3 Surprising Ways Credit Cards Can Help With Travel

NEW YORK (sbup) — Americans love their getaways, but they need ways to save money — in an American Express survey, 31% of respondents said in July that they spent more than $1,000 per person on their vacation, up from 27% the year before. On average, summer travelers spent $1,145 per person last year.

Before you take flight, set sail or hit the road, make sure you maximize all the benefits from your credit card. Travelers have perks and rewards to exploit, but those work best when they're fully understood, according to CreditCardChaser.com.

Here are a few tips from the site for how to use credit cards to save cash and leave more in the budget for what really matters: rest and relaxation.

Watch for ticket price drops. Certain card programs, such as MasterCard's Price Assure, can let you know about airline price changes after you book, so you can turn price breaks into airline credits. Most major air carriers, including Delta, American and Continental, participate in such programs. Check with your credit card company to see if they offer a similar deal.

Avoid baggage fees. Nobody likes paying airline baggage fees, and with some credit cards and airlines, you don't have to. Continental Presidential card members can check their first bag and often a second bag for free. Delta SkyMiles offers a similar deal.

Find deals on a card's website. Most people don't book air travel, hotels and car rentals through a credit card website, but they should. Most big credit card companies offer exclusive deals you won't know about unless you look, and booking a trip directly through your card's website often comes with double airline rewards miles.

—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.

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