Airline flights, hotel stays, rental car purchases – all of these things are better when they’re free! Learn the secrets to getting these free perks from your favorite airline, or from your card company…
The frequent flyers among us know the secret – those points we earn are worth their weight in… well, miles. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, if you’re going to fly, you might as well take advantage of the perks that the airlines offer us. And if you’re someone who uses their credit card often, why not earn miles for that too? It’s amazing just how quickly the money that you were going to spend anyway, can earn you a free flight. But just because all of the airlines offer credit cards that accrue points, not all of these programs are equal. Some things to look for when evaluating a credit card that earns frequent flyer or mileage points:
Most airline mile credit cards are only good for flights on that airline. In addition, they often have restrictions on when you can fly.
Many airlines have affiliate programs that allow you to also use your points for hotel and rental car purchases, so check before you sign up for one. Usually the cards offered by the airlines charge an annual fee of between $35 and $150, or more. Also, since the cards are not issued by the airlines themselves, but rather by a credit card company, be sure to check the issuer’s own fees and penalty structure. Different airlines reward purchases differently, and some are more generous than others. Be sure to check around for the best plan that meets your needs.
An alternative to a card issued by a specific airline is what’s called a travel rewards card. Most credit card companies offer some type of travel reward or points program. The way these programs are structured can offer a little more flexibility than an airline credit card program. For one thing, the points can generally be used toward flights on any airline. For another, they typically accrue more points for purchases. Also, these credit company rewards cards usually don’t expire the way miles with an airline can.
As with all credit card offers, be sure to read the fine print in the card agreement. Many of the reward programs – whether sponsored by an airline or a credit card company – can quickly turn into a money-vacuum if you’re not careful. Be sure to pay off the money you charge as quickly as you can, to avoid what are usually some pretty hefty interest rates. Also, always pay your bill on time, if you don’t want fees and penalties to eat into your hard-earned miles. Finally, take advantage of the double- and triple-mile rewards that your card offers, as these can really help you to rack up the points and get you into the air sooner than you think.
Finally, don’t get so enthralled with the idea of earning points and miles that you end up making purchases that you don’t need and will never use. Just because a purchase earns you miles for every dollar, doesn’t make it a good deal. On the other hand, if it is a purchase that you would normally make anyway, and a partnering vendor is offering triple reward miles – in that case it may make sense to take advantage of a good thing. Bottom line; be smart and you’ll be rewarded – in free travel!
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Compare Cards.