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How to Search for the Best Airline Miles Credit Card

Do you travel often for work or play? Confused by all of the different credit card deals offering lots of miles and wondering what the catch is? Stefanie Benjamin, PhD, would like to help take some of the guesswork out and offer insight on what to look for when choosing a credit card with airline miles.

Stefanie Benjamin PhD, CHE, Assistant Professor, Department of Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Management, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


How often does someone need to fly to justify getting an airline miles credit card?
If you are someone who travels for work frequently, or one of the lucky ones always on a vacation or holiday, then getting an airline miles credit card may be a great option for you. For instance, if you frequent a destination often, let’s say to visit a family member at college, then I would suggest exploring an airline that visits that destination. You can redeem your miles for free or discounted flights and possibly get free checked bags or priority status.

What should a frequent traveler look for in an airline credit card?
Explore the perks associated with the airline credit card. These can be free checked bags, priority status, seat upgrades, access to airport lounges, or discounted flights. You want to compare the blackout dates or any other stipulations with the credit card carrier too. Lastly, some credit cards offer signing bonuses with extra miles or low to no annual fee.

What are the biggest mistakes people make with airline miles credit cards?
Some airlines have ‘blackout’ dates or extremely long layovers. It is important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding your airline credit card. You may think you are traveling to a destination on a direct flight only to realize that it may take an additional two stops and several hours of delay!