It is no secret that airlines make it difficult to redeem your reward miles for free travel. But did you know that they’re making it expensive, too? Many people go out of their way to fly on their favorite airline to get the most reward miles possible. But as you know, Reward Miles change. So here are some things to consider in light of these changes that keep on changing. The question is, are the credit cards that promise free flights worth it? According to personel finance personal finance writer Ron Lieber, here are five questions to help you figure out the answer:
If so, then a rewards card might be good for you. If you don’t, you should cancel your rewards card because it probably charges a high annual fee and a high interest rate. (To find a low rate alternative, visit bankrate.com or kiplinger.com.)
“If they are, you’ll be fighting everyone else who wants to travel at the same time,” says Lieber. “The airlines, knowing your desperation to get out of town, may make fewer free seats available during school vacations, since the airline will probably sell all the seats on those flights anyway.”
If yes, you should probably keep your rewards card. The major airlines, such as American and United, make it easier for passengers with elite status to redeem miles, boosting the value of the miles you earn on your card.
If so, you can probably charge up a lot on your credit card. Once you start charging more than $100,000 a year, you’ll be earning enough miles to earn premium-class tickets. The airlines make sure that “miles are worth a lot more if you redeem them for this sort of travel” because they want to retain the loyalty of big spending customers.
Do you value upgrades? “It can be easier to get upgrades from coach using miles than it is to book free seats.” So if upgrades matter to you, then a rewards card may be the best value way to get upgrades. But watch out for those increasing redemption fees!
The above tips are certainly great starting points to keep in mind and are timeless.
Until next time, make it a great one.