Credit Cards with Airline Miles | An Expert Guide
If you're a frequent traveler, then airline credit cards may be an option worth considering. With these cards, you can earn miles for every dollar you spend. Some airline credit cards offer additional perks, such as companion fares, priority boarding and free bags, not to mention great sign-up bonuses. Generally, miles can be redeemed for flights, as well as hotel stays & car rentals, which can come in handy when you're planning a vacation. Click on the images below to get specific advice from our experts.
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What To Look For When Applying
If you are considering applying for an airline mileage credit card, then you should take several factors into account. First, you should look for a card with a competitive sign-up bonus, and strong rewards for your spending. The standard is two miles earned per dollar spent with the airline, and a single mile per dollar on all other purchases. In addition, you need to examine the value of the miles earned, which can be judged by how easy it is to redeem the miles for your desired flights. Next, you should look at other benefits such as checked baggage fee waivers, priority service and discounts on in-flight purchases of food and beverages -- these extras can have immense value outside of just award seats for cardholders. Finally, you should consider the card's annual fee and any foreign transaction fees imposed on purchases outside the U.S.
What To Avoid When Applying
When applying for an airline mileage card, you need to choose a card that earns the most valuable miles for the type of travel you do. This means that applicants should avoid traditional airline mileage programs if they only travel at peak times to popular destinations, which is when many airline programs will not offer award seats. Instead, these travelers should look for airline mileage programs that offer a fixed value per mile, depending on the cost of a ticket. Finally, if you use airline mileage cards, then you should avoid applying for cards with several different airline programs, and concentrate your earnings on a single carrier so you can accrue points as quickly as possible by concentrating your spending on one card.
Should You Apply For More Than One?
In some situations, it can make sense for you to apply for multiple airline mileage cards. One of the most powerful features of these cards is the generous sign-up bonuses you can earn, and it is possible to receive these rewards from multiple cards. Other times, you may wish to apply for a separate mileage card for your personal use and one for your business, or to earn miles with multiple airlines if you travel often enough to make the rewards worthwhile. Nevertheless, you should always be cautious when opening multiple credit card accounts. Having several recent credit inquiries can lower your credit score, and it may tempt you to spend more and incur debt when you have access to several lines of credit.
When Is The Best Time To Apply?
If you are applying for an airline mileage card to earn award tickets, you may want to start well in advance of your planned trip. Airlines offer very few award seats to popular destinations at the lowest mileage levels, and travelers will be most likely to find these seats far in advance of their travel plans. So when you consider the time it takes to earn miles, and the need to redeem these miles for an award many months ahead of time, it becomes clear that it is never too early to apply. Additionally, airline mileage cards, like other reward cards, require applicants to have good or excellent credit, so there is no point in applying while cardholders are rebuilding their credit. Furthermore, if you have debt, then you should avoid applying for rewards credit cards generally, and focus on low-interest credit cards or balance-transfer credit cards that will help you pay off your balance sooner.
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