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Is ‘Fly Now and Pay Later’ Worth the Price?

SmarterTravel

Imagine booking a flight without the concern of paying for it right away. Several airlines offer such an option, but are these programs worthwhile, or nothing but a headache?

First of all, what is the difference between using one of the airlines’ services and paying with your own credit card? With an airline program you’ll have a longer period without interest, but you’ll more than likely have a higher annual percentage rate (APR). For example, American Airlines requires you to apply and be accepted for an AA credit card. You’re not charged any interest or fees for six months, but you’ll end up with an APR up to 25.96 percent.

JetBlue’s Bill Me Later service requires approval through its credit program with CIT Bank, and allows you 90 days without payment or fees. The APR can reach up to 19.99 percent. US Airways offers a similar service with CIT Bank and 90 days free of payment, but its APR reaches 17.99 percent.

If you do decide to book now and pay later, be prepared for the airlines to review your credit. Also, try to pay in full before the 90 days or six months expires to avoid hefty interest fees. After all, the main advantage of these programs is not having to pay immediately, but still being able to pay in full within the given time limit.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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