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Cash back cards and airline miles cards are two types of reward credit cards. At the same you accumulate something – money in a case; miles or points in the second – every time you use the card to buy. The more you spend, the bigger your bonus.
These two cards have been around for quite some time-the first airline credit card was introduced in 1986-87. Although the first discount card, Discover, made its public debut in 1986, the concept of cashback didn’t really become mainstream until the early 2000s.
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Cash back refers to a credit card benefit that returns a small percentage of the amount spent on purchases to the cardholder’s account. As the name implies, this is real cash that can be applied to a credit card account or received as a check or deposit to a bank account.
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While some cards pay the same percentage on all purchases, the amount of cash back usually varies depending on the type of purchase or purchase amount ($ 25 is usually the minimum cost). For example, a cardholder can earn 3% back on gas purchases, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases. Most pay 1%-2%, although some rewards can reach up to 6%of the transaction, although such rich returns are limited to spending categories (such as groceries) and often limited on a quarterly or annual basis.
Cash back rewards are usually paid as a credit statement that can offset some of the costs incurred on monthly purchases. Consumers can also receive monetary rewards by direct deposit into a linked checking account or by check in the mail.
Or they can use the money on goods offered by the card issuer. Cash back rewards typically have fewer redemption options compared to points and mile-based rewards, but tend to be more loyal to their value.
A big advantage of cash back credit cards is their flexibility. You can choose to spend this money on travel, use it for other purchases you want to make, or just put it into savings. However, if you carry a balance on your credit card each month, even the most generous rewards program will fully recover, if not completely cancel, the amount you pay as interest.
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Many cash back cards do not charge an annual fee, which saves you the hassle of thinking if you need to earn a certain amount of rewards over the years to justify the cost. This makes cash back cards a natural fit for people who don’t spend large amounts on credit cards.
There are two main types of travel cards that provide mile or point rewards: special airline-specific cards issued in partnership with airlines and banks, and more general travel cards that get rewards that can be turned on. redeem for travel on any airline.
With two cards, standard plane miles are more limited, but they can be a great option if your lifestyle involves travel – or you expect it to happen in the future (you may need a little motivation to start planning your travel to Spain). Airline miles typically earn about the same amount of cash back rewards (although airline cards often offer bonus miles for airline purchases and other categories such as hotel, dining, or gas). ) and may offer a one-time bonus incentive in return. a certain amount of expenditure during the first few months of account opening.
General travel cards are equivalent to cash back cards in their flexibility, reward, and benefits, except that rewards generally must be redeemed for travel through the card issuer’s rewards program portal and not through the loyalty program. of either airline.
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One -time bonuses can sometimes be the most lucrative rewards you can get from your credit card, so it makes sense to meet the initial spending requirements. Airline -specific premium cards can bring additional benefits such as seat upgrades, baggage fee waivers, priority boarding or access to airport lounges.
Some miles cards (general travel and shared airline cards) also allow you to use the rewards you get on other travel purchases besides airfare, such as hotel rooms or car rental.
On the other hand, airline-specific cards often limit your ability to shop for the cheapest ticket because you only earn and redeem rewards with one carrier. Sometimes rewards can be redeemed at better rates, especially during off-peak hours. However, if you’re trying to travel during the peak travel season or during the holidays, don’t expect a lot of layover. And watch out for blackout dates, which don’t allow points to be used at all.
Also, while 68% of all credit cards don’t charge an annual fee, two-thirds of these travel cards do pay-and they’re probably on the high side, typically $ 75 or more. On the plus side, airline -specific card interest rates that used to be higher than average are now lower than the average APR.
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The coveted miles rewards card also has no foreign transaction fees, miles will not expire, and there is no blackout date for redeeming travel points that can be spent on any airline and hotel. Most general travel cards provide these features, while standard airline cards usually do not, ironically.
Before you sign up for any card with an annual fee, consider the amount of the first year bonus along with the spending requirement and income rate of the rewards to determine how much you need to spend each year to at least in the equivalent of the prize amount. annual fee.
It can be a bit tricky to figure out because sometimes you have to convert miles to dollars, but it can be done. For example:
When choosing between cash back cards and airline reward miles, the big question is which type of rewards card is most important to you — because of your goals and lifestyle?
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Before choosing a card, it is important to consider whether you are spending enough to make it worthwhile, as many reward cards have an annual fee. Otherwise, there are still many credit cards that offer great rewards but do not charge an annual fee.
Then read the fine print. Are there any blackout dates that will limit your ability to use travel rewards? Will your rewards expire? Are there ways to earn more, such as shopping online through credit card rewards websites? Paying attention to these details will help you optimize your rewards to take advantage of the benefits your credit card offers.
If you feel you can’t use the travel rewards earned on flights or hotel stays often enough to justify any annual fees, choose the flexibility of a cash back card; you may earn little in terms of total value, but you will likely enjoy the full benefit of the rewards.
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Understanding Cash Back Vs. Airline Miles
Did you know that you can earn miles and points without a credit card? Yes, you can earn thousands of reward points without signing up for a credit card.
The credit card sign-up bonus is the fastest way to earn travel rewards, especially if you want to get a Southwest Companion Pass and get free flights for up to two years, but it’s not the only way to earn loyalty. program miles and credit card points.
Shopping at home in your pajamas is an easy way to get plane miles and hotel points. Most airlines have shopping portals. Not only is shopping through the portal convenient, but it’s also an easy way to extend the life of your plane miles and prevent hotel points from expiring.
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Online shopping portals offer the biggest bonuses at certain times of the year, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Back to School Shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re shopping at one of these events, it’s a good idea to check out your favorite airline shopping portal.
You can earn up to 36 million for $ 1. Most stores offer a certain number of points for every dollar spent. However, some merchants offer a flat amount of miles/points per purchase. You get 6,200 miles on AT&T, 5,700 miles on
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