Are Travel Credit Cards Worth It?

Are Travel credit cards worth it? it is a smart question and in this post I will talk about the rewards, and risk that come with a using travel credit cards.

I have a confession. This section of the course might be my favorite.

I am obsessed with travel credit cards. I use them to rack up hundreds of thousands of points that I then use to save thousands of dollars while traveling.

Is there anything sweeter than flying to the other side of the world for free!?

I don’t think so!

on a plane

I’ve used miles and points to get dozens of free flights. Just writing about it gets me as excited as a little kid in a candy store.

Why?

Is it because I like saving money? The excitement of playing the game? Or making my money work for me?

Yes, yes, and yes.

I am a huge believer in getting the most out of my money and travel credit cards are a fantastic tool to make your money go further.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “credit cards are bad!”.

I also thought this for a long time. But read the next couple post and it might change your mind.

Are Travel Credit Cards Worth It?

Are travel credit cards worth it

Yes, if you can handle the risk.

The biggest problem with travel credit cards is the same one that people have with any credit card. The temptation to spend money that you can’t afford too.

I follow a golden rule that has kept me out of debt.

Golden Rule: Never spend more than I can afford to pay back at the end of the month.

If you can’t follow that rule, you are better off staying away from travel credit cards.

However, if you are responsible enough, then get ready to reap some huge rewards.

Note: Most of these cards only work if you’re from the USA. I don’t know a lot about foreign travel credit cards, but I do know that the rewards are not nearly as good. (Though I’ve heard they are getting better in some countries like the U.K.)

So What are the Benefits of Travel Credit Cards?

Well,let me show you instead of just yammering on about it.

Travel Credit Cards Worth it

Take a look at the massive savings I have amassed in just the three months with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Yep, over $2,600 worth of travel with two cards in the last few months! And I’m not done; I have at least another 50,000 points ($900 worth of travel) coming in a couple of months.

Many travel credit cards come with out perks as well.

My favorite card in the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It gets me access to over 900 airports lounges around the world.

Gives me from Global Entry, or TSA PrCheck

Plus, a ton of other benefits.

Check out my full Chase Sapphire Reserve here.

That’s all my flights for over a year!

Or months worth of accommodation depending on where I am in the world! I got all this free travel for working the system and spending money I was going to spend anyway.

So How do Travel Credit Cards Work?

A lot of these credit cards like have huge mileage bonuses for hitting spending limits. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s bonus which is getting $1000 of points by spending $4,000 in the three months. (At the time of writing this email)

Now there are ways to spend the $4,000 without really spending it. This is by manufactured spending and travel hacking your way to the mileage bonuses.

We will talk more about travel hacking in a few days. However, the basic idea is to find a way to spend money on your credit card on things that you can then use to pay off your credit cards. So essentially your are getting hundreds of thousands of miles from next to nothing.

There is a never ending battle between credit cards companies to prevent travel hacking and mileage junkies like myself to find new ways to manufacture spending.

Credit Score

Most travel credit cards require you have good to excellent credit. If you are not sure of your credit score, there are some websites that will tell you your credit score for free.

Look at your credit score as trust. The higher your score, the more banks and credit card companies can trust you.

Just like in life gaining someone’s trust takes time and work. Credit cards are no different.

Building a credit score take times but there are some ways to speed up the process.

Quick Tips to Raise Your Credit Score

Identity Guard – Identity Guard is a service that helps protect you from identity theft. However, they all help you manage your credit and give suggestion on steps you can take to improve your credit score quickly. This is a paid service, but you can try the first month for $5 so try it out see what they say. use this link and get 30 days of Identity Guard free and learn how to improve your credit.

Pay Off the Balance Often – Another tip is to pay off your card every two weeks. It shows the companies you can be trusted. I did this for a few months, and my credit score skyrocketed and my limits increased.

For example, I was working towards a bonus on A. Every two weeks for I paid off card A. When I was approved for card A I had a $1,000 spending limit.

Three months later I applied for card B. Card B was a much harder credit card to get. It required outstanding credit. In mere moments I was approved for card B, and my spending limit was higher.

I would never dream of spending reaching a high spending limit on one credit card. If I had that kind of money to spend, I would open multiple cards to get more mileage bonuses. However, it is exciting to know I am gaining more trust which means I can get better cards.

Now there are many factors that go into your credit score and limit. But in my experience paying off your card every two weeks really helps!

Don’t apply for too many cards at once – Only apply for one card every few months.Credit companies can see how many cards you applied for recently and if you have applied for to many will deny you.

Don’t Have Any Credit?

Well, it is never to start late. Get a beginners card which won’t earn you miles but will stop helping you build credit. Then start paying it off every two weeks.

Also always follow the golden rule!

SO are travel credit cards worth it? I think yes but you will have to decided for yourself.

One Way Ticket vs Around the World Ticket

Let’s look at the major differences between buying a one-way ticket as you need them or an around the world ticket.

You might be asking yourself “Which ticket is smarter and right  option for me?”.

We will look at the pros and cons of both strategies, and by the end of the post, you will have a clear idea which ticket is perfect for you.

Before we jump into to the wealth of information about one-way ticket vs. RTW (Around the world ticket)  we need to clear up some confusion about surrounding these different types of tickets.

One Way Tickets

 

When I talk about buying One Way tickets as you need them what I am referring to is purchasing plane tickets to your next destination as you need them.  This means buying each ticket separately, usually 1-3 months in advance.

Buying One Way Tickets as you need them does have pros and cons. In some ways, it opens up options and grants you more freedom, and in other ways it restricts them.

Pros and Cons of One Way Tickets

Pros of One Way Tickets

  • You have more time to find better fare.
  • Can change destinations or plans if you wish.
  • Use budget airlines.                      
  • Backtrack around the world (more on that later) .

Cons of One Way Ticket

  • More work
  • Most tickets are not refundable, or you pay a hefty penalty to change dates.

Personally, this is my preferred method of buying airfare, and I will show you why a little later in the post. At the time of writing this, I have been traveling pretty much nonstop for 4 1/2 years.

For most of this time, I have bought one-way tickets as I need them.  This is my preferred method because it lets me choose the ticket I want when I find a price I like. It is a lot more work than an RTW ticket, but if it gives me freedom and saves me money, then I think it is worth it.

Websites I use to find cheap one way tickets.

Around the World Ticket

Around the World Ticket Route

The Other option is booking an RTW ticket with an airline alliance. This is booking multiple tickets at once. You make the ticket to all your destination and then the airline alliance gives you a bulk price.

In case you were wondering, an airline alliance is a group of airlines that work together. If you ever had a layover and your plane switched carriers or two airlines were combined into one flight carriers most likely, those two airlines were in the same airline alliance.

Let’s take a quick look at the three major airline alliances and the airlines in them.

Airline Alliance

Star Alliance

Airlines in Star Alliance

  • ADRIA Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Avianca in Brazil
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Airways
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS
  • TAP Portugal
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines

OneWorld

Airlines in Oneworld Alliance

  • Air Berlin
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines
  • TAM Airlines

Sky Team

Sky Team

Airlines in Sky Team

  • Airlines in Skyteam
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Garuda
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia
  • TAROM
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

Booking around the world ticket with a particular alliance will use a combination of airlines in one of this partnerships.  Is this better than buying one way ticket? Well, there pros and but there some cons to buying an RTW ticket.

Around the World Tickets

Pros of Around the World Tickets

Change dates – The airlines does a lot of the work for you. They even work with you to change dates and times on tickets.

Miles – Because all these airlines are connected you can rack up a lot of miles that can be transferred between airlines in the same alliance. These can them be used for future flights.  One way ticket means your earning little miles in each airline you’re flying with. You won’t rack up free flights quick.

Pay for all your flights at once.

Cons of RTW Tickets

You can’t change the route –  One you buy your RTW ticket the route is set in stone. Travel is about exploring and being free, so I like going where the wind takes me. When you can’t change the route, it severely limits your flexibility.

Start and end point have to be the same – Starting your RTW ticket in New York then you have to finish in New York.  If you are starting and ending in the place you live, that is fine. However, if you are doing some cross country traveling before your foreign adventures begin this is a massive problem.

Can only move one way – A huge disadvantage (for me anyway) of an RTW ticket. There is no backtracking allowed. For example, You can’t check out the UK, hop to a festival in Spain, and then fly to Scotland. There is no backtracking allowed. It limits the festivals and events you can go to across the world.

Can only use the airlines in the alliance (most don’t have budget airlines)

Website for Around the World Tickets

AirTreks

One Way Ticket vs Around the World Ticket

Which ticket is right for you?

Personally, I suggest one-way ticket as you go because you can backtrack, use budget airlines, and take detours from your original itinerary. But don’t take my word for it let’s look at an example.

For this example of a one way ticket vs around the world ticket I am going look up prices for the same route over a fourth month period. The route and dates I choose at random.

The route is New York – London – Berlin- Bangkok – Sydney – New York

When I enter this route into the around the world ticket finder I get quoted this price.

Around the World Ticket

Note: As the image says this is an estimated price. So the final price for the around the world ticket might be lower depending on the final days you select.

I was quoted $3,388 for 5 flights!  Which I think is crazy expensive.

Let’s see what happens when you look at one way tickets.

one way ticket

Looking up one way tickets to the same destinations over the same time period these are the lowest prices I found.

  • New York – London = $225
  • London – Berlin = $62
  • Berlin – Bangkok =  $352
  • Bangkok – Sydney = $175
  • Sydney – New York = $610

Grand Total: $1,424 (That price might rise a little because of baggage)

The one way ticket takes it in a landslide being $1,964 cheaper that the lowest around the world ticket price I was quoted.

It easy to see why I prefer the one way method.

However, if you have a set plan and are not confident in your ability to find cheap airfare then an RTW ticket is a good option to explore.

Another time an RTW Ticket might be perfect is if you’re sticking to a certain continent for an extended period,

Are RTW tickets cheaper than buying multiple one-way tickets? Personally, I don’t think so but in some cases might be. These are some key tips and tricks when wondering how to be a nomad that will help you get around the world cheap.

What do you think? Would you rather travel via one-way ticket or RTW tickets?

How to find the Best Travel Insurance

Before we dive into finding the best travel insurance we should talk about the importance of having it in the first place. There is a lot of debate among travelers like myself if insurance is worth it.  For a long time, I traveled without insurance, but after a few mishaps I quickly realized it was a huge mistake.

Is travel insurance worth it

This is a decision you have to make for yourself. However, read through and get informed and why I think it is important to travel with insurance.

On a couple of occasions during my travels, I’ve had to make hospital visits. The astronomical price of those visits quickly changed my mind about having travel insurance. Now I never travel without being insured.

Having insurance when traveling the world is just smart.  Here are a few reasons to have travel insurance.

First, it isn’t that expensive. Of course, price varies on your coverage, but  some of the best travel insurance for me averages around $100 a month. The great thing about travel insurance is that you can buy it for the allotted time you need it. I.E. if you are traveling for 5 days. 2 months, or 1 year you can buy an insurance plan to suit your needs.

Now it is tempting to think “If I get hurt on the road, I’ll just grab an insurance policy before heading to the hospital.” I know I thought this for a long time.  Sadly, this isn’t the case. Travel insurance has an allotted time before it kicks in.

Even if you buy the policy for the day you are hurt, it takes a minimum of 72 hours before the policy will cover anything.

For example, if you break your leg on Tuesday and buy insurance on that day you won’t be able to claim any hospital visit before Friday. So you will be writhing in pain for a few days while wasting your valuable travel time.

This makes it insanely important to buy the best travel insurance possible before leaving home.

What does the Best Travel Insurance cover?

Depending on the insurance you get it covers a lot of things including trip cancellations, luggage, and even medications.

  • Hospital Visit
  • Flight Delays Cancellations
  • Prepaid and Nonrefundable Tickets
  • Travel Medical Assistance
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Getting Home in a Medical Emergency
  • Lost or Stolen Luggage

A couple more reasons to consider insurance.

Some tours require that a person is insurance. This is to protect the tour company in case anything bad happens while on the tour.

Lastly, it is always smart to protect yourself when traveling. One of the things I love about travel is that it’s unpredictable

Is traveling with insurance worth it?

Personally, I think having travel insurance is just smart.

The Best Travel Insurance Companies

There are dozens of travel insurance companies out there. There are only two travel insurance companies I recommend using.

For the best travel insurance, I recommend using Roamright or World Nomads. I have used them both and can endorse them fully.

Let’s talk a little bit about each one.

Best Travel Insurance – WorldNomads.

Best Travel insurance companies

World Nomads is great insurance doing a lot of daring adventures. They have an policy that covers more riskier actives. I am not aware of any other travel insurance company that has an adventure insurance like world nomads. Travel giants like Lonely Planet recommend World Nomads.

 

Travel insurance: simple & flexible

You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from over 150 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

What Makes WorldNomads One of the Best Travel Insurance Companies?

  1. Trusted reliable underwriters
    WorldNomads.com is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
  2. Value for money with the cover you need
    WorldNomads.com provides cover for what’s important for travellers from over 150 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
  3. Flexibility when you need it most
    Had a change of plans? You can extend your policy or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
  4. Cover for a range of adventure activities
    From skiing & snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, WorldNomads.com covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
  5. World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
    All WorldNomads.com members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
  6. More than just great value travel insurance
    All WorldNomads.com members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.
  7. Commitment to exceptional customer service
    We want to make sure you get the most from WorldNomads.com. You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact WorldNomads.com directly.

Best Travel Insurance – Roam Right

best travel insurance companies

I like Roam Right because of the variety of insurance they offer.

They have a few different insruances to choose from which makes it easy to just get the travel insurance coverage that you need.

  • Travel health insurance – covers medical and other health needs.
  • Trip cancellation insurance – protects your trip luggage, and more.
  • Comprehensive plans – can combine cancellation and health insurance.

Another perk of RoamRight is that they have a A 24/7 access to an international call center.You can call when the worst go wrong and they will get your medical assistants right away. They will help with everything from lost luggage to broken legs. They are always ready and willing to help.

What makes Roam Right One of the Best Travel Insurance Companies

In a sentence – The sheer amount of coverage.

A few of the available coverage options include:

  • Trip Cancellation, with the possible option to upgrade to Cancel For Any Reason or Cancel For Work Reasons coverage
  • Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, and Missed Connection
  • Baggage Protection
  • Emergency Accident and Sickness
  • Evacuation and Repatriation of Mortal Remains
  • Hazardous Sports Coverage
  • Accidental Death and Dismembermen

Having the best travel insurance possible is vital to any trip. These are a couple companies I highly recommend checking out before you next trip.