How do miles work with credit cards or in general? – Jennifer
The task of earning travel miles is a simple one. The more that you travel the more miles that you earn towards your future free flight. Each airline miles program will be different so you will need to do due diligence before you plant your flag in the soil. To be honest, unless you’re someone that travels a lot for personal reasons or for business, it will probably take forever to earn enough flight miles to do anything within the immediate future and, depending on the program, the miles will have an expiration date.
This is why earning flight miles by signing up for credit cards is so popular. Still, you will have to do your due diligence and research each program because some of them aren’t worth the plastic that you will spend on. For American Airlines, they offered me 60,000 flight miles to sign up for their program but I had to spend $3,000 dollars within 90 days in order to get them. This was simple for me because I used the card to pay rent and my monthly bills. I also harassed my family around the holidays to let me order their gifts with my card. For Southwest, all I had to do was book a flight using the card and I got a free flight or 25,000 miles.
There are cons, of course.
- Every time that you apply for a card, it will ding your credit report. Too many inquiries will have a negative impact on your score.
- Closing accounts will cause your score to go down.
- Irresponsibly using these cards, will cause you to have balances that you may not be able to afford to pay later.
- Some airlines will require you to pay taxes and fees for your flight so technically it’s not really free.
- If you travel internationally, you will have to watch out for the connecting flight’s airline because they may have extra fees. For instance, my trip to London in March had double the fees when the connecting airline was British Airways.
- Some are free to change your flight at whim due to their schedule changes. Again, the example is my trip to London. American Airlines cancelled my flight and changed me to a flight where I had to spend the night in Chicago and would not compensate me for the hotel. They didn’t even contact me by phone to see if the flight they chose would be convenient for me. Rude.
- Annual fees.
- Update: Do not bother with Delta Airlines or any other airline with their current model of mileage. You can search for many places within the same price range and the cost in miles will not be the same. If you attempt to get an answer, no one at Delta will be able to answer it because it’s honestly a scam.
Receiving an airline credit card is not simple. Even with awesome credit, I was only approved for American Airlines after three years attempting to apply. Five years for Southwest. They are not easily handing these cards out like candy.
I recommend that if you do this option that you only apply to a max of 2 for international and one strictly for domestic. The more that you use these cards (responsibly) in your everyday life you earn points. How many will, again, depend on the program. American Airlines even has a shopping portal that will allow you multiply the miles for items that you were going to buy anyway. See if the airline you’re interested in has the same.
I hope this answered your question, buddy! I have to clock back into work. 🙂 If you have a question for me leave a comment and I will answer to my best of my abilities!