Air miles credit cards are commonly known as frequently flyer credit cards or simply airline credit cards. They are linked to an airline’s frequent flying program (FFP). A FFP is a program whereby members can accrue points when they travel on the airline. The number of points accrued correspond to the distance flown on that airline. These accrued points are also known as frequent flyer miles or air miles and they can be redeemed for free air travel or other goods and services.
1. Airline or bank sponsor
A bank or an airline can sponsor an air miles credit card. An airline-sponsored credit card is usually limited to a specific airline only. It will be very useful for you if you travel on those routes operated by this specific airline frequently.
On the other hand, a bank-sponsored air miles credit card has more choices, as the bank tends to partner with several airlines. It also has a lower requirement for mileage redemption than airline-sponsored credit card.
2. Annual fees
An annual fee may chargeable for the application of the air miles credit cards. Some cards do not have an annual fee. Other may charge an annual fee after the introductory period is over. Both strategies are pretty effective in signing up new customers. The annual fee is usually stated in the application form. If not, you can find them in the terms and conditions section of the application form.
Some of the air miles credit cards are available in standard version and platinum version. The platinum version usually command a higher annual fee and interest rate but it also comes with more benefits than the standard version.
3. Rewards Redemption period
If you travel frequently for business or pleasure, you can accrue a substantial amount of miles in a short period of time. You can use them to redeem rewards such as free air ticket, an upgrade of seat class as well as other goods and services like hotel accommodation and car rental.
However, you have to take note of blackout period if you intend to redeem free air tickets. This is usually during the peak travel seasons such as summer time and Christmas time. The demand for air tickets is usually very high during these periods and thus redemption of free air tickets is usually not available. However, there are a few cards that do not impose such restriction.
4. Major drawbacks
Air miles credit card usually command a higher interest rates than standard cards. If you are not able to pay entire outstanding balance in full every month, the interest accumulated can be quite substantial in a short period of time. The other drawback is that the you have to make many trips before you can accrue enough air miles to redeem free air tickets to destination of your choice.
You should treat air miles credit cards like any other credit cards and used them responsibly. You want to reap all the benefits of the card and not be a slave to it. If you use your them responsibly, you will be able to fully enjoy its benefits with a peace of mind.