The Benefits and Drawbacks of Getting an Airline Credit Card

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Getting an Airline Credit Card

Every store seems to have its own credit card at times, it seems. However, airlines were among the first industries to provide credit cards with reward systems.

The credit cards that airlines provide now, however, are very different from those that they offered in the past. And they accumulate miles through frequent flyer programs, which have undergone a significant transformation in the past few years.

These days, using airline miles to reserve award flights at the best prices can be exceedingly difficult. However, credit cards for airlines provide much more than just miles. To help you decide if airline credit cards are the perfect choice for you, let’s examine their benefits and drawbacks.

The benefits of using airline credit cards

Miles accrued on frequent flights

The ability to accrue frequent flyer miles is the key characteristic of airline credit cards. With the majority of airline credit cards, you receive one mile for every dollar spent and two miles for expenditures to the airline. You can quickly accumulate the necessary number of miles for an award flight or other incentive options by adding these miles to the ones you already have earned via traveling.

There are pricey tickets available

Only when utilized for the most expensive tickets, airline miles can be quite valuable. These tickets include last-minute domestic travel as well as first- and business-class foreign travel.

It is possible to receive several cents in value for each mile redeemed when purchasing these kinds of tickets with miles. Additionally, it is quite helpful if you can be flexible with your trip dates and even your places.

In addition,

Numerous bonuses and privileges may be available with airline credit cards as well. For instance, the majority of airline credit cards provide a free checked bag, a service that generally costs an extra $25 each trip.

Priority check-in, credit toward Global Entry or TSA security screening, and boarding are additional benefits that may be available. A premium airline rewards card might also give you benefits like admission to an airport business club or points toward elite membership.

The drawbacks of using airline credit cards

Elevated interest rates

An airline credit card does have certain disadvantages, despite all of its advantages. Like other credit cards that give incentives, airline cards will have higher interest rates than comparable cards that don’t.

If you frequently carry a balance on your credit cards, you should prioritize choosing a card with the lowest interest rate feasible rather than one that gives benefits. Even yet, if you think you might need to carry a load, it may make sense to obtain an airline credit card simply for the benefits and only sometimes use it for actual purchases.

Annual costs

The fact that they nearly usually carry annual fees is another issue with airline credit cards. These costs may be justified for frequent travelers who routinely use their perks, but they may be unnecessary for infrequent travelers.

No one competes for rewards

The given benefits may no longer be competitive, though, which is the most serious issue with airline credit cards. Since many airlines have severely undervalued their frequent flyer programs, miles rarely have much more value than one cent each. The amount of miles required for award flights has also been considerably increased by numerous carriers.

The rewards that are generally offered must be reserved months in advance and are only offered during off-peak times. You will almost probably be let down if you intend to use an airline credit card to earn rewards for a holiday family vacation. It may make more sense to purchase a low-cost ticket elsewhere rather than accumulate miles when you combine this with the ultra-low cost carriers’ absurdly low prices.

Usually, credit cards with non-airline travel incentives offer superior rewards

Lastly, there are now a lot of credit cards that give incentives that are more flexible than frequent flyer miles. These credit cards offer points that can be exchanged for hotel points, airline miles, and other reward currencies.

You can stop depending on a single program when you have the option to transfer your points to multiple airlines. Additionally, compared to the majority of airline credit cards, these flexible rewards programs frequently give incentives of two to five points for every dollar spent and can offer more points per dollar spent than one.


The value of airline credit cards has decreased over time, especially in light of the availability of other credit cards with transferrable rewards. However, some people could be tempted to choose a co-branded airline card due to certain advantages.

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