When Do Airline Credit Cards Make Sense
Despite the higher potential value-per-mile, unless you frequently and religiously fly one particular airline, credit card miles that can be used on any airline may be more valuable than airline-specific frequent flyer miles.
Airline-branded credit cards will award that airlines frequent flyer miles whereas other travel reward credit cards will award credit card miles that can be redeemed for flights on any airline, hotel stays, and more.
If you fly frequently enough on one particular airline, then carrying that airlines branded credit card may make sense. Most of the benefits of an airline credit card come not from the miles you earn, but from additional perks like:
- Free checked bags.
- Reaching elite status faster.
- Global Entry/TSA precheck credits.
For example, I fly Delta just enough that carrying a Delta SkyMiles Amex gets me into their Gold Medallion level. That perk gets me priority customer service and every now and then a free first-class upgrade.
Is Earning Elite Status With Credit Card Spending Unfair
Ive seen comments from some along the lines of not fair, now Im going to be competing for upgrades with people who never fly American Airlines. I have to strongly disagree with this logic, and I say that as someone who intends to maintain Executive Platinum status without credit card spending:
- If someone doesnt actually fly American Airlines often but earns the same elite tier as you, they wont pose much competition for upgrades
- For example, say someone earns Executive Platinum status with credit card spending, and flies just 20,000 miles per year on the airline it would take 10 of these kinds of travelers to pose the same level of competition for upgrades as a single Executive Platinum member who earns the status by flying 200,000 miles per year
- So even if elite ranks were swelled significantly , the risk to upgrades clearing should be minimal if people arent traveling that much
Bigger picture, while I know theres some contention between those earning status through flying vs. credit card spending, its important to acknowledge that credit card agreements are where major US airlines make much of their profits. Even pre-coronavirus, American largely lost money actually flying planes, and made billions in profits from credit card agreements.
Therefore its reasonable, if you ask me, that American would want to further incentivize this profitable behavior. And again, I say this as someone who doesnt plan on earning airline status through credit card spending.
Consider Your Spending And Flying Habits
An American credit card will reward you for everyday spending, but youll earn rewards at a higher rate when making American Airlines purchases . The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® also earns bonus points on gas stations and restaurants.
Do you often pay out-of-pocket to check luggage on your flights? The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® holders get a first checked bag free perk eligible for the traveler and up to 4-8 travel companions, depending on the card. This is an ongoing expense that goes away when you add one of these cards to your wallet.
If you would like a more convenient and comfortable airport experience, you might be happy with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and its built-in access to Admirals Club lounges.
If youre already flying with American and have a few trips in the pipeline that you havent booked yet, getting an American credit card may make sense.
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Earn Miles Earn Loyalty Points Earn Status
Starting in 2022, instead of Elite Qualifying Miles, Elite Qualifying Dollars and Elite Qualifying Segments, you’ll only have one status metric: Loyalty Points. Earn Loyalty Points when you fly — and when you buy!
Cardmembers earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned from purchases.
about the new AAdvantage® program
Is It Worth Having A Credit Card To Earn The Rewards
Erika Rasure, is the Founder of Crypto Goddess, the first learning community curated for women to learn how to invest their moneyand themselvesin crypto, blockchain, and the future of finance and digital assets. She is a financial therapist and is globally-recognized as a leading personal finance and cryptocurrency subject matter expert and educator.
The Balance / Lara Antal
are one way credit card companies entice people to open an account. While there are some great rewards offeredperks like free trips, discounts on purchases, and cashbackit is important to use credit responsibly, regardless of rewards offered.
And while many people view as a bad thing, they can be a useful financial tool if managed properly. Credit card rewards are another great perk. If you are considering getting a rewards credit card, ask yourself these questions first.
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Is The British Airways Visa Card Worth It
The British Airways Visa Card has an excellent welcome bonus, and that could be a legitimate motivator for picking up this card. However, personally this isnt a card I would use for everyday spending, since you can earn British Airways Avios at a better rate with other American Express or Chase cards.
That said, I absolutely think this card is worth holding onto if you fly British Airways with any frequency:
- The value of saving 10% on British Airways flights will add up quickly
- The up to $600 in credits for carrier-imposed surcharges can cover the annual fee on this card over and over, if you redeem Avios for travel on British Airways that originates in the United States with any frequency
- If you redeem Avios on British Airways, the Travel Together Ticket could be well worth it
How To Earn American Airlines Miles
Earning miles with the American Airlines program isnt as difficult as it might seem. Here are all the ways you can rack up miles with this frequent flyer program:
- Fly with American or its partners. Earn miles when you fly with American or with partner airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Iberia.
- Earn miles when you book other travel. Earn even more miles by booking other travel through American, such as hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises.
- Use the shopping portal. American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping lets you earn miles when you click through the portal and shop with participating retailers.
- Join the dining club. American Airlines AAdvantage Dining lets you earn airline miles when you dine with participating restaurants in your area and pay with a linked credit or debit card.
- Co-branded credit cards. If you sign up for a travel credit card from American Airlines, you can earn a generous welcome bonusoften worth 50,000 American AAdvantage miles or moreas well as miles for each dollar you spend on your card.
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What Are The Status Qualification And Membership Year Periods For The New Program
The status qualification year will start on March 1 and run through the last day of February.
- For example, in 2023, weâll restart your counter on March 1, 2023, and it will run through February 29, 2024.
- The membership year will take effect the date you qualify, or April 1 and be valid through March 31.
Purchases made with your AAdvantageÂ® credit card will count based on the date the activity posts to your AAdvantageÂ® account. All other flight and partner transactions will count based on the activity date of the flight or other transaction.
British Airways Visa Card Basics For March 2022
Theres lots to love about the British Airways Visa Card. The card has a big welcome bonus, it has a reasonable annual fee, it offers statement credits when you pay carrier-imposed surcharges, and it earns points that can be useful whether youre looking to redeem for premium cabin international flights or domestic economy flights.
Lets take a look at what you need to know about this card, and what the best alternatives are.
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Here Are Some Of The Best American Airlines Credit Card Benefits:
There are tons of American Airlines credit card benefits. But some cards provide a lot more than others. If you’re looking for the most benefits at the lowest price, consider the American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator Red Credit Card. It offers every major benefit and charges a $99 annual fee.
It’s also good to note that you can also get some of these benefits without a credit card just by joining the AAdvantage loyalty program. Basic members only get priority status on waitlists. But Gold members, who have either flown 30 qualifying segments or earned 25,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year, are able to get the priority boarding and free checked bag benefits. You also can get complimentary flight upgrades and discounted Admirals club memberships, among other things.
The American Airlines credit card partners are British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, National Car Rental, Norwegian Cruise Line, and more. American Airlines cardholders can also earn bonus miles through AAdvantage Dining partners and the retailers participating in the AAdvantage eShopping mall, which include the likes of Nike, Microsoft, Sam’s Club, and numerous local restaurants.
You can then redeem AAdvantage miles toward flight upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, lounge access, vacations, and more. The actual value of AAdvantage miles vary, depending on which credit card partner the cardholder uses to redeem or transfer their miles.
American Airlines Elite Status And Memberships
Like other frequent flyer programs, the American AAdvantage program offers several elite status tiers with increasing benefits for frequent flyers. As of 2021, you can reach each tier of status by meeting an Elite Qualifying Dollars requirement and an Elite Qualifying Miles or Elite Qualifying Segments requirement. But starting in 2022, AAdvantage is replacing EQDs, EQMs and EQSs with a single currency called Loyalty Points. Under the new system, each qualifying AAdvantage mile earns one Loyalty Point. Qualifying miles are limited to base miles earned and dont include welcome bonuses or extra miles from promotions or bonus categories.
The following table shows the requirements youll have to meet to earn elite status with American Airlines in 2021:
|Elite Qualifying Dollars|
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The Best Airline Miles Rewards Credit Cards
Unless youre a frequent traveler chasing elite status, a travel rewards credit card that gives you miles good on any airline is probably your best bet. Which credit card company you should go with is dependent on the features that hold the most value for you.
There are several advantages to earning airline credit card miles:
- Airline Miles can be redeemed as a statement credittoward any travel purchase (tickets on any airline, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc.
- There are no blackout dates or other restrictions.
- Unlike many frequent flyer miles programs, you dont need to accumulate the miles needed for an entire flight you can redeem in increments as low as $50 to defray your travel purchases.
- Most .
The good news is you have several great options -most of which offer generous sign-up bonuses worth up to $625 if you can spend a certain amount within a few months of signing up.
To find the card that is best for you, check out our piece: The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Snag Up to $1,000 in Travel.
A Hybrid Qualification Approach Could Make Sense
Like I said, on an ongoing basis I couldnt imagine earning Executive Platinum status primarily through credit card spending:
- For the $3,800 opportunity cost, you could just outright pay the fare difference for first class on so many flights, rather than gambling with upgrades
- If youre earning status entirely through credit card spending, one has to wonder how much value youd actually get out of the status its not worth inefficiently spending $200,000 on a credit card so that you can get better treatment on a few trips per year
That being said, at the margins I think there could be value in spending money on an American Airlines credit card. For example, say you fly 30 segments per year with American Airlines anyway .
If you usually book fairly inexpensive fares, you might otherwise earn 100,000 Loyalty Points. At that point I think it could be worth putting some spending on credit cards to earn Executive Platinum status. If youd otherwise fly 30 segments, at that point you also want to consider the value of Loyalty Choice Rewards, like getting up to five systemwide upgrades or up to 85,000 AAdvantage redeemable miles, which could have a significant value.
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How To Redeem British Airways Avios
British Airways Avios are a unique points currency, given that the program has a distance-based award chart. This means that Avios are valuable for many types of award tickets where other programs wouldnt be useful .
Heres the award chart for travel on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus:
|Zone // Distance|
The basic things to be aware of include the following:
- For the British Airways award chart, peak and off-peak pricing varies based on the day youre flying
- Pricing is per segment, so no matter what type of award you book, youll pay individually for each segment
- Travel on British Airways and many partner airlines is subjected to carrier-imposed surcharges, which is the frustration that many people have with the program
There are so many great ways to redeem Avios, especially for flying shorter distances, where other programs have disproportionately high award costs.
This includes short haul business class within Asia on Cathay Pacific , domestic travel within the lower 48 US on Alaska and American, travel between the US mainland and Hawaii on Alaska, short-haul travel within Europe on British Airways, travel within Australia on Qantas, and much more.
I find Avios to be invaluable as part of my overall miles & points strategy, as theyre useful in areas where other currencies arent.
Aadvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
Sign-up bonus: Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn an additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase.
Bonus valuation: $910 to $1,050
Annual fee: $95
Benefits: The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard offers benefits that improve the business traveler experience:
- Free checked bags for you and up to four people on the same American Airlines reservation
- Annual $99 companion voucher awarded after $30,000 in spending
- Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
- 5% bonus on American Airlines miles earned on the card each year
- 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible office supply stores, telecom expenses and car rentals, and 1x elsewhere
Who should get it: This small business card is good for frequent American Airlines travelers who want an extra push toward elite status or a chance to earn a companion certificate each year with their small business spending. The 5% annual bonus on miles earned on the card also boosts the effective earning rate above other options on this list.
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Is An American Airlines Credit Card Worth It
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If you regularly fly with American Airlines and youre in the market for a new credit card, you may be wondering if an American credit card is worth it. Many American loyalists find the airlines credit cards to be valuable. There are several credit card options, which means you can choose the right card for your travel needs and rewards goals.
In this guide, well help you decide if an American credit card is right for you.
Why Do Banks Offer Rewards Credit Cards
Reward credit cards are used to encourage people to put money on their credit cards to earn rewards. But remember that when people make purchases with credit cards, they tend to overspendand reward credit cards are one of the best ways that credit card companies have to encourage people to keep spending money on their credit cards.
If you currently have a large amount of , you should stop putting things on your card until you have paid it off completely. Once you have done that, you may consider using it for the rewards, as long as you can pay off the balance in full each month.
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Redemption Options To Avoid
For the most part, youll want to take a close look at any redemptions you make that arent for airfare since youll usually get a lot less than 1.4 cents per mile. For example, hotel bookings made with American Airlines miles will usually net you less than 1 cent per mile in value. The same is true for car rentals and vacation packages.
Also, while redeeming airline miles for upgrades to a premium cabin is worth considering, youll usually have to supply a cash copay to do so. That can make upgrading with miles a worse value than it seems.
When Will My Current Aadvantage Status Be Extended
- All members with loyalty status set to expire on January 31, 2022, have been extended to March 31, 2022. Your account already reflects this change.
- If you have already achieved status in the 2021 qualification year, the end date of that status will update to March 31, 2023, by the end of March 2022.
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