7 tips for picking a credit card
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With more than 220 different credit cards available in the UAE, it’s worth researching your choice if you want to maximise your rewards. Whether you’re an expat looking to benefit from air miles for your next trip home, you’re after complimentary travel insurance or you’re prioritising low interest rates and no fees, there are multiple options.

1. Read the fine print

In the case of rewards such as air miles, it is important to check the fine print. For example, some cards will offer reward programmes with points you can use to fly to any destination without restrictions. In contrast, some credit cards offer points that can only be redeemed on specific airlines such as Emirates or Etihad and can only be used on specified routes.

2. Investigate annual fees

In the majority of cases, the financial benefits from cards with annual fees outweigh the costs with a host of different perks ranging from higher rates of cashback on all purchases and travel advantages such as discounts on hotels and more favourable air miles rewards to membership benefits and welcome bonuses.

3. Look into travel insurance

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, people’s concern for their health and well-being has become increasingly important. If people do decide to travel, comprehensive insurance is essential as not only can you benefit from cover for health-related emergencies but your possessions are also covered for loss. And, in the event that your credit card is lost or stolen, some policies offer replacement cards to customers at their location abroad in just three working days as well as emergency cash that can be collected from thousands of locations across the globe.

4. Airport lounge access

With the right card, you don’t necessarily have to shell-out on expensive first class or business class flights to upgrade your airport experience. Some credit cards come with complimentary lounge access and it’s actually a fairly standard advantage on the majority of travel credit cards. Other benefits can include complimentary WiFi at the airport, the ability to pay a nominal fee for lounge access for your travel companion as well as free airport transfers in some cases.

5. Explore hotel discounts

Some cards come bundled with membership to hotel loyalty programmes. As the world starts to re-open and more people are vaccinated, such credit cards can be especially beneficial for frequent flyers, offering discounts on stays across the world. Other incentives from such membership programmes can include room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check outs.

6. Understand the interest and penalty charges

Many credit cards offer introductory benefits such as zero interest charges but the majority of such offers are limited for a particular period of time so if you are unable to pay off your balance in full before this date, you could quickly find yourself facing interest rates of more than 15 per cent. For similar reasons, it is important to establish an understanding of any charges that apply for exceeding your credit limit or missing payments, which can lead to penalties and rises in interest rates.