I applied for my first airline card nearly nine years ago. It was an American Express card that let me earn points on Delta – the airline I was frequenting at the time. I loved (LOVED) that card and, I still have it today. It's allowed me to travel for free on more than one occasion and just last November, I redeemed several thousand points to fly my son and his finance to the US from Bangkok, Thailand for the holidays. OK, I'll admit that booking their travel was not as easy as simply purchasing a ticket but, it saved me nearly $ 3,000 by the time it was all said and done. Not bad, in my book.
Whether you travel for business or just for fun, airline miles cards could be a terrific option that will allow you to earn valuable rewards. Airline reward cards have evolved over the past few years to be very user-friendly and very rewarding. Probably the biggest change in airline cards has been that many (though not all) have done away with the dreaded "black out dates" and "restrictions." While some of the first airline cards made redeeming your points almost impossible; that simply isn't the case today.
Airline miles cards can be broken down into two categories; those cards issued by the airlines that offer discounts on a specific airline (and their partners) such as a United Airline credit card or an Hawaiian Airline Card and those that are issued by a bank. Typically bank cards will allow you to redeem points on most major carriers.
When applying for an airline miles card, there are a couple of points to consider:
- Take a close look at the cards / airlines that serve your geographical region. If you live in Poughkeepsie, for instance, getting an Alaskan Airline Miles card might not be your best option.
- Review the rates and fees. Many airline miles cards as well as those issued by a bank will charge an annual fee. And, many will charge higher than average interest rates. If you are one of those people who tend to carry a balance, you'll want to take a close look to see if what you'll be paying in interest will make the points you earn worthwhile.
- Pay close attention to how miles are earned. Many of the best programs today allow you to earn double or even triple miles for airline tickets or travel-related purchases. Reading the fine print before you apply will help ensure that you get the best offer available.
- Black out dates and restrictions. Though most miles credit cards have gotten much more flexible with their redemption requirements, a few are still pretty restrictive. Carefully consider what you will and won't be able to do before you sign up for your miles card.
While miles cards can be more expensive to the cardholder; When managed properly, being able to use earned miles for travel for you and your family members can be a valuable reward.