There are many ways for savvy travelers to take advantage of airline rewards perks now offered by a number of credit card issuers these days. As the country’s economy remains on shaky ground, many people are looking to get the most out of what they spend.
“The current economic landscape is weighing on consumers’ minds. Maximizing credit card rewards is one way consumers can offset the impact to their wallets,” said Troy Jamison, Vice President of Loyalty Programs at Capital One, according to marketwatch.com.
One way to generate air miles as you make purchases is to take the straightforward approach: apply for a branded airline credit card. All major U.S. carriers have a branded travel credit card, and most of them offer a substantial one-time bonus for signing up and then making a few purchases within a pre-determined time-frame. An airline credit card is an excellent way to lay down a strong foundation of bonus miles that you can build on. Even if the card is branded by an airline that you don’t use often, the miles earned can sometimes be redeemed with partner airlines.
There are a multitude of perks that should be taken into account when voyaging with a travel rewards credit card. Many cards provide cardholders with passes to airport lounges and grant them priority boarding privileges, and even allow them to check bags for free.
Another less obvious way to rack up miles is to sign up for a non-airline credit card that offers a large amount of points as a sign-on bonus incentive to new cardholders. With some cards, when you convert points into miles, you receive an additional chunk of bonus miles.
“Sometimes you’ll earn more points if you use a generic travel reward card, and then transfer your points to your preferred airline, instead of using your preferred airline’s credit card,” said Daraius Dubash, contributor to the travel hacking blog MillionMileSecrets.com.
These days, special promotions are available for the taking almost everywhere you look. Often carriers will run special promotional events on their websites, and hotels or car rental companies occasionally offer mileage bonuses in exchange for watching a video or completing a survey.
“As competition continues to heat up, these promotions are likely to get more and more common,” says miles subject blogger Gary Leff, of BoardingArea.com’s View from the Wing. “But you have to jump on them fast, because they often fill up quickly.”