Should you get a frequent flyer credit card?
If you’re a frequent traveller – or a regular spender – you might consider linking your credit card to your frequent flyer membership to benefit from the points and status credits available. However, using a credit card to build your points isn’t as simple as dollars spent equals points earned.
We spoke to Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, for his tips on whether a frequent flyer credit card is right for you, how to make the most of them and the pitfalls to avoid.
What are frequent flyer credit cards and are they right for you?
Quite simply, frequent flyer credit cards are cards linked to airline loyalty programs, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer. You earn frequent flyer points for every dollar you spend on your credit card. Other travel perks are available as well, but there are some things to consider before signing up.
Before you look at options when it comes to choosing the best credit card for business travel, consider whether one linked to your frequent flyer membership is going to suit your needs and add value. According to Angus, there are a few easy criteria to consider.
"If you rely on a credit card to run your business, you have a steady cash flow and always pay your bill on time; a frequent flyer credit card is a no-brainer. You may as well be rewarded for your credit card use and use frequent flyer points for free travel," says Angus.
What to look for when choosing a frequent flyer credit card
So, you meet the criteria, and now you're in the market for a credit card linked to your frequent flyer membership. Where do you start? By looking at these key things:
- Airline alliance. Do you prefer Qantas or Virgin? “Pick a card that links with the airline you prefer, or which your business usually flies. It’s better to pick and stick to one program,” says Angus. You can still have a frequent flyer account with other airlines so that if you do happen to fly with a different airline, you can collect points. And if you do regularly use lots of different airlines, consider credit cards that convert into multiple loyalty program schemes.
- Fees. Frequent flyer credit cards usually have high annual fees, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for. “Make sure you familiarise yourself with all the perks (such as free flights or lounge access), so you can offset the annual fee by making the most of all your benefits,” says Angus. It might be a better option for you to choose a card that has a lower annual fee.
- Lounge Access. This benefit can't be underrated and may even be a deciding factor. "Many frequent flyer credit cards come with complimentary lounge passes or access. For business travellers, this is often a key benefit," says Angus.
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Look out for these pitfalls
Building up frequent flyer points can be addictive, so approach the use of your credit card with caution; don't make unnecessary purchases for the sake of earning points.
“You also want to make sure you pay your credit card bill when it’s due. Frequent flyer credit cards often have a higher interest rate, so if you’re paying interest on your balance, earning points will be costing you money, not saving you money,” says Angus.
And there can be a surcharge for using credit cards, so be sure to weigh up whether it’s worth putting on your card or paying by direct transfer instead.
Spend and earn points
If you’re travelling or making purchases regularly, a credit card linked to your frequent flyer membership can be an excellent way to go to benefit from the points and status credits on offer. But approach with caution: make sure the credit card is a good fit for your travelling and spending habits, not the other way around.
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