Airline rewards cards, also known as "miles cards" or "frequent flyer" cards, have become the most popular incentive based credit card rewards programs over the past decade. Because the market has been flooded with such cards, there has been a constant battle among credit card companies to make these offers as attractive as possible.
The major players on this market are Citi, American Express, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Capital One. All four banks have a variety of different miles cards, whether they be airline specific, like the American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard from Citi, or general airline cards such as the newly-introduced American Express Blue Sky Card.
Capital One features the No Hassle Rewards Miles Card, an airline rewards card with the popular slogan, "No Hassle," enlisting spokesperson David Spade to promote their product on national television advertisements. Capital One boasts no blackout dates for travel. What they fail to mention is that this card comes with an introductory APR of 13.9%, both on balance transfers and purchases. They also implore that the competition, American Express and the others, promote cards that do have blackout dates for travel. This is simply not the case.
American Express has just launched a new miles card, the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card. This card, in comparison to the No Hassle Card, comes with a 0% introductory APR for 6 months with a 12.24% APR thereafter. There are no blackout dates or restrictions for travel with the Blue Sky Card and you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend. These frequent flyer points are redeemable for airline, hotel, rental car, or cruise savings. Once a consumer is approved for the American Express Blue Sky Card, he or she is automatically enrolled in the World Class Cardmember Benefits Program, featuring travel accident insurance, a buyers assurance program, and return protection. the Blue Sky credit card is also non-specific to any particular airline, so travel is allowed on some major airlines.
Their other popular airline miles card, the American Express Gold Delta Skymiles Card is airline specific to Delta. All travel is completed by Delta and its partners upon frequent flyer point redemption. This card does come with an introductory APR of 9.99% and 15.99% thereafter, but the consumer does receive 10,000 bonus Skymiles after their first purchase. There is no annual fee for the first year, the consumer can earn double miles for purchases on gas and groceries, the frequent flyer miles never expire, and they feature over 400 destinations for travel redemption. This is a great miles card for people who regularly travel on Delta.
Citi also features two different airline miles cards. The AAdvantage American Airlines Mastercard, an airline specific miles card; and the new Citi PremierPass, a general airline miles card. The AAdvantage Card is similar to other airline miles cards in the respect that it offers bonus miles after the first purchase, in this case 20,000. The APR is 17.99% on balance transfers / purchases and the card comes with an annual fee of $ 85. Consumers who elect to carry this card should try to pay their balance in full at the end of every month as the 17.99% APR can accumulate massive amounts of interest if the balance is too high.
Citi's other miles card, the new Citi PremierPass, comes with a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers / purchases and a 13.49% APR thereafter. The PremierPass allows travel on any airline with no blackout dates. the consumer also has the opportunity to redeem points accumulated for gift certificates, merchandise, and even statement credits as part of instant enrollment into Citi's ThankYou Network.
Chase Manhattan Bank has reacted in response to general frequent flyer cards by launching their new Chase Value Miles Visa, a replacement for their older and very popular miles card, the Chase Travel Rewards Visa. This is basically a new and improved card to its relative featuring a 0% introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases. After the first year, the APR is raised to a low 10.99%. The Chase Value Miles also has no blackout dates for travel and provides consumers with platinum benefits including travel insurance, travel assistance, emergency cash delivery, and lost card reporting. With this miles card you may also travel on any major US airline.
There are so many choices out there for airline rewards cards which is why many consumers find difficulty in making their selections. Basically what it comes down to is how much flexibility does the consumer want with their card. Most general airline miles cards now come with no blackout dates for travel and no annual fees. However, many consumers are enticed by the initial frequent flyer bonus miles they will receive with airline specific miles cards. Everyone loves a free vacation, and both types of miles cards give the consumer an opportunity to earn one.
© 2006 Credit Card Outlet