Airline credit cards offer generous benefits, but they may not be useful for everyone. Here’s how to decide if you should register.

There are tons of rewards card options. One of these options is a co-branded credit card with an airline. Many airlines offer them, and they usually offer a lot of benefits, as long as you are traveling with the airline whose name is on the card.

If you are considering signing up for an airline card, it is important to determine if it really makes sense or if you would be better off with an airline card. general purpose travel card it could not only reward you for your flight, but also offer a lot more flexibility.

To help you make a decision, here are a handful of questions to ask.

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1. Can you be loyal to a particular airline?

Signing up for an airline card only really makes sense if you travel with that airline for most or all of your trips. This is because airline cards typically require you to book with that carrier to enjoy most of your rewards and virtually all cardholder benefits.

There are many airlines out there, and when booking flights, most people prefer to shop around and buy the cheapest tickets to their destination. If this sounds like you, an airline card probably wouldn’t make sense.

But if you tend to be loyal to an airline because it’s the main carrier where you live, want to get tons of frequent flyer miles, or for some other reason, you may decide to go for a card. airline.

2. Will you use the cardholder benefits that come with the airline card?

Most airline cards offer benefits such as companion plane tickets or free checked baggage. But if you don’t tend to travel with someone else, or if you only bring hand luggage for most of your trips, you won’t get these special card benefits.

Airline cards also often give you extra discount or rewards for in-flight purchases, but not everyone buys food, Wi-Fi, or alcohol while traveling. If you never use your card to buy things during your trip, this cardholder function would be useless to you.

3. Could you get better rewards with a General Purpose Travel Card?

While airline rewards may sound appealing, there are plenty of versatile travel options out there. credit card there that offer plenty of rewards for all types of travel – and that often allow you to redeem your points with airline partners. Chances are good, that includes the airline with the co-branded card you are considering.

These travel cards sometimes give you not only extra bonuses for spending with your favorite airline, but also extra points, miles, or money when you pay for other things on your trip, like tickets. hotels or car rentals. Since most people spend on many types of things while on vacation, perhaps a general purpose card could get more for your money.

4. What types of cardholder benefits are you forgoing?

General purpose travel cards may also offer other benefits that your airline card does not offer, such as additional rewards or statement credits for ridesharing purchases or access to more airline lounges. If you don’t want all of your cardholder’s benefits tied to a particular airline, you can explore other travel cards before committing to an airline-branded card.

5. Are you ready to use multiple credit cards?

Some of the downsides of opting for an airline card, such as the limited cardholder benefits and bonus rewards associated with airline purchases, can be lessened if you are prepared to have multiple credit cards. This could mean signing up for multiple airline cards for rewards and benefits regardless of which carrier you fly with, or signing up for an airline card and then a general-purpose travel card or one. other type of rewards card for other expenses. you do.

The advantage of having multiple cards – including an airline card – is that you can maximize your rewards for different types of expenses. But the downsides include having to juggle which card to use and sometimes paying multiple annual fees. You will need to decide whether it is worth paying the fees for several different cards, and whether you want to bother managing several different accounts.

Think carefully before signing up for an airline card

Airline cards can be very attractive if you use the airline often and will enjoy the benefits of the card. But they aren’t always the right choice for everyone, so be sure to think carefully about other cards that might be right for you and compare all of your options to find the best card for you.

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