Travel Credit Cards

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When I was younger, I was taught that credit cards were bad.

When actually, it turns out that spending like an idiot is bad.
AND buying flights with cash/debit cards is the REAL way to spend like an idiot. 
 
Don’t spend $500-$1600 on a plane ticket and get nothing in return! 
Repeat after Me: Never pay cash for airplane tickets or hotels.
If travel is a part of your life now OR you want to go on the best trips for solo travelers next year – you need to apply for the best travel credit cards ASAP.
This isn’t clickbait. This is my true, honest, urgent advice for any person that wants to travel more and spend less. 
 
For example; if you buy a $500 plane ticket with American Express, you’ve now got 25,000 travel miles – which equals a free one-way ticket to Thailand or free hotels while on your trip. 
Get it?
 
Your spending directly converts to travel points. 
Besides travel points, these travel cards come with powerful travel benefits like this…
 
  • Airport Lounge Access around the World
  • TSA Pre-Check
  • Miles and Points Used for Free Flights
  • Free Hotel Upgrades
  • Business Class Upgrades on Flights
  • Insurance (Purchase Protection) on Gadgets
  • Coverage on Lost Baggage & Delayed Flights
  • $200 of Free Uber Credits

Ya’ll, I could keep going.

Let’s just get into it and I’ll show you how to travel like solo female traveler queen (or king, hey!).

This is how I travel every month for pennies. 

 

Best Travel Credit Cards

If you’re not cashing in on travel points when buying flights, staying at hotels, and eating at restaurants…you crazy.

Here are the credit cards I use every day AND for all of my solo female travel trips…

 

#1 – Chase Sapphire Preferred 

Best for Overall Travel, both Domestic and International, and for Everyday Spending

 

  • 2x points when used on flights, hotels, Uber, AirBnb, and restaurants
  • Trip Cancelation Coverage (weather, sickness and other causes)
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Purchase Protection Insurance on items purchased with your Chase card
  • Primary Rental Car built-in insurance
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus (that’s enough for a 1-way ticket to Asia) after spending $3k in the first 3 months

How Much: No sign-up fee and free for the first year. 

I use this card for everything in America, online, and abroad.

AND when I was in Indonesia, my phone was stolen at a bar. But because I bought my phone with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the full amount was totally covered and back in my bank account within a week.

Travel girls, take note from my situation: Solo trips for women require a safety net when things go wrong – and Chase Sapphire travel credit card acts as your safety net.

This is my referral link. When you use it, I get 15k points. Let me know if you do, so I can thank you!

 

#2 – American Express Platinum 

The Most Powerful Travel (and Every day) Credit Card Ever

 

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card

  • 5x points on flights and hotels
  • $200 in Uber Credits per year
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit per year (aka money back)
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • TSA Pre-Check / Global Entry
  • Airport Lounge Global Access with Priority Pass
  • Elite Status with Hilton and Marriott
  • Purchase Protection Insurance on gadgets purchased with this card
  • Trip Cancelation Coverage (weather, sickness and other causes)
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $5k in the first 3 months

How Much: $495 per year…BUT BEFORE YOU PASS realize that your $200 Uber Credit + $200 travel reimbursement takes that down to $95 per year…which is more than made up for with free alcohol & food in airport lounges and those 60,000 travel points.

This is my referral link for American Express. When you use it, I get 15k points. Let me know if you do, so I can thank you, again!

Note: AMEX is best used for flights, hotels, and all online tour bookings/shopping – but isn’t accepted in stores in Asia.


Best Travel Debit Card

#3 – Charles Schwab Brokerage Account

Did you know that foreign ATM fees can charge as much as $8 per transaction? You’re literally paying to withdraw your own money from your own account. And when dinner is $3…that shit don’t make no sense.

On top of that foreign ATM fee, your bank will likely charge you a fee for using an ATM other than your own.

That’s two fees and if you ask me….that is some bullshit.

But ya know what bank doesn’t charge you ATM fees? Charles Schwab.

They don’t charge ATM fees AND they reimburse you – every month – for the ATM fees that foreign ATMs charge.

 

I opened a Charles Schwab Checking Account in 2014 and I’ll never change.

Ps. When you open an account with this link, you get $100 deposited (free money) into your new account.

So, a Charles Schwab card gives you:

  • No ATM penalty fees abroad or at home
  • Reimbursement on foreign ATM fees
  • Official Visa-exchange rates when you withdraw cash abroad
  • Amazing coverage in case of fraud
  • Also, a built-in brokerage account for trading stocks and investing in EFTs (I’ll save this topic for another time)

Update: My credit card information was hacked while I was in Bali.

Charles Schwab came to my rescue with just one phone call. 

  • They put the money back into my account within days (even before the investigation was complete)
  • They sent me a new card TO BALI via FedEx Priority. 

Wells Fargo won’t do that. 


How to Use Travel Credit Cards

 

1. Spend with your Travel Credit Cards Every Day

These cards are a full replacement for your everyday credit cards.

  • Book your flight with these cards
  • Book your hotels with these cards
  • Pay at restaurants with these cards
  • Go shopping with these cards

Why?

  • Travel Credit Cards collect travel points when you spend on flights, hotels, Uber, restaurants, and more. These points add up for major travel benefits.
  • Travel Credit Cards come with purchase protection (example: I bought a phone with my travel card, it was stolen in Indonesia, and my travel credit card reimbursed me)
  • You don’t have to exchange/carry huge amounts of cash when you travel
  • And much, much more

2. Optimize your Travel Benefits

Once you get your card, it’s time to start setting up your rewards

AMEX and Chase Sapphire partner with different programs to give you discounts on spending like,

  • $200 Uber Credit
  • 5% back at Starbucks
  • Get $30 off at LuLus

You’ve got to remember to go online and sign-up for whichever deals you want!

Don’t forget to apply for TSA-Precheck, and order your Airport Lounge Pass!

 

Conclusion to the Best Travel Credit Cards and Debit Cards

Save money. Protect your electronics. Travel more comfortably. Travel Credit Card

If you plan to get on an airplane sometime in the next 5 years…start collecting those travel points on day-to-day purchases for some amazing travel opportunities.

Ps. Traveling with a lounge-access Priority Pass literally changes the entire trip from headache to play-time!

Thank you American Express Platinum for free Business Lounge Access.

 That’s it!

If you use my referral links, don’t forget to tell me so I can say thank you!


Safe Travels! And don’t forget to tag me in your travel photos on Instagram @SoloGirlsTravelGuide

 

***Disclaimer*** Every time you book through a link in this post, The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide gets a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support keeps this site alive! Xoxo


 

Alexa W

Alexa W

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About Me

Hi, friend. I’m Alexa! Female entrepreneur. Travel hacker. Expert packer. Author of the #1 travel guide for women. Living between Bali and Thailand – I teach women how to travel the world without sacrificing beauty or safety.

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