How to choose the best Airline Rewards Program..
The selection of an airlines rewards program that best fits your lifestyle and needs is more difficult than you might expect, but no so hard that you can’t make a wise choice – quickly! To begin, there are many cards available some of which are dramatically different from their competitors.
In order to choose wisely and effectively, you have to know something about yourself – your tendencies … the frequency with which you use credit cards … the speed with which you want to receive a rebate … and much, much more.
There are, today, cards that “reward” you with cash benefits to your retirement account … with tickets to fun-filled theme parks … with deep, deep discounts on new cars and with custom-tailored (by you) one-of-a-kind vacations.
These are great benefits, but they may require lots of expense and time before you accumulate enough points to make them happen. If you want a card that gives you access to the best airline rewards program, the first thing you have to do is eliminate all revolving credit cards. The reason is simple: if you have to pay interest on balances that you carry, it will eliminate any benefit you receive from the accumulation of points.
You need a card like American Express, for example, because it is, in essences, a 30-day loan. You can’t carry a balance and that helps you realize real benefits in the rewards program. Of course, you should also look for the very lowest possible interest rate on any card you choose. You spend less when you do … and that means you earn more.
To find the best airline rewards program, follow these simple steps
- Know exactly how rewards are valued. When you understand how miles are valued by the credit card issuer, you will also know how large a rebate you will get. You need to enjoy a rebate of at least 1% or 2& to make the use of the credit card viable. There are cards that offer rebates (rewards) that are below 1%. Avoid them.
- Know your limits. Make sure you do not select a card in which your accumulated mileage (or some of it) can expire because you’ve taken too long to use it. Some cards use an expiration date. If you know it’s going to take you some time to accumulate enough mileage to enjoy free air travel, choose a card that will not penalize you for slow use. American Express and Diner’s Club, for instance, have no expiration dates on accumulated miles. You can never lose them.
- Match a credit card to your spending habits. Some credit cards will penalize you for “taking too long” to accumulate points. Obviously, they want you to travel frequently and to use the card they’ve issued to you. If you know it’s going to take you a reasonably long time to spend enough money in order to get a free trip, do the research and find the card that rewards your behavior.
- Know how much flexibility you need. If you plan to fly with one airline all the time, acquire and use their credit card. You’ll rack up frequent flyer points quickly. If you know you’ll be flying with different airlines, a non-airlines credit card is best for you. Every trip you take will result in points earned.
Follow these simple steps and you are certain to enjoy the rewards you’ve earned for traveling quickly and easily. It is that simple.