How to Really Budget for a Staycation

Just because you're staying at or near home doesn't mean you won't accidentally overspend. Here's how to avoid digging a fiscal hole.

Whether you’re dreaming of an hour-long massage or lazy days lounging under the summer sun, you’ll want to budget wisely for your staycation. After all, you’ve worked hard for this well-deserved treat, and the last thing you want is for your savings account to plummet just when you’ve begun to relax. (Overspending can also tank your credit. You can see how your spending is impacting your credit by viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

To avoid a staggering credit card bill, here’s how to budget for your staycation, no matter what you’ve got in mind.

Be Realistic 

A whimsical tour through New York City, with stops on Broadway, in SoHo and at Bloomingdale’s, probably isn’t in the cards on a waiter’s budget. Be realistic and do your research so you have a solid idea of what you can afford.

Draft a Budget

Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you won’t spend money. So it’s a good idea to figure out how much you can comfortably set aside after you’ve covered your monthly expenses. Is it $500? $1,000? More? Whatever it is, remember monthly payments like rent and utilities are a necessity, while your staycation budget isn’t.

Make a Plan 

More than anything, the secret to drafting a great budget is knowing what it will cover. If you’re planning to play tourist, checking out concerts and staying nearby, research those individual costs and factor them into your budget. Go online, see what’s exciting and make a list of what you’d like to do. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can decide what makes the most sense based on your budget.

Set a Daily Cash Allowance 

Once you’ve narrowed down how much money you can spend, it can be helpful to set a daily allowance for meals, snacks and planned-out activities. Experts recommend inflating the number just a bit to account for unforeseen costs like impulse purchases and emergencies. As your staycation draws closer and your plans change, rework your budget accordingly. (As an aside, now might be a good time to see how you’re doing on the emergency savings front. Here are some ways to build a bigger cash cushion now.)

Get Creative 

Sometimes, meeting your vacation goals takes a bit of creativity. To that end, find ways to cut back your regular spending, even if you haven’t given it much thought before. Holding off on those lattes or 3 p.m. snacks may just be the thing that allows you to visit the fancy restaurant you’ve been dying to try.

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5 Hotels Where Pets Get Treated Like Royalty

Who says Fido can't get the royal treatment while you're on vacation?

Vacations are often a family affair, but we typically leave our pets at home. While they’re stuck in a kennel or with a sitter at home, we’re off in Tahiti, cocktail in hand, living the good life.

Why not let Fido or Whiskers in on the fun? A number of hotels have warmed up to the idea of hosting pets, and some turn on the charm to make the stay worth your while. Here are five hotels that will treat your pet like royalty.

1. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Chicago

This boutique hotel, housed in a former hat factory, hosts nightly wine hours and pet-friendly accommodations for which the Kimpton chain is known. There’s no limit to the number of pets you can bring, and no additional charge or deposit. You’ll also receive a sweet selection of plush pet-bed loaners, along with food, water bowls and mats. Ask the concierge for their list of pet-friendly restaurants, groomers and parks.

2. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

What’s better than a portable pet cabana? A “Dog Butler” who takes your four-legged buddy out for daily walks on the beach, gives massages and leads “doga” classes (We won’t make a downward dog joke. We won’t. No, we won’t). With your butler around, you’ll never have to think about waking up early or leaving a meal, and if you want to host a birthday party — for your pet, that is — your butler can arrange that, too. Be sure to set aside $60 per stay (not night) and note the pet weight limit is 40 pounds.

3. Loews Coronado Bay, San Diego 

This dreamy resort gifts your fluff ball with her own pet tag, bowl and a treat. She’ll also receive information on local dog walking routes, area services and a room service menu just for her. While Whiskers gets acquainted with the local Cali catnip, phone down for a litter box (with litter) and a scratch pole. Pet-sitting and walking services are also on offer.

4. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Starting at $849 per night, you and Fido get a personal welcome by the doorman, followed by a VIP (that’s Very Important Pooch) greeting and registration at the front desk. Along with a Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco pet tag, you’ll receive an in-room dog bowl and dining room menu, pet toy, framed bed and Pooch Pack complete with a list of dog-related activities for fun in the city.

5. W Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona

As part of the luxe chain’s Paws Are Welcome program, dogs receive their own pet bed and treat. Sign them up for the dog walking service so you’re sure to clock in more pool time. W charges $100 as a one-time fee or $25 per day.

Save on Your Next Vacation 

Ready to hit the cabana with Fido? Make sure you’ve got a plan for your spending. Rewards credit cards are a great way to pay for vacations, just be sure to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest. You can check out our roundup of the best travel cards here.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, make sure you’re able to qualify. If you’re not sure where your credit stands, you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

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5 Credit Cards for Cost-Conscious Travelers

These low-cost cards won’t gouge you and serve as a handy travel companion.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

There’s a lot of buzz anytime a credit card company launches a new premium travel credit card. But these cards often charge annual fees of $400 or more for the privilege of accessing their benefits. (You can read more about these types of cards here.) For occasional or budget travelers who want a cost-conscious card, these high annual fees just aren’t realistic. Luckily, there are plenty of low-cost cards that won’t gouge you and serve as a great travel companion.

The way we see it, cards for the budget-conscious traveler need to meet a few requirements. Foreign transactions should be free, there should be no annual fee and the card should have some additional travel perks or incentives. With that in mind, check out our picks.

1. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% on purchases for 12 months, then variable 15.74% to 23.74%

Signup Bonus: 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

Why We Picked It: This card earns points that can help travelers get to more destinations and comes with a nice signup bonus.

Benefits: Every dollar spent on purchases earns 1.5 points that can be redeemed toward flights, hotels, cruises and other travel expenses. The signup bonus alone is worth $200 in travel credits. Bank of America customers get an extra 10% in points for every purchase.

Drawbacks: If you don’t have a Bank of America account, you won’t get the full earnings potential.

2. Discover it Miles

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

APR: 0% on purchases for 14 months, then variable 11.74% to 23.74%

Signup Bonus: Discover will match all the miles you earn at the end of your first year.

Why We Picked It: This card racks up miles for travel, and Discover will match all earned miles after your first year. Plus, there’s flexibility to use it as a travel or cash back card.

Benefits: This card earns 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on purchases, and miles can be used to book travel with no blackout dates. Cardholders even have the option to use it as a cash back card, as you don’t lose any value when redeeming for cash. Discover’s matching offer means your first year earns double the miles. You’ll also get up to $30 of in-flight Wi-Fi credits per year.

Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait until the end of your first year to get your match bonus, while many card bonuses process after three months.

3. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

APR: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, then variable 12.74% to 22.74%

Signup Bonus: 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Why We Picked It: This card comes with a signup bonus, decent mileage return and additional perks that come standard with premium travel cards.

Benefits: The card earns 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases, and miles can be used to book travel through any website or app. Cardholders can earn a nice signup bonus worth $200. Additional travel benefits include free 24-hour concierge services and upgrades at hotels.

Drawbacks: According to Capital One, this card requires excellent credit, so you may not be able to qualify if your credit isn’t up to par. (Not sure? You can find out by taking a look at two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

4. JetBlue Card

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

APR: Variable 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%, based on creditworthiness

Signup Bonus: 5,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

Why We Picked It: Loyal JetBlue customers and anyone looking for a solid airline card can appreciate this card’s rewards.

Benefits: Cardholders earn three points per dollar with JetBlue, two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores and one point per dollar elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for any seat on JetBlue flights, with no blackout dates. You’ll also save 50% on in-flight food and drink purchases. If you fly frequently, or even occasionally, with JetBlue, this card could be worth it.

Drawbacks: You’re essentially locked into JetBlue’s program since the points aren’t transferable to other airlines.

5. USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

APR: Variable 12.65% to 26.65%, or 4% during military deployment

Signup Bonus: None

Why We Picked It: This card is a great cash back option for military members and their families, and also provides some key travel benefits.

Benefits: USAA membership is available to active and former military members, their families, cadets or midshipmen. This card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It also includes concierge services, rental car insurance and emergency travel assistance. If you have good credit, you can qualify for a low interest rate.

Drawbacks: This card is limited to USAA members.

Choosing the Right Budget Travel Card

The right budget travel card has benefits that match your spending habits. While it’s a given that you want no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, card benefits can differ. The best cards will earn points, miles or cash back on the types of purchases you tend to make.

You’ll also want to pick a card that fits your lifestyle. If you travel infrequently but want a budget travel card just in case, you may be better off with a card that can be redeemed for travel or cash back. (You can take a look at some of the best cash back cards here.) You’ll also want a card that can help you get to your desired destination. So, for example, if JetBlue doesn’t fly to your destinations of choice, that airline’s credit card won’t be appropriate.

If you’re gunning for a signup bonus, make sure you can meet the requirements. If you can’t afford the needed spending amount, it may be better to shoot for a smaller bonus with modest requirements rather than stretch your budget trying to pass a spending threshold. After all, carrying a balance means you’ll probably lose out on the perks thanks to interest fees.

At publishing time, the Capital One VentureOne rewards card, Discover it Miles, USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature and JetBlue Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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The College Grad’s Guide to Backpacking in Europe

So you've decided to backpack through Europe now that you're all done with college. But are you versed in the ways of European travel?

So you’ve decided to backpack through Europe now that you’re done with college. But are you versed in the ways of European trains? Or know how to find the best hostels? Unless you’ve done it before, you’re going to need a little guidance. It’s a lot to navigate, but never fear. We’re here for you with our ultimate guide to backpacking around Europe, particularly on a graduate’s budget.

Before You Go 

Arrange Your Cell Plan

Should you ditch your phone or bring it along? Give your provider a call to find out if they offer any affordable international plans, and if not, consider doing away with the service while you’re abroad. You can always opt for prepaid calling cards, which can be purchased at most supermarkets.

Apply or Renew Your Passport 

Apply early for a new passport or renew your old one. According to the U.S. Department of State, your passport should be valid for at least six months after you return home and have at least two blank pages, otherwise certain countries may deny entry.

Call Your Bank & Credit Card Issuers

To prevent your debit and credit cards from being frozen while you’re abroad — something issuers do as a security measure if they suspect foul play — give them a call to let them know your plans. Be sure to store their contact information in a safe place in case your cards are lost or stolen. (Here’s what to do if you lose your credit card.)

Consider Opening a Travel Rewards Card 

Travel rewards cards can be a boon to frequent travelers, especially those overseas. You’ll save on foreign transaction fees and earn miles or points for purchases like rail passes, hostels and flights. Just remember to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest or debt. Here are our picks for the best travel cards of 2017.

Do Your Homework

Always read up on the countries you’re visiting. Find out about visa requirements, local laws, customs and medical care. Likewise, stay informed of travel warnings or alerts for your destination. The website of the U.S. embassy or consulate is helpful, as are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The latter can help you determine if you need to get vaccinations and take other health precautions before your trip.

Leave Valuables at Home

Most European countries are safe, but it pays to use common sense. In certain big cities, pickpockets are rampant, and petty criminals won’t hesitate to take advantage of ignorant travelers. To that end, leave anything you care about at home.

Draft a Budget 

The key to backpacking through Europe is doing it cheaply, and for that, you’ll need a budget. Some travelers prefer to set daily spending limits, while others set aside a lump sum they monitor closely. Think ahead to determine what might work for you, and consider downloading an app to help with the process. Expense trackers like Trail Wallet (available on the App Store), can take the guesswork out of jotting down daily purchases.

Download a Currency Converter App

A currency converter that works offline will prove indispensable when making purchases. It’ll also help you stay on budget. XE Currency offers free versions of its Apple and Google apps with live proprietary exchange rates.

Get Insured

Wherever you’re traveling in Europe, be sure you have health insurance. If your U.S. health care plan won’t cover you overseas, you may want to buy supplemental insurance. As the U.S. Department of State notes, foreign hospitals often require cash payments, and emergency medical evacuation can cost $100,000.

Make Photocopies of Travel Documents

The U.S. Department of State recommends making two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. It’s best to leave one with a trusted friend or relative and keep the other on hand as backup.

Pack Light

Why pay for baggage fees, especially if you’ll buy souvenirs along the way? Also keep in mind you’ll be moving around a lot, so don’t add to your load.

Plan in Advance

As a veteran backpacker who made her way from “The Land of Moutarde” (Dijon) to the South of France, I can’t recommend this enough. Book tickets for things like Vatican City well in advance so you spend less time stressing and more time enjoying the trip.

Purchase a Guidebook

Yes, it’s cliché, but travel guidebooks are useful for their maps, recommendations and general know-how. For those who can’t remember whether to tip 10% or 15%, your guidebook has got you.

Share Your Itinerary

Your plan may be to have no plan at all, but friends and relatives should have some idea where you are. Give them a sense of your plans in case of emergency.

Getting Around

Avoid Tourist Scams …

Nothing ruins a trip faster than getting scammed. To avoid pickpocketers, be wary of crowds that attract lots of tourists and always keep an eye on your bag or purse. Don’t set something on the ground and forget about it — that’s a recipe for the old snatch and run. It’s also a good idea to lock your zippers and keep your wallet in your front pocket (never the back, which pickpocketers love).

… And Money Scams 

Some restaurants have two menus, one with normal prices and another that charges more. Other restaurants won’t advertise prices at all, and in both cases you should go elsewhere. This rule applies to those who offer to change money on the street or taxi drivers who make unsolicited recommendations (where they may get commission for luring a victim).

Always Pay With Cash or Credit

From ATM skimmers to illegally cloned cards, Europe is a hotbed of high-tech identity theft. Credit fraud is easier to contest (and credit provides more protections) while cash can easily be replaced. Here are some other ways to make yourself less vulnerable to fraud.

Befriend the Locals

Be selective, of course, but don’t hesitate to chat up locals. Chances are they’ll know the best sights to see and be able to provide a better sense of an attraction than any book could.

Consider a Rail Pass 

If you plan to visit a cluster of countries or stay somewhere particular, a rail pass, which offers reduced or free fares on certain transportation services like trains, can be a worthy investment. Be sure to research your options, as you don’t want to risk overpaying for a pass you don’t use.

Keep a Journal 

This will help you keep track of all sorts of info, from addresses to directions and phone numbers.

Stay in Hostels 

Not only are they are great for meeting like-minded backpackers, they cost next to nothing and are often where you want to be. Matthew Ma, co-founder of the travel deals site, The Flight Deal, recommends checking sites like hostelworld.com — “Think of them as the Kayak for hostels,” he says — and Booking.com.

Take Lots of Photos

Stonehenge! The Louvre! The Alps! The wine! Document everything, and relish the moments. Just be careful of where you post it online; identity thieves love nothing more than knowing your whereabouts. (Think you’ve been the victim of identity theft? You can check for signs by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

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Premium Plastic Wars: U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex’s Platinum

U.S. Bank's new travel card may make you think twice about applying for Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum cards.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

U.S. Bank just launched a new premium travel card that joins the league of travel cards with big rewards and high annual fees. Available only to U.S. Bank customers, the Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite is for frequent travelers with disposable income who want spending incentives.

The Altitude Reserve’s design puts it in direct competition with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (see review here) and the Platinum Card from American Express (see review here). So how does the Altitude Reserve measure up to these premium kingpins? Here’s a closer look.

Earning & Redeeming Points

Each card rewards points for spending, but comes with its quirks. The Altitude Reserve earns three points for every dollar on travel purchases, including those made with mobile wallets. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. Right now, U.S. Bank is offering 50,000 bonus points (up to a $750 value) when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns three points for every dollar on travel and dining, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Right now, Chase is offering 50,000 bonus points (up to a $750 value) when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

The Platinum Card earns five points for every dollar on flights booked directly or through American Express and eligible hotels booked through Amextravel.com. You’ll get one point for every dollar on all other purchases. American Express is offering 60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Each card offers a variety of ways to redeem points, including gift cards, travel and merchandise. Chase and U.S. Bank reserve the most valuable redemption options for travel purchases.

Travel Credits

Each card credits $85 to your TSA Pre-Check application or $100 to your Global Entry application. Beyond that, travel credits vary. The Altitude Reserve offers $325 in automatic statement credits when you make qualifying purchases on airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises and taxis. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an annual $300 statement credit for similar purchases. The Platinum Card provides up to $200 in annual Uber savings and a $200 airline fee credit.

Other Travel Benefits

Each card touts a wealth of additional benefits, including airline, car rental and hotel perks.

The Altitude Reserve provides 12 Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes each year and a 12-month Priority Pass Select membership; members must pay $27 for subsequent visits. They’ll also receive a 15% discount and a one-time $30 credit at GroundLink Black Car Service. The card provides complimentary breakfast at Relais & Châteaux Boutique Luxury Hotels.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership after a one-time activation. Cardholders will also receive perks like free Wi-Fi at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.

The Platinum Card offers benefits at more than 975 properties worldwide. These include late checkout, free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Cardholders also have access to more than 1,000 airport lounges, room upgrades and car-rental privileges.

Each card offers its own concierge and protections, including car rental and trip cancellation insurance.

Annual Fees

The Altitude Reserve carries a $400 annual fee and its APR is a variable 16.49%. You’ll also need to be a U.S. Bank customer, although you can apply for the card 35 days after opening an account. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $450 and a variable APR between 16.74% and 23.74%. The Platinum Card has an annual fee of $550. It has no APR, as it’s a charge card that requires members to pay their balance in full every month. None of these cards charge foreign transaction fees.

Should I Apply for One of These Travel Cards?

These cards are intended for frequent travelers with disposable income and require good-to-excellent credit. (You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) If that’s not you, you should look elsewhere. You’ll also need to be comfortable with paying a $400-plus annual fee.

If you’re in the market for a premium travel card and are a U.S. Bank customer, the Altitude Reserve is an attractive option. If you’re not a U.S. Bank customer and have no need for another loan or bank account, another card may be better.

Remember, points that reward your spending habits offer the most value. For instance, the Altitude Reserve offers three points for mobile wallet purchases, but if you don’t use a mobile wallet, you may be better off with a card that rewards other types of transactions.

As the travel credits can earn back a good deal of the annual fee, you’ll want a card with travel credits you can fully exploit. If you don’t use services like Uber or incur many airline fees, American Express’ Platinum Card may not be the best option, even though its annual credits offer the greatest monetary value.

You’ll also want to look at the additional benefits that come with each card and decide if you’ll use them. Apply for the card that rewards your lifestyle and spending habits, rather than chasing benefits with the most monetary value.

Keep in mind, too, a rewards credit card, premium or otherwise, is only truly rewarding if you pay your balances off in full. Otherwise, you’re just losing perks to interest. If you’re prone to carrying a balance, you’re better off looking into a low-interest or balance transfer credit card. You can find some of a list of some of the best balance transfer credit cards right here.

At publishing time, the Platinum card from American Express is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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6 Hotels Worth Visiting Just for the Shops

Here are six excellent shops worth a stop on your travels, including one based on a children's book.

Today’s gift shop hawks more than cheap toothpaste and forgettable postcards. Thanks to boutique hotels and upscale chains, everything from kimono robes to portable speakers are now up for grabs. We’ve rounded up six gift shops worth a stop on your travels, based on research and recommendations.

Hotel San José Store at Hotel San José, Austin, Texas

No trip to the live music capital would be complete without a South by Southwest onesie or a leather Baggu backpack roomy enough to fit your iPad Mini. You’ll find all this and more at the well-edited housewares shop — just make sure not to go over budget.

Madison Hall at Chicago Athletic Association, Chicago 

Take a trip back in time to the jazz-fueled 1930s, when Aesop skincare, Tatine candles and Monocle Magazine were all the rage. Oh wait, that’s today? Never mind, you’ll still find what you need — and don’t need — at this stylish extension of the Roman + Williams hotel.

Ballymaloe Shop at Ballymaloe House, Shangarry, Cork, Ireland 

Turns out Shangarry, once home of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, is a great place to stock up on bakeware. And kitchen utensils. And Irish cookbooks. After rolling out of bed from the Ballymaloe House next door, you can literally spend the day kitting out your kitchen in Celtic style. Who would blame you?

Drake General Store at The Drake, Toronto

Drake aptly bills itself as “a classic general store, a flea market stand and a museum shop all rolled into one,” where you’ll find practical and not-so-sensible gifts. Local goodies like Nicolas Vahe cake mix and Bata sneakers are tempting, but save your cash for the colorful Kreafunk headphones.

Eloise Shop at The Plaza, New York 

Little girls — and little girls at heart — will be delighted by The Plaza’s pink-and-black homage to its most famous resident. Cool your heels in the living room or stage an impromptu costume party in the fashion room. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy this glimpse into the world of author Kay Thompson’s heroine.

Thornwillow Press at The St. Regis, New York 

If your idea of a perfect weekend is thumbing through books in a wood-paneled library, hightail it to the “cognac room” off the St. Regis hotel’s lobby. There you’ll find the stately ambience of Thornwillow Press, where the selection of paper, ink and gilt are enough to make this writer’s eyes water. As you’d expect, all their printing is done at an old-fashioned factory.

Save on Your Next Trip 

Planning a trip to New York to visit Eloise? You should probably make a plan to save on your travels. Rewards cards are a great way to do it, and they can help you nab some freebies — hello, first class — if you swipe them wisely. Before you hit the tarmac, take time to check out our helpful roundups of the best airline miles cards and cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re likely to qualify. You can do that right here on Credit.com, where you’ll get two of your credit scores for free.

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What Airbnb’s Hotel Tax Means for Guests & Hosts

Here's what to expect, how to avoid problems and how to keep the tax man happy.

The summer travel season is nearly upon us and if you’re a fan of staying with Airbnb hosts instead of hotels, you probably already know some locations charge some or all of the same taxes that hotels charge.

If you don’t already know that, surprise! The number of locations charging taxes for that spare room or whole house is only growing. Beginning May 1, Texas will join 30 other states where taxes are charged at either the local or state level or a combination of both.

Clearly, there’s a financial benefit for the communities levying these taxes. The Dallas Morning News estimates Airbnb would’ve remitted an estimated $8 million in Texas state taxes in 2016. However, it’s not the states and cities that initiated the effort. For that, you can thank the hotel industry, which has been lobbying hard for the taxes.

Why?

“Airbnb has brought hotel pricing down in many places during holidays, conventions and other big events when room rates should be at their highest and the industry generates a significant portion of its profits,” Vijay Dandapani, chief executive of the Hotel Association of New York City, told The New York Times in a recent article.

While Airbnb has said on its website it is happy to collect its fair share of taxes, there’s clearly some negative feelings about how it’s all gone down.

“The hotel hypocrisy is almost unbelievable,” Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, said in an email. “The hotel cartel wanted Airbnb to collect taxes and when we implemented a way to do so, they changed their position and lobbied cities to leave millions of dollars on the table.”

The continuing fight has led to a variety of tax schemes across states and municipalities, creating a confusing landscape for hosts and guests.

What It Means for Airbnb Hosts & Guests

For Hosts

If you’re considering becoming a host, be aware that the taxes present some confusion for some people renting out their spaces.

The reasons are numerous and varied. To start, no one really likes paying taxes. But additional layers of frustration can come with the Airbnb taxes. They can be levied and remitted in different ways depending on the tax laws in particular states or municipalities and Airbnb’s agreement with those entities. Then there are the host’s options of how to charge guests once taxes are implemented. Many hosts get confused when it comes to collecting the tax, where to note it on the listing and the bookkeeping process.

Jeff Cook, who owns several properties in Pennsylvania, said sales and use taxes were already in place when he started hosting with Airbnb several years ago. “The biggest issue here is that many people weren’t paying it simply because they didn’t think they had to,” he said. “I paid it from the get-go, because I wanted my business to be legitimate.”

But it wasn’t easy. Cook’s price for guests bakes in the 6% state and 3% local tax, so he doesn’t note it on his site and doesn’t have to worry about asking for local taxes when guests arrive. His revenue is submitted to Airbnb, but then it gets a little complicated.

Airbnb removes their 9% fee and sends him the remainder, he said. “And then I have to figure out what the tax amounts are independently. If something could be done better … perhaps if they distinguished between the tax and the regular revenue that would be helpful. The lump sum is sent to me, I figure out what the correct tax amounts are, and then I submit a return and payment to the appropriate authorities.”

Laura Jesse, a host in San Antonio, said she’s ambivalent about the tax that begins in Texas next week. “I live near projects that were funded in part with the [state’s occupancy] tax,” she said. “I get a fair amount of convention business as I live near downtown, etc.”

As for raising her rates to offset the taxes, Jesse said she has no plans to do so at this time.

Of course, taxes aren’t the only costs Airbnb hosts face. Check out a few others. But the spare money can still help you do things like pay off debt (you can see how your debt affects your credit with a credit report snapshot on Credit.com). It’s also good to keep in mind that many of the expenses involved with renting out your space are tax-deductible. See which ones you can write off here.

For Guests

Taxes mean your stays are probably costing more – anywhere from 3% to 15% depending on locale and host. On top of that, the process can become confusing depending on how the host applies those taxes to your bill.

Airbnb addresses how that can be done on its Airbnb Citizen site, but there are no clear-cut guidelines available, so many hosts are left scratching their heads and conferring with other hosts on how they alert guests and even charge them.

Airbnb offers guidance thusly:

“If you determine that you need to collect tax, you can usually either add it within a Special Offer or ask your guests to pay it in person. In each case, it’s important that guests are informed of the exact tax amount prior to booking. If you choose to collect tax outside of your listing’s rates, please note that it should be collected only upon arrival and that we are unable to assist with collection.”

So, if your host suddenly asks you to hand over a little cash to cover the taxes, it’s probably not a scam. As Airbnb explains on its site, “this needs to be clearly stated on the listing prior to booking.” So, if the host can’t show you where that’s stated, you should be wary.

Hopefully, however, most hosts will bake in the taxes like Cook does, and you will see only a price increase at your favorite Airbnb homes. (Travel often? These travel rewards credit cards could be right for you.)

“I think separating taxes as a line item [on guest bills] would help clarify the issue for people,” Cook said. “I’m a big supporter of Airbnb. I think they are an awesome company, and as they evolve and grow, distinguishing tax through line items would be beneficial to everyone.”

Image: PeopleImages

The post What Airbnb’s Hotel Tax Means for Guests & Hosts appeared first on Credit.com.

5 New Hyatt Hotels You Can Visit in 2017 for Free

These five Hyatt Hotels are brand new and waiting for you to visit!

If you have been trying to figure out your next vacation destination, it’s understandable that you might be a little overwhelmed. There are so many amazing places around the world to experience.

If you prefer to stay at Hyatt hotels, we put together a list of five new properties, in highly sought-after locations, that you can visit with your points in 2017.

1. Park Hyatt Bangkok

If you are thinking about heading to Asia, then a great option would be Thailand and the much-anticipated Park Hyatt Bangkok. This property was originally scheduled to open a few years ago, but delays set it back. Now it will officially open in May 2017.

This hotel is located in the upscale Lumpini district in the embassy complex. In addition to over 200 rooms, it will also have a sprawling rooftop area called the Penthouse Bar and Grill. This will include a restaurant and a speakeasy bar. You will also find a fine dining restaurant and lounge on the main level.

This will be a category 5 property, costing 20,000 points per night.

2. Hyatt House Chelsea

Heading to New York City this summer? How about a stay at the Hyatt House Chelsea? This hotel is located just blocks away from Madison Square Garden, plus it’s within walking distance of the Chelsea Garment District. To make your stay a little more comfortable, you can choose from either standard studio hotel rooms or residential suites with kitchens. This is perfect if you are planning a longer extended vacation.

The Hyatt House Chelsea is a category 5 property, requiring 20,000 points per night.

3. Hyatt Regency Cartagena

For a long time, Colombia was tarnished by the image of drugs and criminal activity. Today, most of the problems have been eliminated and the country is turning into a hotspot for tourism.

One of the most popular draws to Colombia beyond Bogotá is Cartagena. This coastal city is rich with history and amazing food. It’s also home to the brand-new Hyatt Regency Cartegena, the first Hyatt property in Colombia. It’s located right by the beach and easily accessible to Categena’s Old Town.

The Hyatt Regency Cartagena is a category 2 property, requiring just 8,000 points per night.

4. Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

If you are planning a getaway for some golf and a spa day, then a great destination is the Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa, in Arizona. Guest rooms have a bungalow feel to them, plus you will be able to enjoy one of the three different pools or the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary. But the best part is the property’s mountain backdrop.

The Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa is a category 5 property, requiring 20,000 points per night.

5. Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach 

If a Hawaii vacation is calling your name, then make sure you make a stop at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. This is the latest addition to the Hyatt Centric brand, located right on Waikiki Beach. After a long hike up Diamond Head Trail, you can come back and relax by the pool in one of the private cabanas.

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is a category 5 property, requiring 20,000 points per night.

Earning Free Nights With Hyatt

One of the best ways for someone to earn points and eventually free nights with Hyatt is through the Hyatt Credit Card. When you sign up you will receive two free nights at any property worldwide after spending $2,000 in the first three months. If you choose to add an authorized user to your account, you will receive 5,000 points after they make their first purchases within three months. (You can learn more about the ins and outs of adding an authorized user here.)

When using this card for purchases at Hyatt hotels, you will receive three points. You will also receive two points at restaurants and on airfare booked directly through the airlines. All other purchases will receive one point.

This card does come with an annual fee of $75, but you will receive a free night at any category 1 to 4 property on your anniversary. (Not sure if the fee is worth it? Check out our guide to annual fees to help you decide.) Plus, if you are planning to visit one of the international destinations we mentioned, there are no foreign transaction fees.

Remember, before applying for this or any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to confirm that you qualify. You can get your two free credit reports, updated every 14 days, right here on Credit.com.

Want more hotel stay hacks? Check out our hacks for free nights at Marriott hotels.

Image: andresr

 

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7 Perfect Jobs to Stoke Your Wanderlust

If exploring the world is a priority for you, consider these seven jobs that pay you to travel.

The average American only gets 10 vacation days after a year on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And 23% of Americans get no paid vacation time at all.

It’s tough to fit in a trip to Europe or Asia when you’re only allotted two weeks of vacation a year. If exploring the world is a priority for you, consider jobs where you can get paid to travel. Check out these seven jobs that allow you to travel the world. (And when you start globetrotting, this list of 28 ways to save for your next big adventure may come in handy.)

1. English Language Teacher

As the international language of business, English is a hot commodity across the world. Private and public schools across the globe seek native English speakers to teach the language. Several governments — like Korea, Japan, and France — hire college graduates as classroom assistants.

If you’re interested in becoming a head teacher, get a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. You can take a 120-hour course full-time for a month or part-time on weekends. A TEFL certificate opens doors to teaching jobs that let you travel across the world.

To locate a position, use a job placement agency or search on a job board like Dave’s ESL Cafe. Just remember to start the process early. You’ll need time to make travel arrangements and obtain a visa from a local embassy.

Salaries vary across the world. South Korea and Japan have some of the highest paychecks for English teachers. According to Go Overseas, private school teachers in South Korea make between $1,600 and $1,940 a month. Public school teachers make between $1,265 and $2,500.

Note that some schools will cover round-trip airfare, visa expenses and housing. Between those perks and a potentially lower cost of living, you could live a high quality of life and save money. (That extra savings could even help you pay off your student loan debt ahead of schedule.)

2. International Sales Representative

Do you have a nose for business? Companies hire sales consultants and managers to connect with clients around the world. These positions require a strong understanding of a company’s products and clients’ needs. You’ll develop quarterly goals and work hard to meet them.

Your job will involve a lot of international travel, but you won’t necessarily get to choose where you go. International sales representatives make a median salary of $69,928, according to Salary.com. These roles typically require a bachelor’s degree, excellent communication skills and experience.

3. Flight Attendant

If you’re comfortable flying through the skies, then you could travel the world as a flight attendant.

Flight attendants look after passengers, plus they know everything about safety protocols. As a flight attendant, you’ll get the chance to travel the globe. However, you probably won’t get a regular schedule.

“Every other month I alternate between a set schedule and an on-call schedule, which means you have to be near the airport and ready to head into work on short notice if you’re called in,” one flight attendant told Cosmopolitan.

She adds that flights attendants typically work on holidays. Plus, they have to sleep in strange places, like bunk beds above the passenger area. Flight attendants make between $23,000 and $78,000 a year, according to Payscale, with the average salary coming in at $38,000.

4. Government Employee

The U.S. Defense Department, State Department, and other bureaus employ thousands of people in overseas positions across the globe.

The Department of State, for instance, hires foreign officers to work in many public diplomacy tracks. It also hires students and post-graduates for professional fellowships.

You can browse thousands of jobs opportunities at the State Department or Department of Defense. Salaries and skill sets vary widely, but most government employees can expect full benefits and some tax advantages.

5. Online Freelancer

If you have a service to offer online, like writing or web design, then you could work remotely from wherever you want in the world. Remote work is a growing trend, with many industries looking to hire remote workers over the next year.

Websites like Freelancer and Upwork connect freelancers to employers. You can build your portfolio while working from anywhere with internet access. You could even eventually start your own online business.

Note that you may have to account for time zone differences. If your work involves meetings, then you may have to keep strange hours if you’re traveling across the globe.

6. Tour Guide

One of the most straightforward ways to get paid to travel is to work in the tourism industry. As a tour guide, you can live abroad while showing other people around your favorite new city.

Work as a guide for tourists, or take groups of high school students on overseas trips. Companies like Broad Reach and Winterline hire seasonal guides.

If you’re outdoorsy, work for an outdoor adventure company, like Adventures Cross Country (ARCC). If you’d rather travel with adults, join a globetrotting company like Remote Year.

Note that tour guide jobs are not always full-time or year-round. You may have to supplement seasonal work with other employment during your off time.

7. Cruise Ship Employee

The Disney Dream cruise ship has 14 decks, 1,250 staterooms and three pools.

Needless to say, this 130,000-ton ship needs a lot of employees to keep everything up and running.

Cruise ships hire all types of workers, from group guides and photographers to dishwashers and entertainers. You’ll get paid to travel on the cruise and explore new places on your days off.

Rumor has it, the pay is low and hours are long. But you’ll have most of your needs covered, like food and housing, so you’ll be able to put your income straight into your savings.

Plus, working on a cruise ship is a great way to explore the world and meet new people as you figure out the next step in your career. You can find a huge directory of cruise ship jobs at AllCruiseJobs.com or official company websites.

How to Get Paid to Travel

If your feet are itching to wander the globe, you can find lots of jobs that let you get paid to travel. Some people work abroad for a year or two after graduation before moving into an entirely new career field. Others build careers that involve lifelong international travel.

Whatever you choose, you’ll develop skills of global awareness and cross-cultural communication, and your international skills and experiences can help you advance your career. And if you’re traveling abroad, you may want to consider getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees or a rewards program for frequent travelers. This guide to the top credit cards for international travelers is a good place to start looking.

Curious about how to discuss your skills with an employer? Check out this guide to learn how to make yourself marketable for post-college jobs.

Image: RossHelen

The post 7 Perfect Jobs to Stoke Your Wanderlust appeared first on Credit.com.

The Best Credit Card to Use at Every Airport in America

Yes, believe it or not, which airport you frequent can be a factor in choosing new plastic.

Whether you’re planning to hit the road for spring break or looking ahead to your summer travels, there’s a lot to think about when planning a vacation — especially if you’re flying to your destination. Not only do you have to add the airline ticket to your travel budget, but you have to think about other fees too, like checking your bag or choosing a window or aisle seat. But there may be an airline-branded credit card out there to help you cut back on some of those costs. (Want more budget-saving ideas? Consider these 28 ways to help you save for this year’s big adventure.)

You have a lot to consider when choosing one of these cards. Sure, you want to think about if you’re loyal to a certain airline, but you may also want to take it one step further and take note of your airport loyalty. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) collects passenger boarding cargo data for U.S. airports. Using its most recent data, we established this list of the 25 busiest airports in America … and then figured out which credit cards would be best to use at each of them.

Plus, before signing up for any new credit card, it’s important to know where your credit stands. Travel credit cards tend to require good scores, so knowing how you fare can help you see your odds of qualifying. (You can look at your two free credit scores on Credit.com.)

Now, without further ado, here’s list of the credit cards that could get you the most rewards at some of the busiest airports in the country.

25. Salt Lake City International Airport — Salt Lake City

Best Credit Card: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Why We Chose It: Salt Lake City is a Delta hub and there’s a great Delta Sky Club lounge between concourses C and D.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 during the first three months.

Great Perk: You check your first bag free on every flight along with priority boarding, which is like saving $50 on each round-trip flight (assuming you check a bag each way).

Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year

APR: Variable 16.24% to 25.24%

24. Chicago Midway International — Chicago

Best Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Why We Chose It: CMI is a major hub for Southwest, so frequent fliers are bound to get good use of this card.

Baseline Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; one point per dollar on all other purchases. You can earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months.

Great Perk: You get 3,000 anniversary gift points once you’ve had your card for a year.

Annual Fee: $69

APR: Variable 16.49% to 23.49%

23. Ronald Reagan Washington National — Arlington, Virginia

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: American Airlines is prominent at this airport and the list of perks with this card is great, whether you’re coming here for work or going on your own adventure. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

Baseline Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and one mile for every dollar spent elsewhere. You can earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on the card in the first three months.

Great Perk: Free access to the Admirals Club.

Annual Fee: $450

APR: Variable 15.74%

22. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall — Baltimore

Best Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card

Why We Chose It: Turns out, the majority (70.34%) of this airport’s traffic from December 2015 to November 2016 was tied to Southwest Airlines flights. So it makes sense to choose a Southwest card.

Baseline Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; one point per dollar on all other purchases. Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. You’ll get 6,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary. (Fly Southwest, but not sure if the Premier or the Plus is a better fit? We’ve got a guide that compares the two right here.)

Great Perk: No cap on the number of points you can earn, as long as your card is open and active.

Annual Fee: $99

APR: Variable 16.49% to 23.49%

21. Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International — Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Best Credit Card: JetBlue Card

Why We Chose It: Fort Lauderdale is a focus city for the airline and has a strong presence in terminal 3.

Baseline Rewards: Three points per dollar on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. You can earn 5,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days.

Great Perk: This card gets you 50% off your in-flight purchases.

Annual Fee: None

APR: Variable 12.49%, 20.49% or 25.49%

20. LaGuardia — Queens, New York

Best Credit Card: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Why We Chose It: Delta has a strong presence in this airport and it continues to grow, most recently with a 600-foot bridge linking its two main terminals, C and D.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and one mile per dollar everywhere else. You can earn 35,000 bonus miles, 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $1,000 on the card in the first three months and $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in the first three months of having the card.

Great Perk: You get a round-trip companion pass each year when you renew this card.

Annual Fee: $195

APR: Variable 16.24% to 25.24%

19. Philadelphia International — Philadelphia

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: American Airlines flights went to the 10 most popular domestic destinations from this airport from December 2015 to November 2016, so this card could come in handy on your travels.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent with American Airlines and one mile for every dollar spent everywhere else.

Great Perk: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending only $1,000 in the first three months after getting the card.

Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year

APR: Variable 16.24% to 24.24%

18. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County — Detroit

Best Credit Card: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Why We Chose It: Delta is one of the main airlines coming and going from Detroit and several of Delta’s partners also fly to and from Detroit. There are also four Delta Sky Clubs throughout the airport.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 during the first three months.

Great Perk: You can redeem your points with Delta or with any of its more than 15 airline partners.

Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year

APR: Variable 16.24% to 25.24%

17. General Edward Lawrence Logan International — Boston

Best Credit Card: The JetBlue Plus Card from BarclayCard

Why We Chose It: Whether you’re headed to a seasonal destination, like St. Lucia or Martha’s Vineyard, or not, JetBlue has an extensive list of places they fly.

Baseline Rewards: Six points per dollar on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. You can earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days and receive 5,000 bonus points on your cardholder anniversary.

Great Perk: You can earn a $100 statement credit when you use your card to purchase a Getaways vacation package.

Annual Fee: $99

APR: Variable 12.49%, 20.49% or 25.49%

16. Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain — Minneapolis 

Best Credit Card: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Why We Chose It: If your heart can dream it, odds are Delta can fly you there from Minneapolis-St. Paul International. And why would you want to limit yourself? (For the card’s major terms and conditions, see above).

15. Newark Liberty International — Newark, New Jersey

Best Credit Card: United MileagePlus Club Card

Why We Chose It: Newark Liberty is a hub for United Airlines and this airline flies the majority of passengers from this airport.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent with United Airlines and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn a $100 statement credit after making your first purchase on the card.

Great Perk: Free access to the United Club, an annual savings of up to $550. Even with the annual fee, that’s still a savings of $100 (assuming you use the card responsibly, of course).

Annual Fee: $450

APR: Variable 16.49% to 23.49%

14. Orlando International — Orlando, Florida

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: There is an Admirals Lounge coming later this year and this card can get you in to enjoy the fancy new digs. (For the card’s major terms and conditions, see above).

13. Seattle-Tacoma International — Seattle

Best Credit Card: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card

Why We Chose It: Seattle is a hub for Alaska Airlines as well as several of its partners.

Baseline Rewards: Three miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases and one mile for every dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Great Perk: This card offers the flexibility of choosing which airline you redeem your points with, from American Airlines to Emirates.

Annual Fee: Depends on which version of the card you’re approved for (based on creditworthiness): $75 for Visa Signature card or $50 for Platinum Plus accounts. You can find an explainer on the difference between the two cards here.

APR: Variable 12.74% to 19.74%

12. George Bush Intercontinental/Houston — Houston

Best Credit Card: United MileagePlus Explorer card

Why We Chose It: There are some great renovations coming this year to terminal C that will help this card come in extra-handy.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on United Airlines tickets and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Great Perk: You get 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable 16.49% to 23.49%

11. Miami International — Miami

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: There are two Admirals Club lounges in terminal D you can enjoy whenever you are at Miami International, whether you’re heading there on vacation or waiting for a flight home after a Caribbean cruise. (Again, for the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport — Phoenix

Best Credit Card: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card

Why We Chose It: Southwest recently announced plans to expand their presence at the Phoenix airport, including eight new gates and more flights, so this card just makes sense. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

9. McCarran International Airport — Las Vegas

Best Credit Card: The Platinum Card From American Express

Why We Chose It: Nothing says Vegas like a little flash of luxury, and American Express’s premium credit card can get you into the airport’s swanky Centurion lounge.

Baseline Rewards: Right now, cardholders receive five times the points on airfare booked directly with a carrier or American Express travel and one times the points on everything else, but those rewards, along with the card’s annual fee, are set to go up, effective March 30.

Great Perk: You’ll get a $200 airline free credit, good for baggage fees and more at one airline.

Annual Fee: Currently $450; but that’ll go up to $550 once the new benefits come online

APR: The Platinum is a charge card, meaning you’re required to pay your balances off in full each month.

8. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport — Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: This civil-military public international airport is a major hub for American Airlines. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

7. San Francisco International Airport — San Francisco

Best Credit Card: The Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Card

Why We Chose It: Take one look at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and you’ll see why we couldn’t pass this one up.

Baseline Rewards: Eight points (five points for being an Elevate member and three for card usage) per dollar spent on Virgin America purchases and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days.

Great Perk: This card is a member of the Visa Signature family. (You can see what additional perks you get with Visa Signature cards here).

Annual Fee: $149

APR: Variable 16.48%, 20.49% or 25.49%

6. Denver International Airport — Denver

Best Credit Card: Frontier MasterCard

Why We Chose It: Frontier is one of five airlines at the Denver airport that offers the convenience of curbside check in.

Baseline Rewards: Two miles per dollar on FlyFrontier.com purchases and one mile per dollar on any other purchases. You can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on the card in the first 90 days.

Great Perk: You get a $100 voucher toward a flight after spending $2,500 during your first (anniversary) year.

Annual Fee: $69

APR: Variable 16.49% or 25.49%

5. John F. Kennedy International Airport — New York City

Best Credit Card: The JetBlue Plus Card from BarclayCard

Why We Chose It: There’s a lot to see and do in the recently-renovated terminal 5, including the exciting Airspace Lounge — and that’s all before you even board the plane. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

4. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — Forth Worth

Best Credit Card: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

Why We Chose It: While there are some updates being made to the Admirals Club lounge in terminal A, there are others you can use, getting perks like free Wi-Fi and access to showers in case you come straight to the airport from the office. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport — Chicago

Best Credit Card: United MileagePlus Explorer credit card (full review here)

Why We Chose It: O’Hare is a major hub for United Airlines. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

2. Los Angeles International Airport — Los Angeles

Best Credit Card: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card

Why We Chose It: Alaska and several of its partners are a big presence at this airport and offer deals for passengers. (For the card’s full terms and conditions, see above.)

1. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport — Atlanta

Best Credit Card: Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Why We Chose It: Atlanta is a major hub for Delta. Atlanta is also popular connection airport, so you’ll get more bang for your buck with this high-annual-fee card.

Baseline Rewards: Earn two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles after your first purchase on the card.

Great Perk: Cardholders get complimentary first-class upgrades and Delta Sky Club access.

Annual Fee: $450

APR: Variable 16.24% to 25.24%

Got a question about credit cards? Leave it in the comments below and one of our experts will try to get back to you!

At publishing time, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, JetBlue Card, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card,The JetBlue Plus Card from BarclayCard and the Platinum Card From American Express credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: MStudioImages

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