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When we are looking to apply for a frequent flyer credit card, we often see many promo offers like ‘get 25,000 bonus miles’, ‘earn 30,000 reward points’ after spending this or that amount of money within a fixed number of months. But what does it mean? Can you get an award ticket using these bonus miles?

First of all, if you want to know where you can travel using miles, you should remember that there are two types of travel credit cards: airline co-branded credit cards and regular credit cards with rewards on travel. Both types of the cards allow earning miles or point rewards but the earning potential is always different. The promos may vary between two types of the cards and often change with the season. Thus, let’s analyse some average promo of 25k miles and see what it gets you.

A frequent flyer credit card with a 25k sign-up bonus does not always give you a round-trip reward ticket. It depends on the redemption options. Also, required number of miles may vary depending on the way you redeem it: the airline, destination (domestic or international), class (economy or business), and the ticket price. So that, for example, if you travel off-peak, you may be required less miles or points than during peak travel season. In addition, those 25k miles always do not cover fees and taxes. So, you will probably be charged those extra fees when booking your award trip. Thus, it could be rather difficult to evaluate the true cost of a point or mile of each miles program.

If you get a regular travel rewards card with a 25k bonus miles offer, it is easy to know exactly how much it is in dollars. So, this may be a good idea for travelers who need a card for regular shopping. Such cards usually have an easy to understand redemption ratio: 100 miles = $1 dollar. For instance, if you get the Discover it® Miles credit card and you’ve earned 25k miles, that means you’ve earned $250 dollars and you can redeem them for your travel expenses. You can easily choose any travel purchase in your credit card account and apply your miles to it.

To conclude, do not apply right away for any travel rewards credit card with 25k bonus offer. You should find out all offer details, like redemption opportunities, limits and conditions. Knowing about such things in advance, can help you choose the card that will work for you. And remember that offers change all the time so it’s important to monitor them every month for updates.