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Credit Cards What is the ideal credit card for domestic travel via economy and/or business class?

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Paul G, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Paul G

    Paul G Reader

    Hello,


    I am very new to airline credit card traveling, and I was wondering what is the best offer right now for just domestic traveling via economy but also for business class?
    Based of the alliance information, the miles accrued cannot be used for low-cost carriers, am I right?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Paul G

    Paul G New Member

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    Hello,


    I am new to utilizing credit cards for air travel.
    I was wondering what are the ideal credit cards as of September 2018 for Domestic Economy and also for Domestic Business?
    Also, this might be a dumb question, but after accruing miles/points, do you book the flight through your credit card account rewards page?

    Regards.
    Paul
     
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  3. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @Paul G - don't worry about "dumb" questions. They're not dumb if you don't know the answer!

    Let's start with "ideal" cards. That's going to vary tremendously based on where you live and your flying patterns. If you're usually flying between major cities (hub to hub) you may find better award availability on one specific airline. If, like me, you have to connect to get anywhere (except a hub) you may be better off to be a free agent in selecting your flights. It also depends on how far in advance you can book your flight and how flexible your dates are. Will you be getting tickets for just one person or do you need flights for a spouse and/or family too?

    As to how to redeem the points, the answer is "it depends". If the credit card you're using earns points directly with one of the major US airlines (AA, UA, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest) then you'd redeem your points through their site. If you have earned points through the SPG/Marriott cards you'd transfer those points to one of their airline partners and book through the airline's site. Booking flights this way it's possible to get more bang for your buck if tickets are expensive and award seats are available. But if no award seats are available you're out of luck.

    If you earn Chase's Ultimate Rewards, Amex's Membership Rewards or Citi's ThankYou Points then you can either transfer those points to a participating airline partner and book through the airline's site or you can use those points at a pre-defined cash value to book any flight you want via the Chase/Amex/Citi booking portal. So that's nice if there are specific dates/times you need to fly and no award seats are available though you might not get as much value for your points.

    And then there are cards like Capital One and Barclays Arrival+ where each dollar you spend earns a specific number of points. You can then use the card to buy anything travel-related (must be coded that way with the credit card companies) and when the charge appears on your account, you can use the points you've earned to offset that charge. For example, in the past I've paid for river cruises and have spread out my payments in $500 increments. With my Arrival+ card I've then got 120 days to earn 50K points to offset each of those charges. So you can continue to earn points even after you've bought whatever travel-related item you have.

    Does that make sense? If not, let us know and we'll try to clarify further.
     
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  4. Paul G

    Paul G New Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply.
    Followup question: In your opinion, which is better to start with first? Chase Sapphire Preffered or your Barclays Arrival+.
    Also, what are "Award Seats"?
     
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  5. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Award Seats are the seats that you can book using frequent flyer miles. There are typically only a few of those seats available on each flight - and sometimes none at all. Those of us who don't live in the hub city for an airline often have to buy positioning flights to get to an airline's hub so that that we can then use miles for an international flight.

    And as to which card is better for you, it would help to know where you're based and how you intend to use the miles/points that you earn. For example, are you hoping to use them for holiday travel? Do you want to use them for seasonal flights to smaller airports (e.g. ski towns) where revenue flights can be expensive? Are you flying mostly hub-to-hub where you might have a couple of different choices (e.g. between Atlanta, a DL hub, and Chicago, a hub for both AA & UA). Or are you taking flights where you'll almost always need to connect at a hub? Is your schedule usually flexible or are your travel dates typically fixed? Do you usually plan ahead or fairly last minute (within 30 days)? These things can help us give you some direction.
     
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  6. Paul G

    Paul G New Member

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    I am based out of New Orleans (MSY), and the airport has direct flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, LAX, and JFK, which are all destinations I would like to fly to from MSY. I don't necessarily need direct flights. My travel dates are fixed and usually last minute.
     
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  7. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Having fixed dates and flying last minute you're probably going to be better off with a 2% (or more) cash back card and stashing that cash back off to the side until you're ready to purchase a ticket. The Citi Double Cash and Fidelity 2% card may be good places to start. I'd consider the Barclays and the Capital One cards to be cash back for these purposes, though you can only use the points to offset travel expenses, whereas with a true cash back card you can use the cash back for anything.

    The cities you've mentioned above are all hubs and for multiple airlines so you'd need a number of different currencies to get tickets. And, frankly, domestic coach tickets are not *typically* a good use of miles in that you're not getting much bang for your buck. There are exceptions (for example, heading to seasonal destinations where a domestic economy ticket may cost as much as an economy flight to Europe) but most of the time paying cash for a domestic ticket is the way to go.

    You could get one of the cards that earns transferrable currencies and - if you find saver award space to Chicago or Miami on AA - transfer the points to BA as they'll charge you just 7500 Avios each way. That's better than the 12,500 miles AA would charge for the same flights. (BA charges based on distance flown; AA does not.)

    You might very well be able to find some award space last minute so don't let me make you think that's not possible. It's just that most of the time you're better off earning miles on those flights rather than burning miles.
     
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  8. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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  9. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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  10. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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