An Airline Credit Card for Not-so-Frequent Fliers?

allegiant-travel-rewards

Most airline credit cards are designed with the frequent flier in mind. You get the most if you travel (and spend) a lot, either because there’s a big annual fee you need to recoup, a giant sign-on bonus you want to earn or a litany of upgrades you’re looking for each time you fly. But low-cost carrier Allegiant Air’s got other ideas about airline plastic.

Its recently released Allegiant World MasterCard by Bank of America is geared toward leisure travelers — that is, someone who only flies once or twice a year for vacation. Its rewards program is designed specifically to provide value to these not-so-frequent fliers, a spokesperson for the carrier told Credit.com via email.

Business Travel vs. Leisure

Allegiant World MasterCard accountholders earn three points per dollar on Allegiant purchases, two points per dollar on qualifying dining purchases and one point per dollar everywhere else. They’re eligible for buy-one-get-one free airfare when they book a minimum four-night hotel stay or seven-day car rental along with their flight through myAllegiant Member Services (some other restrictions apply). Plus, they receive priority boarding and one free beverage on every Allegiant flight when flashing their branded plastic.

The card carries a $59 annual fee and a fairly low-threshold associated with its sign-on bonus. You get 15,000 bonus points (equivalent to $150 off Allegiant travel) after you spend at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of the account opening. 

Contrast this with a premium travel rewards credit card — like, say, the also recently released Chase Sapphire Reserve, which touts a $450 annual fee and an eye-popping 100,000 bonus points (equivalent to $1,500 through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal) after spending $4,000 in the first three months of the account opening — and you’ll start to get an idea of how Allegiant’s target demo differs.

To break it down: Business travelers won’t have a hard time meeting the Reserve’s $4,000 spending threshold (thus earning that lucrative $1,500 bonus) if they’re flying around the world and charging expenses to their credit card each month, so it makes more sense to pay that $450 fee. Leisure travelers, on the other hand, could easily earn that $150 Allegiant travel credit (and recoup the lower $59 annual fee) by charging their family vacation and calling it a day.

The Allegiant card carries an annual percentage rate (APR) of 13.24% to 23.24%, based on creditworthiness. There are no blackout dates, no destination restrictions and no minimum points redemption.

Thinking About a Travel Rewards Card?

Whether flying for business or leisure, it’s always a good idea to read a credit card’s fine print to be sure it’s right for you. And you should check your credit, too, before applying because you typically need a good credit score to qualify for rewards credit cards. (You view two of your credit scores for free every 14 days on Credit.com.)

Finally, remember, even for small spenders, travel rewards cards are best-suited to people who don’t to carry a balance. Otherwise, you’ll just lose all those precious points and perks to your APR. If you are balance-prone, you may want to look into a low-interest or balance-transfer credit card to minimize any interest-damage. (You can find a list of the best low-interest credit cards in America here.)

At publishing time, Chase and Bank of America credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: oneinchpunch

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