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Best Credit Cards for Airline Travel
Using an airline credit card is an excellent way to turn your everyday purchases into points or miles toward your next vacation. In the past, travel credit cards were typically only associated with one airline or hotel, but in recent years there has been an explosion in the travel credit card space resulting in more options for consumers to choose from. In order to select the best airline credit card for you, it’s important to understand all the pros and cons each card might offer. You will also want to consider your priorities and preferences for a travel credit card. How frequently do you travel? What do you spend the most money on? Are you willing to pay an annual fee to receive more perks and rewards? Questions like these will help you zero in on the best credit card for you. Let’s look at a few different types of travel credit cards.
Co-branded Travel Credit Cards
These are your traditional travel credit cards that are associated with one specific brand, typically an airline or a hotel, like American Airlines, Delta, or Marriott Hotels. With co-branded travel cards, you usually earn miles or points that are specific to the rewards program for that brand. Where co-branded credit cards can shine is with added perks and benefits – airline credit cards might offer cardholders complimentary priority boarding or a free checked bag, and hotel credit cards might offer cardholders a fast-track to elite status with that hotel. If you find that you are already loyal to one specific brand, then carrying the co-branded travel credit card for that airline or hotel can be an easy way to enjoy added perks like these. The downside of co-branded credit cards is that there isn’t much flexibility with the rewards. For example, if you have an American Airlines credit card, you only earn miles with American Airlines, so if you never fly American, then that won’t be a good fit.
Travel Statement Credit Cards and Transferable Points
If you’re looking for more flexibility with your Travel Rewards Card, consider a card that offers Travel Statement Credits or Transferable Points. Rather than being associated with one specific airlines or hotel, these cards let you redeem your points in a variety of ways. The most straightforward method is with Travel Statement Credits. Accumulate rewards over time as you use your card for everyday purchases, and then when you want to redeem simply purchase your flights or hotel reservation with your credit card and redeem your rewards as a statement credit towards your travel purchase after the fact. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Typically, 1 points is worth 1 cent. So if you you have 50,000 points built up, that’s worth $500 in travel.
Some cards also give you the option to transfer your points to various loyalty programs with airlines or hotels. While this approach adds a little more complexity, it’s always good to have multiple options for how to redeem your rewards. If you are a savvy traveler who is willing to put in a little extra research in order to get more bang for your buck, then transferring points to travel partners could be right up your alley.
Other Things to Consider with Travel Credit Cards
When it comes to Travel Rewards credit cards, there are a few key things to keep in mind. One is that the interest rates for carrying a balance are usually higher for travel cards, so these cards are best suited for consumers who always pay their balance off in full each month. Another thing to consider is the annual fee – annual fees can range from $0 up to $550 or higher. Cards that charge annual fees will offer more rewards and perks, but it’s important to carefully consider if you will sufficiently utilize the benefits to justify paying the annual fee.
The cards above are some of the top offers available today for Travel Credit Cards. Pick the card that is best for you and apply securely online to start earning valuable travel rewards!