Depending on how much you travel by air you can decide how much use an airline credit card would be for you because its main attraction is earning free air tickets as part of travel concessions. There are other benefits along with it but nothing as much rewarding like qualifying to earn free air tickets by fulfilling the conditions pertaining to the flying distance and the number of trips. Not all airline credit cards are alike in its features and different credit cards tie-up with different airlines. The choice of a credit card depends on your preference of airline and whether it has services to the airport near your home. Airline credit cards come with varied features that suit all kinds of travelers, and it is not essential that you must be a frequent flier because a travel reward credit card in the most general form is beneficial for even occasional flyers.
For whom are airline credit cards most suitable
The rewards of airline credit cards have a direct link to the travel miles, and the best benefits await those who fly very often with a chosen airline. Travel credit cards not only reward frequent flyers, but it is also a recognition of the loyalty of cardholders for a specific airline that they patronize. Even if you are not loyal to any airline at that moment, you can become one once you pick up a credit card that sponsors your preferred airline. When choosing a card, in addition to looking for your preferred airline, you must also consider the value you can derive from the card. The standard reward structure comprises of allowing cardholders earn frequent flyer miles, a mile per dollar, every time they use the card and qualifying for extra miles for purchases made directly from the airline or its associates.
You can redeem your miles to avail discounted flights or free flights subject to the restrictions on destinations and blackout dates. Perks like free checked baggage and priority boarding are perks that come with airline cards. You can derive more value from the card than a general travel credit card by knowing how to maximize the benefits.
This article should help you to decide if you are a good candidate for using airline credit cards as you would know about the various situations and circumstances when the card can be very useful for you.
Save on checked baggage
Checked baggage would cost you anything between $25 and $30 on every trip and for every round trip you spend about $50 to $60 which when multiplied by the number of flights you take over time can translate into a sizeable amount. If you pay an annual card fee of about $100, it will take just two trips or a single trip with your companion to recover the cost by availing the benefit of free baggage that comes with the card. To avail the benefit, you must pay for the ticket by using the card. The benefit suits all flyers including occasional flyers.
Patronize a single airline while flying more
Not only does airline credit cards encourage you to fly more but at the same time it ensures that you keep patronizing you’re a specific airline covered by the benefits offered on the card. Frequent flyers can derive a lot of value from the card as they get more opportunities for buying tickets with the card that helps to earn extra flying miles and even redeem the rewards earned. Since the cards come with some more perks, they get more opportunities of enjoying it. The bonus offered with airline cards are quite big, and it could even be large enough to fund a trip.
The best time to apply for airline credit cards is when you have some big spending coming up because to qualify for sign-up bonuses, you must spend a certain amount. Besides the above benefits, credit cards offer schemes that allow cardholders to earn free tickets for a companion.
Avail the perks by flying frequently
The main difference between a general travel card and airline card is that the latter comes with perks that are specific to an airline. Although the perks may vary between cards, generally it may include seat upgrades, priority boarding, waiver on restrictions applied to budget fares and discounts on in-flight refreshments. Access to airport lounges is a feature of some basic airline card which is normally accessible only by elite flyers who frequently fly if they are holders of a premium credit card or has paid membership.
What’s good about general travel credit card
Although airline-specific perks are absent in general travel credit cards, these are good because it offers enough flexibility in redeeming reward points. For every purchase you earn miles or reward points that you can use for booking travel or redeem it as credit that appears on your statement related to travel purchases. As you do not have to stay attached to a single airline, rental car agency, or hotel chain, you can travel to more places of your choice.
When should you consider a general travel credit card
If you are flexible in your choice of airline and always on the lookout for the cheapest fares then the general travel card would be best for you. You can book with any airline and then redeem the miles earned to pay for the tickets. A cent for a mile is what you earn. Another point to consider is whether you are strategic with rewards in which case you must select the card that suits most with your travel style.
For the most expansive coverage of your travel needs, it would be best to have both airline card as well as general travel card so that you have all bases covered. You enjoy the flexibility of flying any airline according to the situation and at the same time avail a variety of options for transportation and hotel. As long as the rewards you get from a card outweigh its carrying cost, you will clearly stand to gain no matter which kind of car you use.