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When we are looking for a travel credit card, we often see promos like 'earn 50,000 bonus miles', 'get 60,000 bonus points' for spending this or that amount of money within a given number of months. But how much is that? Is it enough for an award ticket?

To understand what you can get, you should first of all to understand that there are two types of travel credit cards: airline co-branded credit cards and regular travel rewards credit cards. Both types of the cards allow earning miles or point rewards. The promo offers may vary between two types of the cards and often change with the season. So, let's take some average promo of 50k miles and see what it gets you.

An airline credit card with a 50k bonus offer does not guarantee that you will get a round-trip reward ticket. The redemption options and required number of miles may vary depending on the airline you redeem with, destination (domestic or international), class (economy or business), and the ticket price. Thus, for example, when you travel off-peak, you may need less miles than during peak travel season. Also, those 50k miles do not cover fees and taxes you may be charged when booking your award travel.

When you have 50k bonus miles on a regular travel rewards card, you know exactly how much it is in dollars. Such cards usually have an easy to understand redemption ratio: 100 miles = $1 dollar. For example, if you have the Discover it® Miles card and you’ve earned 50k miles, that means you've earned $500 dollars and you can redeem them for your travel expenses. Simply find any travel purchase that is eligible for redemption in your Discover credit card account and apply your miles to it.

So, when you see a travel credit card with a 50k bonus offer, do not apply right away. Explore the offer details, find out redemption opportunities, limits and conditions. Some companies may set limits on the minimum number of miles you can redeem. Knowing about such things in advance, can help you choose the card that will work for you.