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Today, more than ever, it seems travel has become an important part of our culture, whether you're traveling for work, taking advantage of your vacation time or simply following your wanderlust dreams. If you aren't living that trust fund lifestyle, but are still trying to live up to your globetrotting potential, then you may quickly find that money is a big determining factor in where and how often you can get away. The good news for all you jet-setters out there is that there are a lot of credit cards with benefits and rewards that can help you maximize every dollar spent towards travel. These are the top credit cards for world travelers.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 miles after spending $3000 in the first 3 months of account opening (equivalent to $400 towards travel)
  • 2x miles on every purchase and 2x miles on dining in the US
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year, then $59 after tha

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

  • Earn 50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of account opening (equivalent to $625 towards travel)
  • 2x points on travel including airfare, transportation, and hotels and 2x points on dining worldwide
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory fee for the first year, then $95 after that

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

  • Earn 25,000 points after spending $2000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 3x points for airfare purchases, 2x points for restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets, and 1x points on all other purchases
  • $100 airline fee credit for incidental fees each calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory fee for first year, then $195 after that

Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2x points for Southwest purchases and on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, and 1x points on all other purchases
  • 3,000 bonus points as a Special Anniversary Gift
  • Southwest perks- 2 free checked bags; no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • $69 annual fee

United Mileage Plus Explorer Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2x miles for airfare purchased through United, 1x miles on all other purchases and other opportunities for bonus miles
  • United perks- free first checked bag, priority boarding and lost luggage reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2x miles on all purchases and get 5% miles back every time you redeem
  • 0% introductory APR for first 12 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 fee for the first year, then $89 annual fee after that

British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Earn 50,000 Avios points after spending $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months with opportunities to earn additional bonus points during the first year of account opening
  • Earn 3x Avios points on British Airways purchases and 1x Avios points on all other purchases
  • Automatically enrolled in the Executive Club for new card members
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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