Airlines Credit Card Guidelines To Choose The Right Card
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An airlines credit card earns credits or points whenever the card is used. Simple enough, right? Choosing the airline card will not be difficult, if you travel frequently with a certain airline. If you use various airlines, then it is wise to select the airline cards that give more flexibility in its redemption and reward system. The bottom line is that, in most instances, an airlines credit card is very well suited for frequent business travelers.
Since selecting the right airline card is an important task, you need to ask yourself some preliminary questions before considering an airline credit card.
1. Which is the airline you frequently fly or prefer to fly?
The first question is to determine your most frequented airline. If you prefer to travel by a selected carrier, it is better to check whether they have their own airline credit card. Since most of the airlines today have partnered with credit card companies, the chances are that they will have their own card. However, if you tend to fly by the cheapest or easily available carrier at the time of your travel, you will have to consider an airline card that offers greater flexibility. Some cards have alliance partnerships with various airlines, offering greater flexibility to you.
2. What is the frequency of your air travel per year?
These cards are based on a point accumulation system with the accumulated points expiring after a certain period. If you are not a frequent flyer, then you may not benefit from these cards, as you will not be accumulating enough points to earn reduced or free travel. Conversely, if you are a frequent flyer, then ensure that the card you have chosen has no blackout dates and no cap or limit on the number of points that can be earned.
3. What are the benefits versus fees on the card?
In general, airline cards have high interest rates and annual fees. It is important to evaluate the annual fees paid versus the reduced or free mile travel earned per year. An airlines credit card is not attractive if the annual fee is more than what you will earn as free or reduced travel. In addition, you could be paying hefty finance charges, if you are not able to pay the balance on the card in full every month. In which case, it is better to choose a credit card with a low interest rate and no frills attached than the rewards program.
It is important to research the number of points required to accumulate in order to qualify for free air travel. To get maximum benefits from your airlines card, you should also consider the following points prior to making the choice:
4. Flexibility of the Card – Your card has to be flexible to be used in many places including restaurants and shopping malls. Points are added everytime you make a purchase using the card but sometimes certain purchases add more points.
5. Cap on Accumulated Points – Most cards have a cap on the number of points that can be accumulated. If you are a frequent flyer, it is better to read this fine print. Most of these cards have rewards based on predetermined level of points.
6. Redemption Criteria – Mostly during peak travel season, airlines and hotels do not encourage redemption of miles or use of free or reduced travel pricing.
7. Annual Fees – It is essential to do a cost benefit analysis on the various airlines credit card offers before selecting one. If you do not travel a great deal, it is better to go for a card with lower annual fees and a modest rewards program. If you are a frequent flyer, you can choose one with higher annual fees and benefit from the unlimited travel rewards that are possible.
8. Other Services – Certain cards give travel insurance and discounts on car rental and hotels. Some also provide cash advances in emergencies. You have to compare various cards on these to get the best one suited to your lifestyle.
Competition in the market forces credit card and airline companies to frequently change their Airlines card product offering. However, it is recommended that once the right Airline card is chosen, it be not changed unless there are huge benefits in doing so. If you consider signing up for an Airlines credit card, it is better take informed decision based on long-term benefit, rather than be carried away by the marketing and promotional gimmicks of these companies.