Stretch Your Dollar: Tips on travel rewards

FILE - In this Monday, March 13, 2017, file photo, people relax on the beach in Waikiki in Honolulu. Many Americans might dream of going on vacation to places such as Waikiki, but a new poll shows nearly half of Americans won't be taking a summer vacation this year, mostly because they can't afford it and some because they can't get away from work. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

(WTNH)– If the New England winter has you dreaming of a warm getaway, you may be looking for ways to pay for a trip. We are stretching your dollar with tips on travel rewards.

Think you can get a free trip out of a travel rewards card? You’re not the only one.

According to credit card analysts at Value Penguin, since 2012 searches for travel rewards cards in the first month of the year shoot up at least 50 percent. And this year, analysts say even more searches are being conducted.

Travel cards can come with glamorous perks like free nights at hotels, credits for flights and access to airport lounges. But just because you get the card doesn’t mean you’ll get a free ride.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $450 and the American Express Platinum’s yearly rate is $550.

Look at your spending and see if the benefits outweigh an annual cost.

There are cards that have no annual fee, like the Discover It Miles card, but the perks may not be as attractive.

Also, know spending requirements before you sign up.

According to a study by U.S. News, more than half of people with travel rewards cards carried a balance in the past year. Meaning debt.

Be honest with yourself about your budget and plans to see if a travel card is worth the reward.

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