A simples guide

Air Mile Credit Cards – Helping you reach for the sky?

There’s an almost bewildering array of credit cards to choose from these days. The air mile credit card offers its users additional benefits to encourage their loyalty and their spending.

What is an air miles credit card?

An air miles credit card offers you points towards popular air mile reward schemes. You may see them called points, miles or Avios. Whatever you call them, they can be earnt when you travel or spend with your credit card.

The frequent flyer miles that are earned can then be used towards discounted flights, upgrades (from economy to business for example) and accommodation with major airline groups. 

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Why should you get one?

If you pay off your credit card bill every month so that you don’t pay any interest why not earn rewards for your spending while you’re doing it?

If you like to travel, then an air mile credit card could reward your miles while you’re travelling by earning reward miles for spending that you would do anyway.

Just signing up for an air miles credit card can sometimes come with a number of free air miles as a bonus to help you boost your mileage before you even start!

If you’re able to use the card for work expenses, this could be a good way of boosting your mileage. Be sure to get your companies permission first though, as many companies have strict expense policies. Be aware too that there may be tax implications if the miles are deemed a benefit in kind.

Things to watch out for

So far so good. However, there are some things to consider before you buy, as a number of the cards offering higher number of air miles as a reward do come with annual fees.

For example, the British Airways Premium Plus Amex offers an inviting 25,000 miles as a welcome bonus, a further 25,000 if you spend £3,000 in the opening 3 months and 1.5 miles for every £1 you spend. Yet it also comes with a £195 annual fee which boosts the APR on the card to 76%.

Similarly, the Virgin Atlantic Black Amex card offers 18,500 miles and 2 miles per £1 spent. It though, comes with a £140 fee and an APR of 57.4%.

The APR for purchases on both these is higher than other cards on the market. This means it would be wise to ensure that you clear your balance each month.

If you’re looking at one of these cards though, it is presumably because you want to be able to use the air miles against flights while airlines allow you to use the miles towards the cost of the basic airfares you can’t use them to pay for surcharges and taxes. For example, someone using British Airways miles for a flight to New York may be quoted a price of £523. £155 of this is listed as government taxes. A further £163 is a carrier imposed surcharge. This means the points can only be redeemed for £205 of the £523 fare with the balance having to be paid by card.

You’ll also find that availability can be restricted. Summer and other holidays on popular routes are often very difficult to find, plus if you find an outbound flight you sometimes can’t find your return flight.

If you’re thinking of getting a new credit card we can help you compare. There are over 200 credit cards listed on our site so finding a new card couldn’t be easier.

All Air Miles Credit Card details are based on information provided by moneysavingexpert.com data on 15 April 2016


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