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May 3, 2013

How credit cards can help pay for summer travel

(Continued)

Other cards, like the Capital OneVenture Card, can provide long-term value. It offers the miles equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases as long as you redeem them for travel-related purchases.

Also in that category, the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express offers 6% cash back on groceries, 3% on gas and department store purchases, and 1% on everything else, making it a great card for everyday spending as well as road trips. It carries a $75 annual fee but you get a $150 initial rewards bonus for spending at least $1,000 during the first three months.

If you think that you might need several months to pay for your summer vacation, putting everything on a 0% interest card might save some money. Among the most attractive cards in this category, Papadimitriou says, is the Slate Card from Chase. Transferring existing debt to this card before using it to pay for your trip offers two distinct advantages. There's no balance transfer fee and it comes with a 15-month interest-free introductory period.

“I’m a big fan of the Island Approach, which entails using a different credit card for different types of transactions in order to amass the best possible collection of terms, but that’s certainly not for everyone,” Papadimitriou said. “Many consumers instead value the simplicity of having a single credit card in their wallets. But if you go that route, getting the right card for your needs becomes even more important. In other words, you should only get a rewards card if you always pay your bill in full and a travel rewards card if you embark on numerous trips each year.”

Another bit of advice if you are traveling outside the U.S. Papadimitriou says always pay your bill in the native currency. Most foreign businesses will let you pay for credit card purchases in dollars, but usually charge a fee to do the conversion.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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