Q&A – how do i use a credit card to rack up frequent flyer miles?

It’s time for another question/answer. I know a lot of you like these so here we go. This one comes from who asks us:

my uncle flies his family of four all over the US using frequent flyer miles he gets from a credit card. how do i go about doing this? he said that you use the card for everything and cash in your points and can fly all over for free. what cards do this and how can i get started? he said to user the card for everything and just pay the card payments. how do i get started and what card has the best program?

Answer: The best mileage card depends on which airline you usually fly on. I live in Alaska, so an Alaska Airlines card (issued by Bank of America) works for me. If you fly Southwest, Continental, or United, try Chase. American Express offers Delta and JetBlue cards, and Citibank has an American Airlines card. For any other airline, try a search engine for “[airline] mileage credit card.”When you apply for the card, they’ll tell you how the mileage program works. Generally, it’s 1 mile for each dollar you spend. You’ll also need a mileage plan with that airline. When it comes time to spend your miles, you call the airline and book an “award reservation” (to specify that you’re paying with miles instead of cash.)There are other cards that have travel benefits, like Capital One, that offer multiple airlines, but instead of calling the airline, you call the card issuer and book your flight. Or, of course, there are cash back cards, which give you cash to use however you please. In any event, look for a card where the reward is based on the amount of purchases, rather than on the balance you carry; that’s just the issuer’s way of persuading you to pay more interest.On a side note, some banks also offer mileage debit cards. They accrue at a slowe rate than credit cards, because the banks don’t stand to earn interest.


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