Stop Falling In Love With Travel Credit Cards!!

I’m finally willing to admit I’ve had an irrational attachment to certain travel credit cards. You know, the cards that I’ve had for a while and kept paying the annual fee even though the benefits aren’t worth what the card cost me every year. I tried to rationalize why paying for the card made sense. My arguments were convincing but eventually I took a step back and gave a long and hard look at the money I was spending. I realized that I was giving way too much value to the “possible uses” for the card instead of looking at the actual value I was getting.

I give the credit card companies credit; they were able to make me think I was winning at this game. I had all these perks, got statement credits for expenses and my out of pocket cost whittled down to almost nothing. It’s like they were paying me to keep the card. Wait, I know that’s not true. No bank is going to pay you to keep a card for the long term. They’d eventually go out of business.

So how’d the person who is so proud of not being loyal to any airline, hotel or rental car company end up in a unhealthy relationship with some credit cards? Here are just a few of the traps that I fell into that lead to making irrational decisions.

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The Tale Of A One Night Stay Near Newark Airport

I’ve already shared the story of how I was able to fly to New Jersey for the night so I could attend my elementary school reunion. I also shared how I ended up picking a hotel so I could use the free night from Sharon’s Marriott Business credit card.

How was the hotel I booked with my free night certificate and would the room have been worth the $300 price they were charging for a night when I was staying there?

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What Credit Cards Provide Coverage For Luggage Delays?

There are plenty of travelers who will never check a bag. It’s too much of a hassle and they swear it’s possible to travel for 2 weeks with only a carry-on bag. Sharon and I are not those people. Besides the need to bring enough clothes for the trip, we also like to bring home souvenirs with us (like the 10 bags of Beaver Nuggets we brought home with us from Buc-ees in Texas on our last trip. But Sharon says she’s not obsessed with Buc-ee’s [Note from Sharon: I’m not.]).

Beaver.jpg

While it’s never pleasant, one of the inevitable problems of checking a bag is when that bag gets lost. I can remember at least two instances of our bag going missing during a trip. The first time, I was visiting my parents and all my clothes for the three day trip went missing. United found my bag and brought it to my parents’ house the afternoon before I was due to return home. Luckily, I had access to a washing machine and was able to wear some of my father’s clothes for the weekend.  The more recent time it happened, our bags went missing on Southwest on a trip to Texas. Since we were staying about a hour from the airport, we ended up sitting at the Austin Airport Hilton, wasting several hours waiting for the next flight to arrive, hopefully with our bags. While we got the bags back both times, it was a major inconvenience. Fortunately, many travel credit cards now offer some sort of baggage delay coverage that would allow you to get reimbursed for some of the necessities until your bags hopefully arrive.

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WDW’s “Just Kidding!,” Video of “The Unbookable Room,” & More!

Happy Sunday, travel friends! Here are some articles we’ve read this week from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.

When To Keep, Downgrade Or Cancel A Credit Card That Has An Annual Fee

When you have a credit card with an annual fee, you should evaluate every year whether or not the benefits of keeping the card are greater than the cost of keeping the card. This would seem to be an easy thing to do but there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. A card that has great value to one person may be useless to another and therefore when reading posts about if a card is worth it, remember that Your Mileage May Vary. 

So what should you think about when deciding if you should keep a card?

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