How Your Credit Card Can Earn You a Free Holiday

by : Zoe Badowska

What is an Airmile credit card?

An Airmile credit card is the same as a normal credit card, save for the fact that you are awarded Airmiles every time you use the card to make a purchase. Airmiles are akin to store-card "loyalty" points; once you have collected enough of them they can be redeemed for flight tickets or even entire holidays. An Airmile account is rather like having a holiday savings account which is credited every time you use your card.

If your credit card is your primary method of making purchases, you will find that your Airmiles quickly add up. In addition, if you use your card enough, you may also be able to take advantage of other benefits offered by your card company, such as access to an airport's VIP lounge and priority check-ins.

Am I eligible for an Airmile credit card?

When Airmile schemes were first introduced, they were only available to people who made frequent trips abroad. The good news is that Airmile credit cards are available to everyone, irrespective of how often they travel.

Of particular note is the fact that many Airmile credit cards offer "bonus miles" to new cardholders. Any purchases made within a special introductory period will earn you additional miles.

Scheme partners

Most companies offering Airmile programmes are affiliated or "partnered" with several other companies. Partnerships can take a number of forms:

- Partner companies: These range from supermarkets to fuel companies (such as Tesco Clubcard and Shell). You will earn twice as many Airmiles by purchasing from partner companies; once for using your credit card and once for purchasing from an affiliate.
- Travel-specific partners: Some partner companies are specifically travel-related, hotels and car hire firms being typical examples. Again, every time you purchase from one of these companies you will earn twice as many miles.
- Partner airlines: Numerous airlines are now participating in the Airmile scheme. This means that you have a variety of options when it comes to redeeming your miles and choosing which airline you would like to travel with. Airlines include , and .

By familiarising yourself with the companies partnered with your credit card company and the airlines taking part in the scheme, you will be able to earn Airmiles more quickly and maximise your holiday choices when you eventually redeem your miles.

Remember, your weekly shopping trips could be earning you your dream holiday!