Swapping credit cards to get air miles?

Swapping credit cards to get air miles?

Air miles are a great way to get away for people who struggle to save for a holiday otherwise due to other financial commitments. The problem is it’s pretty easy to say that, and assume that if you go on spending like you would on a daily basis you’ll end up with enough air miles to take you to Australia and back a few times over before the year is out – sadly it just doesn’t work that way, and you never seem to accumulate enough miles to actually get anywhere.

Some people are trying a different tactic though, and “churning” credit cards. What this essentially involves is taking out a credit card that offers a bonus amount of air miles for signing up and spending a minimum amount (which isn’t always all that much since credit card companies are always trying to attract your custom), before moving on and doing the same again. The only potential difficulty is ensuring that the balance is always paid off in full every month.

Will Becker, Managing Director of credit card comparison site TotallyMoney.com, said: “It doesn’t need to be hard work to save thousands on flights by choosing the right credit card and using it the right way. TotallyMoney.com’s research shows that American Express’s British Airways Premium Plus card currently gives you the greatest value of flights per pound spent. And you can potentially double this value by spending more than £10,000 on the card in a year and earning a voucher for a second seat in the same cabin on which you’ll only pay taxes. If you value travelling above economy class, the value is particularly good, since the points needed per pound of flight cost are even more favourable. The downside with all air miles programs is availability. If you’ve generally got fixed dates or need to travel at popular times like school holidays, it’s possible you’ll struggle to find air miles flights since the airlines know they can sell all these seats to those paying a full fare.  In that case, we’d always recommend a cash back card – again, American Express Platinum Cash back comes out well with Capital One’s Aspire Elite running it close for high spenders.”

Knowing how many air miles you need is a good way to help you keep track of “churning”, if you decide to do it. Check out Webflyer’s calculator to work out the distance between any two destinations  and decide if it’s worth the time and effort to get some free travel.