New Perks From Airline Credit CardsAugust 22, 2011 - 8:56 am
Airlines want customers to return to their airline rewards credit cards. A few cards have vamped up their reward offerings hoping to lure in more customers.
American Airlines Travelers
The Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard, American Airlines’ rewards credit card, now waives the fee for checking for your first bag along with the fee for up to 8 people travelling with you. Other benefits include priority check-in, security screening, concierge service, and unlimited access to their airport lounge whose membership fee is higher than the $450 annual fee for this credit card. They’ve eliminated the foreign transaction fee.
The less expensive Citi Gold/AAdvantage World MasterCard has a $50 annual fee (waived in the first year) and a 30,000-mileage bonus rewarded if you make $750 in purchases during the first four months.
United/Continental Airlines Travellers
On the heels of the Continental/United airline merger is a new reward card, the Mileage Plus Explorer Card from Chase, has a $95 annual fee that’s waived in the first year. The card rewards you with a 25,000-mileage bonus and a $50 statement credit after you make the first purchase. You and just one companion get the benefit of having the bag check fee waived for your first checked bag. You’ll get two one-day passes to their airport lounge each year. That’s one for you to use twice or one for you and a travelling partner. This card also gives you access to priority boarding.
According to AP, customers with the Continental One Pass Plus card will get the same benefits without having to upgrade their card. Additional benefits include double miles, unexpiring miles on United Airlines tickets and the ability to use points for room upgrades and free breakfast.
If Southwest is your preferred airline, you may enjoy the new Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card which gives you a 50,000 point reward (pretty much two free roundtrip flights) after the first purchase and 6,000 point each year you renew your membership. The annual fee is $99, perhaps worth the two free flights you get. For every $10,000 you spend each year, you’ll be credited with 1,500 tier-qualifying points which can help you earn A-level status.
It’s easy to go into debt on reward credit cards in an attempt to rack up miles and free trips. That’s exactly what credit card issuers want you to do. Airline reward credit cards typically require you to have an excellent credit history before you qualify for the card. These cards also have higher interest rates. The best way to get the benefit of the rewards you earn is to pay your balance in full every month. Otherwise, the interest you pay on the balance could cancel out the rewards you receive.