What to Look for in a Travel Rewards Credit Card

I have a confession to make: I am terrible with credit cards. Let me clarify before my mother freaks out: I don’t carry a balance (thankfully those days are over) but what I mean is that considering how many credit cards are in my wallet (both business and personal) I have never really had a card that ‘works’ for me until recently.

I love to travel, and we have family that we visit in England, so some of my friends were surprised when I told them that I do not actually collect any travel rewards/points. So not clever, I know. Especially since travelling with two kids is expensive now that they are both over the age of two, so they pay full fare for airline tickets.

When American Express contacted me about their Gold Rewards Card I was actually a little excited. Who doesn’t like benefits and rewards? More importantly, who doesn’t like travelling with benefits and rewards from credit cards? No one I know.

I always think that it’s a great idea to collect some sort of reward but whenever I actually look them up online or pick up brochures at my bank, I start reading and my eyes start to cross. I start noticing the squirrels running around in my backyard, all the shiny things and once again it gets pushed to the bottom of my to do list… leaving me with no rewards for my credit card spending.

I am the girl who still has the credit card that my bank gave me when I was getting my student loans at the ripe old age of 18. This is true, and let me tell you that I don’t have any rewards with that one.

American Express Canada recently conducted a survey and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my credit card habits:

– 60% of Canadians admit to initially signing up for a credit card through their bank.

– Only 15% said they researched their options before signing up for a card.

– 27% say they don’t really understand their rewards programs.

– 11% feel confused of overwhelmed by all of the choices and options.

– Over half of consumers (57%) rank free or discounted travel as a preferred perk in a rewards program along with free products (66%) and cash back (79%).

The thing about finances is that while you can get a lot of information from your bank manager or financial advisor, the only one who can really accomplish anything is YOU. Consumers really need to examine their lifestyle and spending habits. What do you use your card for? What rewards and perks will benefit you and your family? It’s time to take a really close look at your wallet and figure out what credit card can really work for you. And it’s worth the time.

Enter the American Express Gold Rewards Card.

Right off the bat this card appeals to me because it has a welcome bonus of 25,000 points — which by the way, you can use to buy a flight almost anywhere in North America. Yay! You can earn double points on every day and travel spending. That means eligible groceries, gas, pharmacy and any travel including hotels, car rentals and last minute travel. You can also get a free supplementary card — all for the greater good of earning more points.

Once you’ve collected points you can use them on any type of travel (you can even cover your taxes) and you can book your trip any way you like. You can also transfer points one-to-one to a frequent flyer program of your choice like Aeroplan or Avios.

Apart from earning points that can be used anytime with no restrictions, this card also includes emergency medical, trip interruption, car rental theft and damage, lost or stolen baggage insurance benefits.

I love that I don’t need to go on an out of country vacation to use my rewards. If I’m lucky enough to get someone to babysit my kids overnight, I can use my points to book a hotel in my own city to get some alone time with my husband and obviously get some much-needed uninterrupted sleep…

It’s really not a benefit to anyone to just use the credit card that your bank offers you with your chequing account. We are lucky to have so many options available to us and we really should take advantage and benefit from that. It’s time to take your spending and rewards into your own hands and find a card that works for you and your lifestyle. I’m pretty sure that I have and I can’t wait to share my ‘rewards vacation’ pics with you all. I mean I love vacations, but you know what I love more? Vacations that I book with points collected from my every day spending.

Check out  http://bit.ly/1bhUjFo for a great twitter contest from American Express! All you have to do is answer a daily question on twitter, including the hashtag #WorldofYes and you could win a trip for two every week until December 23rd!


This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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