Is it Time to Upgrade to a Travel Rewards Credit Card?

Thousands of affluent consumers are active travel hackers. This means they leverage free credit card signup rewards into free flights, discounted hotel stays, and other assorted perks.

The activity is far more prevalent in the United States, thanks to the ultra-competitive credit card market there. As Canada gets more competitive, credit card issuers are coming up with their own aggressive signup bonuses, although they tend to only be good enough for discounted airfare or a companion flight.

But just because Canada’s signup bonuses aren’t as generous as those in the United States doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of one.

When picking out a credit card, keep the following things in mind.

The annual fee is important, no matter how generous the rewards might seem. If you earn $100 in rewards but pay a $120 annual fee, you’re going backwards. You’ll go even further backwards if you’re forced to pay interest. Folks with credit card debt shouldn’t even consider maximizing rewards.

Customers also have to consider whether it’s worth changing cards. If you have a card with no annual fee that offers 1% cash back, you’ll have to crunch the numbers before ditching it for a travel card that offers 2% rewards but with an annual fee. Even if you end up ahead, it might not be worth it.

The bottom line is this. Travel credit cards can be a great tool for earning free trips. But before you commit, do the research and see if the card makes sense.