Using a credit card that lets you earn miles on all your spending is one of the best ways to save money on travel. Just going about your regular purchases lets you earn miles which you can redeem for airline tickets and other types of travel.
Not all miles are equal though, and it's important to know exactly what you are getting before you apply for an air miles credit card. For example, some cards give you miles which are really just points that are worth much less when you convert them to actual airline miles.
If you want to earn the maximum travel for your spending (as a miles card user you probably do) you should look for cards that offer 1:1 miles transfer to frequent flyer programs. Some miles programs also let you get a lot more value when you redeem your miles in certain ways.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for example, gives you 1:1 point transfer to many popular airline and hotel loyalty programs and also gives you 25% more value when you redeem your points for airline tickets (also cruise bookings, hotel stays or car rentals) that you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards. So 50,000 bonus points can be worth up to $625 in travel if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is up to $125 more than the $500 value you would normally get for those points.
When you redeem the miles you earn with a Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, you earn 5% miles back to use for your next redemption every time you redeem your miles. So if you redeem 50,000 miles to cover an airline ticket you charged to this card, you will get 2,500 miles back, which is almost like getting a 5% discount or a value increase of one twentieth.
Another potentially profitable source of value for any travel bargain hunter is the FlexPerks® program from U.S. Bank, which lets you redeem FlexPoints® for travel through its Travelocity powered site in a set of spending tiers. If you play your cards right, you can double the value of your points! For example 20,000 FlexPoints can be redeemed for up to $400 in travel, when the normal value of those points would be just $200. So if you redeem that amount for a $400 ticket, you are literally getting twice the value. You can also use cash along with points, so if your ticket costs $420 you can make up the extra $20 in cash rather than move into the next tier (30,000 points for between $401 and $600 travel) and lose value.
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