Airline miles credit cards are one of the best options for consumers who like to travel often, for business or pleasure. Using these credit cards, you can earn points that can be saved up, and later redeemed for airline tickets and other travel rewards. In most cases, the airline miles rewards program will be designed around a specific airline. However, in some cases, miles will be designed to be redeemed at any airline, and for other travel related purchases.
In most cases, as with most rewards based credit cards, to qualify for an airline miles card, you must have a good to excellent credit score. It’s also incredibly important to compare your options as rewards programs, rates, and overall experience can vary wildly between options.
What To Compare with Airline Credit Cards
Interest Rates – As with any credit card, the first thing that most people will want to compare is the interest rates offered. This is because, if you plan to carry a balance from month to month, you’ll most likely find that interest is going to be your highest fee. When comparing interest rates, make sure to place a higher level of importance on the rates that are more relevant to you. For instance, if you won’t be doing any cash transactions or balance transfers, then the standard interest rate, or purchase rate will be the most important rate for you.
Annual Fees – When it comes to just about all rewards credit cards, it’s important to watch the annual fee. The truth is, in just about every category, there are options that don’t charge an annual fee at all. However, in most rewards categories, there are also some options that charge astronomical fees. In some cases, annual fees can be close to $500. So, when you compare, pay close attention to that annual kicker.
Value Of Rewards Points – Each different rewards program is going to offer different terms. For instance, it may be simple to rack up 500,000 points on one card, but if the points are only worth $0.001, that would only be $500, which these days, can’t buy you a round trip to many places. Now let’s say another card offered a fast way to get to 50,000 points, and each point is worth $0.02. Now, you’ve spent the same, but earned $500 more with a total of $1,000 in free airfare and travel necessities.
Airline Specific Rewards VS Non-Airline Specific Rewards – Airline miles credit cards started as airline specific products. One lender would offer rewards at one airline. However, as competition in the industry has grown, the industry has been forced to evolve. Now, some miles based credit cards are specific to one airline, and some allow you to travel using the airline of your choice. If you get an airline specific credit card, make sure that it’s an airline that you know and trust.
Blackout Dates – In the past, blackout dates were much more common than they are today. These are dates that you would not be allowed to fly using your rewards points. However, as mentioned above, the industry is evolving. Therefore, more and more offers don’t limit you to specific dates. As you compare, try to find an offer that has no blackout dates.