Airline Credit Card - Who Needs Them?

by : Robert Alan

An airline credit card is one which rewards purchases with air travel miles or points which can be redeemed for them. Airline credit cards ideally fit a certain user profile. Typically users of airline cards are financially well off and travel frequently. But who else needs them?

Ideal Airline Credit Card User Checklist

Before deciding to go for an airline credit card you should check your credit history. If it is perfect or almost perfect, you can check off one of the requirements of the ideal airline credit card user checklist. If you pay your credit card debt on time, you fulfill the second requirement of the checklist. It is also important that your debts on other credit cards and other bills are paid one time. You are a big spender, and spend it through your airline card. Most importantly, the travel miles are useful or important to you.

Reasons for the Airline Card Checklist

Airline cards usually charge higher interest than ordinary cards. If you are not timely in your credit payments, you incur a lot of interest. Also if you do not have excellent credit ratings, you fall into a higher interest bracket and do not qualify for the lower APR credit cards. This makes airline cards very expensive to own. It is also important to pay other debts regularly, since the rules link you credit ratings across debts. What this means is, if you have a bad credit rating in relation to another credit card you own, it affects your credit rating in the airline credit card and you may have to pay a higher rate of interest.

If you are not a big spender and do not spend much through your airline card you will not earn enough miles to travel by air for a long time. If travel isn't interesting to you or is not incidental to your line of work, you may be better off looking for a low APR credit card.

If you do purchase an airline credit card, make the most of it, by using it whenever you shop. Also use your airline miles at the first chance you get. It is better to use your airline miles for long flights to make the most of them. Airline cards are used best when they are redeemed for airline miles. It is generally not worth it to redeem your airline card on other products.

Airline cards vary greatly in terms of their bundle of offerings. There are different APR's and differing credit requirements (but you must have good credit). Also some airline credit cards offer bonus air miles. Different annual fees are charged. Bank sponsored airline cards allow you to redeem your air miles through a number of airlines. With airline sponsored cards you have to patronize the issuing airline. An informed purchase of your airline credit card can lead to smart savings for some, and free holidays for others. Remember to combine the informed purchase with smart usage of your airline card. If you can choose and use your airline credit card wisely, the only negative effect you can expect is jet lag.