Getting the Most from Credit Card Airline Mile Rewards

Just behind cash back rebates in popularity are airline mile reward credit cards, a great choice for people who frequently travel or those who hope to. While free travel is a prize worth working for, an estimated that three-quarter of all rewarded miles are never redeemed. Before you become a part of that statistic, consider the following ways to increase the number of miles and get the most from your miles rewards.

Earn More Miles

Perhaps the number one reason people neglect to use their rewards is that they don’t have enough miles. With most airlines, you need at least 25,000 miles to claim a free flight (typical round-trip valued at $350) equal to 1.4 cents per mile value. If you’re struggling to reach a specific goal, here are some ways to increase your chances of free travel to your vacation destination.

• Book all travel arrangements with your airline miles card. Credits, miles or points you earn when you fly add up to discounted or free flights, upgrades and other rewards.

• Earn the more rewards by using a specific airline card. Some airline-branded credit cards award 2 miles for every dollar spent on the partner airline. Choose your card based on the airline that works for your travel plans – domestic or international, etc. and consider which airlines serve the airport nearest you.

• Look for special offers to increase your miles. Some airlines offer frequent flier members the chance to get extra miles, points or credits, if they rent a car with a partner company or fly to certain places.

Best Way to Redeem Your Miles

• Redeem your rewards at the first opportunity. The terms of most programs allow the credit card company to change the way redemption works that could make it more difficult to use, if you hold out to accumulate more.

• Be flexible and book your tickets as far in advance as possible to ensure that you can book one of the limited numbers of reward seats. Plus, some airlines charge a fee for travel booked less than 21 days from the day you travel.

• Travel off-season. You’re more likely to find a seat available when less people are traveling. Some airlines even give off-season mileage discounts.

• Book online. A charge may be applied for using a customer service agent.

• Some programs allow you to use more miles to guarantee a free, domestic flight seat. Consider this option if you just have to travel at a specific day and time when reward seats are not available.

• Reward redemptions generally cover the base fare of the ticket. Taxes and security and protection fees may be the responsibility of the passenger.

Be Realistic

While earning free travel is definitely possible, it’s not going to happen in a few months – unless you’re spending on the card like Donald Trump. Reading the details and fine print thoroughly will prevent a misunderstanding of the potential for quick rewards. Flip through the card agreement for your airline miles program to find the miles-to-dollars conversion. This figure will help you calculate the exact number of airline miles available based on your current points level.

Focus on the Goal

Many people use several credit cards for different purposes, essentially dividing their earnings. If you stop using your other credit cards and focus on using your miles reward card exclusively, you’ll earn miles faster.
Mile rewards will be around as long as airlines are making money with the programs. The key to getting the most from one is taking advantage of special offers that your airline mile credit cards make available and making sure you always use your airline debit or credit card.

About The Author: Noreen Ruth writes for ASAP credit card blog and several popular finance websites. She is interested in educating consumers about using credit responsibly and about legislative action that will affect their ability to borrow the money they need. She has contributed hundreds of articles to various online sites that provide content to educate consumers on credit card offers, reward credit cards, debt relief services, loans and other finance related topics.