Airline credit cards are more common than ever, and if you love getting something for free, then a little research into this type of travel rewards program could go a long way. Airlines offer a wide range of incentives to earn loyal customers, and an airline miles credit card is one of the most popular products. While programs vary, in general, the money you spend on a credit card equals a certain number of miles. Once you reach a certain number of miles, these can be cashed in for a free flight. Many people who think traveling is out of their budget are surprised by how quickly these points add up when using your card for every day purchases such as groceries or gas. Start spending and watch your points add up!
Many travelers don’t know where to begin when choosing between the best airline credit cards. There are a number of programs from almost every airline, including United Mileage Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Delta SkyMiles, and Continental OnePass. The first factor that can help you decide is your home airport. Which airline do you usually take from your home airport? Is your home airport considered a hub for one of the major airlines? If so, the decision is simple, and this is the airline miles credit card you should choose. There’s no sense being a member of a rewards program if there aren’t many flights to choose from originating at your home airport.
The next factor to help you narrow down airline credit cards is incentives. If you have never had a card with a certain airline, there are often bonuses given simply for signing up. Consult the individual website for current offers, but a sample offer would be 25,000 bonus miles for signing up for a Continental Chase credit card. This mileage is the equivalent of half a flight on Continental—just by signing up you’ll be halfway to a free flight! If you are a member of both a credit card program and a rewards program with a certain airline you can do double damage. For example, with the Continental OnePass program, you earn miles for every mile you fly with Continental. This plus your credit card purchases can add up fast.
There is always the airlines miles credit card that looks like a good deal at first, but is not actually what it seems. Be sure to read the fine print for things such as an annual fee (often waived for the first year) or a high interest rate. These factors can make an attractive credit card deal unattractive in the end. Over time you will discover whether or not a certain credit card offers good rewards. Some travelers experience frustration over not being able to find a free flight, while others plan ahead and bring down the cost of their trip significantly by flying for free.
There are other types of rewards programs for travelers as well. From hotel credit cards to general travel rewards cards, points can add up in many ways. Some travelers even choose a cash-back card, and wind up using the cash they receive to pay for a flight or a hotel stay. Choosing the right card for you can seem daunting, but it all depends on your spending habits, goals for a rewards program, and how diligent you want to be at trying to redeem your points. Whatever program you choose, being a loyal customer of one company will earn you serious rewards over time.