Airline Mileage Credit Cards

All about maximizing your rewards!
Members share tips and tricks for getting the most miles, & points.
2 posts
CreditCardGuru
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:48 am
Location: Austin, TX

Airline Mileage Credit Cards

Postby CreditCardGuru » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:28 pm

Considering there are a large number of frequent fliers in the United States, it comes as no surprise that there is a plethora of airline mileage credit cards available in the market today. But, to get the most out of your credit card, it is important to choose your card with care. You should compare the benefits of airline mileage cards with other types, especially cash back, cards to determine which would more beneficial to you.

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Some of the features that are common in airline issued credit cards are:

Double Miles: Most airline issued cards offer double miles when you purchase tickets from them (directly through their website, not a 3rd party travel site).
Bonus Miles: You usually get a lot of bonus miles for applying. Sometimes there's also a bonus after you clear set milestones in spending (i.e. spending $30k annually).
Companion Tickets: Some airline issued cards also offer free companion tickets on various occasions like joining, anniversary, crossing a certain spending limit, purchase of high value ticket, etc.
Anniversary Bonus: Many offer anniversary bonuses in the form of extra miles, lounge access pass or discounts.
Annual Fee: Most do charge an annual fee. In some cases, the fee seems justified compared to the benefits offered, but for infrequent travelers it may be a waste of money.

Credit Card Airline Rewards
Many credit cards unassociated with airlines also offer a number of benefits to frequent fliers. In these cases, the reward program allows you to redeem your points for free airline tickets, extra frequent flier miles, etc. If you are someone who doesn’t travel by the same airline consistently, one of these "universal" cards may be a better option for you. Some of the favored cards in this category include the American Express Premier Rewards Gold and the Starwood Preferred Guest.

Cash Cack Cards
There are many reasons that people prefer a cash back card to airline mileage rewards. One being that the rewards offered by airline mileage credit cards have reduced considerably as fuel prices have gone up. This means that a credit card user has to accumulate more airline miles than ever before. This dramatically reduces the value benefit on some (but not all) airline cards.

Conclusion?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to credit cards. For some airline mileage rewards make sense, for others they do not. Ultimately it's a decision you will have to make for yourself.


YoungTraveller
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:14 am
Location: United Kingdom

Postby YoungTraveller » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:34 pm

As my moniker suggests the frequent flyer related cards are what you'll find in my wallet. I find the Starwood Amex to be the best as the earning is more than what the airlines offer for non-airline spend ($20k spent gets 25,000 miles). This is because you can transfer the Starpoints to frequent flyer miles.

Plus I can choose which airline I send the miles to, very useful as I fly regularly on a number of airlines.

I juggled the numbers with other cards like the Capital One thing that gives you miles but the earnings were so poor in comparison.



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