Saturday, January 19, 2008
Airline Credit Cards â Know What You re Getting Into
Airline Credit Cards â" Know What You re Getting Into Choosing an airline credit card is not a matter to be taken lightly. Credit card companies offer many different reward programs, each with specific terms and conditions, however frequent flier programs are especially complex. Annual fees, mileage systems, redemption policies, expiration of miles; and this is only pulling the curtains back slightly. To make an informed decision, the following topics should be thoroughly reviewed. 1.Bank Sponsored Vs. Airline Sponsored Credit Cards. It is important to know the difference between the two as they will dictate the redemption of your miles. The airline sponsored card is through one particular airline and miles can only be accrued and redeemed through that airline. This choice would be optimal for someone who loyally flies the same airline. The bank sponsored card provides greater flexibility and would be better suited for the economical flier. When deciding between the two, it is important to think about which airlines fly out of which airports. To be sure, it would be nearsighted to sign up with an airline that doesn t even fly out of your nearest airport. With the airline cards it is obvious which airlines you should check into, however when looking into the bank sponsored cards, be sure to ask which airlines participate in their program. 2. Know the Annual Membership Fee. Airline credit cards are different than most credit cards as they carry an annual fee. Be sure to compare annual fees and look for promotional offers such as waiving the first year s fee. 3.Know the Interest Rate. Airline credit cards traditionally charge higher interest rates to cover the expenses of the elevated benefits. In fact CardWeb.com found that airline cards charge around 5.9% more in interest when compared to non-rewards cards. With a statistic such as this, you owe it to yourself to shop for the best interest rate possible. 4.Know the Terms and Conditions. When it comes to the terms and conditions, you must act like a lawyer. Read the terms back and forth and then read them again. Make sure you completely understand and then ask questions for clarification. Be acutely aware of the following: How the mileage program works Can miles only be earned by flying, or can you make purchases with other merchants? Can you earn double or bonus miles with any purchases? What is the minimum amount of miles needed to redeem a ticket? Do the miles ever expire? Is there a limit to how many miles can be earned in a year? Are there blackout dates for peak seasons or any other times of the year? Are any bonus miles offered at sign-up? Are there hidden fees for redeeming miles over the phone or in person? Taking into account the aforementioned, it is necessary to ask yourself if you are the right consumer for an airline credit card. Due to the high interest rates and annual fees, those who benefit the most typically have excellent credit scores, are frequent fliers, charge large amounts to their cards, and pay their balances off monthly. If you do not fall into most of these categories, it would be wise to reconsider the proposition of one of the credit industryâ™s most complex credit cards. Copyright 2006; Anthony Oneli. This article may be reprinted on the terms that it remains unchanged and the links stay active. Anthony Oneli has written numerous articles on credit management and is the webmaster of a site that offers news and information on credit cards. If you re looking for more information and want to fill out a credit card application , visit his site today.