Maximizing Your Rewards with the Best Airline Credit Card
When it comes to airline credit cards, there are dozens of choices. You want to get the airline credit card that works best for your lifestyle. To accomplish this goal, there are a few things to consider. This is what we’ll talk about in this post. We’ll also talk about when an airline credit card is worth it. Finally, we’ll discuss several options for which card suits which category the best.
The Two Major Types of Airline Credit Cards
There are a few things to consider when you’re dealing with an airline credit card. Again, you want this card to work as good as it possibly can for your needs. Finding this card especially if this is your first travel credit card requires a little shopping around.
Frequent Flyer Cards
A frequent flier card is also called a co-branded card. Almost every major airline company offers a form of these airline credit cards. This card is a good choice if you fly almost exclusively with one airline. You can redeem your miles for first class upgrades, plane tickets, and free travel-related rewards. The United Mileage Plus Visa and the Citi AAdvantage Mastercard are good examples of this card.
Generic Travel Credit Cards
If you like to shop around for the best deals on flights, this card may be a better fit. You’ll earn your miles, and you’re able to redeem them for things with the major airlines. It’s not brand-specific, and it offers more flexibility. You can’t combine the miles you earn with specific frequent flyer programs. An example of this type of card is the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card.
Now that we’ve talked about the two primary airline credit cards, we’ll talk about benefits. There are a few situations that it would pay to have each type of card.
When It’s Better to Use an Airline Credit Card
If you find yourself frequently flying with one airline, the perks add up. It isn’t unusual to get free priority boarding, discounts on in-flight meals, and free or discounted seat upgrades. Additionally, you may get access to the airport lounges. People with premium credit cards often get this, but some basic airline cards offer it as well. The Gold Delta SkyMiles lets you purchase access to the Delta Sky Clubs at a discounted rate.
Currently, it will cost you around $25 to check to check your suitcase. Double this amount to include your return trip. If your card gives you a free checked bag, this is saving you $50 per trip. If you fly twice a year and your card has an annual fee of $95, it pays for itself. Free checked bags makes paying the annual fee worth it. However, you have to pay for your ticket with your airline credit card to get this perk. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card and the Gold Delta SkyMiles are both good examples. The United MileagePlus card covers your bag check fee and has a $95 annual fee. The Gold Delta SkyMiles also covers your bag check fee and offers $0 in annual fees for the first year.
You Usually Use the Same Airline
If you fly a lot with one airline, you can get a lot of rewards with your airline credit card. Typically, you get bonus miles, and you have more opportunities to redeem your rewards. Your perks could stack up quickly as well. It is also a good idea to look at the sign-up bonuses. Take the Citi – AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard for example. If you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you get 60,000 airline miles. Finally, you may get free or deeply discounted tickets for your companion.
When It’s Better to Use a Generic Travel Credit Card
For someone who shops around and flies multiple airlines, a generic travel card may be a good idea.
If you’re careful with your money and travel on a budget, you typically don’t stick to one airline. A generic travel card will allow you to fly with multiple airlines and redeem your miles to pay for it. The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card is excellent for this. For every $1.00 you spend, you earn two miles you can redeem at almost any airline. Additionally, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card will give you 1.5 miles for every $1.00 you spend.
You Use Strategy to Maximize Your Rewards
Pay attention to your airline credit card and its reward program. Your card should match your lifestyle as this allows you to maximize all of your rewards. Additionally, knowing how to get the most out of your points for travel discounts is critical. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you want to book through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This will get you 25% more on all of your points.
Bottom Line on Choosing the Best Airline Credit Card
If you travel with one airline but spend money on different hotels, both cards would benefit. This way, you get the perks of flying with one airline for your travel time. You also get rewards for staying at different hotels with generic travel cards. As long as you’re careful, you can reap the rewards of having both.
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