With the April-May holidays here, families across India are getting ready for the great summer getaway. Parents with kids, bored after the closure of schools, look forward to the day when they set out for the airport, for their next big adventure! Young people start thronging airports seeking to explore new destinations, while nuclear families plan large get-togethers in cooler climes. The energy of summer is palpable!
The underlying reality is that a significant amount of money will be spent in planning and putting together a memorable holiday. Travelling and holidays, though always pleasurable, are not always inexpensive!
There is, however, a great way to plan ahead and maximise the value that you can get out of the money you will spend on a holiday. This can be done by a simple piece of plastic that should be in your wallet: the Credit Card!
As a starting point, it is critical to select a Credit Card which suits your lifestyle. If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, there is no better way to build your free holidays and getaways with a card which will reward you with rich features and benefits pertaining to travel (including potentially free air tickets!), while addressing your other travel needs.
Credit Cards with strong travel/flight benefits typically come in airline co-branded Credit Cards such as the Jet Airways IndusInd Bank Credit Card, which provides cardholders with a great option to earn JPMiles even when they are not flying. All day-to-day spends, both discretionary and non-discretionary, can be done on the card and valuable JPMiles can be earned. These miles can be accumulated throughout the year and then the miles could be redeemed for free flight tickets on Jet Airways for the holidays. The truly savvy traveller, therefore, would try to maximise miles earnings by moving as much of his or her monthly expenses as is possible onto the miles-earning Credit Card. In addition, the card also provides Bonus Miles at the time of enrolment, which can go a long way towards a free air ticket.
Affiliations of such strong Frequent Flyer programmes with hotel chains, coupled with the card-issuing company’s own range of offers from leading hotels across price brands, can ensure that the best deals are also got while making hotel bookings. There are other Credit Cards, such as the IndusInd Bank WorldMiles Credit Card, which also provide great options for free flights and more, without direct partnership with any particular airline.
In addition, many premium Credit Cards also provide great airport lounge access facilities ensuring that the long waits at airports are done in the peaceful confines of a well-provided and exclusive lounge. Tie-ups with car rental companies, hotel chains, priority check-in at airports and other important features, such as free extra baggage etc., is what aspiring Credit Card applicants should look for while selecting a Credit Card. These come with strong discounts and should be availed of to make that rupee go further.
Most sophisticated card issuers also enable card members to convert their existing rewards points in the issuers own rewards programmes into miles in leading Frequent Flyer programmes such as the Jet Privilege programme. This is also a strong repository of potential free flights.
With the growth of the Indian affluent class and the emergence of a discerning middle-class, more and more Indians find the need and have the money to plan at least one major holiday a year. For Indians; London, Singapore and Dubai, along with Thailand, continue to be favourite holiday destinations for international vacations; whereas, within India; Goa, Rajasthan and Kerala are popular destinations, apart from the hill stations which continue to be a perennial favourite during summers.
With a robust increase in card acceptance infrastructure in India, more people are finding it easier to use their Credit or Debit Cards (as opposed to carrying cash) to meet their needs on holiday. International travellers are also finding it convenient to carry a preloaded foreign currency (FX) card so that they have better control over their spending while overseas, without having to worry about the ever-changing conversion rates.
Planning a holiday can be a lot of fun but can incur a lot of cost. However, the small challenges of putting together a great vacation can be surmounted by planning ahead. Select a Credit Card product which will reward you handsomely and provide you with simple ways of making your card usage more rewarding. Utilise the benefits and offers (and the great discounts) which come to you on your card and don’t forget; that free ticket for a holiday is closer than you think!
Article written by Mr. Anil Ramachandran, Head – Retail Unsecured Assets- Credit Cards & Personal Loans, IndusInd Bank. This article presents the author’s personal views and should not be construed to represent the company’s position on the subject.