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Airline cards or
travel rewards CREDIT
Choosing between an airline co-branded credit card and a general travel rewards credit card may not be that easy as you could think at first. There are a number of best airline credit cards that may be good for others but will not work for you simply because you are not loyal to that airline. For example, if you do not fly Southwest, there is no sense in having a Southwest Airlines Credit Card. Everything's much simpler with travel rewards credit cards. They all work, even if you do not travel. The trick is to choose the right credit card for you. Here you can see some popular travel cards below.
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top travel CREDIT CARD
GREAT BONUS OFFER
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
- The Citi Rewards+SM Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
- Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
” Expert's opinion
This card is a part of the ThankYou Rewards program, which means there are multiple options to redeem points, including travel redemptions and points transfers to participating loyalty programs. And since the card has no annual fee and a bonus offer, it will be rather easy to accumulate rewards without losing them on fees. The rewards categories are supermarkets and gas stations, which earn 2X points for the first $6,000 per year. All other purchases earn unlimited 1X points.
Why travel cards are
more flexible THAN AIRLINE
While airline credit cards offer bigger rewards on airfare, they basically limit you to specific airline purchases. Take Southwest credit cards from Chase as an example, the cards allow to earn additional points on Southwest purchases and on some partner purchases, all other purchases earn basic 1 point per $1. You can use Chase Southwest credit card login to track your points, but basically, you will have to fly Southwest a lot to earn an award ticket. As for travel rewards credit cards, even if they limit you to a travel category, they do not limit you to a specific airline. Travel category usually includes airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, travel packages, and gas purchases. Also, there are travel credit cards that give equal rewards on all purchases - an ideal option for those who do not travel often or want to maximize rewards on everyday spendings.
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
An airline credit card won't allow you to redeem miles the way you want, any way you slice it. Basically, you will be limited to award ticket redemptions from the issuing airline. More than that, airlines usually limit the number of award seats and impose blackout dates which makes it rather hard to use earned miles. For example, if you are a Southwest frequent flyer, you will need to use Southwest login to see available points and rewards options. Travel rewards credit cards work differently. Since they are not tied to any airline, you have the freedom to redeem earned miles with any airline, any time through credit card account. There are no limits or blackout dates. The only requirement is you should buy your airline ticket using your travel rewards credit card.
We all know that airline credit cards may have frequent flyer perks like priority boarding, free checked bag, or complimentary access to airline lounges. However, all those perks and benefits do not come for free. Most likely the airline card, that offers some or all of those perks, will have a high annual fee. If you use all benefits an airline credit card has, then it may be worth paying the annual fee. If not, then you may want a cheaper option, which can be a travel rewards credit card. Such a card may not offer you a free first checked bag, but at the same time, it won't charge you high annual fee. Many travel credit cards come without annual fees at all. In addition to low fees, best travel credit cards may come with 0% intro APR allowing you to save on interest payments.
TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
I have a Southwest Airlines credit card but my Southwest points expired! I’ve been saving for a family trip, I’ve accrued almost 200,000 on Rapid Rewards, which is more than enough for us. I was hoping to redeem those miles this year for a trip to Italy, but I was taken aback when I learned that my miles expired! How could this happen to me?!
Judging from what you are telling, you haven't been flying Southwest for quite a while. Southwest's policy is that your miles expire after 24 months of inactivity. "Inactivity" in Southwest's terms is a little different...Read more
I have a Southwest credit card which I haven't used for quite a long time but it has some lingering points on it. So I decided to redeem those points and close the card but I wasn't able to do so! What should I do? How can I use those points?
There can be two reasons you cannot redeem your miles. The first is you are trying to redeem Southwest points for a travel after the date your miles are due to expire. Since you haven't used your card for a while, we...Read more
I read a Southwest credit card review and it sounded great to have a Southwest Rewards credit card. I often fly Southwest, but I also choose other airlines frequently. It’s not very convenient for me to have a separate credit card for each airline, so I’m thinking if it’ll be enough to have only a Southwest Airlines credit card?
Certainly, when you acquire a credit card for travel, you want it to be versatile and convenient for any needs. Unfortunately, airlines want you to be loyal and only grant you rewards when you fly that one airline....Read more
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TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
† With current restrictions and uncertainty about future travel, co-branded airline credit cards with perks like lounge access, upgrades, free checked bag, priority boarding, rewards for airfare, and other travel benefits won't be of great use to you now. General-purpose travel cards that are not tied to any airline and offer rewards on all purchases, including elevated rewards in select categories, are a better choice in the age of social distancing.