Getting a travel credit card
If you are a frequent traveller, it can be a money-smart idea to consider signing up for a good travel credit card.
In fact, even if you are a “sometimes” traveller; getting a low-cost travel card (that is, with waived annual fees) with easy-to-earn, air miles-convertible rewards, can be incredibly beneficial when you travel.
This is because you can use your card for everyday expenses to earn points that can be converted for travel expenses like hotels and accommodations!
Sound good? Here are more reasons why it makes sense to seek out a worthy travel credit card:
1. Complimentary travel insurance
Getting complimentary insurance on your credit card can help you save quite a bit of cash, especially if you travel often.
However, not all credit cards offer this benefit; in fact, it’s often reserved for premium or travel cards.
If your card does offer complimentary travel insurance; coverage is generally automatic when you pay for airfare with the card. How convenient!
Note: The level of coverage differs with cards, so do consult with your provider when planning for trips.
2. Low foreign transaction rates
Travel credit cards with low foreign transaction fees can often be the cheapest and most convenient way to pay for things when you are overseas.
In general, paying with a credit card overseas can hold off costs related to conventional methods of payment like traveller’s cheques, ATM withdrawals, and debit cards.
It can also limit the costs of holding excess foreign currency at the end of your trip (i.e. repeated exchange fees) and moreover, might even offer a lower exchange rate. BigPay is one of the new initiatives you can consider exploring.
Also, if there is high cashback offered by your travel card for overseas swipes; you can contra this with your card’s foreign transaction charges.
This way, you’ll enjoy the security and convenience of a credit card without having to pay more.
3. Higher loyalty points earned overseas
A good travel credit card will often offer higher reward points (multiplied) when you spend in a foreign currency or with overseas merchants.
This sometimes extends even to purchases made online from Malaysia to foreign merchants.
With a perk like this, you can easily rack up your loyalty points and make redemptions for freebies, discounts, and the like at a faster rate.
Of course, even though it may be easier to earn points, do check that your travel card is linked to a strong rewards programme as well.
Other reasons to get a travel credit card
A good travel credit card will help make your trips more cost-friendly, convenient, and in some ways, safer too.
For instance, travel credit cards can save you more money by offering discounts and promotions that make sense for travellers.
Offers from important players like airlines, hotels, restaurants, car rental dealers, major retailers, and tourist attraction sites can help you stretch your travel money.
It should also provide emergency assistance and concierge services to make your trips more convenient and safer.
Thus, for these reasons and more, do consider getting a travel credit card to enjoy the perks and benefits that come with.
However, since there are loads of cards to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice.
Check out our recommendations for travel credit cards in the next section:
Top 3 recommended credit cards for travel in 2019
1. Citi PremierMiles Card
This card is packed with travel goodies, let’s go through them!
For starters, eligible cardholders will receive travel inconvenience coverage when they pay for airfare with this card.
Coverage includes protection for flight delays, baggage delays, loss and damage, missed connections, and trip cancelations.
The complimentary insurance also provides protection for Personal Accidents with coverage of up to RM300,000.
Plus, there’s theft coverage of up to RM500, if your wallet gets snatched or robbed while you are on vacation.
There’s also coverage for burglary to your home while you are away, overseas medical coverage up to RM50,000, compassionate visits, and emergency medical evacuation.
If you are a frequent traveller, you might appreciate the unlimited complimentary access to the exclusive KLIA Plaza Premium lounges (with conditions) at selected airports.
In addition, you can also take advantage of the free ride service to your home from KLIA1, if you’ve used your card to spend overseas.
When it comes to rewards, this card makes it easy to earn with travel-related spending.
For instance, you can earn two (2) Citi PremierMiles for every RM3 spent online on air tickets from airline websites such as AirAsia.com, CathayPacific.com, MalaysiaAirlines.com, and SingaporeAir.com.
You can earn the same number of PremierMiles for hotel accommodation from sites like Agoda.com, Airbnb.com, Expedia.com, and Traveloka.com.
These PremierMiles can be converted to Air Miles of major frequent flyer programmes such as MAS Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and British Airways Executive Club.
You’ll also earn PremierMiles for local swipes at a rate of 1 for every RM3 spent on eligible purchases.
There is an annual fee of RM600 for this card, but you can consider it somewhat offset with the 10,000 bonus PremierMiles you’ll receive when you pay the annual fee each year.
2. Standard Chartered Platinum
Let’s start with the fact that this card offers an annual fee waiver for life!
Next, its eligibility is much more inclusive; those with lower minimum income of just RM24,000 per year can apply too!
But of course, that’s not all!
This card also offers five times more rewards points when you spend overseas, making it a fantastic travel credit card or first-time credit card.
Note that the multiplier also applies to local dining and department store swipes.
In addition, you can earn up to 5,000 bonus points with a minimum spend of just RM1,500 per month; this is open to both principal and supplementary cardholders.
Plus, there are one-for-one offers for dining every day and many more promos across Malaysia and Asia.
However, the downside to this card is that it doesn’t come with complimentary travel insurance or Takaful.
3. HSBC Premier World
This card offers complimentary travel insurance or Takaful coverage (up to RM750, 000), airport lounge access, high cashback, and an incredibly worthwhile rewards program!
So it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best travel cards to hold!
Moreover, you can fire up your rewards earnings for travel expenses, as basic reward points for overseas and hotel dining swipes will be multiplied by ten!
Airline tickets, accommodation, and dining at local hotels, as well as spending at over 30 malls nationwide can earn you up to five times the reward points.
And as mentioned, the HSBC Premier Rewards programme is a valuable one of which to be a part.
You can rack up points quickly and use them to redeem high-quality, name-brand items like Samsung, Canon, Jimmy Choo, Breville, Tefal, De’Longhi, Phillips, and more!
But apart from the impressive rewards privileges, there are incredible cashback offers available too!
New users who sign up from now till 31st December 2018 are eligible for cashback of up to RM250 (with conditions)!
Even existing primary and supplementary cardholders may receive cashback up to RM100 and RM50 respectively, for eligible spending with their credit cards.
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