A credit card can be your worst nightmare or your best buddy. This depends on how you manage your finances. As a frequent traveler, I find it convenient to have a card so I consolidated the top 7 reasons why every traveler should have one.
1. Emergency Purposes
One major reason why I applied for a credit card is because you’ll never know when you’ll need it. It’s hard enough to run out of cash when you’re in the Philippines, how much more if you are in another country? You have nobody to turn to and the mere fact of communicating with people back home and sending the money abroad is a real pain. I remember when we were on our way home from Japan, we thought we could get through the check-in counter without turning over some of our “light” pasalubongs. We were wrong. We exceeded by almost 2 kilos and we did not even have baggage allowance. We did not have enough cash since it was not really part of the planned expenses and not even the allocation for incidental expenses was enough for it. I am pretty sure other travelers experienced worse and you don’t want to be in a situation like this.
2. Earn Miles
Choose a credit card that lets you earn points and eventually earn miles. I applied for a Premiermile Platinum credit card from Citibank. For me, it’s the best card for travelers. It’s also the card that lets you earn relatively bigger points, when you travel or book flights, that you can convert to air miles. More importantly,check if your bank is a partner of the airline you usually fly with. The Premiermile Platinum card can be converted to Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay Miles but not with Cebu Pacific’s Getgo. In general, these points can be used for accommodations, plane fares, and sometimes in purchasing items.
3. Promo Advantage
First, credit card companies offer a wide variety of promos. From travel to food to gadgets and home appliances, and sometimes the things that you really plan on buying can be one of them so why not avail the promo right? To keep you posted of the latest promos, you need to subscribe to their newsletter. Second, it’s the quickest way to book airline promos. It will save you time from going to ticketing offices and probably save you money from their administrative charges and other fees. Plus, plane fare promos will not last that long making the credit card the perfect tool in catching those elusive Piso Sale.
4. Advance Bookings
Having a credit card provides you with the convenience of booking things in advance and not having to pay for it, yet. This is vital when booking for accommodation since you need reservation prior to your arrival. You wouldn’t want to scout for a place to sleep right after your arrival, when you are already tired from your flight. What I am saying is that it is not for everyone. It may be convenient for backpackers but not to others. Yes there are other modes of payment but we are talking about convenience here. There are also times when you need to book your transportation in advance. Things like these make credit card really handy.
5. Payment Extension
Well, it’s called credit card because you need not pay your purchase right then and there. For travelers, this is important especially when it comes to budgeting your trip. One time, we underestimated our budget and just realized it was not enough if we still pay for the accommodation. What we did, we booked the accommodation 5 days before we left so we only need to pay for it a few days after we come back. Right in time when we already have the money for it.
6. Access to VIP Lounges and More
Before I applied for my credit card, I spent days finding the perfect one for me. That’s when I read about Citibank’s Premiermile Platinum card. I thought it was hard to get this platinum card but I did. Here’s why it’s perfect for me:
- Miles – The miles you earn with this card is higher than the average air miles you get when you convert credit card reward points to air miles. For Citibank rewards, I think 3 points = 1 mile. For this card, 1 point = 1 mile. Plus, these miles don’t expire.
- VIP lounges – You have access to VIP lounges when you travel abroad. For NAIA 3, you may enjoy the Sky View Lounge for free and you can also bring along 1 guest with you and that is if you both have flights abroad. Just present your card and they will charge 1 mile per visit. The Sky View Lounge is also used by Fly Emirates guests so what they enjoy you also enjoy. For partners outside of Manila, the primary cardholder is free to enjoy the comfort of Plaza Premium Lounges. Although, you need to pay a discounted amount when you bring a guest with you. I saw one in South Korea (Incheon), Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur (KLIA), Hong Kong and Singapore (Changi).
7. Travel Insurance
One of the best thing about having this card is you get to have a travel insurance for up to 20 million. You also get insurance for missed/delayed flight or lost luggage. Click here for more details.
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Again, having a credit card can be your worst nightmare or your best experience. You pretty well know what Spiderman said, right? Having a card entails a specific set of discipline and with this great power comes great responsibility in wielding it. So as a blog ender, here are some tips when using a credit card:
- When you swipe that card, make sure you have the money to pay for it. Swiping is not letting lose and buying everything in sight and not even thinking about paying it. Before swiping always and always ask your self if you have the money to pay for it. You delay the payment and that’s all there is to that but you still got to pay in time.
- Never miss a due date unpaid. Remember discipline? By all means, you need to pay for everything before the due date comes. In reality, it’s not the items bought that make people fall into a debt spiral, it’s when you’re pass the due and haven’t paid a thing and the bank charges you with lots and lots of finance charges and interests. That’s when you die of debt. This is the main reason why you never leave a month unpaid.
- Never give away your card information to anyone even to your bank. It’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for banks to ask you information over the phone for verification purposes but it will never ask you for information most especially your security code (the one at the back of your card). Never give away your information to anyone and be careful with taking pictures or having your card photocopied. Report the incident right away to your bank if you are uncertain.
- Use secure lines when purchasing online. Honestly, I only use my card when booking for a flight and making hotel reservations and that’s it. When you send information via unsecured lines, it’s when hackers get hold of this information and steal from you. Report right away to your bank.
This article is only based on my personal experience. Share to us your experience in the comment section below.