A new article up at Frommer’s discusses no-fee mileage earning credit cards.
Most airline credit cards come with an annual fee and earn one mile per dollar. Some airlines offer a no fee card that earns one mile for every two dollars spent. So it should be basic math – is the value of those extra miles worth more than the annual fee? That’s what this article discusses.
However, it gets several facts wrong.
- [T]he airlines charged the consumer from $45 to $65 per year to use these cards.
Umm, no, the banks charge the fee. The fee does not go to the airline marketing partner.
- Now for the all-important question, are the no-fee credit cards worth it? Depends on how much you fly. Typically, a holder of an annual fee airline frequent flyer awards-based credit card receives one mile per dollar spent. The no annual fee cards give the credit card user 1 mile for every $2 spent. That means if you fly 25,000 miles per year, the no-fee card gets you 12,500 miles. If you decide to pay the $45 to $65 dollar annual fee, you get all 25,000 miles. You can do the math based on how much you fly, but the no-fee card may not be the way to go.
Bizarre. Credit cards don’t award miles for your flying at all – they award miles for your spending.
So with these statements as a guide, it’s no surprise that the advice is poor. Instead of calculating whether it’s worth spending money on an annual fee to earn extra miles.. why not go for a no-fee hotel card, or even the Amtrak Mastercard which carries no fee but allows points to be converted 1:1 into United, Continental, and Midwest Airlines and 1:2 into Hilton? That card earns United miles just as fast as the United Visa but doesn’t carry the same $60 price tag.
If you’re looking for the best mileage earning credit card, check out this discussion which should point you in the right direction.