Friday, July 1, 2011

Rise in Tourism in the U.S., Credit Card Experts Link it to Perks

A news release issued by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) earlier this morning shows that spending on travel and tourism increased in the first quarter of 2011. 

Specifically, the increase occurred at an annual rate of 0.6 percent, which is following an increase of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.           

According to the Central Valley Business Times, tourism is vital to the success of California’s economy. It helps fuel employment and generates high spending in the region. In fact, figures from the California Travel & Tourism Commission show that visitors to California spent $87.7 billion in 2009, and that travel spending in California directly supported 881,000 jobs.          

What’s the story behind the recent visits from tourists? 

The BEA said that the growth in prices for travel and tourism reflect strong price increases in gasoline and passenger air transportation. If one goes up, so, in turn, must the other.

But credit card experts suggest something else. Rupert McAllister, a senior analyst at says, “The recent rise in tourism has to do with the recent traveling perks that many well known credit card companies have begun offering.” 

Time magazine that recommends several credit cards to help you heap rewards while enjoying a vacation. 

Planning a stay at a Los Angeles Marriott Hotel?

If so, Doug Miller, senior analyst for banking and cards at consulting firm Corporate Insight, recommends the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa card. Miller told Time, “If you’re a frequent traveler and have a hotel chain or a series of hotel chains you like or use a lot you can rack up rewards quickly.” Using this card to pay for a room in one of 3,200 hotels in the Marriott family of brands, earns you three points per dollar spent. Points can then be cashed in for free nights at certain Marriott hotels.

Planning on going overseas?
Roman Shteyn, the founder of credit card comparison website gives Capital One Venture One Rewards card his nod of approval. “You get 1.25 miles per dollar spent and a one-time bonus of 10,000 miles. That can easily equal $100 in cash,” Shteyn said. “What’s great is that you can use it for booking flights, car rentals, or hotels.” Shteyn also said that for those traveling overseas, the card offers no foreign transaction fees, which can be a penny saver. 

Planning on Driving and Need an Automotive Bonus?

Both Shteyn and McAllister recommend the Discover More card.  According to them, the card offers a five percent cash back bonus in categories that change like travel, gas, groceries, and restaurants. These perks sound perfect for a road trip. “This one is my favorite for short-distance trips,” Shteyn said. 

Other perks of the card include up to 20 percent cash back Bonus at popular retailers when you shop online through Discover as well as unlimited cash rewards that never expire.

How much will this actually help you on your trip? Let’s look at the numbers. Say you charge $1000 on your card during your vacation. Anytime you refuel your car, pick up snacks for the kids, or book a night at a motel – that’s five percent that you’re getting handed back to you. That’s $50 that’s handed back to you so you can breathe a little bit easier and go back to enjoying your vacation. 

So remember, as you’re planning a fun-filled getaway this summer; keep in mind that you may be in store for some great rewards. All you have to do is know where to look.

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