We all know that traveling can be expensive, whether you are traveling for pleasure or for business. Whenever I tell my friends or family that having a specific credit card is worth the annual fee, they just laugh and say “Why would I pay a yearly fee for a credit card when I can use my (blank) card for free”. The simple truth is that not all credit cards are the same. Some surely are free and have no yearly fee, but those cards will get you nowhere fast! Try building miles on a card that doesn’t have an annual fee attached to it and you’ll be surprised that the average miles earned if any at all is a mere 1/2 mile per dollar spent. There are reasons why some credit cards come with an annual fee and most bonus offers waive the fee for the first year, just to entice you to join.
Free Checked Luggage
My wife and I travel about 6-8 times per year. Every time we fly somewhere the cost to take our luggage comes out to $25/each (on Delta), one way. For a single trip the cost, just to take our luggage would be $100! Even if you redeem rewards miles for free travel, you still pay this luggage fee, unless of course you fly First Class. For a family of four, traveling to visit Grandma in Florida would cost $200, just in luggage fees. Each airline charges differently per number of bags checked. You can view what your airline charges here.
Its no doubt that luggage cost can really put a dent in your travel budget. Did you know some airlines offer free checked bags as long as you have their credit card. Since I travel mostly on Delta I have their Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card. I registered when Delta/AMEX were offering 50,000 bonus miles, with 15,000 of those miles as Medallion Qualification Miles or MQMs. MQMs on Delta are the miles that actually count towards your status upgrade. Currently Delta has 4 statuses, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each taking 25,000 miles to reach the next status, except Diamond which takes 125,000 miles. A credit card that offers this type of incentive is worth having, especially if you are a few thousand miles away from earning a status upgrade. This current offer does not give MQMs, but some offers will, either now or in the future.
Here is Delta’s current offer:
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Bonus Miles: Earn 30,000 bonus miles toward Award Travel after you spend $500 on the Card within the first three months of Cardmembership.
- Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
- Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
- Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding, and enjoy the skies with 20% in-flight savings to use toward meals, beverages, and movies awarded as a statement credit.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Free Bonus Miles
With 30,000 bonus miles, you can redeem a basic economy class ticket to almost any destination within the US. The main reason to have this card, is the free checked bag offer. I recently used 100,000 Delta SkyMiles to fly family members from Seattle to Anchorage this coming summer. Since I am not apart of their reservation, the free bag offer I get, does not apply to them. As long as someone in the party has a Delta SkyMiles credit card, each ticket will receive the free bag. Since the annual fee is waived for the first year, normally $95, one trip would have paid for itself. The 30,000 bonus miles you receive from this card can be worth 1 economy ticket to most destinations within the US. The cost of 1 ticket can range from $300-$600 or more. Not only do you receive the free bonus miles, but you also earn double miles on any ticket you purchase.
Even if you travel on other airlines, your miles, status or free bag can follow you. Delta and Alaska Airlines are partner’s, Delta recently made this statement:
Starting for travel on or after April 17, 2012, Silver Medallion members and up to seven travel companions in the same reservation can check one bag for free when flying with Alaska. This process has now been automated for Silver Medallion members. All other Medallion members may continue to check two bags for free.
I am not sure if owning the Delta SkyMiles credit card transfers over to free checked luggage on Alaska Airlines, but if it does this deal just got better.
No Annual Fee For The First Year
If you plan on traveling this summer on vacation, owning this credit card can save you $20-$25 per trip, per bag. After the first year, you can always cancel the card or keep it and still pay nothing for your luggage.
Over the past 2 years, my wife and I have saved hundreds of dollars from paying no luggage fees, and its because of cards like these.