When You Shouldn’t Use Credit Cards to Get Travel Rewards

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We’ve all seen and heard the offers, on the airplanes, in the airports, and in magazines – sign up for a credit card, use it once, and get a free flight.  In fact, the last time I flew, sales people were actually saying, “Sign up here for a free flight” as a sales pitch!  It’s incredibly tempting, because who doesn’t want free travel perks, especially for doing something you already do (i.e., using your credit card).  So, what’s the catch?If you are someone who maintains a balance on your credit card, then don’t consider it, not for a minute, not at all.  These travel perk credit cards typically have a higher interest rate than other credit cards.  In addition, if you are someone who is trying to pay down your debt, it really is counterproductive to open another card.  In fact, you’ll notice these cards even offer additional incentives to transfer existing balances.  They offer those incentives because ultimately, the extra interest they earn on these higher balances more than pay for the incentives.Instead of paying high-interest rates in exchange for free tickets, consider paying off your balance quicker by finding a credit card with the lowest interest rate available, and then use your savings to purchase your own tickets.  You’ll be able to pick and choose your dates, and will have much more flexibility and less debt!If you don’t maintain a balance, these cards can actually be a good idea.  Next week, I’ll write about when you should use credit cards to get travel rewards.

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