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Are Airline Reward Cards Worth It?

18th July 2011

Do you have a business located in a different country that you have to visit often? Are you working away from your family but you desire to go home more frequently? Or do you simply just love to go around the world and tour different places? If yes is your answer to one or more of the preceding questions, then an airline reward card may be the best credit card that you add to your wallet.

Many people worldwide have discovered the superb convenience that airline credit cards can bring when it comes to cutting down their travel expenses and arranging their trip requirements all at the same time. As you may know, this type of credit card allows users to accumulate airline miles for free that they can utilize for their next trip, resulting in huge discounts and, at times, free air fare!

But free airline miles aren't the only advantage that comes with having an airline credit card. In fact, they're just the tip of the iceberg. If you just read through the list of features of one of the many airline reward cards available, you'll see that it's jam-packed with travel-related perks that will make setting your vacation a breeze from start to end!

One important benefit is travel insurance that will ease your worries about what you'd do if something unexpected happens while you're overseas and far away from home. Most airline credit cards also have some sort of global assistance program, wherein help is just a phone call away. Your passport got lost and you don't know anything about the country you're in! What will you do? Simply dial your credit card company's customer support hotline and help will be on the way! Be it lost luggage, physician referrals, or translation services, most card companies can provide you with much-needed help during emergency situations.

The advantages don't end there. Most, if not all, airline reward cards also offer concierge assistance that will aid in procuring event tickets and making reservations even while you are on vacation. You may also get discounts in hotel and resort accommodations, restaurants, and automobile rentals. How does a 50% discount in hotel accommodation sound like? How about free coffee if you use your card to pay for your meal? Some deals may be stupendous, while some may seem ordinary, but the fact is that you're being recognized and getting something extra just for using your card.

Many airline credit cards also allow you to redeem your points by selecting rewards from their catalogue. These rewards may include a wide selection of products and services from various establishments worldwide. You can procure actual items or services, gift checks, reward cards, or even a portion of your money back.

But as with other credit cards, airline reward cards may have a few disadvantages. Some airline credit cards come with an annual fee and higher interest rates. Sometimes, these fees may even outweigh the benefits that you're receiving. For instance, a yearly fee of £150 will simply write off the £150 discount off your plane ticket. This will be particularly true if you don't use your card often. If you only spend around, say, £5,000 a year on your card, then it will take you a few years to accumulate enough miles for a local flight and even more for an international flight. During those years, you'd be paying several hundreds of pounds in annual fees, which more or less costs the same as a domestic plane ticket. But of course, if you use your card for more purchases, then you'll definitely come out ahead.

Another disadvantage is that sometimes there are expiration dates and blackout dates associated with airline reward credit cards. The solution to this, however, is to reserve and book the tickets in advance.

Whoever you are - a frugal traveller, an exchange student, or a businessman - for as long as you have plans of going somewhere; an airline rewards card can mean many things to you. It can mean fantastic promos and deals, necessary and timely assistance, substantial discounts, and best of all, more opportunities for cheaper yet benefit-laden travels.