How do I choose credit cards that allow me to earn miles?

Q: How do I choose credit cards that allow me to earn miles?

A: If you are a frequent traveler and earn a significant number of your miles through airline flights, then you should probably use the card issued by the program you use most often. That way, your miles-for-charges are credited directly to your most active mileage account.

If, on the other hand, you earn most of your miles through charges rather than through flying, you should evaluate the airline cards according to its associated programs' awards, finding out whether they offer award travel to your target destination, and for how many miles. You should also consider the costs of using the cards, such as their annual fee and interest rate. You might also investigate cards that have their own travel awards program, like Bank of America's Platinum Travel Visa card or Capital One's Go Miles card. You'll only earn miles for charges, not for flights or hotel stays, but it can be easier to redeem your earnings for a ticket since there are often no blackout dates or capacity controls.

Don't forget about hybrid cards like American Express and Diners Club. Both cards allow users to earn points that can be converted into miles in a number of participating airline programs.

To learn more about earning miles on various credit cards, please visit SmarterTravel.com's Mile Finder.

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