Home Credit Cards Maximize Travel Credits Using Premium Cards: What You Need to Know

Maximize Travel Credits Using Premium Cards: What You Need to Know

Get hundreds of dollars back on travel by using the right credit card.

SHARE
Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.

Most top-tier credit cards come with annual travel credits to help defray the annual fee. But, naturally, the amount of credit varies by card, as do the purchase restrictions. Moreover, the processes by which said credits are obtained range from simple and straightforward to headache-inducing. Here’s the fast scoop on the top travel credit opportunities in the industry and how to make sure credit’s received where credit’s due.

*BEST* U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Annual Travel Credit: $325 per cardmember year
Valid toward: Any purchase categorized as “travel” by the merchant. This includes the likes of airfare, airline fees, rental cars, hotels, taxis, ride shares, passenger trains, cruise line purchases, and most tour operator purchases (but not purchases on points.com).
When and How Will Credit Be Applied? Statement credits are automatically applied days after the charges are made, sometimes in one lump sum (versus line items), and maxing out at $325 per calendar year.
To Note: This card comes with a slew of travel benefits, and this one alone nearly offsets the annual fee’s entirety of $400. We love that the credit can be used for just about anything travel-related.  The credit is applied every cardmember year versus calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Annual Travel Credits: $300 per calendar year
Valid toward: Any purchase categorized as “travel” by the merchant. This includes the likes of airfare, airline fees, rental cars, hotels, taxis, ride shares, passenger trains, cruise line purchases, and most tour operator purchases (but not purchases on points.com).
When and How Will Credit Be Applied? Statement credits are automatically applied when the card is used for purchases in Chase’s general “travel” category, maxing out at $300 per calendar year. Credits post as purchases post.
To Note: This card also comes with a slew of travel benefits, and this travel credit alone largely offsets the annual fee of $450. We love that the credit can be used for just about anything travel-related and that the credits post at the same time as the charges—some cards impose a white-knuckled wait for the credit postings. The credit is applied every cardmember year versus calendar year.

Citi Prestige® Card

Annual Travel Credits: $250 per calendar year
Valid toward: Any purchase categorized as “air travel” by Citi and its merchants, including airfare, baggage fees, flight upgrades, lounge access, and select in-flight purchases (alcohol and food: yes; duty-free: no).
When and How Will Credit Be Applied? Statement credits are automatically applied, one to two billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged, maxing out at $250 per calendar year.
To Note: This credit, while generous, applies only to airline-related expenses and is more restrictive than the general travel credit of Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. However, it is far less restrictive than airline credit offered by The Platinum Card® from American Express. Our biggest complaint with the Citi Prestige air credit is the length of time it takes to post.


MasterCard® Gold Card™
Annual Travel Credits: $200 per calendar year
Valid toward: Any purchase categorized as “air travel” by Barclays Card and its merchants, including airfare, baggage fees, flight upgrades, lounge access, and select in-flight purchases (alcohol and food: yes; duty-free: no).
When and How Will Credit Be Applied? Statement credits are automatically applied, within two weeks after the qualifying purchase, maxing out at $200 per calendar year.
To Note: This credit, while generous, is $50 less than the Citi Prestige. Like the Prestige, it applies only to airline-related expenses and is more restrictive than the general travel credit of Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. However, it is far less restrictive than airline credit offered by The Platinum Card® from American Express.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual Travel Credits: $200 per calendar year
Valid toward: Incidental fees on one selected US-based airline per calendar year. These include baggage fees, in-flight meals, lounge access, and some change fees but NOT airfare, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, or costs relating to mileage award tickets.
When and How Will Credit Be Applied? This credit is not automatic; enrollment is required. The cardmember must select a qualifying airline through his or her benefits tab after logging in to www.americanxpress.com or can enroll directly here. Airline credits post two to four weeks after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged.
To Note: American Express was the first to introduce travel credits as a credit card perk. However, its system is a bit archaic for today’s savvy world, and actually getting the credits can be difficult and frustrating—there are many gray areas as to what constitutes “incidental fees,” as each airline categorizes minor purchases differently. So you are forced to monitor closely. On a positive note, American Express has recently introduced a monthly Uber travel credit for those paying for Uber using American Express Platinum, with a total of $200 in credits per year.

Other premium cards

MasterCard® Black Card™ offers an annual air travel credit of $100 per calendar year with the same rules as its sister Gold Card. Likewise, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers an annual incidental fee credit of $100 per calendar year with the same rules as its sister Platinum Card. Note that the following luxury credit cards DO NOT offer an annual travel credit: Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Gold Card from American Express, and MasterCard® Titanium Card™.

Didn’t get your travel credit? Here’s what to do

Credit card companies can’t necessarily control how merchants classify their transactions. Thus, there will be times that travel charges appear under categories other than “travel” or “air travel.” If you feel a valid charge was not credited within the credit card’s standard processing time, simply call the number on the back of your card and explain the situation. Ultimately, the credit card reserves the right to determine qualifying purchases, but, generally speaking, the cards will apply the credit.

From personal experience, a missing travel credit is most common with The Platinum Card® from American Express and Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Thankfully, American Express’ excellent customer service is willing to help. We’ve had to call American Express and chat with reps online to get credits applied, but, in the end, it gets done. Furthermore, it should be noted that after choosing an airline for a calendar year with American Express, you are technically locked in until January of the following year. (Pro tip: If you find you want to change your airline and have not used any of the credit for the year, call Membership Rewards and they will usually grant an exception and change your chosen airline.)

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.
SHARE
Previous articleFive Key Rules for Spending Airline Miles
Next articleAct Now for the 2017 JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic Challenge and Status Match
Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 125 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors.com, Palm Beach Illustrated, Private Clubs, and Robb Report.