night stay and you have to pay with your card. 

Advertisement

There are also a few credits you can use for everyday expenses, including a $155 annual Walmart+ membership credit, up to $240 in digital entertainment credits on eligible purchases (up to $20 per month), and $200 in Uber Cash to use for rides or Uber Eats ($15 per month and a bonus of $20 in December). 

For other leisure activities, you’ll get $300 in annual statement credits on eligible Equinox memberships or a digital subscription to Equinox+, and a $100 annual statement credit toward Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com (up to $50 every six months, per calendar year). 

If you have several upcoming trips, the card can help you earn points to save money on your next travel expense, and give you credits to maximize your Platinum Card’s value whether you’re home or traveling. 

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card 

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Advertisement
  • Intro offer:

    50,000 points

  • Annual fee:

    $95

  • Regular APR:

    16.24% – 23.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Card comes with a $95 annual fee, and offers $200 in travel credits. You’ll get a $100 annual travel statement credit that can be used toward flight upgrades, baggage fees, and other travel expenses. You’ll also get a $100 credit for Global Entry and TSA Precheck membership. Even though this card doesn’t offer as many credits as other premium travel cards, you’ll still get more value in credits than the annual fee. 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Advertisement
  • Intro offer:

    75,000 miles

  • Annual fee:

    $395

  • Regular APR:

    17.24% – 24.24% (Variable)

  • Recommended credit score:

    740-850 (Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Exceptional rewards for travel purchases
  • Lower annual fee than many premium travel credit cards
  • Flexible rewards redemption options, including transfers to airlines and hotels

Cons

  • Must book travel through Capital One to earn the best rewards rate
  • High APR
  • Not as valuable for those who only travel occasionally

The Bottom Line

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has a generous sign-up bonus and competitive rewards rates. Plus, there are plenty of premium perks for frequent travelers like airport lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and up to $300 annually in statement credits for booking through Capital One Travel. The card’s $395 annual fee is high, but not as costly as some other premium travel card options.

Advertisement

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $300 annually in statement credits for travel booked through Capital One Travel
  • 10,000 anniversary bonus miles each year, starting your first anniversary
  • Cell phone protection worth up to $800 when your phone is stolen or damaged*
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Access to Capital One airport lounges
  • Travel protections including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, lost luggage reimbursement, primary rental car coverage, and more

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a new travel credit card with a $395 annual fee. But you’ll get $500 in travel credits to offset the yearly charge. The card also offers $300 in annual travel credits for purchases made with Capital One Travel. And for the first year, you’ll get $200 in credits to use toward eligible vacation rentals with Airbnb, Turnkey, Vacasa, and VRBO. 

Few cards offer credits that can be redeemed toward Airbnbs or vacation rentals, so if you prefer this kind of lodging over hotels, this card could come in handy instead of choosing a card that offers a hotel credit instead. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Intro offer:

    50,000 points

  • Annual fee:

    $550

  • Regular APR:

    17.24% – 24.24% Variable

  • Recommended credit score:

    740-850 (Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Advertisement

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • $300 travel credit and other added benefits
  • 50% points value boost when redeemed for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Metal card

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • High APR
  • Not a great choice if you travel infrequently

The Bottom Line

Luxe benefits and valuable points redemptions draw many people to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, despite its steep $550 annual fee. But if you travel often and your spending aligns with high-value rewards categories, the Reserve’s benefits can outweigh even the high cost of ownership.

Additional Card Details

  • 50% redemption boost on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or eligible statement credits via Pay Yourself Back
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Up to $100 credit every four years toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee
  • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select membership
  • 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash subscription through 12/31/24
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card carries a $550 annual fee. But if you’re a fan of luxury travel, the perks and travel credits can be worth it. The card comes with a $300 travel credit and a $100 credit toward TSA PreCheck/Global Entry. Plus, you’ll get a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership through Dec. 31, 2024. 

If you don’t think you’ll use the credits or travel enough to maximize this credit card, you may consider its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It still comes with travel perks and rewards, but has a lower annual fee. 

Citi Prestige Card

Citi Prestige® Credit Card

Advertisement
  • Intro offer:

    50,000 points

  • Annual fee:

    $495

  • Regular APR:

    16.99% – 23.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness*

  • Recommended credit score:

    740-850 (Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn 5 points per $1 on Air travel. Earn 5 points per $1 on Restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 on Hotels. Earn 3 points per $1 on Cruise Lines. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with a $495 annual fee, but you’ll get $350 in travel credits within your first year.

The card comes with a $250 travel credit annually, and up to $100 toward Global Entry and TSA PreCheck every five years. It’s an ideal card for frequent fliers who enjoy upgrading seats, lounge access, or avoiding baggage fees to save more money on each flight.

Advertisement

And when you book four consecutive nights at a hotel through ThankYou.com, you’ll get the fourth night free. You can use this perk two times each year. This credit can extend your vacation an extra day without paying extra for a hotel stay. 

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card 

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Intro offer:

    100,000 points

  • Annual fee:

    $450

  • Regular APR:

    15.99%-24.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit score:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Rewards rate:

Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

Advertisement

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros

  • Generous welcome offer and rewards on Marriott purchases
  • Value of added benefits and credits can far exceed the annual fee
  • Qualify for automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Comes with travel insurance and purchase protections

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • High APR
  • Marriott award nights use dynamic pricing, so redemption value can vary depending on your travel plans
  • Rewards aren’t that flexible

The Bottom Line

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Credit Card is a luxury hotel credit card with high value perks for regular travelers and fans of the hotel chain. While it does require a $450 annual fee, frequent travelers can surpass the cost with major benefits, which include a $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, a free night award each card renewal month (up to 50,000 points), automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and more.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit annually
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit when you book an eligible stay of two nights or longer at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties
  • Free night award each card renewal month (worth up to 50,000 points)
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • Automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership
  • Eligible for Amex Offers
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protection and extended warranties on eligible items

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a solid choice for loyal Marriott members. It has a $495 annual fee and comes with a few credits to save money on hotel stays. You’ll get up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credits annually. Plus, there’s a $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit when you book an eligible stay of at least two nights at The Ritz Carlton or St. Regis properties. The Marriott Bonvoy Brillant card also gives a free night award credit each account anniversary. 

As a cardholder, you’ll automatically be upgraded to Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, but the card also comes with 15 elite night credits each calendar year to earn a higher rewards status and get more benefits. Aside from Marriott benefits, you’ll also get a $100 fee credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck every four years. 

How to Maximize Your Travel Credits 

Yes, travel credits can save money on your next vacation, but the big question is how much? 

Advertisement

Most travel credit card credits can range from $50 to $300, depending on the credit card, credit, and its conditions. And with airline and hotel prices on the rise this summer and a travel credit can come in handy.

“Certainly, you can offset some of those increases by using your credits that you have on your travel credit card,” Sumers adds. 

You can use the credit for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or you can cut the costs on an annual vacation. You may choose to pay less out of pocket by redeeming your travel credit to cover in-flight movies for your kids or seat-changing fees. Travel credits can also be used to upgrade your trip with a luxury perk such as a lounge access pass, a hotel stay upgrade, or a spa day — depending on your credit card’s rules. 

Pro Tip

Pay attention to the terms and limits of your travel card’s credits. Some cards may only offer a credit, like the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, once every four years. Other times, you may only get the credit for your first year as a new cardholder.

Advertisement

How you use your travel credits will depend on your trip itinerary and your travel preferences. For instance, you could use your travel credit to upgrade to first class, or you could use it toward baggage fees if your credit card doesn’t offer free checked bags.

“If you have a credit, I like to put things on there that you can’t use points to book,” says Lyn Mettler, travel journalist and founder of Families Fly Free, a travel program for families. “I will save credits for things like an Airbnb or vacation rental because you can’t book those in points.”

Keep in mind your credit card issuer may have limitations on what you can use your travel credits toward. For instance, the Amex Platinum Card’s travel credit can only be used toward Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection if you prepay. You won’t earn rewards when redeeming your travel credit, and you may forfeit any amount that you don’t use when you redeem it. 

Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your travel credits, too. If you need to change or cancel your trip, you may lose your travel credit. Oftentimes, if you book with points and you have to cancel, the points are refunded to your account. But that’s not always the case with travel credits. 

Advertisement

“If you use your travel credit to book a nonrefundable hotel or a flight that you can’t change, then you’re stuck,” says Mettler. 

If you’re booking a trip in advance, you may choose to save your travel credit for when you’re on your trip to be on the safe side if you need to change or cancel your trip due to an unforeseen circumstance. 

What to Know Before Getting a Travel Card 

A travel credit card definitely has its benefits: namely rewards and luxury perks. But the credit card’s value really depends on your lifestyle and spending habits. 

Before you get a travel card, look at the card’s fees, rewards, perks, and credits before applying. If you’re not a frequent traveler or you don’t plan to use the travel credits to maximize the card’s value, you will likely be better off choose another card that aligns with your lifestyle and spending habits. 

Advertisement

A travel card can be a way to cut costs on flights, hotels, and attractions, but be careful to avoid just chasing rewards for your next trip, since the value of rewards can be quickly wiped out if you aren’t able to pay your balance off in full and on time each month. If you don’t travel often or use the perks, a card with an annual fee may not be worth it. A good cash back card might be a better choice, with rewards on everyday spending and even some travel perks depending on the card. And cash back cards typically don’t have an annual fee to weigh rewards and benefits against. 

For instance, the Platinum Card has nearly $1,400 worth of credits to use toward flights, hotels, and everyday spending. But the card has a $695 annual fee. If you don’t plan to use the majority of the credits, you may choose a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred with its $95 annual fee, to still get a $50 hotel credit and redeem your points for travel at a boosted rate to save money on your next trip. 

But if you’re a frequent traveler that has 5-6 trips planned within the next year, you may choose to get a new card to take advantage of the welcome bonus, credits, and earn rewards to redeem for trips planned for next year. 

“If you want a few hundred dollars off of travel, just get a cash back card,” Sumers adds. “But if you can rack up these points and use them in the future for free or discounted travel, that’s another place you’re getting the value.” 

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

association

Seaside Resort In Slovenia Promotes Itself With NFTs

Published

on

Seaside Resort In Slovenia Promotes Itself With NFTs

The tourism organization in Portorož, a summer resort on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia, has decided to promote the destination using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The project represents the digital component of this year’s campaign to attract visitors to the region.

Tourists in Portorož to Collect NFTs and Win Prizes

Shortly after the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) issued a “sLOVEnia NFT” last month, Portorož, in the southwestern municipality of Piran, has now become the country’s first resort with its own non-fungible tokens. The main goal of the initiative is to showcase the two coastal towns as progressive, digital, and sustainable destinations, local media reported.

Advertisement

“The door to the metaverse is opening, which will be a new market for future generations,” Alexander Valentin, director of the Portorož Tourist Association, has been quoted as stating during a presentation devoted to the innovations in Portorož.

The new “destination NFTs” are meant to win visitors’ loyalty. Tourists will be able to collect three tokens from three different collections, when they perform three activities: participate in a prize game, subscribe to a newsletter, and share a sticker on Instagram with the resort’s @portorozpiran account. 100 NFTs are available in each collection.

On April 20, Slovenia launched a campaign under the “We Are Here” banner in the country and six other nations — Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It is aimed at spreading the country’s presence as a travel destination to more markets. Nine tourist service providers are participating and more are expected to join, the Primorske Novice news outlet reported.

Besides entering the crypto world through the NFT initiative, Portorož and Piran are also increasing their promotional activities on social media. The towns have recently joined the short-form video platform Tiktok, the publication revealed.

Advertisement

In recent years, the small, bitcoin-friendly nation of Slovenia established itself as a leader in crypto adoption in Southeast Europe. Thousands of cafés, restaurants, hotels, hair salons, and sports facilities across the country accept various cryptocurrencies. Last fall, the authorities in Ljubljana opened public consultations on a draft law regulating crypto taxation.

Tags in this story

association, board, Crypto, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, initiative, Metaverse, nft, NFTs, Piran, Portorož, Promotion, resort, seaside, slovenia, Slovenian, summer, Tokens, Tourism, tourist, travel

Do you expect other resorts in Slovenia and the region to issue NFTs for promotional purposes? Tell us in the comments section below.

Advertisement
Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending