Types of travel cards
Travel credit cards are of two types, co-branded and generic. The former are launched by card issuers in collaboration with airlines, travel portals, railways, etc, and the benefits or rewards are linked to spending through this partner. On the other hand, generic travel cards provide additional benefits or accelerated rewards on travel-related spends, be it flight bookings or hotel stays.
How to pick the right card
Since there is a plethora of travel cards in the market, it is difficult and confusing to pick the right one. To do so, you must consider yours and your family’s specific travel requirements.
Start by considering the frequency of your travel, be it for pleasure or business, and if it is multiple times a year, look for a card that offers more number of airport lounge access options, domestic or international.
If you are travelling within the country, look for cards that tie up with domestic airlines like Air India, Vistara or IndiGo, so that you can avail of concierge services. If you indulge in domestic travel via trains, pick an IRCTC-linked travel card.
Similarly, if you are partial to a specific booking portal like Yatra or MakeMyTrip, opt for the cards that partner with these service providers. If, however, you do not mind using any airline, hotel or booking portal, go for generic cards that are not linked to any specific partner.
If you travel abroad more frequently, look for cards that have Star Alliance partners and provide greater access to airport lounges in foreign cities. Also, if you travel more frequently to the Middle East and prefer Etihad or Emirates, pick the card that partners with these airlines.
Another point to consider if you travel abroad frequently is the foreign currency mark-up fee, which is usually around 3.5% of the foreign currency transaction amount. However, some cards charge a lower amount of less than 2%, so you could consider such options.
Also important to consider is the number of reward points that accrue to you for your spends and if complimentary travel-related insurance is offered. For your ease, we have listed here 10 travel credit cards, both co-branded and generic, along with their features and benefits. These are cards that offer maximum value for money.
Though some have higher annual fee, they offer more number of reward points, lounge visits per year, high insurance cover or lower foreign currency mark-up. There are cards focusing on domestic and foreign travel, and others that combine a lot of benefits at nominal fee. So, pick the one that suits your requirements the most.