Memorial Day beckons as the official kick-off to the summer travel season, but your AVPS blog correspondents already have one child flying back from college for the break, and we’ve booked an interestingly complicated itinerary for a summer flight of our own. So travel season, it appears, is here.
We like to take an annual look at travel-related credit card news in this space, to see what’s new, and what’s changed, since last time summer rolled around (though with weather becoming so unpredictable, you’re forgiven if you’ve lost track of the seasons a little…)
This spring, stories are popping up on “best” cards to use when traveling, and we thought we’d compare and contrast them here for your own ease-of-use!
The L.A. Times recently picked up an article from CardHub on the best kind of plastic to have while traveling. “Topping the list,” they noted, “ are the Capital One Venture Card, Blue Cash Preferred from American Express,” and one other that might provide a whole new spin on what we mean by “travel,” the PenFed
Platinum Rewards Card issued by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Among the criteria used for picking good travel cards, were “getting free or low currency exchange rates when abroad, free rental-car insurance coverage and reward bonuses earned for dollars spent.” But the article notes that if don’t intend to pay off your travel budget in full upon your return, you may be better off wit
h a 0% card in your backpack, instead.
As for that Pentagon card? It’s not that you can use it with greater ease in places like Afghanistan, but rather it’s “open to all who qualify and operates on a point system that allows you to redeem points for credit at 1% rate of what you spend.” And no annual fee, though there might be a modest membership charge.
The other card round-up appeared in The Aging Diva’s online travel column, notes some other practicalities, like the “Capital One credit card, which doesn’t charge a fee when you use the card outside the U.S.”
Said Diva also talked about other card practicalities, besides just fees. We’ve written about EMV security chips here before, which are prevalent in Europe, but not yet widespread here in the U.S. The column quotes one expert’s observation that “more and more places in Europe can’t process our cards. Some cards have both a magnetic card and an EMV chip. It’s a nice feature to have,” and suggests you might opt for an “EMV-enabled”card, should you have one, before hitting the tarmac.
Of course, from the merchant side, be sure you’re ready for summer by offering your customers the incentives they’ll need to buy from you, whether you sell to them on the road, or help get them ready for the trip.
Also make sure you take all kinds of payments, and if you’re the kind of business that will be visited this summer, make sure you’re ready for all kinds of cards, from UnionPay to the local bank’s debit card (and E-Checks, too!) when customers are ready to spend! And if you have any questions, your AVPS Rep is standing by! (By which we don’t mean: At the airport waiting for a flight!)