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For any frequent traveler, it’s a good idea to have at least one credit card that comes with travel benefits. Depending on the card, you may receive valuable benefits such as:
Even if you already have one credit card with travel benefits, you may not have considered the value of having more than one card. So, if you’re wondering, “Should I get multiple credit cards for travel?” Or, “Is it bad to have more than one credit card?” We’ll answer these questions — and more — in this article.
What are travel cards?
Travel credit cards are cards that include travel benefits. Some examples are credit cards that are co-branded with an airline or hotel, such as the United℠ Explorer Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Card, and cards that come with added travel benefits such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Examples of benefits you can get with travel credit cards
Travel credit cards usually come with a number of valuable benefits for cardholders, which can vary dramatically from card-to-card. Below are examples of some of the benefits:
An annual discounted companion ticket.
First checked bag free for you and six guests traveling on the same Alaska flight reservation.
One free weekend rewards night.
Hilton Honors Diamond status.
An annual $250 airline fee credit.
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
A $50 annual hotel stay credit.
The ability to transfer your points to several hotel and airline partners, such as United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Emirates.
» Learn more: How travel credit cards work
The benefits of having more than one travel credit card
When you have more than one travel card, you can take advantage of the benefits each one offers to get the most out of your trips. Using the three travel credit cards outlined above, here is an example of how you can manage all the benefits in a single trip.
Let’s say you want to travel from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a weekend getaway with your partner. For this trip, you decide to book a flight on Alaska Airlines so that you can take advantage of the annual Companion Fare benefit from your Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card, which you earned with the welcome bonus: Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) and get 40,000 bonus miles with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Although you would be flying Alaska and could book the flight with your Alaska credit card, you’d be better off paying for both flights with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In this way, you can take advantage of the card's trip insurance — which provides protection in case your flight is delayed or canceled. You can also take advantage of the rental insurance that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you book a car on your trip.
On your trip, you can use the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in a few ways. Even if you don’t want to stay at a Hilton, you can take advantage of the $250 annual airline credit by using the card to purchase in-flight food or even pay for an upgrade from the main cabin to a premium seat. Terms apply. As a Diamond member, suppose you decided to stay at a Hilton on your trip, such as the Hilton Los Cabos or the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. In that case, you would be able to take advantage of free daily breakfast and space-available upgrades. Depending on the hotel, you could also receive a $100 on-property credit or a $250 resort credit.
As you can see from the above example, by having three travel credit cards, you could receive several valuable benefits by taking advantage of the unique perks that each card offers.
» Learn more: Are travel credit cards worth it?
Is it bad to have more than one credit card?
While the answer may vary depending on your particular financial situation, we believe that it’s a good idea for most consumers to have more than one credit card. In addition, having more than one credit card can help improve your credit score — provided that you keep a low balance on your cards.
On top of the potential help to your credit score, having more than one credit card can help in a few other ways. For example, you can take advantage of unique benefits offered by each card and have an alternate way to pay on credit if there’s a problem with one of your cards — which can sometimes happen when you’re traveling.
» Learn more: The beginner’s guide to travel credit cards
The bottom line
As long as you are aware of the benefits your credit cards carry and plan strategically to take advantage of those perks, there is significant value in having more than one travel credit card.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card