If you're going to be maxing out a credit card, you might as well be earning rewards at the same time. Air miles credit cards allow you to accrue points that can be put towards flights, hotels and even cruises. If you save enough of them, you might even be able to get an entire family holiday completely free of charge. Here's our beginner's guide.
For the most part, there is no significant difference. You still have to pay your credit back at the end of each billing period, which means that it's generally not a good idea to sign up for one unless you have a steady income stream with which you can settle outstanding bills before they start incurring fines.
If you already have a credit card, then you won't have to make any radical changes to your lifestyle. The only difference is that, instead of collecting random rewards that are of no use to you, you get great perks you can use on your travels.
Air miles points can be earned by using your credit card in a normal way, with many companies offering additional points if you purchase from participating airlines.
It's not just flights that they can be traded in for. You can also earn yourself discounts on your accommodation, restaurants and even sight-seeing trips in your destination of choice (for instance, free entry to a theatre, museum or theme park).
Even if you don't have the volume of points to finance anything big, there are still several perks that can be enjoyed on a holiday you've already paid for out of your own pocket. Even something as small as free drinks at a luxury members only airport waiting room.
As with any credit card, it's important you shop around before tying yourself down to one company.
Although the main appeal of an air miles deal is the reward perks, there are other factors you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best deal - things like interest rates and add-on charges, for example.
Below are some of the leading cards currently available in the UK:
|Provider||Air miles scheme||Annual fee||APR|
|British Airways Credit Card||Avios||£0||22.9%|
|Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card||Flying Club Miles||£160||63.9%|
|HSBC Premier World Elite||Premier Reward Points||£195||59.3%|
|Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card||Avios||£24||23.7%|
Air miles credit cards are great for those who can afford to settle their bills each month, but many people lower down the income scale favour liviing within their means.
Fortunately, there are one or two other ways you can accrue air miles points. One example is by using the same airline to book all of your flights. Even budget carriers often incenticise repeat custom with loyalty schemes.
Another option is to pick up a Tesco Clubcard. As well as earning yourself discounts on your weekly shop, you can also win some nifty travel perks along the way.
You may be interested in: Purchase Credit Cards