Are you someone who flies frequently? If you have landed here, then there is a good chance that you do fly a lot. So – what is the big deal about frequent fliers, anyway, and why are there specific credit cards geared towards them?
The answer to this question is simple – a lot of folks use credit cards to purchase their plane tickets. Lenders noticed this and recognized that they could tap into this market. Thus, these rewards programs were born.
As consumers, we face a bit of a quandary though. On the surface, there is no denying that these deals look quite appealing. However, how much of the advertising surrounding them is honest? It is a valid concern.
Today, we would like to help you with precisely this question. Whether you’re interested in an Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card or something else, we hope to provide some answers to the questions that you have!
What is an Airline Credit Card?
Naturally, our first order of business is to examine what exactly these types of credit cards are anyhow! You have probably already got the gist of them just based on the name but allow us a moment to explain what they are in detail. Primarily, their purpose is to give rewards to anyone who flies frequently and uses their credit card to do so.
Most of the time, they are even branded with a specific airport – like the one that we mentioned earlier. In that sense, they are pretty much going to be entirely dedicated to buying plane tickets. While they are not necessarily flexible, they do excel at what they are meant for.
Keep in mind, though, that they are distinct from “traveler” cards, which are flexible but do not offer the same level of rewards. It is up to you to decide which you would prefer. If you use Alaska Airlines often, then it is probably a bit of an easy decision.
You are probably curious about what the benefits of one of these cards are. After all, since they are so specific and even tailored to a specific airline in some cases, which might seem like it is a negative. However, given the perks that come alongside it, hopefully you will see why they are worth your while.
One of the first perks that is quite compelling is the fact that you will get extra travel protection as a cardholder. What might that entail, though? You can find some examples on this page, but for the most part, they’re kind of self-explanatory. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, for instance, you will have a better chance of rescheduling or even reimbursement.
Another nice thing is that you will sometimes get offered some discounts on things during your flights. This might be a free luggage check in, or it could be some discounts on drinks, food, or even wi-fi upgrades while you are in transit.
Finally, there are the frequent flier bonuses that we have mentioned a few times. These might look a bit different depending on the lender that you have opened the card with. That said, there are certain standards that we can discuss.
Being able to upgrade your flights is one of the main draws, of course. Beyond that though, you may get priority boarding on flights or even get to wait in special lounges. If you are not certain if the airports you fly to offer these things, it does not hurt to ask.
Are they Worth it, though?
This is probably what you have been here for from the start, so let us dive in. Are these types of credit cards worth it in the long term? In the short term, they may not seem like it, but there is more beneath the surface.
As sites like this, https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/191177.191199, demonstrate, once you crunch the numbers on how much the discounts and other rewards could save you, it does turn out to be worth it. There is one caveat, though, and it is a somewhat big one.
If you are not someone who flies often, then there is a pretty good chance that this type of credit card would not benefit you much. This is especially true if the one you are thinking about has annual fees. You simply will not be getting much use out of it, and thus the cost cannot really justify it.
On the other hand, though, if you do travel often in airplanes and there is a specific airline that you favor, you will likely find that these cards are a perk for you. Either way, it will be up to you to decide if it is something you want to pursue. Remember that the application process is pretty much the same as any other type of loan or credit agreement, so this is not a way to “get around” that, so to speak.
If you have been on the fence about a flying credit card, hopefully you have got the answers that you were looking for!