Choosing an airline credit card is easier than you might think. When sorting through all of the many options available, there are three main questions you need to ask yourself: What airline do I use the most often? How many times per year do I fly? And, are the fees associated with the card worth the benefits?
What Airline Do I Use the Most Often?
The first thing you should determine when selecting an airline credit card is what airline you frequent the most. If you have an airline that you prefer to ride on all trips, find out if they have their own airline credit card. Many airlines today have partnered with lending institutions to offer their own cards, so the chances are pretty good that the airline you frequent offers a special card.
If, on the other hand, you tend to fly on whichever airline is cheapest or most available for the time you want to travel, you might want to choose an airline credit card with more flexibility. Several of these cards work with a number of different airlines and this will be the best choice for you and your lifestyle.
How Many Times Per Year Do I Fly?
You should also analyze how often you fly before choosing an airline credit card. If you only fly once every few years are so, you most likely will not benefit from airline miles credit cards. This is because most of these cards work on a points system. After accumulating a pre-determined number of points, you are eligible for reduced or free air travel. With many cards, these points expire after a specific amount of time. Therefore, you might not be able to take advantage of the points you earn if you do not fly frequently.
If, on the other hand, you fly often during the year, you want to be sure to select airline credit cards that do not place a cap on the number of points you can earn. Many place restrictions on the number of points that can be earned each year. Or, they might have “black out dates” during which you cannot take advantage of your free or reduced travel privileges. Check into this information before applying for an airline credit card. If there are black out dates, make sure they are not dates that will adversely affect you. Similarly, if there are caps on how much travel you can earn, be sure the cap is acceptable to you.
Are the Fees Associated with Airline Credit Cards Worth the Benefits?
Generally, airline miles credit cards have annual fees. In addition, they tend to have higher interest rates than non-airline credit cards. Sit down and determine how much free or reduced travel you believe you can earn in a one year or two year period from your airline credit card. Then, determine how much you will pay in annual fees. If the annual fees are more than the free or reduced travel you will earn, it is not worth it for you to get an airline credit card.
You also need to determine if you will be able to pay the balance of the airline credit card in full at the end of each billing cycle. If not, you could be paying a great deal in finance charges. Once again, the cost of finance charges can be more than the rewards you earn with the card. In this case, it is not in your best interest to use an airline credit card.
If you will be able to pay your card in full at the end of each billing cycle and you will be able to take full advantage of the airline credit card rewards program, then it is a good idea to get one of these cards. If not, go for a credit card without a rewards program that has a low interest rate instead.