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The Ultimate Credit Card Perks Guide: Travel Benefits

You’ve done your research, you’ve chosen the travel rewards credit card that best suits your lifestyle, and you’ve charged your purchases while diligently paying off the balance every month. You’ve booked your flight or hotel with your points, and you’re finally ready to set off on a trip that is either totally or partially free. You’ve made it.

But before you take off on your adventure, don’t forget to take advantage of every last travel perk your credit card provides. Beyond the rewards points, most travel rewards credit cards offer additional perks and benefits. In this third edition of the Ultimate Credit Card Perks Guide, we’re looking at the final three oft-overlooked credit card perks: checked bags, foreign transaction fees, and insurance.

Free checked bag

Most airlines in Canada charge you to check a bag, but some travel rewards credit cards offer one or even multiple free checked bags as part of their perks package. If you tend to travel with a larger suitcase this perk could save you hundreds over dollars in unnecessary fees. Here are the credit cards that offer free checked bags on your flight:

The CIBC Aergold Visa Infinite offers a complimentary first checked bag with your Aeroplan flight rewards. This free checked bag perk only applies on Air Canada flights. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite credit card also offers a complimentary first checked bag when you book your flight with your Aeroplan rewards and is also only available when travelling with Air Canada.

If you prefer WestJet over Air Canada, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard offers a first checked bag for free for the primary cardholder. The flight must be with WestJet, and you must book your flight with your WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard.

No foreign transaction fees

When you travel outside of Canada and make purchases with your travel rewards credit card, your lender often charges a 2.5% – 3% fee. These fees are called foreign transaction fees and can quickly add up. If you tend to do a lot of spending on foreign soil, you may want to consider picking up a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Travel insurance benefits

Finally, most rewards credit cards offer travel insurance benefits to keep you and your luggage safe during your travels. The coverage can range from trip interruption and cancellation insurance to baggage loss or damage insurance to car rental insurance. You can find a summary of the benefits offered by the most popular travel rewards credit cards below: