Airline and Air Miles Credit Cards What You Should Know

Date Added: February 11, 2007 11:11:35 AM
Author:
Category: Money & Finance: Credit & Debt: Credit Cards

If you have, or are considering applying for, an airline credit card, you need to ask yourself two questions:

1. Are benefits available from the largest airline in my area?

2. Which airline credit card can I use to reap the benefits quickly?

An airline sponsored credit card only allows you to focus on one specific airline. If that particular airline controls the majority of the destination routes from your area, it will give you convenience and efficiency and it will be extremely economical. Bank sponsored credit cards allow you more freedom. Why? Because the air miles that you accumulate can be used on a wide range of airlines. If you have no airline in your area that controls the majority of destination routes, this is the card that will be most beneficial to you. Another advantage is that often the minimum amount of air miles required before you can use them for travel is lower than with an airline sponsored card. However, use extreme caution. Bank sponsored credit cards are subject to a lot of fine print.

Membership and annual fees can vary greatly for different types of cards. Most major credit card companies offer standard, gold and platinum air miles credit cards. Keep in mind that the better the option, the higher the fees. Gold and platinum cards offer high credit limits but membership and annual fees are also higher and these add up quickly. Most major credit card companies offer introductory air miles cards with 0 % interest. Why? Because they want your credit card business. If interest rates are of concern for you, an air miles card should not be the card you choose because interest rates tend to be very high. Many air miles credit cards have a minimum number of miles that have to accumulate before you receive a free or discounted trip. Be sure to read the fine print and then read it again. Be sure you understand all of the stipulations.

If you travel frequently for business or pleasure, air miles cards can be very beneficial. With these types of cards, you use your credit card to purchase all necessary goods and services. In return, you accumulate rewards in the form of points and then you redeem them for air miles. You then use the air miles to get free or discounted trips to the destination of your choice. As an added incentive, airline credit cards often offer bonus air miles at selected stores, or on specific travel destinations. Usually, both airline and bank sponsored cards give bonus air miles when you sign with their company.

There are some disadvantages to having an air miles card. Usually these cards, as mentioned earlier, have much higher interest rates than standard cards, which can add up quickly if you don't pay the entire balance off each month. Another disadvantage is that these cards are often used for unnecessary purchases in order to accumulate points to be exchanged for air miles. As with all credit cards, air miles credit cards have to be used responsibly in order for the cardholder to reap the benefits.

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