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Top travel credit cards for your long-awaited summer vacation

Some cards are great for frequent flyers with specific airlines, offering rewards points for bookings and upgrades. Consider cards that offer perks such as lounge access, travel insurance

credit cards

Sunainaa Chadha NEW DELHI
Choosing the ideal credit card for summer holidays abroad often depends on your spending habits and travel priorities. Summer is here and so is the anticipation for a long-awaited vacation. Be it an extended stay at a dream
destination or a getaway to the nearest tourist hotspot, the right credit card can help you save money and enjoy exciting benefits. 

Some factors to keep in mind while choosing the right card:
Travel Rewards: Look for cards offering reward points or miles specifically for travel expenses like flights, hotels, and car rentals. Some cards offer bonus points for booking through their travel portals.

Foreign Transaction Fees: Many cards charge a fee for using them abroad. Choose a card with no foreign transaction fees (FTFs) to avoid unnecessary charges.

Airport Lounge Access: Relaxing at airport lounges can be a welcome perk, especially on long layovers. Some cards offer complimentary lounge access or access through reward programs.

Travel Insurance: Some cards provide complimentary travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption coverage, medical insurance, and baggage delay coverage.

"When it comes to credit cards, you must look for cards that offer rewards and benefits tailored to your summer travel plans. Some cards are great for frequent flyers with specific airlines, offering rewards points for bookings and upgrades. Consider cards that offer travel-related perks such as lounge access, travel insurance, and discounts on bookings," said Adhil Shetty, CEO,

Here are some credit cards in India that are considered good options for summer holidays abroad, keeping the above factors in mind:

Axis Bank Magnus credit card:
Bringing luxury and exclusivity, this card is designed for discerning individuals, who get to experience a world of rewards, including exclusive dining offers, travel perks, and lifestyle benefits. Along with complimentary airport lounge access worldwide and bespoke concierge services, it offers 15% discount at The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Trident Hotels in India. Further, hardcore foodies can avail up to 40% discount at over 4000 restaurants across the country. Coming with a comprehensive insurance coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh, priority customer service, and a low forex markup fee of 2%, this card also ensures peace of mind for cardholders.

ICICI Emeralde Private Metal Card
Marrying luxury with convenience, the ICICI Emeralde Private Metal credit card stands out as a compelling option for those seeking memorable experiences. It offers a rewarding redemption ratio of 1:1, maximizing savings across spending categories. Cardholders also get unlimited access to international and domestic airport lounges with Priority Pass membership, along with an extensive travel insurance coverage and free vouchers of up to Rs 6,000. This card also comes with a low forex markup fee of 2% and no cancellation charges on travel bookings.  The annual fee is on the higher side, so this card is only a good option if you travel frequently.

HSBC Premier Credit Card
The HSBC Premier credit card offers a seamless fusion of luxury and practicality. Along with free access to lounges at some of the top airports in the world, round-the-clock concierge services and dedicated customer support, this card offers a very low forex markup fee of 0.99% and comprehensive insurance coverage of up to Rs 3 lakh.

Thomas Cook EnterpriseFx Card
 At the heart of this offering are the Thomas Cook Edge reward points. Cardholders can earn these points on spends and redeem them on flight and hotel bookings. This card also offers complimentary lounge access at international airports in India and exclusive shopping deals at McArthurGlen outlets across Europe. It also comes with a comprehensive insurance cover of up to Rs 7.5 lakh.

HDFC Infinia Credit Card
The HDFC Bank Infinia credit card can be a great travel companion, bringing preferential access to over 1,000 airport lounges globally with complimentary Priority Pass membership. Cardholders can enjoy exclusive rewards on dining, travel, and lifestyle expenses, along with discounts of up to 15% at over 3,000 restaurants and 20% off at Marriott Hotels. This card features a low forex markup fee of 2% and comes with an insurance cover of  Rs 3 crore on air travel and a medical insurance of Rs 50 lakh. It also offers a lucrative rewards program, allowing cardholders to earn up to 10X points on travel and shopping spends on Smartbuy, and 2X points on Infinia website, dining, and Air Vistara bookings, with the ability to convert these points to Air Miles for use with leading airlines.

According to BankBazaar,these cards are a great option if you are looking for a travel-focussed credit card: 

SBI Air India Signature Card 
This card is a great option if you're a frequent flyer with Air India. You earn 4 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on Air India bookings and 2 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on other categories. You can redeem your points for free flights, upgrades, and other travel benefits. Enjoy complimentary membership of the Air India Frequent Flyer program-Flying Returns. Convert your Reward points into Air India miles. 1 Reward point is equal to 1 Air India Air mile. 

HDFC Bank Diners Club Privilege Credit Card 
This card offers a welcome bonus of 15,000 reward points and a reward rate of 5 reward points for every Rs. 150 spent on dining and international transactions. You can redeem your points for a variety of travel and lifestyle rewards.  

Citi Premier Miles Credit Card 
This card offers a welcome bonus of 25,000 miles and a reward rate of 10 miles for every Rs. 125 spent on airline ticket bookings and InterMiles partner hotels. You can redeem your miles for free flights, hotel stays, and other travel rewards.

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card 
This card offers you up to Rs 3,000 annual savings on fuel surcharge. Air miles conversion on Air India, InterMiles, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Vistara, Etihad.  5X rewards on spends over ₹4,00,000 in a year. ₹500 Amazon voucher on spends of ₹5,000 in the first 30 days. You also get a complimentary travel vouchers.  10% cashback within first 60 days of card issuance. 15% off on dining at partner restaurants across major Indian cities.

SBI IRCTC Platinum Credit Card 
This is a travel card offered by the State Bank of India in partnership with the IRCTC. This card offers a wide range of benefits, especially with railway ticket bookings with additional discounts. The SBI IRCTC Platinum Credit Card also comes with other offers across other categories such as fuel. 10% valueback as reward points on AC1, AC2. AC3 and AC CC train tickets via IRCTC. 1 point = Re. 1. 1% transaction charge waiver on train ticket bookings via IRCTC. Get offers on booking flight tickets through IRCTC website.

Air India SBI Platinum Credit Card
For all frequent flyers, here’s a card you should consider getting – the Air India SBI Platinum Card. The joining fee (which is also the first-year fee) on this card is Rs.1,499. The annual fee from the second year onwards is Rs.1,499. If you have any outstanding balance, you will be charged up to 3.35% per month (40.2% p.a.) as interest. Up to 15 reward points/ 100 spent on Air India ticket bookings via Air India website and mobile app.  8 free visits to domestic VISA lounges in India every year. The credit card offers you a complimentary membership to the premium Air India Frequent Flyer Program - Flying Returns. With the Air India SBI Platinum Card, you get the facility of booking railway tickets online and getting them delivered at your doorstep. 

Vistara Signature credit card 
The Vistara Signature credit card by Axis Bank offers you exclusive benefits for frequent travellers. With this credit card, you can get 3,000 Vistara points on activation along with milestone benefits which can be redeemed for the purchase of flight tickets. You will also get offers on dining. The card comes with an interest rate of 41.75% per annum along with a joining fee of Rs.3,000 and an annual fee of Rs.3,000. 15% discount at restaurants across India through Dining delights program. As part of the Welcome benefits, a new cardholder will receive a complimentary Premium Economy air ticket. An air ticket will be offered during every instance of card renewal. 


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First Published: May 15 2024 | 12:26 PM IST

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