063: How to Choose the Best Travel Credit Card with Lee from Bald Thoughts

Hey, I'm Chris.

I'm a former Analyst, Podcaster, and Producer. My goal is to help you understand your finances better in about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn!

Our favorite travel guy, Lee from BaldThoughts.com, returns to help us find the best travel credit card.  Learn where to start, when an annual fee is worth it and Lee’s thoughts on cash back versus points credit cards.

If you want more travel hacking tips from Lee make sure you take a listen to episodes 048 and 049 to learn 5 Simple Steps to Help You Start Travel Hacking.

How Do I Get Started with Travel Hacking?

It can be difficult to begin your journey to find the right credit card.  A simple online search can return hundreds of results, many of which could be sponsored posts.  So the best place to start would be with a simple piece of paper and writing down what your travel goals are.

As Lee mentioned in his 5 Simple Steps to Help You Start Travel Hacking, focusing on the cards that will earn you rewards with the airlines and hotels that you enjoy the most is going to be the best place to start.  Because many of these cards will earn you status upgrades and free perks that will help you enjoy your favorite brands even more.

Is Paying the Credit Card Annual Fee Worth It?

As you may have noticed, many of the credit cards with the best rewards come with an annual fee.  Lee believes that some of these annual fees can be worth the cost if the perks are good enough. 

Lee gave an example of an annual free night stay that he receives each year with one of his favorite credit cards.  Yes the annual fee is around $80 a year, but the free nights stay could be worth in excess of $300.  He compares this to buying a Groupon in advance for a nice hotel stay.

Cash Back vs. Points Cards

Sometimes going with a credit card that gives out cash back instead of reward points is the way to go.  Lee mentioned that there are times when the cash price for certain items is a much better value than redeeming points.  So having cash vs. points would allow you to purchase your ticket or hotel stay in a much more economical way.

Also rewards programs are constantly changing and it isn’t uncommon for the points you’ve been accumulating to lose value over time as these companies decide to roll back benefits.  Lee suggests saving your cash back rewards in a special savings account as an alternative to holding on to points for long periods of time.

Bald Thoughts

Lee has set up a special page for Popcorn Finance listeners!  Visit BaldThoughts.com/popcorn for some more great info and resources to help guide you on your travel hacking journey.

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