No, I am not selling any credit cards to you. But, believe me travel hacking begins with this piece of plastic. You need a credit card since you will be booking or reserving your airline tickets or hotel stay and even entry tickets to attractions online using the card. But why credit card and not debit card or Internet banking? Okay, now most booking portals will accept debit cards and almost all Indian booking sites will also accept payment through Internet banking. However, there are some advantages to using a credit card which are as follows:-
Money Source. Credit card usage is borrowing money from a bank or financial institution i.e. spending others money. (You will of course pay it back later), whereas debit card usage is paying from your own bank account. So, the obvious benefit here is that you use someone else’s money for the time being and that your savings are not depleted.
Safety. Credit cards are a safer option when shopping online because credit card issuers (Visa, MasterCard, Amex) monitor for fraudulent charges using sophisticated backend systems. If you detect fraud yourself you can dispute a charge and get it reversed quickly, thanks to credit card issuers zero liability policies. Youre not liable for unauthorized charges, unlike debit card transactions, which may be protected in some cases, but that varies from bank to bank. For example, a leading private bank’s debit card liability policy explicitly states that the bank’s liability is limited to use of the debit card at stores where the bank debit cards are accepted. Now, proving that for online shopping is a daunting task. Even if you provide every information and documents for the loss liability, the charges will be reversed after 8 to 12 weeks. Why should you suffer for someone else’s unscrupulous behavior? On the other hand, most credit card issuers offer card protection from the bank or through companies like CPP (Card Protection Plan). The plans usually include 96 hours BEFORE the time you report the loss, which is an added benefit. While travelling, the anti-fraud protection offered by credit cards can be helpful if someone steals your card number or you accidentally use an ATM at a shady place which has mechanism to obtain your card data. With a credit card, you can immediately inform the bank and the block any transactions without being liable for the charges. If the credit card issuer detects it first, then you have nothing to worry about.
Additional Benefits. Using your credit card (especially the cards which I mention here) will provide you additional benefits in the form of frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points / discounts, discounts on rental cars and more. I have explained more of these benefits as we go along.
Hotel Deposit. Some hotels, while checking-in may block a tentative amount required for the stay (provided you have not already paid during booking). On a credit card, this isn’t much of an issue. But, if you use a debit card, this may put a hold on the money in your bank account, which can be inconvenient if you need cash to spend during your travels.