Nowadays, airline loyalty programs are known for being annoyingly complex, and leaving many customers dissatisfied with the rewards they are able to earn from co-branded credit cards. It is not just that the miles are difficult to use, but there is also often a problem with the availability of award seats. This may also be topped off with obscure fees and surcharges, sometimes even eliminating the notion of “free” travel.
That doesn’t go to say there aren’t airline cards offering first-rate value if you are re up for jumping a few hurdles. This means you have to know how the system is set to work, and it is essential to have the right card for this as well.
It goes without saying that unused airline miles are a sorry waste if they expire before being put to use, so that’s another motivator for choosing the proper card. Following are two ways you can maximize the points you have got right now.
Save For Off-Season Travel
Peak season is when award tickets are priced the highest, because of the money the airline is losing by setting them aside. During holiday breaks and summer, you would have to pay with more points to get seats, while off-peak travel gets you the same at a lower cost.
American AAdvantage, for example, lets you get a round-trip flight to Europe for 60,000 miles if you get it in the summer, but that drops to 45,000 miles if you get it during off-season, which is between October 15 and May 15. It works similarly for many other airlines, in that you can stretch your rewards further and maybe even get better seats into the bargain.
Get A Flexible Travel Credit Card
For some people it gets a bit too much sticking to a single loyalty program, because there are more possibilities out there that they might be missing out on. The more flexible travel cards give you the kind of options you need if this is the case. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one good example of cards, which let you move points to many airlines. If it is hard getting the award availability you are looking for, the points can also be used on their online portal.
This works much like Expedia, letting you choose dates and flights that work best for you without the need to look at blackout dates or capacity controls.