It’s never been easier to book and go on a vacation without using cash. But just because you can use your credit card to pay for vacation expenses, should you?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Using a credit card to book flights, hotels, rental cars and excursions is a convenient way to pay for vacation expenses. And the benefits may surprise you!

Why You Should Use Credit Cards Whenever Possible

Credit cards offer you two big incentives when you use them to book travel: points and protection. Not only can your purchases earn you points or miles toward future travel, but you’ll be better taken care of if your vacation doesn’t go as planned.

The Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card, for example, earns 1.5 Miles per dollar spent on purchases and, at the end of the first year of card membership, Discover doubles all the Miles you’ve earned* — and there’s no limit on how many Miles you can earn. Miles never expire and can be redeemed for a statement credit against a travel purchase or cash**.

By using a card like the Discover it® Miles card, your vacation spending can earn you rewards that can be redeemed against future travel purchases. If you travel often, look into credit cards that offer travel rewards.

How Your Card Protects You When You Travel

If you’re booking a travel expense like an excursion, pay for that with your credit card, too. Unfortunately, some small companies offer travel packages that are too good to be true and, if necessary, you can dispute a charge by a company that fails to deliver on what you paid for.

Paying for a travel expense with a credit card can protect your purchase. It’s important to read the fine print, because different credit cards offer different amounts of coverage. Look into what your card offers before you book your trip, so you’re not caught off guard while on vacation.

One Time Not to Use a Credit Card

While in most countries it’s easy to use a credit card for purchases, having cash on hand can be helpful. If you need local cash during your trip, avoid using your credit card at an ATM to take a cash advance. However, be aware that you may be hit with a cash advance or ATM fee for this service. It may be smart to use your debit card instead. While you’ll pay an ATM fee and a small currency conversion fee, it still may be less expensive than using your credit card for this purpose.

Discover it® Miles Card


Earn Unlimited 1.5x Miles on Every Purchase.

*Discover Match®: Only from Discover, as of January 2018. No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all the Miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the Miles reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your Miles will not be matched. You’ve earned Miles rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

** Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem for cash as a electronic deposit to your bank account or for a credit for Travel Purchases on your statement made within in last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Redemption may not be available for approximately 24-48 hours if your card is reported lost or stolen. See Miles Terms and Conditions for details. Miles Never Expire: we will credit your account with your rewards balance if your account is closed or has not been used in 18 months.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.