How to Maximize Your Air Mile Credit Card Rewards

By Leni Parrish on September 20, 2009

Credit cards with Air Mile Rewards are popular in the market.  A lot of people apply for this reward credit card hoping to get rewarded with a free trip to their dream destination.  However, before you sign up for one, consider the strategies you need to do to maximize rewards from a miles credit card:

Pick a card that matches your lifestyle.  Okay, so you do travel a lot.  However, you still need to consider which type of card with travel rewards fits your style.  If you have a preferred carrier or airline, why not check if that airline sponsors a particular credit card.   Sponsored cards often give more points for its cardholders.
On the contrary, if you frequently fly with different airlines, then go with a non-sponsored air mile credit card.  Why?  While a sponsored card may limit your choices of carriers, a non-sponsored card gives flexibility to redeem your free passenger seat from any available airline.

Do not use your card for purchases that you cannot pay in full.  Because credit cards with rewards carry more expensive rates, avoid the interest rate by paying your full balance.  Let us say that your total purchase for the month amounts to $300.  If your card charges 19% interest rate, that would mean an additional $57 to your bill. If you keep carrying over balances from month to month, the amount you pay on the interest rates alone defeats the purpose of getting a reward credit card.

Do not use your card for cash advances.  Avoid using your air mile credit card for cash advances since these transactions are automatically charged with interest.  In addition, some cards have more than one APR and the higher rate usually applies to cash advance transactions.

Know the restrictions of the program.  Different issuers of air mile credit card rewards have varying systems.  Some cards may allow you to carry over unused points until you gathered enough points to earn a free trip.  Others may give an option to exchange your points for cash, gift check or merchandise instead of an airline ticket.
Some credit cards may impose blackout dates so you need to redeem your points before the deadline.  In any case, you need to know the exact limits of the program right from the beginning.  Hence, if you feel that the rules of the reward program do not fit you, you can look for another card that does.

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