If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you have a few tricks up your sleeve already, to get the most from your miles. But there may still be some things you’re missing out on.
Credit cards offer a great way to make your trips a little easier, and having a co-branded credit card for the airline you most like to travel makes sense. If you travel on multiple airlines, get a card for each of them. United, Southwest, American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and Virgin all have co-branded credit cards for their customers—and those are just a few.
What perks can you get from these kinds of cards? Here are a few of the best ones:
Free checked luggage – If you fly a lot, you already know that many airlines charge $25 or more per checked bag. That adds up quickly, especially if you’re flying with your whole family. A family of four can save $200 on a round-trip where each person has one bag. This perk easily pays for itself, even if the card has an annual fee.
Priority boarding – It’s nice to feel like a VIP when you’re getting on board your flight, and even nicer to have first dibs on the overhead cabins. Don’t wait around the gate for your boarding group to be called: belly up to the boarding area right away when they open up boarding to priority passengers.
Business or First Class upgrades – Stretch out your legs, have a glass of wine, and enjoy your flight away from the hubbub and cramped crowds in the main cabin. With some travel credit cards, you’ll enjoy discounted upgrades to first class or business class, or you’ll be able to earn a free upgrade when you hit the required elite mileage status.
Discounts on in-flight purchases – Meals, cocktails, movies, and more: whatever is sold onboard your flight will probably be yours at a 10% discount, or possibly more. This may not seem like a huge perk, but if you routinely order a glass of wine or a cocktail on your flight, you’ll find that this saves you enough to make a difference over the course of several flights. Every little bit helps, and saving on those in-flight purchases is just another way to make your travels a bit easier.
Free Wi-Fi onboard – Many airlines offer free Wi-Fi on flights, but most charge for the privilege of checking your email and posting a status update on Facebook. Post away when you have free Wi-Fi, courtesy of your elite traveler status. You can Instagram every moment of your flight, iMessage your friends, or hey – even get some work done from a few thousand feet in the air.
Bonus miles – Best of all, you can earn more miles when you have a credit card linked to your favorite airline. Earn reward miles for every purchase you make, anywhere you go. Usually you’ll earn one mile per dollar on purchases, and two or more miles per dollar spent on purchases with the airline issuing the card. When you sign up, you’ll likely get a big bonus as well, so choose wisely when applying and look for the best signup bonus offer.
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